Getting into the lawn care industry can be rewarding and lucrative. However, in order to grow a successful business, you’re going to need a steady stream of clients. Finding and retaining lawn care customers is a challenge, but these business-generating tips can help ensure you’ll be around for the long haul.
The lawn care industry has grown steadily over the past five years, which shows there’s no shortage of residential and commercial customers out there. Getting into the business is relatively low-cost, and it’s one of the few industries where a small team can thrive.
Whether you’re just starting a lawn care company of your own or you’re looking to expand, there’s one question that’s always on your mind: How do I find more customers?
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Three considerations before you get started
With steady growth and consistent demand, the lawn care industry isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.
The facts are clear: There will always be green spaces that require a professional.
Entering the industry has a lot of perks. Flexible schedules, a steady stream of recurring business, and creating your own custom menu of lawn care offerings makes this a tempting career path for any entrepreneur looking to blaze their own trail.
However, keep in mind that there are a few hurdles to clear in order to thrive:
- Competition is fierce. As of March 2020, there are roughly 504,000 businesses in the landscaping and lawn care industry in the U.S. This means that there’s probably already one company, if not more, in your city. With big competition from the beginning, your landscaping marketing plan should be ready to tout what differentiates your company from the rest, such as price, service, time to completion, or whatever else you come up with.
- Seasonality could cut your work short. Depending on where you’re operating, you might be dealing with snow for half of the year. Are you willing to expand your services to things like snow removal and salting sidewalks?
- Start-up or expansion costs could set you back. Start-up costs for a lawn care company are relatively cheap. You don’t need a brick-and-mortar retail space, you don’t have to manage inventory, and you can run and operate your company all on your own. However, depending on your services, you will need to outfit your company with the essentials, like lawnmowers, higher-end landscaping tools, weed whackers, time tracking tools, and more
5 strategies to land customers and grow your lawn care business
1. Ramp up your marketing efforts
Many lawn care professionals overlook advertising efforts.
Smaller teams might not have the time or resources to devote to advertising, and they stick to free or low-cost channels like Craigslist or their local Nextdoor page.
While it doesn’t hurt to get your name in as many local public spaces as possible, there are more marketing strategies to consider to bring in leads and clients.
- Vehicle advertising and signage can be easily created by your local print shop or even ordered online for around $100. A large magnetic sign turns your service vehicle into a moving billboard. Put your brand name, website, and phone number prominently on the vehicles you bring to job sites so that potential customers can see who their neighbors are trusting for landscaping.
- Direct mail and door hangers are ideal for introducing yourself to new neighborhoods. Door hangers, postcards, and fliers are incredibly cost-effective, and they can cost as little as a couple pennies apiece to make.
These are also a great place to advertise any tailored offers or services you have for specific neighborhoods or business. Research the area and tweak offers to fit specific needs, such as lawn care for neighborhoods and gardens for condo buildings.
- Take your lawn care company online. Ninety-one percent of consumers search the internet for local goods and services.
- Websites are a great way to put your services and contact information front and center. They establish trust, build credibility and authority, and empower potential customers to do their own research before taking the plunge. Without a website, these leads might not know enough about you compared with your competitors, driving them away for other providers.
2. Make it easy for people to hire you
Once your marketing gets you in front of more people, it’s crucial that you’re easy to contact. Whether someone saw your phone number on one of your vehicles or found your website, the path to conversion has to be as clear and frictionless as possible.
Make sure your business is ready to receive inquiries. You might even consider an auto-response for emails outlining how to book a service or answering FAQs to make the estimating process even easier.
Devote an entire page to contact information on your website, complete with call-to-action buttons to learn more, ask questions, or schedule a call.
Another way to make hiring you as easy as possible is to create trust between you and your leads from the start. Reduce any fears or hesitation people may have when hiring your company, and make them feel confident and comfortable in their decision by featuring plenty of photos and client testimonials.
3. Be as efficient as possible with automation software
The more time you devote to tedious administrative tasks, the less time you have for growing your business. Instead, streamline these tasks with automated time tracking, geofenced job sites, seamless invoicing, and more.
Hubstaff is one software that provides all of these features to landscaping companies. From one mobile app, your team can automatically track time and location using geofences you create. You’ll get detailed timesheets emailed daily, from which you can pay your team and invoice clients.
“New technology, whether it be software or equipment, can help your business create efficiencies. You don’t want to be an employee trapped in your own business, and if you find ways to increase efficiencies, you’ll be more successful,” said Jason Creel, owner of Alabama Lawn Care Pros, in his response to evolving tech in lawn care.
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4. Offer custom services by neighborhood
Not all neighborhoods are created equal. Take the time to consider each area’s specific landscaping needs so you can tailor your direct mail, emails, or ads accordingly.
Plus, people will notice the personalization. Recognizing the unique needs of an individual can help your business stand out from the competition. Tailor your offerings, and you may see more inquiries roll in than if you ran a one-size-fits-all campaign.
5. Start a word-of-mouth campaign
Word-of-mouth marketing is a powerful tool that shouldn’t be underestimated — especially by any business with a limited ad budget. A good word on your lawn care company’s behalf is more powerful than any piece of traditional or digital marketing could be.
You could hope that people will praise your services and pass along your information to friends or neighbors, or you could give customers a nudge by creating a referral program.
Offer a free or discounted service for every new customer they send your way, and you could soon see a lot of buzz about your company.
The grass can be greener with your lawn care company
Starting or expanding your lawn care business can be overwhelming, but using these strategies will help you grow your customer base and hit your goals.
Don’t be afraid to get creative and even adopt some new technology that’ll help you streamline tasks and put you ahead of any competing companies in your neighborhood.