10 questions to ask when looking for a lawn mowing franchise
 Man thinking about lawn mowing franchises

The lawn mowing industry in New Zealand is not just healthy, it's growing and it's thriving.  And it's no surprise.  It's a great way to get out into the sun, smell freshly cut grass and roses, listen to the birds, and free yourself from 'the boss'.


But before you roll up your sleeves, there's an obvious question to answer: Should I buy a franchise?


If you don't think that's a big question to ask, think again.  Going it alone or shopping around for a great franchise is probably the most fundamental thing to consider up front. The answer is more complicated.  It depends on your finances, your targets, your skills, experience and confidence.

But if going it alone sounds a bit scarier than picking a franchise model off the shelf, you've probably made a wise and yet still bold and courageous step into the world of lawn mowing.  Quite simply, the rate of success is higher for those who buy into a NZ franchise compared to those who start a whole new start-up brand and business themselves.

As for who to pick, there are plenty of options to choose from. We're not going to tell you who to go for, but there are definitely plenty of questions you can ask as you mow your way towards an answer that works for you.


Here are 10 of the best questions to ask before you choose a lawn mowing franchise:


1. How much does it cost?

Just like if you're buying a new pair of shoes, you can't ignore that ticket price.  And the price can vary wildly.

But it's also important to recognise that the ticket price isn't everything.  There may be fees, commissions, marketing and administration costs, call centre referral fees, and more - so make sure they're all known, understood and weighed up.


2. Does a franchise appeal to me?

You may whittle your selection down to a short list, but that doesn't mean that your cold calculations need to rule you.  Is there an option that just appeals to you emotionally?  Does the brand match your personality?

They can be key questions that ultimately determine the success of your lawn mowing business escapade.

Read more → Why a lawn mowing franchise beats going independent


3. Is your favourite franchise experienced?

 Crewcut has been in operation for over 25 years

With more and more franchise brands on the market in New Zealand, it's important to consider something that is extremely important - do they really know what they're doing?

Peace of mind is crucial when buying a lawn mowing franchise, because while it may seem simple, the lawn care industry is anything but simple.  So if the brand's knowledge and experience match up to their business name, you could be onto a winner.

Not tooting our horn, but Crewcut is one of the most established lawn mowing franchises in New Zealand. We've been looking after Kiwi backyards for over 25 years - with that comes great experience.


4. Does my family support me?

All too often, people regard the decision to buy a NZ franchise in lawn mowing an easy alternative to a '9 to 5' job.  But it's anything but.

Yes, it's a simple route into the world of business, but it's no guarantee of success.  You'll still need to work hard, and lawn mowing may become a big topic of conversation around the dinner table.  If everyone is on board, the challenge will be smoother.


 The Manawatu Crewcut team have regular meetings

5. Is the franchise supportive?

It's all good and well that the franchise model suits you and you can afford it.  But what about the level of support that is offered?

The best lawn mowing franchise won't see you as yet another sale, they will see you as an important business partner.  They'll train you, mentor you and help with your marketing - and that means guaranteed income!


6. Do you have the finance?

Yes, the headline ticket price of your chosen franchise may look good, but how are you going to go about getting finance to buy and run it?

Most people going into business need to secure finance, and it's just a fact that if you can take a proven franchise name to the bank, your chances of success are higher.


7. Does the franchise have a good name?

One of the major benefits of going the franchise model route is that you're buying into an established image, name and reputation.

And not just that, you want your franchise brand to also have an established network, proven processes and systems, and a clear route to profitability. When we asked some of our customers why they chose Crewcut over other franchises or independents - one of the main reasons is that Crewcut seemed to be trustworthy and a quality service. 


8. Does it include marketing?

All of the best franchise options will point you towards the right equipment, accounting support, and training.  But that's all nothing if you aren't getting bookings!

Some NZ franchises are simply better at supporting you with one of the most important aspects of running a lawn mowing business - the marketing.  Because if you're not sure how best to reach your audience, what's the point of your brand if they won't help you?


9. Have you done all your homework?

If your franchise option is great at marketing, perhaps they've marketed themselves brilliantly as well!  But don't fall for the spin.  Do your own research.

It's called due diligence, and it means knowing the assets, liabilities and commercial potential of the brand - and test whether the stories you've been hearing are right before you pull the trigger and sign up.


10. How can I find out more?

If you still have questions that need answering, New Zealand's Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment has set up a page that is just for you!  

And if you still need more support about how to go about setting up a business, try: How to research your market competitors


Ready to get started?

If you're thinking seriously about buying a lawn mowing franchise, remember: you're not alone.  There are thousands of others who are moving towards being convinced that deciding to buy NZ franchise is a great step into the exciting world of business.  

Whatever you decide, just remember that every option should be weighed up carefully, and if in doubt, get some professional advice.  Good luck ... and happy mowing!

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12 ways to get paid on time every time!

Think your lawn mowing business is all about mowers and sunshine and the green stuff?  No, there's two things that are arguably even more important: How about getting paid?  And (even better), how about getting paid on time?

So often, as the business owner, you go above and beyond to give your lawn mowing clients the service of their dreams.  "All they have to do in return is pay!"  It may not seem like you're asking for a lot, but it's a refrain that every operator of a lawn mowing franchise understands all too well. Many businesses are cash only, and credit is a last resort. Your customers are not entitled to have credit, unless they have been long standing and reliable customers. The first rule of having debtors is to avoid it before it starts!

You love your clients and you don't want to hassle them, but you've got bills to pay and mouths to feed and mowers to fuel.  If only you could get your lawn care clients to pay on time every single time! That's the Holy Grail - and here's how you should start your quest today:


1. Ask about upfront payment

A wise man once said 'Those who don't ask, don't get'.  So how about asking your clients to pay upfront?

Especially if it's a big lawn care project, you might even be justified to ask for a deposit.





2. Issue prompt invoices

If you're tired of the delay between doing a job and getting paid, make sure you're not contributing.

All too often, businesses will forget to issue an invoice straight away - and sometimes they forget all together! All Crewcut operators have access to a specialised invoicing and customer management system, which means that invoices aren't an issue and can be done almost instantly. You can check out the Crewcut app here.




3. Cut out misunderstandings

Often, a client will fail to pay on time not because they don't want to, but because they just didn't understand when it was due.

So make sure you briefly mention the invoice and what they should expect to find once they have it in their hands.  And if that invoice is in any way unclear, make sure you explain it - and if possible re-design the invoice to make it clearer.


4. Be polite

You'll always stand a better chance of getting what you want and deserve if you're polite.

Does your invoice say 'Thank you for your payment"?  It seems insignificant, but it's the little things that really count when it comes to awesome customer relationships.  In fact, a study by FreshBooks, an accounting expert, showed that a simple "please" can boost your chances of being paid by 5%.


5. Offer a discount

Everyone loves a discount, and we don't even mind making a little effort to get one.

So how about offering 2% off if that invoice is settled before the due date?  The client knows they have to pay anyway, so they'd might as well get a little bonus as well.


6. Issue a penalty

Especially if your invoice includes a reward for early payment, you might even like to consider including a penalty on that invoice for late payment.

Utility companies do it all the time, so your clients probably won't even mind if there is a late-to-pay penalty.  It could be just enough incentive to leap for the reward rather than the penalty.


7. Send regular reminders

If you don't love the idea of discounts or penalties, make sure you're at least issuing regular, timely reminders.

Your lawn care customers know that you have done an awesome job for them, so they won't mind at all if they get a little reminder a few days before that invoice is due.


8. Be tough

Especially for a repeat offender, there comes a time when you have to drop the Nice Guy routine and just demand that payment finally be made.

If you're consistently TOO lenient on customers who don't pay, you'll eventually be taken advantage of.


9. Simplify

Even if you do automate, make sure your invoices are nice and simple.

Often, a client will simply not understand something on an invoice, like 'Net 30' or even 'due upon receipt'.  Use everyday language and get paid - every day!


10. Be flexible

Are your clients ever asking if they can pay by credit card and you say no?  What about cheques, direct deposit and online payments?

If your answers are always no, then your payment options may simply not be flexible enough to meet the needs of your clients.


11. Boost your mood

One of the absolute cornerstones of a successful lawn mowing franchise is client rapport.

Never forget that you're not just mowing lawns, you're building relationships with lawn mowing clients.  So is your mood bright?  Do you communicate well?  Do you listen and engage?  Having a positive relationship with a client can fend off a problem before it ever arises.


12. Issue personalised rewards

As well as a friendly "please" in the invoice and a "thankyou" on the receipt, there's always room for a bit of personalised recognition.

If someone really does go above and beyond to be the perfect lawn mowing client, is there anything stopping you writing a hand-written note or text message?  What about a quarterly gift to your very best customers?  The more you reward loyalty, the more loyalty you will foster. Here at Crewcut, we always make sure to make our customers feel valued - we put seasonal door hangers on all the doors of our valued customers.


You may get a buzz out of manicuring your lawn mowing clients' lawns, but when they don't pay or they're slow to cough up, that's a big headache for you and for the health of your business.  So get thinking, get proactive, and get paid.  Happy mowing!


Want more information about owning your own lawn mowing business? Find out right here why Crewcut could be the Crew for you!

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8 tips for lawn business route efficiency
 Crewcut van against minimal map

If you've started a business on the lawn care rounds or you're getting ready to do so, you're joining a great party.  

But to make your business survive, grow and thrive, you'll also need lawn care smarts, all the right paperwork and a bit of cash and support behind you. And there's something very important you might not have considered at all: Your actual route.

When it comes to lawn mowing business profitability, you can't afford to fly by the seat of your pants.  Your accountant will expect efficiency, and so will your clients.  They care about emissions, waste and climate change, and they demand that you get to their place on time.

So when it comes to scheduling jobs, you'll need some planning smarts.  You don't want to head to one side of town for that 9am job, drive an hour to the other side and then finish the day right back where you started.  It wastes petrol, wears out your vehicle, and blows precious time that could be spent either relaxing or mowing more lawns.

Need more efficient routes for your lawn mowing business? Here's how to achieve that:


1. Collect information

Before you can put together an effective schedule, you'll need to go into information-gathering mode.

