Life can suck, but the best way to take control of your life is to have financial stability.
Starting your own business can be the ticket to this dream, although it is risky, if you put in the work it is very rewarding.
Your first year of creating your own landscaping business can be scary and incredibly hard. So I wrote a book about how to crush your first year in lawn care.
Here I am going to go over the high points of it and try my best to put your mind at ease. If you like what I have to say, consider checking out the full book here.
No matter how much (or how little) money you have, you can start your own landscaping business.
First and foremost what you need to do is buy a truck. It does not matter what kind of truck and it does not matter how expensive it is, or if it has 200,000 miles and is a bucket of rust.
That kind of truck will do just fine, so if you don't have a truck or if you have a car keep working until you can afford to buy a $1,000 truck. Or sell your car and buy a truck.
Then you need to buy a cheap push mower and maybe a blower and weed whip.
This may sound like a lot at first but if you are serious about starting a business it does not take a long time to grind out the money you need to get started.
Once you get your essential gear you will start to make some money that you can then take and reinvest into your business.
When you first start out and you will still be working a regular job, so you should never pocket your profits from your landscape business.
You should always reinvest them into your business so you can get better equipment and do more marketing.
After you have been doing landscaping for a few weeks or months, and you find 5 or 10 clients, you will start earning a few extra hundred dollars per week.
Which you can quickly save up to get better equipment and even buy a trailer. Although the trailer will likely be a really crappy trailer off Craigslist, you will want to get one sooner rather than later.
Since you have crappy equipment at the start, you will spend a while fixing your crappy equipment but that will only last for a little while until you are able to buy better equipment.
You should always know how to work on your equipment new or old, and the best way to learn is by fire.
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The number one thing that will limit the growth of your business is listening to other people's opinions. Not everyone knows how business works and not everyone is going to understand what you're trying to do.
So it is going to take some courage on your half to not listen to important people in your life if they are degrading you, or are unsupportive of your ambition.
The only person that needs to see your vision is you.
So if other people do not see what you are trying to do that is totally okay. You honestly should not really care about other people's opinions at all as long as you're getting results that you can shove in their face, at the end of the day, you win.
If you are not getting results yet keep trying success will come. Your results will never outperform your mindset.
As long as you still have the mindset that you can be successful and you keep trying through thick and thin, you will eventually be successful.
You also should not compare yourself to others in your field. If there is a large landscape company in or close to your area and you are comparing yourself to them you will always feel inferior to them at the start.
You have to realize that they had to start from somewhere. They were not always a giant company and they were not always successful.
They were once a small company just starting out just like you. Although it is a good idea to watch the other people in your industry and see what it is they are doing, but just because they are having success and you are not, doesn't mean you have a bad business and should give up.
It just means you may need to tweak a couple of things and keep moving.
When you're first starting out you will absolutely have to put in the leg work to get new clients. Use your network, use your friends, neighbors, and everyone else you know to get the word out about your business.
You want to stand on top of the biggest mountain you can find and scream here I am, I am a business let me cut your lawn.
The best way to do this when you are first getting started is the free way.
Since you are just getting started and you are barely able to afford a POS truck to haul your mower in, you want to get the most publicity you can with the smallest amount of money going in.
Since you do not have money to put in, you have to put in your time. You can start by walking door-to-door and asking people if they would like to try out your services, you can also blast every single social media channel that you can think of getting your name out.
It is crazy how powerful social media is these days. You can actually target a specific area or zip code that you want to work in via social media, and then have genuine conversations with the people that live in this area on social media.
This leads to building genuine relationships which will then convert into clients.
You can also just blast free ads across multiple platforms and when the right person sees your ad they will contact you.
I have an entire section about how to craft an efficient Craigslist ad strategy in my book Your First Year in the Landscaping Buisness which you can get here.
My recommendation when you first starting out is to knock on doors and be super personable with the clients that you come face-to-face with.
Really sell them on your service and why they should pick you. A lot of times it will help if you are able to say hi my name is Keith and I cut your neighbor sally's lawn and then going to your whole spiel that you can say in your sleep.
They do not have to know that their neighbors Sally is your aunt or best friend or anything else they just know that you are cutting their neighbor's lawn.
That is why it is easier to start with friends and family and then expand outwards.
For example, cut your best friends or cousin's lawn and then go to their neighbors around them and say hey I cut your neighbor's lawn I can cut yours too. This will eventually build onto itself and you will expand faster than you ever thought possible.
