Category Archives: lawn care business

Lawn Care at the Whitehouse, Washington D.C.

Do you have some good lawn care contracts that you are proud of and that you would like the world to see?  If you are good at your work and you devote yourself to professionalism you can build a strong base of professional lawn care accounts.

Start A Lawn Care Business staff members visit Washington D.C.

The staff of  “StartALawnCareBusiness” took a recent trip to Washington D.C.  We were there on a fact finding mission to better understand how lawns are maintained in dense urban areas.

Lawns in our area of the country often average 3/4  acre of grass coverage for a typical home in a subdivision type community.  Dense urban landscaping is on a much smaller scale.  Lawn Care Companies must learn how to manage the maintenance of such small areas.

Look for upcoming blogs about how to maintain small urban landscape areas.

This blog posting is about a much larger landscaping job.

How About This for a Lawn Care Contract?

While we were in Washington D.C. we took time to visit many historic sites.  The Whitehouse is one of those sites that is a must see while visiting D.C.  We were lucky enough to witness a lawn care crew working landscaping equipment on the South Lawn.

Lawn Care at the Whitehouse South Lawn
Lawn Care at the Whitehouse South Lawn

There are a couple subjects of note.

1) Look a little to the right of the upper middle section of this picture.  Can you see the blue tractor with a front end loader?  Can you imagine the security clearance of the lawn care company working the South Lawn?  If you think getting your insurance and bonding your employees is a hassle just be in these guy’s shoes.

2)  The striping pattern on the South Lawn is beautifully managed.  The perfect lines are to be admired.

If you have ever wanted to operate your own lawn care business, you can learn practically everything you need to know with our lawn care business package.  Visit our website StartALawnCareBusiness.com

The complete lawn care business package is on sale right now.

Lawn Mower and Weedeater Safety

Lawn Care Business operators must observe safe operating practices.

If you have read our course work and materials about how to start your own lawn care business, you know how important safety is when you are operating your own lawn care business.

This morning, as I was driving to an appointment, I heard the familiar sound of a commercial string trimmer and commercial lawn mower.  I detoured slightly out of my way to see if it was a familiar lawn care company.   I didn’t know the guys running the equipment and they seemed to be doing a nice job on the lawn grass they were cutting.

Though they were doing a professional job on the grass, something struck me enough about the scene that I grabbed my camera and took a quick photograph through my window.

What do you notice about this picture?

Lawn mower and weedeater safety
Okay, I am not going to beat up on these guys.  They did quick, efficient work and the grass looked good when they finished.  But,  they need to think some more about safety.

Long-time readers of this blog and of our “Start A Lawn Care Business” program probably already know the safety problems seemingly apparent in this photograph.  Let’s start with the string trimmer safety guard.

1)  Line trimmer safety guards

Look at the weedeater.  Where’s the safety guard?   Apart from holding the line limiter blade, the safety guard provides some protection from flying rocks and debris.  We recommend not removing safety guards.  They are there for a purpose.

2) Lawn Care Operator clothing and safety gear.

The guy with the weedeater is wearing shorts, low rise walking shoes, no hearing protection that I could see, and no safety glasses.  What safety gear/clothing did I miss?

Look at his legs.  He is getting pelted with grass and debris.  What happens if the weedeater slings a rock into his leg causing a gash and then he hits a pile of dog poo that gets into the cut?  (Trust me; I know about weedeaters and dog poo)  I’m certainly not a medical professional but dog poo in an open wound can’t be good for you.

Hearing protection?  “What?”   I SAID “HEARING PROTECTION!!!”  I know hearing protection is uncomfortable and inconvenient.   So what…WEAR IT.

Safety Goggles?  Guys who never wear safety goggle never read this blog….BECAUSE THEY CAN’T SEE ANYMORE!!!   Wear safety goggles!!!!

3)  Awarness of surroundings

The guy operating the commercial walk-behind lawn mower is throwing grass all over the guy who is already covered with grass from his weedeater.  Lawn mowers throw things other than grass.  They also throw sticks and stones…those hurt bones.  Be careful where you aim mower discharge.  Oh, and the guard on the mower?  Yeah, he has it flipped up so it’s not doing any good.

Lawn mowing is dangerous.  Use caution.

If you don’t know all your safety options and obligations, check out the CDC and OSHA at CDC.gov and OSHA.gov.

Good luck guys.  Be sure to check out our Lawn Care Business program.  It is a perfect resource for anyone starting out (and with less than 5 years experience) in a lawn care business.

Lawn Care Workers Should Drink Lots of Fluids (Water)

Place water high on your Lawn Care Business’ safety checklist.

Safety Goggles?   Check
Hearing Protection?  Check
Work Boots?  Check
Sun Screen?  Check

This safety list for lawn care professionals is far from complete but before we go much further we must be sure to place a very important, yet often overlooked, item close to the top.  Water.

Water.  How much is enough to drink?