You're looking at anything that could affect travelling time, expenses, quality and efficiency - because information is power, especially when it comes to routing and scheduling.


2. Think deeper

You might not think that planning an efficient route is more complex than just looking at all the booking locations and joining the dots with the shortest possible transit time between them.

But you also need to consider how long each job will take, what the flow of traffic will be like at the proposed times, and what the road conditions and weather are likely to be.


 Smartphone with map on screen

3. Use technology

To get really efficient in this 21st century, you're going to have to go beyond mere scheduling.  You're going to need to use technology.

In 2018, there's plenty out there - even highly specialist online services designed just for lawn mowing route efficiency.  Others use GPS or cloud technology to combine satellite with local information to boost your travel times and optimise your routes.




4. Know the tricks

As we suggested, it's not just about joining the dots between the locations on the map to determine the shortest possible route.

It's also about knowing what to avoid.  For instance, try to avoid right turns.  Even normal road users sometimes avoid waiting for traffic to clear so you can make that right turn onto a busy road, because it burns petrol, time and personal serenity.  Simply by scheduling mainly left turns, you can save petrol, get there more safely, and save time and reduce stress.


 Crewcut operator calling clients

5. Communicate

If you communicate well with your loyal clients, they won't be too upset when things don't quite go to plan.

Of course, every plan should be designed not only so it's efficient, but so it will work out.  But especially in the lawn care industry, sometimes things happen - like terrible weather.  There's also jobs that take longer than expected or technology breakdowns, so it's crucial that you have a good relationship with your client base.


6. Map for efficiency

It might sound obvious, but make sure you design that route for maximum efficiency.

That's because it's surprising how many businesses do have a route planning routine, but it might prioritise based on the type of job, a preference for certain clients, or availability.  But if you plan based primarily on location, everyone will get a prompt and efficient service, and you'll have a rep for being on time and stress-free.


7. Map for each day

One simple method used by lawn mowing businesses is to schedule jobs for each day focused on one particular area.

That way, if the mower knows they will be staying in that particular area for an entire day of business, they will be able to cram a lot of jobs into that day of service without worrying about blowing a lot of time or fuel on transit.


8. Strive for local jobs

To achieve #7, you'll have to put some effort into drumming up interest in that one particular area.  Because imagine how easy route planning would be if, on a Monday, half of your jobs were all in the exact same street or immediate area?

You'll need to make it happen.  Once you've finished your job in a new area, knock on a few doors or drop a few leaflets.  Offer discounts to other households on the street who might also want to sign up for some lawn mowing - and save mowing time, petrol costs and planning time as a bonus.


The final word: Take scheduling seriously


It might seem less important than your lawn mower or your bulging list of clients, but never forget - you only make money for the hours you can bill.  And you can't bill for time wasted between jobs because you didn't take your route planning seriously enough.

Not just that, every minute stuck in traffic is another minute of wasted fuel, and another minute closer to when that vehicle breaks down or needs its regular service.  In short: lawn mowing entrepreneurs need to treat their route scheduling with just as much importance as they treat any other aspect of their business - because it could be the difference between a failing, surviving or thriving lawn mowing operation.


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Make your lawn mowing business 'green' with these 9 steps
 Crewcut operator holds small bird with tree in background

Already mowing lawns, or among those looking to buy a lawn mowing business?  You're undoubtedly already committed to ensuring that those lawns are nice and green.  But is your business really all that 'green'?

As we push ever further into the 21st century, it's just a fact that more and more consumers don't just appreciate environmentally friendly businesses - they absolutely demand them. And the expectations on lawn mowing businesses may even be higher than that.

Amid growing international concern about climate change, there are plenty of reasons why outdoor businesses are increasingly in the spotlight.  Not long ago, scientists made the shocking discovery of DDT in even the remotest areas of Antarctica.  The reason?  The widespread use of the pesticide in the West.

In short, 'green' practices when making our lawns green have been pretty grim. And it's a reputation every business, but especially businesses like a lawn care franchise, must battle.  So as competition grows, 'going green' is the perfect way to ensure that your responsible lawn mowing business is the one people reliably pick.


 - Why and how to make your lawn care business 'green'? - 


1. Price

Put Antarctica aside for a moment and think about the almighty dollar.

One study found that over two thirds of all consumers are prepared to pay more just because a business labels itself as environmentally friendly or sustainable.  Undoubtedly, it's the households with a bit extra disposable income who can afford to be more discerning about your environmental credentials.  

And it's these very people who are also the best lawn mowing business customers - people with a bit of extra money, a penchant for a professionally manicured 'green' lawn, and genuine concern about the state of the planet.


2. Equipment

No, we're not necessarily talking about wind powered ride-on mowers.

But there's no doubt that 'green'-minded people do associate the growl of your petrol-powered mowers with the sort of fossil fuel burning that is contributing to man-made climate change.  And there are great electric-powered lawn mowers and other equipment on the market to peruse.  

Even if you can't find something truly 'green' or can't afford it, the latest advances in just about all technological sectors make a big deal about energy efficiency, so be savvy when it comes time to replace some old equipment.


 Artistic Crewcut operator who is environmentally friendly

3. Vehicle

You get your business to that next paying customer with a scruffy lawn at the wheel of your work vehicle.

So show your green-minded customers that you care about the fuel you're burning and the emissions you're putting out.  Thought about a hybrid?  Now's the perfect time to consider it.  And if that sounds like a big bill, you might just consider telling your customers that you carefully plan your days in advance, so that driving time is minimised and emissions are kept to a minimum.


4. Organic stuff

So your lawn mowing business needs some chemicals, like fertilisers.  We get that - it's unavoidable.  But synthetic ones hurt the soil, pollute the air, and run into the water.

So have you thought about going organic?  There are organic lawn care products available commercially, but the savviest of lawn care businesses might even consider making their own with ordinary ingredients lying around the house.  And the best thing of all?  It's cheap. 


5. Compost

When you're done mowing, you have a lot of grass clippings.  So make a big deal with your clients about what you do with it.

Tell them a compost heap is the best solution.  That way, you can establish your own green credentials whilst encouraging your clients to have a compost heap of their own.  Not only will you get rid of the clippings on-site, you could even add a premium 'compost maintenance' service to your menu!


6. Marketing

You need to market your lawn mowing business.  Just make sure you do it the green way.

If you print any materials, keep it to a minimum and always use recycled paper - and if possible, avoid paper altogether and go completely digital. More and more consumers are becoming aware of their environmental footprint - even when it comes to receipts and invoices! Many opt for emailed versions instead - means just a little less waste. Just don't forget to let your customers know that even when it comes to the fine details, you care about the world.


 Hand over lawn hose watering the garden

7. Water

Environmental concerns are all about carbon emissions.  Right?  Wrong.

The most precious resource on Planet Earth is water, with only 1% of the world's H2O being fresh and fit to drink.  So as you use that water to make lawns beautifully green, show you care about water conservation by encouraging responsible irrigation and doing the little things like using a water-saving hose.


8. Emissions

So while it's not all about emissions, it definitely is a LOT about emissions.

And a lawn mowing business that is really serious about its emissions will not only try to reduce its carbon footprint - it may even pledge to becoming completely carbon neutral.  This can be easily done in New Zealand by offsetting the emissions you make.  Look up a couple of good Kiwi non-profit businesses that will plant the right amount of trees to offset your CO2.  You can then proudly call yourself '100% carbon neutral' - and that's some boast!


9. Green alliance

What's the only thing better than a 'green' business?  That's right: a network of green businesses.

Once you claim that title as a lawn mowing business that cares about the planet, look around for other businesses who are also seeking the very same reputation.  That way, when someone is getting their 'green' solar panels installed next week, they might recommend you as a great 'green' lawn mowing partner business.

By establishing a commitment to being as 'green' as the lawns you love so much, you demonstrate that even the friendly lawn mowing guy cares about the planet.  And as we've demonstrated, it's not just the environment that will thank you for it.  Your customers will reward you with a proud reputation and a loyal client base that is keen to pass on the word about your green credentials.  

Going as green as your pristine lawns?  It just makes sense.


For more help and information on lawn business ownership,
have a look at our website by clicking the button below

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Are lawn mowing businesses profitable?
 Making money mowing lawns

They say that money doesn't grow on trees, but perhaps it does in grass. There's no denying that lawn care is a growing sector. 

Plenty of middle to high income households these love their lawn to look great, but don't have the time or the inclination to get out there themselves. And there's plenty in it for the lawn mowing entrepreneur too.  Work your own hours, get fit and tanned in the great outdoors, start a business quickly with few overheads and low risk, and get out there as an active member of your local community.

The pros of running a lawn mowing business are obvious.  But what about that big worry - profitability?  Plenty of fly-by-night 'entrepreneurs' will tell you mowing lawns can make you $50,000 a month, but they're almost certainly full of grass clippings.

Crewcut operators can earn anywhere upward of $1,200 a fortnight. But you get out what you put in. If you start that business right, run it diligently and grow it intelligently, the sky is pretty much the limit when it comes to income.


So answer the question simply - yes a lawn mowing business is very profitable.

But this question comes with a second question: what are the keys to a profitable lawn mowing business?



Don't just start that motor and start mowing down long blades of grass.  It may sound tempting to pour the petrol in and get going straight away, but the most profitable lawn mowing entrepreneurs know every in and out and every blade of grass of the lawn care industry and mowing equipment.

Just imagine showing up at a new client's home, being asked whether your engines are two or four stroke and shrugging whilst turning bright red.  Efficient operations that maximise productivity don't just know business, they really know their stuff.


Brand power

But it's just not enough to know business and the world of lawn mowing.  You also need to build your brand.

Branding is absolutely crucial when it comes to getting a prospective client to choose you over the next best looking option in that directory listing or Google.  Brands and market perception are built up carefully and painstakingly over many years, meaning that when a prospect slaps eyes on your name and logo, they automatically think 'Easy choice.  Go for it!'



An easy way to get the brand power you're looking for is by going the franchise option.  Allying with a reputable and established brand like Crewcut will put you years ahead of the marketing power of a start-up name.