The first thing you need to think about before you start taking on customers is what your ideal customer looks like. Where do they live? What services do they want you to provide?
The worst thing that you can do is to jump at the opportunity to work on any and every job that you get offered. If you only cut grass do not take on a power washing job.
Basically, you should have a rough idea of who exactly you are looking for and what exactly you can do for them.
The next thing you should do is to screen potential clients over the phone before meeting them in person if you have not already met them.
Trust me this can save you a whole lot of time. It is easy to jump in the truck and run down to an address to talk to a homeowner about your lawn care business.
However, when they are just not on the same page as you and are not looking for the service that you are providing, then you just wasted at least an hour of your time for a lead that was never going to pan out.
Instead, call potential clients on the phone first and understand exactly what they are looking for and you can tell them exactly what it is that you do. This will save you hundreds of hours in the long run, which you can use to do other more important work.
Another thing to think about when acquiring a new client is to not give them a flat rate too quickly.
A lot of inexperienced landscapers will jump out of the truck shake hands with the homeowner and say “I can do your yard for $20”. However, the homeowner would have been more than willing to pay much more than that, or the inexperience landscaper would not have noticed that backyard may be twice as large as the front yard.
So take your time and examine the yard and then say “let me go write up a quote for you”. Then go sit in your truck for 5 to 10 minutes and run the numbers. Then come back with a good estimate of how much you can charge for their yard.
Not only is this more professional, but you are also much more likely to secure a higher price for the job.
Pricing is often a mystery to those starting a business. How do you keep yourself competitive without practically giving away your service? You should always have an updated chart of your services, and you need to update it yearly if not biyearly.
If you are a little confused on what you should charge here is a broad example:
These prices are not exact and are always subject to change depending on you, where you live, your marketplace, and the size of your business. So do your research.
Maybe call a few landscapers in your area or nearby acting as a client, you can ask them what they would charge for a service.
After you call a few, you should have a good ball park of want you should be charging.
Marketing can be the biggest and scariest thing to a new landscaper. Although once you learn the basics and start to have a little bit of success, it is really not that hard.
There are a few different ways you can market your business, some of them free and some of them paid. let's start out with the free ones.
The quickest ways get your name out there it's like we said before, putting boots on the ground. It is a simple concept just going door-to-door and knocking and asking people if they need your services but it is very effective.
It can be a little bit stressful and a little bit intimidating but after you get over the initial fear and anxiety, you will find that it does not matter if you get 20 no’s as long as you get one yes.
You can also advertise with signs or t-shirts and other physical products that you can make yourself or have made very cheaply.
Putting a few bandit signs at the beginning and end of some local subdivisions or communities is a good start and may even get you a few clients.
While putting boots on the ground is the tried and true method, there is no doubt that social media nowadays is a growing giant.
You can easily get you dozens of clients with a reasonable amount of effort. You can also post in free places like Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, and Instagram, or you can run paid ads on those platforms.
Paid ads are the most effective strategy, but it does cost money so the free strategies are the go-to for a new business.
Obviously, these paid strategies will outperform the free strategies but if you do not have the money you have to put in the time, and if you put in time on these free strategies results will come.
Then you will eventually have enough clients and be making enough money to where you can afford to pay for ads and you can save a little bit of your time.
You should also be making an account on every business listing website that you can. Places like Google Business, Angie's List, and Yelp are free and are like a free passive advertisement 24/7.
These listings will come up when people search for terms on the internet, and if you come up when someone searches lawn care in your area they are much more likely to contact you instead of competition.
The last obstacle is just to get out and do it. it can be scary to start your own business but as long as you have the correct mindset and the will power to make it come to fruition, nothing can stop you.
You should always remember that your results will never outperform your mindset.
Whether you think you can or think you can't do something you are right, so give it your all never ever make excuses.
It does not matter how many problems you have in your life. You can do anything you set your mind to. Always remember that your problems are another person's luxury and you have it better the most people.
Blaming your lack of success on your life's problems will never get you anywhere, it may get you some sympathy from your loved ones but you and I both know that it is just an excuse to quit.
There is no way to take control of your life like having financial security and starting your own business is the best way to control every aspect of your finances.
The topics I talked about in this article are just the tip of the iceberg for what I offer in my book. I go over on these topics plus many many more in extreme depth so you know exactly what you are getting into and how to absolutely crush your first year in the lawn care business.
I promise you, if you check out my book you will not regret it.