If you perform lawn care and landscping work outside during hot months you must monitor your water intake constantly through the day.  According to a CDC report*, consumption of approximately one pint of water every 15 to 20 minutes is suggested for most people at risk of heat strain. Dehydration can be insidious and thirst or lack of thirst is not a clear indicator if you are dehydrated or not.  Dehydration can affect the body cummulatively over a period of days therefore if you have not properly maintained your fluid intake during your workday you must catch up before resuming work.  A body weight ratio may help you understand how much water loss occured during your work day.  Again, according to the CDC report, body weightloss during a workday should not exceed 1.5%.  Rehydration should be complete before the next day’s work.

Keep your pee clear.

Another method of monitoring your hydration level is keeping check on your urine.  Urine should be clear, not dark.  If you pee a color approaching that of a school bus you must curtail your work load and properly hydrate yourself.

The CDC discusses hydration in the Lawn Care Business.

Think about what the CDC say the proper hydration rate should be for those at risk of heat strain.  One pint every 15 to 20 minutes.  One pint per 15 minutes equates to 4 pints per hour.  That equals 3 gallons of fluid intake during a 6 hour workday.  This is only a recommendation and your particular need for fluid intake relies on many variables such as personal fitness, general health, outdoor temperature, and level of physical activity required in your work.  You must also monitor electrolyte levels.  People who drink too much water can dilute sodium in their bodies and are at risk of an effect called Water Intoxication.

Water consumption in our lawn care business.

A personal habit we adopted many years ago in our lawn care business was to carry two jugs per person with us each workday.  One jug is filled with water and placed into the freezer the night before.  As the ice melts during the workday we continuously drink from that jug.  The water is always nice and cool and melts about as fast as we can drink it.  The second jug contains a mixture of water and gatorade.  We drink as necessary during the day to maintain proper hydration and electrolyte levels.

Operate a lawn care business?  See your Doctor.

In addition to these suggestions, it is highly advisable that you monitor your health properly.  See a phyician as needed.  Alert your Dr. to your type of employment and have him keep track of your health history with your work in mind.

* http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/FACE/stateface/mi/02mi075.html

Atlantic Hurricane Names for 2009

Most lawn care business owners keep a keen eye on the weather.  It behooves us all to know a minimum of a five day forecast.  Knowing the upcoming weather helps with scheduled mowing and landscape jobs.  It also allows better planting and fertilizing schedules.

If you are keen on the weather, you may also be interested in the Atlantic hurricane season.  A huge swath of our country is affected each year by hurricanes and their related weather systems.

We think a neat marketing idea for 2009 would be to develop advertising campaigns around 2009’s Hurricanes’ names.  We’ll list the names below so you can get a jump start coming up with ideas.

If you own your own lawn care business or you want to start a lawn care business, the ( www.StartALawnCareBusiness.com ) lawn care business program is packed with information, business tools, estimating calculator software, and lawn care business training videos.  The complete program is on sale right now at: www.StartALawnCareBusiness.com

Now, onto the Hurricane Names for 2009
Ana
Bill
Claudette
Danny
Erika
Fred
Grace
Henri
Ida
Joaquin
Kate
Larry
Mindy
Nicholas
Odette
Peter
Rose
Sam
Teresa
Victor
Wanda

Good luck with your lawn care business.  Let us know of your marketing campaigns around Hurricane names.

Bigger lawn care equipment = less money?

Today’s blog post comes from a question we had from a recent purchaser of our Lawn Care Business program.  The writer asks:

I purchased all new equipment this season.  My bigger commercial lawn mower allows me to cut my customer’s grass in less than 1/2 the time it took me last year.  A couple of my mowing customers think I should charge less money since their lawns take less time to cut.  Should I charge less money or the same amount?

Your lawn care customers are playing games with you in hopes you will lower your price to save them money.  This is one danger of pricing your work by the hour. 

You bought your new lawn equipment to become more efficient in your lawn care business.  Better equipment means more square feet cut per minute.  New equipment costs more money and those costs have to be passed along to your customers.  Luckily for your customers, you are also passing along times savings and a more professionally cut lawn.  Ideally, additional cost of your new lawn mower should  be balanced by your time savings.  Therefore, the cost of mowing their lawn will not change as long as it was priced fairly to begin with.

You buy new lawn care equipment so you can make more money.  You make more money by being able to cut more lawns per day with your new equipment.

Remember, the lawn care business package contains a large pricing guidebook that tells you how much money to charge for the lawn care services you offer.  The package is available from our home page.

Mowing height: proper length of lawn grass.

Proper mowing height for lawn grasses.

“Just cut it as short as you can.”

I am sure you have heard this statement from your lawn care customers.  Customers (especially the cheap ones) think that cutting the grass super short will lengthen the time between grass mowing services.

Well, in a manner of speaking, they are correct.  If you continually mow lawn grass too short there eventually won’t be any lawn grass left.   Weed grasses will take over the lawn.  Instead of mowing it as short as possible it is better to follow suggested mowing heights.