Not just that, a lawn mowing franchise answers just about every other tough question.  How do you start the business?  What about marketing?  What about finding clients?  How about financial and management support?  A business plan?

Starting a lawn mowing business as a franchise means you'll hit the lawns running with credibility and trust.  It's then up to you to start reeling in the big profits.


Business systems

Even with the power of a brand, the best gear and the right business acumen and industry know-how is still not enough for true profitable success.  You also need all the mod-cons that make any smooth-running operation run smoothly.

Business people big and small have systems and processes in place that allow those daily business operations to run quickly and smoothly. From the latest software to processes that save time and reduce paperwork, you need to free up diary and mental space so that you're attending lots of bookings, minimising problems and making swift and wise business decisions.



As we said earlier, aligning with a franchise brand will make pretty much everything easier - including marketing.

That's because you can have absolutely everything in place, and yet still not be getting the word out there sufficiently to fill your diary.  Your actual service is one thing, but you need to package those services that give the customer value whilst balancing the need to push profits skywards.

The best sales approaches involve a constant revision of advertising methods to see which ones work the best and most cost-effectively.


Your client base

It's an old business adage that is true across the industry spectrum but particularly relevant in the world of lawn mowing - new clients are great, but your base is always your existing customers.

And it's always easier to boost your income by nurturing your client base than it is to constantly be needing to acquire new ones.  There's an entire world of up-selling, additional or premium services, or packages for repeat or more frequent services to consider.


Constant improvement

Got an idle half an hour?  Keep returning to step one and commit to constantly updating your knowledge about lawn mowing, garden care and the world of business and entrepreneurism more generally.

Are there are lawn mowing businesses near you that really are thriving?  What can you learn from them?  Is there a process that you do every day that never really works out so well?  Now is the time to replace it with something better.  Finished reading all the books about lawn mowing businesses that you can find?  Trust us: there is always another one being published.

Truly succeeding in business, especially as a small business operator, is not just about the brand and the business, it's about you.  And there's always something to improve.


Find a mentor

Most lawn mowing businesses are pretty much run by a single person - so supercharge your chances by being the one with more than adequate support.

Perhaps it's just a partner to de-brief with every night.  Maybe it's a business or industry mentor.  Or perhaps it's offloading some of the despised work like bookkeeping or accounting to a professional.  Either way, spreading the load means having people to pick up the slack so that you can focus on what you really need to be focusing on - supercharging profits.


Good old elbow (mower) grease

Let's be honest: if you think a lawn mowing business is your fast track to a laid back life, think again!  Having a dream and turning it into a reality may seem exciting, but the only way to get there is to join ALL the others who succeeded before you did and really making it happen.

It will require constant learning, an incredible drive to succeed, and buckets and buckets of determination and elbow (and lawn mower) grease.  In other words, treat your business like the lawns you care for so much.  Lovingly nurture and take care of it, and it will take care of you in return.


Keen to start raking in the profits in your own successful lawn mowing business?
Speak to us today, we'd love to help you out. 


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The health benefits of owning a lawn mowing business
 Health benefits of lawn mowing business infographic

There are so many health benefits to owning your own lawn mowing business - some of them are more obvious than others. Whether it's mental or physical, most people recognise some improvements in their overall health after starting in the lawn care industry. Here are just a few of them.


Lawn mowing is great for your heart

It's pretty obvious that lawn mowing is a great form of exercise. Being out in the fresh air, going backwards and forth, pushing and pulling the mower - it’s all excellent for your cardiovascular system. Doing the constant exercise gets your heart pumping, and it's a great way to strengthen the muscle. A healthy heart means a longer & healthier life, something many of us desire.


Burn the calories. Lose weight. Look great

With all that exercise, it's inevitable that weight loss will happen. Many of our Crewcut operators reported losing a whole lot of weight after they started their lawn business. And it didn't take long either - most saw a change in the first 2 months.

On average for an 80kg person, you can easily burn upward of 300 calories an hour, which translates to a moro bar an hour. 

So cancel that gym membership and workout while you work. 


Get your steps up

We got some of our Crewcut operators to wear fitbits and track how much they walked over the course of a month (in the Autumn/Winter period). These results have been averaged out and are conservative numbers based on the time of the year, during the summer periods these steps would be a lot higher. 

 Female Crewcut operator mowing lawns fast



17,000 steps on average walked a day

15-17 KM travelled by foot on average a day




Now the recommended number of steps most adults should be achieving daily is around 10,000. So these results are smashing the average out of the park (or should we say, backyard). Getting over the 10,000 recommended threshold has numerous health benefits including lowered blood pressure and better overall wellbeing. 


Feel good mentally

According to Psychology Today - the repetitive action of mowing the lawn can put your mind into a more relaxed state. Mowing lawns is a great way to give yourself the sense of job satisfaction. When you see what a lawn looks like after you've finished with, it can make you feel very accomplished. Additionally, the smell of freshly cut grass has been proven to reduce anxiety levels. The scent of grass has a calming effect which in turn helps you think with greater clarity. 

Many Crewcut business owners who previously worked in an office environment say the change to the great outdoor office was a welcome change. The fresh air, Vitamin D, and other factors contribute to them feeling better mentally. 


Want to learn more about how owning a lawn mowing business
could be the change you need? 

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How to grow your lawn mowing business client base

No longer loving your job, but you've always loved keeping the lawns looking like an Olympic bowling green?  It sounds like you're one of the hordes of people considering leaving the rat race behind and jumping aboard the ever more popular world of lawn mowing franchise ownership.

You may be put off because you've heard that a successful lawn mowing business is like nurturing a perfect patch of green Kikuyu grass.  In other words, seriously HARD.  But as long as you treat that lawn mowing business like the real business it is rather than a throwaway weekend hobby, you can definitely make it survive and thrive.

You'll need planning, support, business know-how, industry know-how, equipment, the financial backing, and good old elbow grease.  But you knew that already. What you'll then need to think about is how to grow that business - because if the phone isn't ringing off the hook and your client list isn't ever expanding, you're not going to build the momentum to one day sell up and retire.

Want that lawn mowing business client base to grow?  Here's what to know:


1. Don't mess it up

To get your lawn mowing business into the growth phase, first you need to make it stable.  You've done the groundwork: acquired the know-how, established a routine and got a good bunch of clients who always use you.

Now don't mess it up!  Avoid racking up too much credit card debt, don't start sleeping in and missing appointments, go above and beyond client expectations, and - most importantly - treat every client's garden as though it's your beloved Mum's!  Get the basics right and the rest will follow.


 Small pot plant

2. Start small

If you're struggling to get a decent list of clients up and running, you're not going to grow - it's just that simple.  So before stressing that you don't have enough clients, think smaller.  Get SOME clients, and then go from there.

Got a good group of supportive family and friends?  What a perfect place to start - now offer to do their lawns.  At the very least, you'll get something ticking over and valuable experience and confidence at the same time. These people will serve as the foundations for very loyal clients, who will hopefully sing praises to their friends as well. 



3. Boost your customer service

Never forget who pays the bills - it's your clients. You know you have to be friendly, but there's a difference between 'I'm friendly because I need to be friendly' and 'I'm friendly and I'm passionate and I'm trying to do the absolute best job for you'.  Trust me - be the latter.

It's not just a smile, it's how you listen.  It's how you react to and process criticism.  It's how you follow up on even the smallest of little problems.  It's the stuff that really makes the difference. 

If customer interaction is something you struggle with, thankfully with the Crewcut franchise system, you'll learn all the tricks of the trade during your training process. Good customer service doesn't need to be difficult. 


4. Keep your clients

If you've got any chance of adding to that list of clients, you need to treat the ones you do have on the books like Kings and Queens!

That's because the vast majority of your work is going to be coming from a much smaller percentage of your existing clients.  So that means nurturing great relationships.

So just like revving up your customer service, nurturing your client base means touching base.  It means asking for advice about how to improve.  Because if you become known as the friendly, attentive, can-do lawn mowing guy, you will have the foundation upon which to grow. All Crewcut franchise owners are given seasonal door hangers which thank their customers for their patronage - but also reminds them of all the garden services on offer. It's a win-win for both parties, and is one of the things customers remember and will keep coming back for.



5. Work hard

 Green work harder neon sign

Now, anyone who has mowed lawns day in and day out knows that it's no walk in the park.  But it's not a weekend paper round either.  You need to go the extra mile, and it takes a lot of planning.

Growing lawn mowing businesses are the ones that work the hardest - it's just that simple.  They research the best times of year to market the hardest.  They leave no stone unturned when it comes to getting the word out there.  They think outside the box.  They look professional at all times.  They're self-critical and open to change and improving.  They're highly organised.  And they think every extra daylight minute is another opportunity to make a lawn look lovely.


6. Target your clients

Now that you want to start seriously adding to that client base, know who you're targeting.

Yes, all sorts of people turn to lawn mowing businesses to get their gardens looking spick and span, but as you grow, start to hone in on a niche market.  Affluent people who are willing to spend a little to make their homes look a lot better are always up for it, as are those with moderate incomes but limited time.  Then there are developers, builders and investors who truly know the value of curb appeal. 

Targeting your clients may even mean targeting an area where the majority of your customers live. While in the beginning it may be an option to do your round all around town - but this is not a sustainable business run. Instead choose a few key suburbs and maintain the clients in that area. You'll soon become the 'local go-to lawn mowing person'. 


7. Reach your clients

Now that you know who you're targeting, it's time to go out there and get them!

You know your potential clients' ages, incomes and locations, so now match that up with their habits and relationships - and promote your business.  There are all sorts of advertising options and promotional opportunities, and plenty of hours in the day to pick up the phone, attend meetings, and line up partnerships with like-minded people and businesses.

This is a whole lot easier with Crewcut, as most of the leg work and effective marketing is already done for you. But this shouldn't stop you from approaching locals in the community when they're at home or in the garden themselves. Just remember step 3 "boost your customer service", everything else should just fall into place.


 Man in long grass looking into the distance

8. Think outside the box

As your client base starts to grow and that growth becomes growth momentum, that's when it all starts to happen.  But don't rest on your laurels!  Keep doing what you're doing, and THEN start thinking outside of the box as well.

