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Lawn Business Questions & Answers

Questions & Answers

This is a post I started because there were so many people emailing us for advice about a lawn business that I want to make the questions and the answers to the questions available for everyone.

So go ahead and ask away!

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79 Comments:

Anonymous Brian Kennedy said...

Can I mow in the rain? How can I do it so that the mower doesn't clog?

February 24, 2007  
Anonymous Lawn King Larry said...

Of course you can mow in the rain. You just need to mow slowly and clean the chute out more often.

Cheers!

February 24, 2007  
Anonymous Roger S. said...

Anyone have any suggestions about marketing better?

February 24, 2007  
Anonymous burt l. said...

I find that radio ads work great for my company. I advertise during the morning and evening rush hour twice a week. My phone rings every day. You could look into that.

February 24, 2007  
Anonymous burt l. said...

okay i'll try that. what about classifieds?

February 24, 2007  
Anonymous Greg said...

classifieds work good for me. i run my ads for 2 months and then i usually pull them once i get enough business. the other marketing i rely on is word of mouth. that brings us tons of business. do a great job and people will talk.

February 25, 2007  
Anonymous wes said...

anyone from vermont? i've been trying display ads. they work for me. i just keep em going all year.

February 25, 2007  
Anonymous desperate said...

I have a brutal employee. Where should I draw the line?????

February 25, 2007  
Anonymous alex said...

You should have an employee responsibility list that you get everyone who works for you to sign. Then when an employee screws up have a meeting. Keep everything on record so you have a paper trail. 3 strike rule works well, unless of course they do something REALLY dumb.

February 25, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What's better, a truck or a van?

February 25, 2007  
Anonymous Ronny Sanchez said...

Trucks! You can put stuff in the back. Vans are too crammed. But if you have to start with a van you could always upgrade eventually.

February 25, 2007  
Anonymous Living Lawnscaping Ltd. said...

Ya trucks work best. One of my competitors uses a van but he is a one man show who doesnt want to grow his business. If you can go the truck route.

February 25, 2007  
Anonymous highschool guy said...

hey i use a van and it works fine.

February 25, 2007  
Anonymous nickster said...

just make sure whatever you use gets the job done. i use a truck with an open trailer. i store my zero turn and push mowers in the trailer. this system works best for my boss and the rest of the team.

February 25, 2007  
Anonymous TE said...

how many fertilizer applications do business owners on the west coast carry out per season?

February 25, 2007  
Anonymous W. Miles said...

A stark basic program would have a spring, 2 summers, and a fall/winter fertilizer.

February 25, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

anybody have an opinion about what zero turn to purchase? any news i should know about?

February 26, 2007  
Anonymous HUSQA LOVER said...

Husqvarna has some nice stuff this year. You'd do well to check out their new mulching style deck. Word is that you can use it to mulch all year round compared to say 70-80% of the year. Thats a big point. Check it out.

February 26, 2007  
Anonymous gregs lawn care said...

i still love the john deere models. check them out too.

February 26, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

thanks for the suggestions

February 26, 2007  
Anonymous James said...

holy &$@#! anyone else getting sweet tips from the formula?

February 26, 2007  
Anonymous Kenwood Gardens Inc. said...

ya, i am still surprised. i know a lot about this industry but sure enough there are some very good suggestions and techniques in there.

February 26, 2007  
Anonymous Henry Kipson said...

about the zero turn again, what sort of price would a person be looking at if they wanted to get one??

February 26, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

8 - 15k.

February 26, 2007  
Anonymous e vasquez said...

ANYONE TRIED THE BONUS LETTERS, CONTRACTS AND FORMS YET?

February 26, 2007  
Anonymous lawn king larry said...

well done if ya ask me. i used the fishing letters at first and got call backs.

February 26, 2007  
Anonymous L Peters said...

MARKETING BETTER QUESTION...
i need some suggestions for door hangers!!!!

February 26, 2007  
Anonymous 4 seasons lawnscaping said...

one of the BEST ways to market...at least it was for us cause people need to look at it in order to take it off the front door. if you can get it in full color (which can be expensive) you can get even more phone calls from interested people.

February 26, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

DO I NEED TO BUY AN EDGER TO EDGE A LAWN?

February 26, 2007  
Anonymous master mower said...

u can use a line trimmer on a 90 degree angle

February 26, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

YES I USE A TRIMMER. IF THE EDGE IS ALREADY VISIBLE ITS EASY TO USE A TRIMMER. IF YOU NEED TO MAKE AN EDGE THEN YOU SHOULD USE AN EDGER.

February 26, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

WHICH TRIMMER IS BEST?

February 26, 2007  
Blogger Daniel Pepper said...

There are a few to choose from. The most popular amongst my crews are STIHL and SHINDAIWA. It will really come down to personal preference. Try and demo several models before committing to a certain brand. If you downloaded THE FORMULA from our website then visit the outdoor equipment sites in the APPENDIX.