Suggested mowing heights for some of the most popular lawn grasses are:

Turf Species

Mowing Height (in inches)

fine-leaf fescues

2 to 3

tall fescue

2 to 3

perennial ryegrass

2 to 3

Kentucky bluegrass

2 to 3

creeping bentgrass

1/4 to 3/4

zoysiagrass

1 to 1.5

buffalograss

2 to 3

When you are cutting grass you should also remember the rule of 1/3.  This rule states that you should only cut 1/3 the length of the blad of grass at each cutting.  Therefore, if a lawn has tall fescue that needs to be cut after it has reached 4 inches, you should not cut it any lower than to 2.67 inches.  (4 – (4 * 1/3) = 2.67

Type of grass, health of the grass, soil consistancy and nutrient level, and amount of water the grass is able to absorb are all factors in how often and how tall the grass needs to be cut.  Following these simple guidelines will help you determine how often to cut your lawn care customers lawn and how much to cut off at each service.

If you are interested in starting your own lawn care business.  Visit: www.StartALawnCareBusiness.com for much more information.

Life of a Lawn Care Newbie.

by: LawnCareBusiness.net

Life of a Lawn Care Newbie

You only started your landscaping business two months ago.  You are advertising aggressively with flyers and newspaper classifieds.  You already have a full roster of lawn care clients but you don’t seem to be making enough money to justify all the hours you are working.

What’s wrong with this picture?

If you are anything like many of the new lawn care companies we give business consulting advice to, you are suffering from the common mistakes many business owners make.

In the early days of your business you are excited and full of energy.  You give estimates to every potential lead that comes your way; grass cutting, shrub trimming, landscape planting, all types of yard work.  No job is too big and no job is too small for your new business.  Since you are new you think you need to lowball your estimates to get customers.  Afterall, if the other guy can do a job for $45 surely you can do if for $40…or $35…or even $30 .  You think it’s okay to underbid and overpromise.

Sure enough, all your prospects accept your lowball prices and suddenly you have more clients than you know what to do with.  That’s what you wanted, right?  And the money is rolling in…kinda.

Word of your great work and your low prices gets around to neighbors of your customers.  They want estimates too.  One neighbor wants grass seed planted and his lawn aerated.  Another wants fertilizer treatment and the grass cut.  Still another neighbor wants her leaves raked and hauled away.

With all these new lawn care customers you attempt to raise your prices.  You give higher estimates to your new lawn care customers:  “That will be $45 Mrs. Smith.”   You can guess what her answer is:  “But you only charge my neighbor $30 for the same work.”  Ugh, word is out…you’re a lowballer.

 

Check back tomorrow for part 2 of Life of a Lawn Care Newbie

 

If you don’t want to fall into the traps of Lawn Care Newbies, purchase the Lawn Care Business program available from our friends at:

Start A Lawn Care Business

The business program is less than $40 and it is FILLED with useful information and business tools to help you start your own successful lawn care business.

Remember to check back tomorrow for part 2 of Life of a Lawn Care Newbie.

Professional lawn care. What does it mean to be “professional?”

by: Start A Lawn Care Business

Have you seen them? Have you seen the shabby looking pick up trucks with push lawn mowers in the back driving around your town looking for grass to cut for extra spending money?

While there is nothing wrong making extra spending money mowing grass during the summer months, many lawn care business owners want to step their businesses up a notch and turn part time on-the-side landscaping work into full-time professional careers in the Green Industry.

What separates a professional LCO from a part-time operation?

Knowledge:
Professional lawn care business owners have the knowledge to perform jobs correctly and recommend solutions to difficult lawn care related problems. Most anyone can grab a lawn mower, get customers, and mow yards. However, professionals know what types of grass they are cutting and at what height it should be cut. Professionals know how to perform soil tests and interpret the results. If a customer’s lawn needs fertilizer, professional lawn care companies know which formulation to recommend and they know how to apply it correctly.

Lawn Care Equipment:
Guys with beat up lawn mowers inevitably have equipment failures. Professional landscapers purchase commercial equipment and they maintain their equipment properly to reduce down time. Lawn mower blades are kept sharp. Sharp blades reduce ragged tearing of grass blades which causes stress and browning. Well maintained lawn mowers do not leak oil and they run cleaner since their air filters and oil filter are changed regularly. Customers (and potential customers) notice professional equipment.

Time Management:
Full-time commercial grass cutting companies manage their time diligently. Their customers never have to wonder if the grass will get cut on schedule. If rain prevents grass cutting, professional mowing outfits are able to get back on schedule quickly and without much notice by their clients. Professional lawn care companies know their customers rely on them 12 months per year. Lawns don’t need to be maintained during cold months but there is always other work that a LCO can take care of. A professional lawn care business makes money year-round.

You might be happy making a few extra dollars in your spare time cutting grass. However, if you are looking to step your business up a notch and eventually turn it into a more profitable and professional business, our lawn care business package can help you reach your goals.

Visit our website at: http://www.StartALawnCareBusiness.com