Need an 'outside the box' idea?  How about getting yourself into the news?  Journalists are always looking for something fresh to report on, so think about whether there's an angle that might excite them.  Something you've seen on your grass-filled travels?  A special person or organisation you've helped?  A cool local sports team you've sponsored?

Once you start thinking outside the box, it will be hard to get back in there at all!

The final word: Keep chipping away. Yes, just the idea of sustaining (let alone growing) your business can be daunting, and the lists of things to do and ideas for improvement seem to keep growing just as fast as that Buffalo grass.

So here's the final tip: don't be overwhelmed.  Keep reading.  Keep learning.  Keep your mind open.  Keep mowing grass.  And keep the dream alive.




If there's anything else you want to learn about owning a lawn mowing business, be sure to contact the friendly team at Crewcut. We're always on the look out for fresh, new franchisees who want to begin their own success. 


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Technical dos and don’ts for a lawn mowing business

There is more to a lawn mowing franchise than just customer service and cutting lawns. We have scoured our sources to find the best do’s, don’ts and tips for those of you who are in the industry. You may be nodding along as you read this, which may be a sign you are a perfect candidate for a franchise of your own. 

Lawn mower handling

 Auckland Crewcut operator mowing the lawns

Let your engine warm up before handling

We know you want to fly through your lawns as fast as possible, but it will pay off if you wait before pushing your mower full throttle. Just like a car, you shouldn’t throw it in fourth gear without even letting it get warm. 

Let the engine run on idle before shutting down

It’s not good to shut your engine down right away. Many operators will let it run while they blow off drives and walks for about 3-5 minutes. Doing this allows the engine to relax, and shut down smoothly without a backfire.


Always fill your gas tanks up on the grass, never on truck beds. 



When a piece of equipment is down, it’s money you don’'t make. Maintain your equipment:

  • Grease your equipment
  • Change the oil
  • Change the filters
  • Sharpen your blades every 25 hours of lawn mowing. This may be every few days but it makes a significant difference in the cut.

Learn to fix and maintain as much as you can yourself as it will pay off in time and money. Also, try to buy all your oil, belts, filters, and whatever else you'll need for the year. It's better to be prepared and generally works out cheaper to buy in bulk. 



Garden manners


Check for open windows or doors, when blowing or mulching grass as it can easily get blown into the house leading to unhappy customers.  


Swear, even to yourself as you might turn around to see your customer. While swearing is fairly common in conversation, it's probably not the best look for a business professional. 


 Inside the van of a Crewcut lawn mower operator

What to pack in your van

  • Keep an extra set of belts and blades with you at all times. Because going to the shops in the middle of a job doesn’t look good for you or your wallet. 
  • Keep a spare tyre on hand and a portable pump.
  • Cary a can of bug spray. You might come across a beehive, or another unwanted critter. Your customers will love it that you sprayed it for them so their kids can play outside, and you don’t have to worry for next time.
  • Keep a fire extinguisher handy in case of emergencies. 


Customer Service

  • Do talk to your customers. Communicating often will develop a relationship, they get to know you more and your business together will last longer. Be courteous, let them know if you'll be a day late, try to keep this communication within business hours.
  • If you know you’re doing a good job on your customers lawn, why not introduce yourself to the neighbours? Knock on the door for a friendly hello and give them your business card, even if they mow their own, they can see the good work you've done on their neighbours lawn
  • Don’t underprice your lawns. Get quality clients willing to pay for your good service, rather than trying to haggle you down. Customers who want the cheapest deal are more likely to leave you if they find a cheaper option. 

Remember, they aren’t just paying for your time and labour. It's insurance, gear cost, travel time and everything inbetween that adds up. Don’t sell yourself short.



Business Tips

  • Take the time to make lists and goals. Make a business plan to track your progress and where you might be losing money, or where you could gain more. 
  • Prepare for winter, set money aside or invest in something weekly. Push your other services in winter, up-sell your clients on hedge trimming, pruning or a general garden tidy. 
  • Chase up those who don’t pay, and keep checking your accounts. Everything adds up, and you don’t want to be working for free. 


Helpful Tips

  • When you are on the biggest property of the day, check the gas is full.
  • Always walk the property first - even twice to make sure there is nothing that could cause damage to yourself or the mower.
  • For cold water all day, freeze half a bottle of water, then top it up and stays cold. 
  • Make sure your mower will fit past the gate when pricing the job.
  • Close the gate behind you, ALWAYS. 
  • Write down your equipment serial numbers and keep on file. If your gear is stolen you can give this to the brand to see if it pops up for repairs/is sold. 


Our franchisees biggest tip: Buy quality gear.

 Man mowing perfectly manicured lawn

This is the biggest piece of advice from our franchisees. Countless times, new franchisees will pop down to the local store and get a cheap weed eater or mower. These work for a month or two, but you will be surprised how quickly it wears down. Shortly after purchasing it will break, and won’t be worth fixing. Get yourself quality branded gear, the brand will look after you with a warranty and you can get mowing without worries. Check out our some of our Tauranga franchisees brand preferences on their bios.


Running and maintaining a lawn business has more parts to it than just you and the mower. But don’t let that put you off starting a lawn mowing business, because if you follow these tips you'll be a pro. Let us know if you have any more tips or comments on these technical do’s and don’ts, we would love to hear them. 


Interested in a lawn mowing business?
Find out more by clicking the button below

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SurvivalCC Group
Why couples rock at owning a lawn business
 Happy Crewcut couple lawn business owners

Who will look better behind the mower; you or your partner?

Working with your spouse may seem like a scary thought for some. For others however, it could be the start of a bright and successful future. A lawn mowing business is a lot of work, and often takes more than one person to run effectively. In fact, some of our most successful lawn mowing businesses are made up of couples. While many households struggle to keep up with the increasing cost of living, a lawn mowing franchise could be the secret to ‘trimming those bills down’.



So why does the couple team work?


Sharing a common business goal

It works because you’re both the owners of a successful business model. Sharing the same common goal of business success can bring many couples closer together, as you’ll both motivate each other to get jobs done. 


Handling more lawns

However you arrange the workload, you will definitely be able to handle more lawns and gardens. While a single operator may handle 8-10 lawns in a day, a couple could probably handle up to 20. This is a huge benefit as it gives you the flexibility and capability of expanding your business. This is a huge bonus when it comes time to re-sell, and can mean a higher sell price for you.


Someone to talk to during the day

While you may sometimes converse with your clients - they're often away from home. During the day - it's not uncommon for lawn mowing business owners to not have anyone to talk to for the entire day. From time-to-time, this can make for a pretty lonely work day. However, having your closest friend with you can make the day go faster. Someone you know the strengths and weaknesses of, and in this way, you’ll be able to better assign tasks and roles.

If you want proof, check out Don and Sue from sunny Tauranga who have really enjoyed owning a lawn mowing franchise together. Don says “In fact, a husband and wife team's a very good team. It works well. You can bounce off one another and the day goes quickly.”


 Happy Whangarei Crewcut couple lawn business owners

Sick days aren't as much of an issue

Another benefit of owning the business together is that you can help out if one of you gets sick. When you own and run the business solo - it becomes extremely difficult to continue the daily tasks when you're feeling under the weather. However, when you have a partner to rely on, it can make things a whole lot easier. Even if they can't take over your lawn jobs - they'll be able to communicate with your clients and let them know you may be a few days late with their lawns. 



Read more about franchise lawn mowing:



What are some the different team combinations?

One out mowing - one managing the books

A popular combo is the mowing and book keeping duo. While one is out doing the lawns, the other is working on all the finances and contacting clients. This is effective as it saves double handling of jobs and solidifies your roles (which would negate any possible arguments). 


Both do mowing

If both are tackling the mowing, you’ll be able to get plenty of lawns done in a day. The average single mowing operator can get around 8-10 lawns done in a day. If there’s two of you? You can only imagine how many you’ll mow through.


One does mowing, the other does gardening

Although Crewcut is primarily a lawn maintenance business, the unsung hero is gardening. If one or you looks after the gardens, that’s a huge opportunity made for extension of your services. Customers really seek operators who will go the extra mile and provide a whole range of services in their backyard. 


Meet some of our couple teams across the country

Nigel & Ann

Kevin & Wendy


How do we start?

If you're interested in giving Crewcut business ownership a go, make sure you do your research and your own personal assessment. If you’re unsure about the qualities you’ll need, have a read of ‘7 reasons a lawn mowing franchise might be for you'


If you’re still interested, give us a call on 0800 800 286 or email us info@crewcut.co.nz and we’d be happy to talk to you about a business for your ‘couple team’. So who will look better behind the mower? We’ll let you two decide on that one. 

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CC GroupComment
Surviving Winter As A Lawn Mowing Operator
 Lawn mower sitting in frosted grass

Those who know the struggles of winter most are definitely lawn mowing business owners. It can be a hard time for anyone who works outdoors, but especially for those who mow lawns for a living. If you're starting out this winter, we applaud you. We also recommend to anyone who is about to start their first winter season as a lawn mowing operator - read these helpful tips.


1. Mow lawns with a weed eater

When the grass is wet, it can be extremely hard to trek a mower through it. The lawn mower can rip up the ground and the grass will clump in the blades. Our pro tip is to continue mowing lawns but with a weed eater. While this may not give you the same finish you'd get with a mower - it will definitely avoid any other complications with the lawn.

2. Take on extra work to supplement your income

It doesn't really matter what it is, do it. Hedges, water blasting, section tidies or light tree pruning - these services will bring in the dosh when the lawns don't need mowing. Many lawn mowing operators tend not to stretch far from duties behind the mower, but in the winter it definitely pays to go further than normal services. 

 Crewcut operator talking to his male customer

3. Build up lawn numbers

Perhaps it's time to get your extra friendly face on and introduce yourself to some of the neighbours. You could create a new social media page and push that to locals in your area. Don't be afraid to get testimonials from your current clients which will help sell your services to others.