February 26, 2007  
Anonymous W. Michaels said...

is there a trick to getting a customer's neighbor in on some lawn care?

February 27, 2007  
Anonymous James said...

Yes, do a great job and make sure to market consistently to the neighbor. Offer them deals to get them to allow you to look after their place. Once they are hooked it shouldn't be any trouble to keep them as customers. Since you are already going to your customer's house, there would be no travel time so you have some room to play with when pitching them an offer.

February 27, 2007  
Blogger rachael said...

Looking at the lawn care market- what % is commercial (biz, corporate/university campuses) vs. what % is residential? Does anyone know? Or where to find out?
THANKS

March 06, 2007  
Blogger rachael said...

Looking at the lawn care market- Does anyone know what % of the market is residential vs. commercial (business property/ corporate and university campuses) ?
Or where to find out?
THANK YOU

March 06, 2007  
Anonymous Lawn Guy said...

Its tough to say. Each city, each county, is different. Your best bet is to look for info from the SRDS(standard rate and data service). That way what you find is up to date.

March 06, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

what is the best brand of mower?

March 08, 2007  
Anonymous art said...

JD

March 08, 2007  
Anonymous king-george said...

arien

March 08, 2007  
Anonymous sanders279 said...

TORO!

March 08, 2007  
Anonymous alexballer4life said...

can you use a trimmer to edge a lawn?

March 15, 2007  
Anonymous (((Lawn Master))) said...

Yes. You can also use a power edger or a stick edger.

March 15, 2007  
Anonymous KP said...

I use my trimmer to edge. My customers love it. You just need a steady hand.

March 15, 2007  
Anonymous BRANDON said...

I use both - edger and trimmer. Edger at the beginning of the season and the trimmer to maintain the edged look throughout the season.

March 15, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Are there any girls who have a lawn care business???

March 15, 2007  
Anonymous lawn-gurl2003 said...

Yup

March 15, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

how do you know how much you schould ask for a specific job? thank you for your advice.

March 18, 2007  
Anonymous markymark89 said...

Here's a little tip. Get 3 competitors to leave a "free quote" for a lawn that
belongs to you, a friend, or family member.

When you get these quotes you will then have an idea of the price range you could use when quoting lawn care services.

This tip works. Give it a shot.

March 18, 2007  
Anonymous peterbilt-baby said...

What are the regulations and laws that as a new enterprise need to know to start a lawn care business in my town?

March 18, 2007  
Anonymous surfer2111 said...

Your best bet is to start searching at your county or state website. Each city is different with their rules and regulations for lawn care businesses.

It's a great place to start to ask your questions. So do a search on GOOGLE to find it.

March 18, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have been in the grasscutting business for 2 years now and have been looking to grow the business.
Recently I have been talking to a guy who is interested in buying into the business and I do not
know how to go about it. Do you have any suggestions?

March 18, 2007  
Blogger Daniel Pepper said...

Hi Anonymous

Always use extreme caution when looking into partnering with another person or business in any way.

You want to make sure you have a legal contract in place to protect you in case anything goes wrong. Plus you can lay out all the rules like how to split profit, who pays for what,etc.

We cannot give you legal advice but we can direct you to a
website to start your research.

Visit NOLO.com. In the top right hand corner of the screen is a SEARCH box. Type
"partnership" and you'll find a product they have that may help you.

We hope this helps. Thanks for your inquiry.

March 18, 2007  
Anonymous JaCkStEr said...

Someone please tell me something about the trailer and the equipment for mowing services?

April 14, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

what do you wanna know?

April 14, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Approxamently how much per acre should i charge on a 45 acre commercial site for mowing only?

April 14, 2007  
Anonymous Avalon Mowing Ltd said...

What we tell people is to pick an hourly rate you want to make
while mowing.

For example, it is strongly taught that you want to make atleast
$1 per minute or $60 per hour. So if you're mowing for 6 hours
you may want to charge $360 per cut.

The first question we have is what mower are you using? How wide
is the mower deck? Are you bagging the grass or mulching it?

Websites like www.deere.com sometimes help you select a
mower that is right for you by having you enter in what you plan
on using it for.

April 14, 2007  
Anonymous Lawn Girlz said...

I am looking around for a good lawn mower. I have been checking out the Dixie Chopper and was wondering what you think of this machine. Please let us know...thank you

April 14, 2007  
Anonymous Mr.Lawn said...

The first dixie came about in 1980. They are known for their performance.

What you want is a mower that has many years of useable life left after it is paid for.

Dixie's boast that they may not be the first mower you have ever purchased, but chances
are it will be the last.

The best thing you should try to do is to try a demo model. In fact as many models as you
are interested in. Contact your local dealer or supplier and test drive a Dixie.

Each lawn business owner has their own taste. You should be able to finalize what you are
looking for once you test drive the machine that catches your eye.

