The weather’s getting colder - and if you’re a lawn care professional, you might be worried about your work drying up during the winter months.
But don’t worry, we’re here to help! We asked lawn care expert Jason Creel to share his hard-won tips and advice on how to winterize your landscaping business, so you can make lots of money throughout the year.
Check out his answers in the video below or read our transcript to learn more.
Hey everybody, I’m Jason Creel, and I’m a lawn care professional.
I wanted to take some time to talk to you about preparing your lawn business or your landscaping business [...] for the winter months.
Because if you’ve noticed or you’re new to the industry - or maybe you’ve been at it for a while - sometimes winter income can be one of the biggest challenges, if not the biggest, in the lawn care industry.
Now I want to give you a few tips on what to do to help prepare for that [...] and know how I can get ready for the winter, to make money year-round and not just during the summer months.
So let’s talk about it!
I’ve experienced this in my own business and I see this over and over, repeated in others’ businesses, [and] what happens is:
Let’s just say you’re out there mowing lawns [...] and you’re thinking, “Wow, I’m making pretty good money.” You’re starting in the spring, you start mowing lawns in the summer, you’re wide open and busy, maybe you have to bring in some help because you’ve got more work than you can do, and it continues on in the fall.
And you know, maybe in the fall there are some leaves to clean up [...] but then you come into wintertime and it almost comes to a screeching halt for many people.
I’ve even seen people say, “Well, maybe I need to go get a part-time job somewhere during the winter just to make it.”
Let’s talk about [...] some better ideas that you can do for your lawn business.
Focus on a 12-month plan.
For me, I was mowing lawns, and one of the things that a lot of people do that mow lawn [...] is to try to...get year-round customers. You can focus on getting commercial clients that will pay you twelve months out of the year - and there are actually things to do twelve months out of the year.
You can go keep the leaves cleaned up, there’s some weed control and fertilization needs starting in the first of the year, people start cutting back trees and shrubs and putting in mulch [...] there’s a schedule, a twelve-month schedule.
And one of the great benefits of this is that it keeps your employees busy year-round. It’s very difficult if you have to let your employees go at a certain time of the year and you want to hire them back in the spring. If you have work for them to do year-round, it’s much better.
And there are also residential customers who will also go for this and will want twelve months’ service year-round, taking care of all their needs, paying a flat monthly bill.
Now my caution to people doing this is, don’t give them a discounted price in the summer just to come to make up for it during the winter.
What I’m saying is, if you’re mowing their lawn weekly during the summer months and - let’s just use a flat number of a $50 lawn - well, let’s say I cut it four times during the month of June, that’d be $200. But don’t say “Oh hey, I’m going to charge you $150 year-round.” Basically what you’re doing is you’re giving a discounted rate during the summer hoping that you’ll make up for it during the winter months when it’s slower and they’ll still pay you the $150.
I don’t think that’s a good idea; I’ve had customers that’ll call and cancel on you in the fall months. So I think it’s very important to charge what it’s worth during the regular season and have that work continue on in the winter so you can make that year-round income.
Diversify your business.
Now obviously another thing you can do is to try to diversify your business. For instance, let’s say you live in a place that gets a lot of snow and you want to mow lawns during the warm season months and when it gets cold you turn into a snow plowing business. You’ve already got the customer base lined up, all it requires is some additional equipment but it can be a transition.
Some people also get into holiday decorating. They hang Christmas lights and things like that to continue to build an income during the winter months without having to lose your employees, or even if you work by yourself, not having to give up that income stream during the cold season months.
[...] Sometimes in the South people do landscaping even in the middle of winter so there are options there, but if you live in colder climate, you know, maybe there’s some snow plowing or other things you can get into to help supplement your income [...] and fill the gap between the summer months and the winter months.
I’ll tell you what my answer was to this problem, I started a weed control and fertilization business. And for me, living in a warmer climate, that business does not stop around the clock year-round. Literally, my income stays about the same twelve months out of the year.
And there’s always something to do on the lawn...It’s nice for me and my family to have that steady income twelve months out of the year.
Max out your summer hours.
And one more option [...] worth mentioning since it’d be better than doing nothing - is to try and make as much money as possible during those warm-season busy months and to set that money aside to help you get through the slower season of the year.
[...] So if you know you’re making more money than you need, you can budget yourself to set that aside so when it gets slow - maybe you’re able to generate some income in the winter but not nearly as much as you were during the summer - but if you’ve set aside money and you’ve been disciplined it can help you get through that while you think through ways you can increase your winter income.
I appreciate you watching my video, I hope these tips have been helpful for you. Lawn business is a great business [...] all areas of the green industry can be profitable. There’s a lot of ways to make money with a lawn business but you also need to be thinking how you can make money twelve months out of the year and not just during the warm season months.
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I love writing about the small business experience because I happen to be a small business owner - I've had a freelance copywriting business for over 10 years. In addition to that, I also head up the content strategy here at Simply Business. Reach out if you have a great idea for an article or just want to say hi!
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