4. Do some extra courses or training in health and safety

Without proper education and training, many things can go awry. The equipment and your environment can have large implications if not treated with care. That’s why it’s important to implement proper health and safety policies which you can get through Trimsafe. Not only does it make you a safer operator, but it gives your customers reassurance and peace of mind. Most of our Crewcut operators are enrolled in Trimsafe, so they can be safe on site.


More lawn mowing business articles

- 10 Common mistakes when starting a business
- How does a lawn mowing operator cope with extreme weather
- New areas for franchise growth


 Lawn mower turned over with grass clippings

5. Tool maintenance

All those hours in the summer sun have taken a beating on your lawn equipment. When was the last time you got your mower serviced or tried to tinker with it yourself? It's a good time of the year to scrub up on your lawn and garden tool maintenance. Make sure you:
- First of all give it a visual inspection to see if there is anything physically wrong. 
- Tighten up any loose nuts and bolts
- Sharpen or change the mower blade.
- Check the motors air filter. If it's dirty or clogged, it could slow down your mowing efficiency. 


6. Tidy up your business appearance

When we say this we mean, update your uniform, clean your vehicle and make sure your sign writing is looking great. If you're part of a franchise system like Crewcut, getting these things sorted will be a breeze. All it requires is contacting head office, and they will send these things out to you. 


 Man sitting on beach during holiday

7. Plan a holiday

If it's winter in this part of the world, then it must be summer somewhere else! While work is slow, you could go away on holiday and make the most of the time off. It goes without saying that in the summer months while everyone else gets a break, you're generally at your busiest. 



8. Gain new skills

Have you wanted to learn a new technique or two? Or perhaps learn some basic maintenance for your machinery. Winter is the perfect time. These new skills could be in your back-end accounting type jobs, or practical gardening skills you could turn into services offered to clients. 


9. Budget/plan for winter

The winter months are the hardest time of year for any lawn mowing operator, which is why it requires careful planning and budgeting beforehand. During this planning period, you may set aside time for any of the things listed above, or it may be a time to get your finances in check. 


So even if the dark grey clouds are out, and it's looking a bit doom-and-gloom, there is plenty of work to be done.
Keep yourself busy year-round, and you'll definitely make your lawn mowing business a success. ;

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17 ways to make more money in your lawn mowing business

By David Serville - founder of Crewcut lawn and garden

So you want the direct path to wealth and happiness in the lawn mowing industry ? 


 Founder of Crewcut, David Serville - against blurred background

With 30 years now in this industry, I have seen almost everything on the subject of profitability for a residential lawn mowing business. While I mowed lawns predominately in Auckland (most of that within a lawn mowing franchise system), I have also mown lawns in many New Zealand cities and a couple in Australia. I have bought and sold hundreds of private and franchised lawn mowing businesses and advised many lawn mowing owners how to improve their businesses. These are the key habits and tricks to making better money than your competitors. 


Most of these tips are either good tips to improve operational efficiencies or habits that need to be formed to improve profitability. They say it takes 21 days to form a habit. In my experience, it's failing to practice these simple habits that stop hard working lawn mowing franchisees and operators from realising the true potential of their businesses. 


1. Start early, finish early

This is especially important for running a lawn mowing business in main urban centres to avoid traffic. The early bird catches the worm, so find the lawn suitable for early starts. Usually it's a commercial client that will not impact on late sleeping clients and neighbours. Finishing early means you have more time in the evening to get your admin sorted as well.


2. Sell excess lawns to develop a compact lawn mowing run

You don’t get paid for travelling between lawns. A little known fact is that your body tends to get stiff and cease up the longer you sit in your vehicle in-between jobs. The shorter the travel time, the easier it is to keep your momentum moving forward. At Crewcut we buy back excess lawns to facilitate less travel for our franchisees. This means you can really condense your patch of clients into one or two key areas and boost profitability. 

3. Pricing for profit

This is a whole article in itself, but it's not hard to work out that not all lawns are as profitable as others. My advice - during spring, put the price up for the twenty percent of your 'less than profitable clients'. This will groom your clients annually to improve your profitability. If you do this in spring you will be less likely to lose clients. 


4. Not all types of mowing are profitable

 Purple Crewcut ride-on lawn mower

The main types of mowers you'll see are catch, mulch and side-deliver. In a perfect world we would side deliver, side throw (or a Crewcut mower) on all our lawns. These types of mowers are by far the fastest and easiest. Next is mulch mowing. It's both quick and very good for most lawns. So it's a great environmental solution. Catching is one of the slowest and even if you start charging more, it's always harder to recoup all your time and effort. The best catcher is a Reel Mower but this is really for the flat lawn that will be kept in the best shape. Again you will have to charge a premium. By encouraging your clients to mulch you will be both fast and environmentally friendly. Just remember that the client is always right, so do what they want, but it doesn't hurt to sell and promote mulching. In the end, it does grow a healthier grass, which is something all clients want.   

5. Mow in the rain

Do a weather check each night and unless it's a flood or your lawns are far too soft to walk on, then commit to mowing in the rain. This is more about work ethic and motivation than anything else. But lawn mowing contractors that are unstoppable make more money. Customers like knowing that no matter what, you'll give 100% to their lawn despite the weather.

6. Have a strict payment policy and system

All Crewcut franchisees have a well developed client Terms of Trade form which is printed on the back of each client statement or invoice.  Train your clients to pay monthly or every two lawn cuts. Cash flow is the life-blood of your business and good cash flow will mean that you never have to worry. Remember that planning customer payment methods is far easier than trying to claim their debts - it just gets too messy for what it's worth.

7. Mow early in the height of the season

Every week or 10 days, change clients from fortnightly to weekly for the growth season. Often they will agree for short periods of time. Not only does it increase your chances of profitability, but it will make your customers feel like your schedule is based on their lawn growth - one way to make them feel important!

 Crewcut business owner maintaining his lawn mower

8. Run your equipment like a Formula One pit crew team

At the end of each lawn mow, check your line trimmer cord and top up all machines with gas. Your flow and rhythm is essential to good, profitable days. It's also a good idea to check under your mower and clear out the clumped grass - it will help you mow a bit faster. 

9. Walk fast all day

This might seem a bit of a basic tip, but lawn mower operators that make the most money always walk fast. Your profit is connected to your average speed. 

Further Lawn Business Ownership Reading


10. Do not run extra staff in your own vehicle

This is unless you have a business designed to take them, and you have some experience in how to manage them. In a residential lawn mowing business, often two people in the same vehicle don’t make double the money, as you have to pay them while you're travelling from lawn to lawn. That said, it can be suitable if you use casual labour for gardening as these jobs are typically longer at one address.

11. Always own good quality, well maintained equipment

Do not hold onto old equipment as it's a false economy. Equipment, like anything else has a life. Budget for replacement. Depending on your maintenance and care, often equipment will need to be replaced every 18-24 months.  

12. Set you van truck and or trailer up, well

 Boots covered in grass clippings

This is about flow and process and making sure everything works well when it comes to access, storage and speed. 

13. Wear good protective footwear

Unfortunately the jandals have to stay at home when you're mowing lawns. Make sure you wear comfortable AND protective footwear. Not only will they make you faster, the'll prevent any risk of injury from mowing over your foot or getting cut by the grass. 


14. Pre-plan for the next day

Order your run at night for the next day and prepare equipment so you're ready to go! This might seem simple enough but it's one habit that will make you money every day. Generally when you first wake up it can take time to get your brain into second gear. If all you have to do is jump in your vehicle, look at the first lawn job and get mowing, this will mean your day will flow much better. Simple ways to prep your equipment include cleaning your gear and filling the mower and line trimmer with petrol.

15. Claim your petrol tax

You don’t pay for money on any petrol machines that aren't being used on the roads. This is free money and for a residential lawn mowing operator, this can amount to quite a bit of coin. 

16. Have a back up plan for when things go wrong

Especially during the warmer months, your equipment and vehicle will be going gang busters. It's often the worst timing, but things can break down. Organise a supplier that will lend you loan equipment while they repair yours. Preparation for these events will minimise your down time. 

17. Buy a Crewcut lawn mowing franchise

Many independents will read this and ask why. The simple fact is that we supply our franchisees with a steady flow of qualified leads. Which means we continuously attract people who want our mowing services and pass them on to our lawn mowing franchise owners. This is a huge advantage over a private business. Marketing takes experience and time which many lawn mowing independents don't have. So maybe they have bought a lawn run and it's all they need, but again how do they condense travel time and develop the business further? The selling back process and personalised marketing package each Crewcut franchisee gets insures that their business will always improve in profitability and revenue. 

 Smiling Crewcut operator in front of his ute

Finally along with the above, at Crewcut we live with a set of company values. By following them we always succeed, no matter what the situation is.

 Crewcut's business goals

Be your word- We do what we promise

Create raving fans - We care about our clients happiness

Stick top the plan - We follow the Crewcut system to success 


If you or someone else you know might be interested in a Crewcut lawn mowing business, be sure to contact us on 0800 800 286. Check out our list of available lawn mowing franchises for resale as there may be an opportunity in your neighbourhood.

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Money, GrowthDavid Serville
How to write a lawn mowing business plan

By David Serville, Founder of Crewcut Lawn & Garden

In my view, a lawn mowing business plan should be kept simple. Once written, it should provide you with clarity and should be easy to follow for any reader. 


So who are you writing your lawn mowing business plan for?

  1. A bank
  2. A business Partner
  3. Yourself


These are in order of complexity. Before you write one for a bank or a business partner you need to address one thing; What sort of security and resources do you have to bring to such a venture?

The bank will likely want to see equity in a property or home. You will need to fill out a financial statement of position form. This tells the bank everything you own, your current outgoings, your debt and the equity you have at that point of time. The bank will want 3-6 months of bank statements (if it is a different bank or lender to who you normally use).

If you don’t own a property with a good amount of equity, in other words unencumbered home with little debt, then don’t bother even calling a bank as they will not be interested. One advantage of a Crewcut Franchise System is that we can overcome some of this as long as you have enough money for the vehicle, equipment and a small deposit. It is key that you don’t start any business with more debt than the business can handle in the start-up phase.