Also keep your eyes open for a demo day. This is an event local dealers put on that allow you
to try out any model they carry.

April 14, 2007  
Anonymous brian said...

I recently was given an oppurtunity for some
commercial accounts and i dont know how estimate them i was told possibly by square foot if so how much???

April 18, 2007  
Anonymous lawnking said...

B R I A N

Bidding on commercial properties still comes down to making
money off the job.

You have to start somewhere...even if it means you end up bidding
too low. Atleast you now know what NOT to bid and can bid RIGHT
the next time.

Try to look at each job the commercial property needs in terms of how
much time it will take.

Figure out how much you want to make per hour -- say $60 and try and
figure the duration of each job with this amount in mind.

If the mowing will take you 1 hour thats $60. If the weeding will take you
45 mins thats $40. If the prunining will take...and so on.

Don't say you charge per hour. The $60 per hour is just a number you have
in the back of your mind. Its a number you refer to when coming up with the
prices you will charge your commercial clients.

You can also go the square footage route.

If you charge $60 to cut 2500 square feet of grass and the commercial
property has 5000 square feet, then you will charge them $120 or even
$110 for mowing (sometimes you may want to drop the price a little since
you won't have travel time and you want to be a bit competitive).

Here's the bottomline -- you will learn by EXPERIENCE.

After bidding a number of jobs you will come up with what works for
you and what doesn't.

So don't give up, keep going and keep finding jobs you can bid. Try out
different methods of coming up with what prices you want and eventually
you'll find your winning combination.

April 18, 2007  
Anonymous HELP! said...

There are a ton of people out here wanting to mow lawns and doing it for as low as 25.00 for an acre lot!!!! Anyone have any suggestions?

April 18, 2007  
Blogger Daniel Pepper said...

Don't worry Mr.Help!!!

As for beating the competition, add value to what you do.

Mow lawns for $30, $40, or $50 but add in a free aeration or free garden bed maintenance.

Give a bigger bang to your customer's buck.

Or pitch a monthly price of say $200 that includes 4 lawn cuts, one fertilizer application, and a garden bed tidy up.

This may look more valuable to your customer than the average joe just offering a $25 lawn cut.

And always read, read, and read some more about becoming a better business person. Of course we recommend our Formula but there are many other additional sources.

A good author to start with is Sam Beckford.

April 18, 2007  
Anonymous charles said...

what do i need to start a lawn biz?

April 30, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

motivation and information

April 30, 2007  
Anonymous Rick829 said...

There are a ton of dew worms making a mess of many
lawns in my part of the world. Anyone have a solution?

May 13, 2007  
Anonymous LAWNCAREMASTER said...

Frequently aerating your lawn helps. Some dew worms are beneficial as they prevent the
ground from compacting. If you are overrun with them, apply carbolic at the recommended rate (mixing it with water), using a watering can to prevent chemical drift.

Make sure to water your lawn and surrounding area thoroughly for 1-2 hours in the early evening, then apply the chemical.

Read the directions first before you apply the carbolic soap. Remove any dead worms because they are poisonous to birds.

Repeat this treatment several times at 14 day intervals and have your neighbors treat their lawns as well to decrease the chance of recurrence.

The truth is this is only a temporary solution; the best method is to live with them and use gypsum to break down clumps and mounds left by dew worms.

Cheers!

May 13, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

does the john deere ltr 180 come in a deck size smaller than 48"?

June 06, 2007  
Anonymous JD-GUY said...

yup 38"

June 06, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I currently have a factory job, I am wanting to start my own business. My wife, is very reluctant. She seems to think its not a money maker. I know I can do it! How do I convince her that It will be a great thing.

September 05, 2007  
Anonymous LAWNMASTER said...

What I would do would start part time. Take on one, two, three customers and grow with it. Let your wife see "the money". She's probably tired of hearing about how good it is. Show her.

September 05, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

John Deer or Honda - what does everyone prefer and why?

September 25, 2007  
Anonymous RTR said...

Husqvarna for us.

RTR Lawns

September 25, 2007  
Anonymous justinator1978 said...

HONDA BOYZ!!!

September 30, 2007  
Anonymous trailerboy109 said...

How should I approach neighbors of my customers? PLEASE HELP!!!

October 09, 2007  
Blogger Daniel Pepper said...

1. Approach professionally in clean apparel
2. Make sure to go with the attitude of looking to help them.
3. Bring a business card and a company profile brochure (if you have one)
4. Ask them if after leaving info with them if you can contact them in a couple days to answer any questions
5. Follow up!

October 09, 2007  
Anonymous jamesbond007 said...

Hi! I just got your course and I can't stop reading it. Just wanted to know if you could tell me some names of lawn equipment suppliers.

October 15, 2007  
Blogger Daniel Pepper said...

Yes, just take a look in the Appendix. If you still don't find what you need, don't hesitate to ask! ;-)

October 15, 2007  

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