I would recommend in any scenario that you always start with your own plan. I mentioned what is required by the bank only to save you time. The place to start any plan is with your personal business plan. A business partner will at the very least want to see this if they are investing time and money into the venture, unless it is your wife or a trusting relative. In my view, you should alway start with a one page plan.


Answer these questions

How will you financially live or get by for the first 6-12 months as you build you business? 

If you purchase a lawn mowing franchise, this is less relevant as you start with a ready-made own business with only a small development cost, if any. This depends on the package.


What is the cost of the equipment? 

  • 2 Lawn mowers of commercial quality for residential or commercial use. 
  • One straight arm loop handle of commercial quality line trimmer 
  • One blower 


What vehicle or trailer will you use?

 Crewcut car in driveway
  • Your current Vehicle with Trailer or Van or Truck - Vehicles need to white for a Lawn mowing Franchise. 



Read more lawn mowing business tips:



What is your marketing budget and how will this be implemented? 

This could be a monthly cost and strategy which is outlined in just a paragraph or two. A big unique benefit to a Crewcut Lawn mowing franchise or business is that you get your own web page and digital marketing package when you start along with dedicated marketing to insure your business always develops and grows. With an in-house marketing team, the national marketing plan is being constantly developed.


What number of lawns will you need and how long will this take to develop? 

If you are considering starting as an independent, you need to consider this and at least write yourself some targets. It may be crystal ball gazing, but it is an essential number as this is the thing that will be the difference of survival or not. I would estimate the average lawn price in Auckland is about $30 while this may be more or less in smaller cities. Based on Auckland lawn mowing prices, when your business has grown to 40 lawns a fortnight, it will have a revenue of $1200 or $600 per week in summer. This is still only a part time business. As a Auckland Lawn mower contractor, you will need grow your business to at least 80 lawns a fortnight with additional property maintenance so that you could earn revenues of $1500 per week. At Crewcut we like to introduce someone that is not mowing fit with about 60 lawns and then grow the business rapidly from there. This gives enough time for a lawn mowing franchise operator to orient themselves to all aspects of the business while their business gets to 80 lawns in the following weeks. Some lawn mowing franchises nominate to have larger businesses however, the only requirement at Crewcut is providing a top notch service to your client base. You could eventually have 140 or more lawns and this is determined by the franchise owner.


Will this be part-time or full time? 

A part time business may not need much funding, and could be started with just one 21 inch catcher lawn mower of commercial quality with the ability to mulch or side deliver. A line trimmer straight arm loop handle and a blower and trailer. However if you want to be working full time, then purchase a small private round or a lawn care franchise and get cracking.

Put all this in writing on one pager 

If it is for the bank with a position of statement form, it will be a two pager. Keep a copy to look back at and celebrate certain milestones. If you buy a lawn care franchise you can start any time of year. If you choose to start a lawn care business from zero, I’d advise you to start in spring. That will give yourself the best chance for your marketing to work. I can’t stress enough that you should always write your goals down and add them to your plan at the start of each year. People who do this have a written plan to look back at and have mentally prepared themselves for success each year.

Other things to consider are your plans for a lawn mowing health and safety policy, a trading name that is memorable also to use for the business bank accounts, selecting a good reputable accountant and taking advice. You can also get your tax returns done for as little as $500 if you are organised and shop around. If you are purchasing a franchised business you will need a lawyer as well. For professionals, always get a quote. A lawyer will prepare any sale of purchase agreement for you and or advise you on a Franchise Agreement. 

Now you have considered all this, don’t procrastinate. Start! 


If you're looking for my advice before starting your career as a lawn mowing business owner, check out some more lawn mowing business tips here.

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10 common mistakes when starting a lawn business
 Purple post-it note with 'oops' written on

Mistakes. An inevitable part of building a business - but can you avoid some of them? When you start your own lawn mowing business, you're likely to encounter plenty. But many of these issues can be avoided if you know where to get sound advice. We've heard or seen almost every mistake under the sun. Here are our top ten mistakes we see from new business owners or independent lawn mowing operators - and how you can avoid them. 


1. Having unrealistic expectations

One of the biggest mistakes you can have in any business, but especially when starting a lawn mowing business. When you think you can do 100 lawns in a week, you'll probably end up under the mower. But this mistake can extend to other areas, like customers and type of work you get. While you may only expect to do lawn mowing, there are other services that will need to supplement your income. 

Pro tip - write down what you expect from your first year of business, and perhaps cross check this with another lawn mowing operator. They'll have a wealth of knowledge to share. 


2. Borrowing too much money

Quite a few can get trapped by borrowing too much. While starting in a new business or franchise can be expensive, it takes a lot of careful financial planning to make sure you do it properly. Those who join a franchise like Crewcut will be shown how to budget correctly to avoid getting into large amounts of debt. 

3. Lack of communication

Whether it's poor communication with your customers, head office, or your regional manager - it's not going to get you very far. Be sure to let people know when you're going to be there, and if you can't. Trust us, an informed customer is a lot less problematic than a confused and irritated one. 

4. Not making time for admin

While you're out mowing lawns during the day, you may forget one of the most important aspects of the business, admin. No invoices or checking cashflow can spell disaster if left too long without attention. While you may be a great multi-tasker, this work is often shared with a partner. Have a read of 'Couples That Work Together And Love It'

5. Under quoting

Out of fear of not getting the job, a lot of lawn mowing operators underprice the job. The only issue is the customer will get a certain expectation that this will be the ongoing rate. You don't want to sell yourself short to get the job. Ultimately there are always plenty of other lone wolfs out there who will try to give the customer a deal, but cheap rates only go so far. The best way to get the job is to show you're professional and can do a quality job. 

Read more on franchise lawn mowing:


 Diary with the planned week

6. Not planning the day or week

If you don't plan where you'll be or what jobs you'll do on a certain day - you're going to run into a myriad of issues. It's also not good for your customers as their mow may be delayed or they don't know when you're coming at all. 


7. Cheap or second-hand equipment

Going for the cheap isn't going to get you far in this industry. If you think you can get a cheap lawn mower from the Warehouse and expect it to last you forever, you'll be bitterly disappointed. Trust quality, well known brands. And again if you're going for second-hand equipment, you'll have to prepare to replace fairly soon. If you talk to head-office, you may be able to get a discount on some well-known brands. 

8. Lack of experience in being self employed or self motivated

A lot of people have been employed, but don't understand the pitfalls of having to take responsibility for their own business. Self employment is no mean-feat. It takes plenty of the 3 P's: persistence, planning and positivity. With a franchise network you'll have advice and support from other franchisees and a regional manager. This can take away some of the stress you may encounter if you were to start an independent business.

9. No financial planning or budgeting

It's important to budget for certain things in a lawn mowing business. Some of these things might include GST, ACC, or franchise fees. Another important aspect of the lawn mowing industry, is to plan around the seasonality of the work. For example, in the Winter months, lawn mowing services slow right down. If you supplement your income with extra garden services or you have another job - then this won't be an issue. However, if you're relying on lawn mowing for your entire income - you absolutely have to plan for these quieter months.  

10. Being a lawn mower instead of a proud business owner

 Auckland Crewcut operator smiling at camera in front of garden

Thinking that you're just the person behind the lawn mower really limits how far your business will grow. You're more than that. You're the face of your successful business. The person the customer will see on a regular basis. So be proud of your business and put yourself out there - it will get you a lot further than the guy who is just a lawn mower.


Ultimately, all these mistakes are part of starting your own lawn mowing business. However, if you buy a Crewcut franchise, you're also securing yourself with fantastic training and ongoing help & support. This is one of the main benefits of joining a franchise rather than going it alone. For more information on how to build a lawn mowing business, be sure to have a read of 'Grow Your Lawn Mowing Business Like A Pro'

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How does a lawn mowing operator cope with extreme weather?

Being a lawn mowing business owner means your schedule relies heavily on the weather. Rainy days, cyclones and other weather anomalies can really take the ‘wind out of the sails’. But making the most of the bad weather is what will get you ahead of your competition. When Cyclone Gita battered parts of New Zealand in February, the effects were definitely felt. Though it was downgraded to an ex-tropical cyclone, it still left a lot of people around the country with a big clean up. Crewcut operators had to work around Gita to make sure their business didn’t suffer from the forces of nature. 

Then you get other big storms like the one felt across the country April 11. Powercuts, tree debris on the road, and plenty of wind & rain have accounted for some home owner stress. Just imagine how it feels for the lawn mowing operator. 

So how does a lawn mowing business work around a cyclone or crazy weather?


When the grass gets wet it can cause a problem with most lawn mowers, as it clumps together and gets stuck in the blades. During rainy periods, you may find some lawns fully submerged in water. Not only can it do damage to your mower, but there is a big health and safety risk as well. The grass becomes slippery and operators can find themselves in a potentially hazardous position on a slope where they may slide out of control. It can also cause damage to the lawn as the wheels will tear up the soft ground. We advise Crewcut operators not to work on the tools when the weather takes a turn for the worst. 


We contacted some of our Crewcut operators from New Plymouth to Nelson to find out what they do when the weather makes it impossible to provide lawn mowing, or garden services.


In New Plymouth a state of emergency was declared during Cyclone Gita. It wasn’t until Sunday when it had been lifted, but the cyclone had left the city with no fresh drinking water for five days. Neil, a New Plymouth Crewcut operator, mowed for as long as he could on Tuesday when Gita came through. However, by 1pm he had to call off his jobs due to the rain and wind being too heavy. Neil’s solution around this extreme weather was getting out on the tools earlier on the day of the storm and the day after to pick up on missed work. This initiative made sure that his business wouldn’t miss out on any income. The day after the storm did require a bit more than mowing though. He found himself doing some section tidies to get rid of broken branches and other debris. Unfortunately, the storm also knocked out their power, so all of the online paperwork had to wait until the computer could be turned back on.

Read more on running a lawn care business:


At the top of the South Island, Phillip Rogers provides his service to Nelson. Though a lot of the area he operates in wasn’t affected by flooding, the surrounding areas did encounter the overflow. The cyclone however did prevent Phil from getting to work for his clients. The rain and wind proved to be too much and he had to take one day off while Gita passed through. Though he didn’t miss on this opportunity to make sure his lawn mowing business still operated well. He managed to get maintenance done on his gear, clean out his van, and finish off plenty of admin work. The morning after, he just waited out for the sun to dry off the grass so he could get back into what he does best, lawn mowing. Getting all of these tasks done during the weather chaos allowed him to relax at night knowing that he’d done something productive. 


Two of our operators in the Wellington region had similar scenarios with the weather. Adam from Lower Hutt had to take the day off as well, though it wasn't such a bad thing. It was his first day off in four weeks, so he got to spend the time with his wife and kids. Relaxation is another important part of running your business. It’s not worth going non-stop if your mental health and family are taking the backseat. 


Kapiti based, Tony, said that thankfully there was no flooding. However, there were plenty of branches and cabbage tree leaves on his client’s properties the next day. There were also a few slips on the way into Wellington, so anyone heading there had to be careful. He also had to take the day off from providing his lawn mowing service due to the weather. Instead, he worked on his fuel tax rebate so he still managed to bring in a few hundred dollars without being on the tools. This is another great initiative to take to make sure you have a steady flow of cash coming through. 


When it comes to this extreme weather, our Crewcut operators need to be motivated and smart with their time. Owning a lawn and garden business is more than just mowing a lawn or trimming a hedge. A smart operator will carry out maintenance on their gear, get up to date on their paperwork, or take the well deserved break to spend time with their family. There is so much more to business ownership than the service itself. Taking the initiative and making smart choices with your time will lead your business in the direction of success.

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Grow your lawn mowing business like a pro

By David Serville, Founder of Crewcut Lawn & Garden

  A picture of me back when Crewcut was the new lawn mowing franchise on the block

A picture of me back when Crewcut was the
new lawn mowing franchise on the block

I worked as an independent lawn mowing contractor for about five years before I started the Crewcut Franchise Group. During this time I was building lawn lists into scalable lawn mowing businesses and then selling them off. 


So when considering building your own lawn run, what is the cost? Your time is definitely worth something, so how much of it do you have? 


To build a lawn mowing business, you must have free time. How much is your time worth? If you’re working in a highly paid job that you want to leave, building lawn lists full-time may not be the answer for you. You may want to consider purchasing a private lawn round or a lawn mowing franchise, because building a lawn list has an actual cost, and it's not cheap. 


But if you have lots of spare time and are up for the challenge and commitment, then building a lawn client list could be a good solution. The cost is pretty simple to work out. To keep it simple, let's just put a cost for a month of your time. If you decided your time is worth $30 per hour, then one month of constant work is worth $5200. If it takes you three months of full-time work to build a small chunk of work, then the cost is $15,600, less the cost of the work completed and invoiced for. 


So how many months will it take to build a lawn list? This will depend on the marketing skills you have. You may already have the knack of marketing along with a great network, like being an active member of a local sports or community club. This will help a lot in growing interest in your business. But practically getting the first cluster of clients is the hardest. I would, however, set your own goal and establish a forecast and an actual number you hope to achieve per month. You may need to consider how to supplement your lawn mowing startup with a part-time job.


Five Necessary Skills

To be a successful independent lawn mowing business owner, you will need these five skills:


  1. Sales - Be willing and enthusiastic to improve your selling skill. (see sales skills)
  2. Marketing - This is essential, and some basic understanding is an absolute requirement. Do a lot of reading online before you start your business.
  3. Good health - As long as you don’t have old injuries or ailments, then becoming mowing fit takes 6-10 weeks.
  4. Record keeping - You need the discipline of record taking
  5. Organisation - As a business owner this is essential to be able to balance your time between mowing lawns, marketing, sales, and bookkeeping.


Start before Spring!

One bit of sound advice I can give here is time your start well. To maximise your business building, you will want to be ready just before the highest growth season, spring. Do all your research, make your lawn mowing business plan, and consider all the issues that may arise. The people that do well in business always do thorough planning.

Again, have this plan completed in winter so that you’re all ready to start in the high season, Spring. In New Zealand, I would have the preparation and planning stage completed by the end of August. That includes marketing materials, policies, your vehicle, and all the equipment. 

 Crewcut business owner blows away grass clippings in driveway


Now we have established a start date, let’s consider
a timeline to get to the first milestone.


Stage One (part-time)

 Crewcut operator pushing a lawn mower in grass

Residential lawn mowing is different in every town. In small towns, the land packages are large, and in large urban areas the land size is small. At Crewcut, we have some small towns (Bay of Islands) where it is a requirement for everyone to have a ride on mower. That said, most of this article is written for the average start-up in large residential areas. 

So let's say you want to initially build a part-time business of say 20 regular lawns to cut per week. Based on the fact that most lawns get cut on a fortnightly basis, that is around 40 clients. Let's say the average lawn cut is $30, you could plan to have a revenue of $600 per week. A lawn may get cut about 22 times per year, so in regular lawn cutting terms that’s $26,400. You would or could also do other property maintenance work. So let's say through referral and off that client base, you could earn an extra $4000 with some preparation for slow months. In total you could earn $30,400. 

The point I’m making here is that you need to establish your goals. Do some back of napkin planning. Do you need to keep your current job for a while until you can go full time? Obviously, if this is your retirement project, you are going to view it differently.


Stage Two (Full Time)

 Auckland Crewcut operator stands in garden with line trimmer

Let's say full-time businesses start at about 80 lawns. In Crewcut, we start franchise owners with 60, but that is to get them mowing fit. Newbies to lawn mowing businesses need to get their line trimming skills up to a speed that can accommodate 80+ lawns. A skilled lawn operator can mow more than 100 lawns on their own. I have known operators that do far more than 100, but this is all about skill and experience.

80 residential lawns is a sweet spot, and a great goal for a lawn builder or lawn mowing business start-up. We will assume you have gotten to 40 lawns already and now you are planning to build a revenue of $60k and upwards. The thing to consider is getting slowed down by winter. In New Zealand, there are dramatic differences between the South Island and the North Island. It obviously slows down to a holt if there is snow on the ground. Again, make a winter plan. 

In some parts of Winter, you will have little more than seven hours of light. Before you drop off in income, consider broadening your service offering. This can backfire though as people will want these tasks done at the height of the season. Tree lopping, gardening, hedge trimming, gutter cleaning and water blasting, to name a few.

From 80 lawns, it is very easy to build to 100+ as the referral work from a solid base should be quite steady, as long as you are a good service provider.



Learning to quote and price lawn mowing

This is pretty straight forward, so consider what hourly rate is expected by the market. Some suburbs and towns have lower lawn prices than others. You may decide that you want to achieve $50 per hour when mowing lawns. You will be pricing lawns against competitors, so you will soon learn where you’re positioned. You may lose a few potential customers until you grow in confidence.


Sales Basics

 Crewcut business owner talks to his male client

At Crewcut, we teach you basic sales skills to convert clients. First Impressions count for everything. It amazes me how independents and franchise owners alike get this first sales tip wrong. But it’s key to basic sales. The first three tips are all about that first 30 seconds you have to leave an impression. Get all of these right and you are 80% of the way there.


  1. Turn up on time as agreed. You have your work cut out for you if you don't keep your word. In a busy world, a customer’s time is valuable, so don't fail on this one.
  2. Be presentable - Clean, tidy, fresh, and smell nice- uniforms and brand help build credibility, and demonstrates that you can easily be found and are accountable. If you turn up in an unmarked shirt and shorts (even if it’s tidy), you are deemed as a nameless person that can easily hide if something goes wrong. Look like you mean business.
  3. Smile and make eye contact. Let them know you’re keen to help. A smile and friendly greeting are free. Before you leave, give them a genuine compliment.
  4. Listen carefully to their requirements.
  5. Up-sell if you can and advise them of additional work they may want to consider. 
  6. Then ask for the business.
  7. To close the sale, remind them that you can do the lawn immediately. If they hesitate, throw something in for free. Remember you should have extra time to do this. I never used to leave the property until I closed the sale.



Sales recording client details

This is your database. If you have ever sold Amway or Insurance, then you know what to do here. Make a list of all your friends and let them know yours in the business. They may end up mentioning it to someone. Use your social media and mention it from time to time. You have a community, but you have to let them know. If you don't want to do this then sadly building a business from scratch is probably not for you. Maybe you're more suited to buying an established mowing business.


Read more lawn mowing business advice:


Marketing Tools

Very few Traditional Marketing techniques work anymore, but here are a few tools that you may want to prepare before starting your lawn round. 


Business Cards (essential)

 A Crewcut business card

There is no point in printing these if you forget to give them out. It may seem like a small point, but get into the habit of keeping them on you at all times and giving them out. For most people, this has to be practised. 


Web Page - This does not have to be expensive but is really important.



How to market

When I started my first lawn mowing business years ago, it was all traditional marketing. Distributing pamphlets, placing adverts in local news papers and advertising in the Yellow Pages. It's pretty safe to say these are all dead, apart from networking. 

Marketing is all about digital. If you want to be found, then you must have an online presence. A web page does not have to cost a lot, but is your most important tool. Apart from choosing your name and getting a simple logo designed, I would advise this page to be designed, written and online as early as possible. You should have this is completed months before you launch your business. There is a real art to writing, but you may enrol a friend or well-priced copy writer to help build the content on your webpage. 

Images are also really important. My recommendation is that get some good help from a small webpage and SEO company. How much will this cost? Depending on where you go and what you want, this could cost as little as a few hundred dollars to many thousands. Working on your web page is something that should be done regularly. Focus on the locations and details that will build your lawn mowing business in your geographic area.


Book Keeping and accounts

 Phone with Crewcut app on screen

If you don't send an invoice then you won't get paid. Certainly in the beginning, you will want to be paid at the time you mow a lawn. But as you grow, this is pretty much impossible. You have to develop a good rhythm for sending out accounts. Usually, people don't like paying small accounts on a regular service. When you’re setting your terms of trade policy up, I have found that if you mow twice and get paid from a two cut monthly invoice, then everyone is happy.

At Crewcut, the software we use to distribute work to our franchise owners includes an online accounting package, but you may want to collect all your receipts and learn to run software like Xero. If you’re not organised and hate book keeping then you will need help here. 


The most important habit to learn is to keep your receipts and keep your expenses recorded well so that your book keeper or accountant’s work is easy. Make it easy for them and get a cheap bill from them. Make it difficult and it will cost you.



Health & Safety

Health and Safety are important and needs to be considered before you start your business. It also might seem complicated, but you will not attract any commercial clients without a thoughtful Health and safety policy. At Crewcut to make it easier for our franchise owners, we use a product called Safety Work Kits. Safety work kits is a templated system to help you start on this journey. While you still need to think carefully about hazards and how you manage these, it will give you most of the forms and polices to help you form the habits required. 

 Image of Safety work kits orange cone


There are many other things to consider when building an independent lawn mowing business, but I have covered off on the key ones. Independent lawn building is well suited to people that don't follow systems and have some great marketing and business skills under their belt. At Crewcut Franchise Group, we enjoy great relationships with independent contractors. If your business proves to be successful, then please keep us in mind when you want to eventually sell your business. We purchase a lot of these, so this may be a viable and quick way for you to also exit the industry.


For more info on starting a lawn mowing business, please have a read of

How to start a lawn mowing business in 12 easy steps’ 

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Be found on Google with a Crewcut business
 Woman checks her phone in urban setting

It’s likely that whenever you’ve wanted a service - you’ve opened up your computer or phone and punched in your query to google. Need a plumber? Google it. Need some new material for your deck? Google it. Need a lawn mowing service? Google it. 

While word of mouth and referrals are still massive contenders for marketing strategies - this can’t be your only fall back. A few decades ago, you could advertise your lawn mowing business with more simple methods like flyers, newspaper adverts, local directories and notice boards. These were effective then, but they aren’t so much anymore.
Your potential customers are now on their phones and the internet 24/7. When they need a product or service - they aren’t going to check the yellow pages, but they will do a search on google. It takes the hassle out of searching and makes the job of finding a service a lot easier. 

Of all the countless lawn mowing businesses out there in New Zealand, we know of about 200 - and this is a very low number. There are PLENTY of them, most likely closer to 1,000. However, many of these lawn mowing businesses are invisible online. How will these companies grow into the future without a presence online?

The demand for lawn and garden services


There's a huge demand for lawn and garden services online - and not many lawn mowing companies know how to reach these searchers. Here are some stats on some of the common queries for lawn and garden services in New Zealand:

  • ‘Lawn mowing’ 800 monthly searches
  • ‘Lawn mowing Auckland’ 400 monthly searches
  • ‘Lawn mowing Hamilton’ 200 monthly searches

For lawn mowing search phrases there are close to 6,000 monthly searches.

And for gardening, hedge trimming & tree trimming, this is even greater at 8,500 monthly searches.

These are huge figures! It shows that your audience is truly looking for the services online, and you can market to them.
But getting to these top spots on google is not easy. In fact, if you’re out on the job looking after lawns and gardens - it’s unlikely you’ll have time to manage a website as well. Even if you have someone at home who could possibly help out, they will need to have knowledge in SEO, Google adwords, social media and a myriad of other different digital marketing techniques.


Read more about lawn mowing franchises:

So again, why would buying a Crewcut franchise help you be found on Google?

The benefit of joining a franchise like Crewcut is that you have a dedicated team of digital marketers who are getting you and the brand out there to your potential customers. In fact, the Crewcut digital team are currently working on a national franchise directory dedicated to each and every one of our franchisees. This means that every Crewcut franchisee will get their own webpage with a photo, bio, areas they cover and more. Joining the Crewcut group also means you'll be getting a set of other digital online accounts created and managed for you - so you don't have to lift a finger!

With Crewcut, we have a very competitive team that use many online tools to get the Crewcut website to the top of google for many search phrases. This can be the difference between you getting the lawn mowing quote and someone else. 


If you're interested in owning a lawn mowing business of your own, consider Crewcut - we put you first.

Contact us on 0800 800 286 to receive an in-depth information pack. 

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New Areas For Franchise Growth
 Large green grass lawn and house in background

The housing boom has seen unprecedented urban sprawl in many parts of Auckland and where there was once countryside, there are now lawns and new landscaping to be maintained. These new housing developments come accompanied by homeowners who generally fall into one or more of these categories:

  1. They’ve made the move from the city and have no idea about lawn care
  2. They’ve moved onto a bare lot that needs hedging planted and lawn sown before regular maintenance begins
  3. The homeowner is too busy working to pay off the new mortgage to be bothered with the lawn mowing
  4. The property is a rental and the owner will need someone to take charge of the lawn care, including lawn mowing and hedge trimming.

These areas, like Millwater in the north, or Paerata in the south, are ripe for Auckland lawn mowing franchise opportunities. Usually when buying into a franchise you inherit a list of clients, so targeting new suburbs will take longer to build up a client list - however, it will pay off if you get a lot of clients in a concentrated area. As we’ll see in a couple of paragraphs, your lawn mowing business can run into problems even when you start off with plenty of customers, if you’re unprepared and have no support.

Read more on growing a lawn mowing business:


Promotion need not be a headache – you’ll get a lot of support from head office, which will help you with marketing material. I suggest that you add localised touches to your flyers, like ‘new *franchise* round starting up in *suburb*’. There’s nothing I distrust more than a flyer that says ‘Auckland-wide’ and a cell phone number. People like local, it’s safe (you don’t have to live there yourself). Include a small smiling photo. If you look like Ed Sheeran, use a photo of your dog.

Ex-independent lawn mowing operator, Jamie, had the great luck to be given a lawn mowing round of 30 North Shore properties, as well as advice on where to get the best machinery. Jamie was experienced at both lawn mowing and hedge trimming but he had little knowledge of business or the practicalities of quoting a new job.


“Even though I was gifted a customer base, I didn’t know any tricks of the trade, so had no idea of the techniques of how to do a job efficiently,” he says.
“ My accounting was a mess because I didn’t pay any ACC premiums, so I got hit with a retrospective ACC bill. But the biggest problem I had day to day was that I didn’t know anything about quoting for a lawn or hedge trimming job, so I’d turn up and say something would take a couple of hours and I’d be there all morning and end up out of pocket. Also, it was quite lonely.”

Jamie advises anyone wanting to start an independent lawn mowing operation to register as a business and organise GST and ACC before cutting the first blade of grass. He says if did it again, he’d opt for the advice and support of belonging to a franchise. “Plus, you get the tried and true equipment. And the camaraderie. Outside work can be pretty solitary so it’s nice to have that feeling of belonging.”

When Jamie eventually left the Auckland lawn mowing industry, he handed on the lawn mowing round he’d been given gratis so was left with nothing but several black bin bags of receipts. However, he still has the commercial mower and line trimmer he was advised to invest in by his predecessor and they’re in excellent condition thanks to regular maintenance from a trusted local operator.

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How to start a lawn mowing business in 12 easy steps

By David Serville, Founder of Crewcut Lawn & Garden


After 30 years in the lawn mowing industry, first as an independent, then building independent lawn mowing rounds, pushing a lawn mower and then building  a national lawn mowing franchise network, I have learnt a thing or two.  I’ve also listened to a lot of lawn mowing contractors and lawn mowing franchise owners. There are two types of people that are attracted to this industry: Those that think it’s easy, and those that take a more respectful approach to starting in this sector. In my experience those that prepare thoughtfully and approach the development of their business carefully, increase their chances of success tenfold. Those that thought it was easy often don’t last. 

Key to success in this industry is having the thoughtful reason for choosing lawn mowing as an industry. Many of the successful people I know say something like. “I always saw myself doing this one day” or “ I always wanted to leave the desk job and work outside”  People that explain their motivation in a related way are pursuing a dream and will often have the clarity to make this great business succeed. 

Hopefully by sharing this list, it will make your start in the lawn mowing business a little bit easier. This list will apply to you if you join a Crewcut franchise or go it alone. Before you decide if you want to join a franchise or be an independent lawn mowing operator, be sure to read this blog 10 reasons lawn mowing franchises beat start-ups.


 The founder of Crewcut, David Serville

1. Make a lawn mowing business plan

Most of what you read about planning is not appropriate, complicated and confusing. The lawn mowing business plan you write down on one piece of paper will be suited to focusing your attention on the right type of development path. There will be some simple ideas you can edit and adjust over time. Answer some simple questions: What sort of money do you want from you business? What hours and lifestyle do you want to attain, and by when? Will you work in the weekends? What type of jobs will you do? What geographic areas do you want to work in?

By asking and answering these questions, you'll make your decision to buy a lawn mowing business a whole lot easier. 

 Lawn mowing business checklist


2. Start with some work

Buying some lawns is important. You want to hit the ground running, and you want to buy enough that you know you can comfortably service. A common mistake is to buy a fully developed business then struggle to keep up. Clients get disappointed with a drop in service and they haven’t built trust with you, so if you make this mistake, expect to lose some of your client base. If you buy a lawn mowing franchise ask your franchisor to hold some of your clients until you are ‘lawn mowing fit’.  Buying a good franchise business will make your first year much more profitable. 

Tip: It takes 1.5 x to 2x’s longer to cut a lawn for the first time, and that’s when the grass is being cut on time. If you’re a little late to cut it and it’s the first time, it may take you 3 times as long. It’s about knowing each lawn. To get to a maximum speed, it will take until the third cut to get the timings right. If you have been trained well it helps. 


3. Pick a trainer and coach

So you think you can mow a lawn, but can you run a lawn mowing business?  

My start-up hack is to give away 2-3 weeks with a couple of very capable lawn mowing men. 

Yep work for them, for free. The truth is that you will probably be slowing them down in the first week at least. Don’t do 8 hours mowing a day in your first week. Start with 5-6 hours a day for the first week, then only ever a maximum of 6 while you train. Then by the last few days you should be able to do 8 hours fairly comfortably.

Training with someone competent is essential. You just have to look at their rig and listen to their advice to work this out. Most people will need at least 3 weeks to build knowledge, but not many will want to work for free that long. I KNOW this will be one of the best investments you will ever make. You should learn the following in 3 weeks: pricing work, scheduling, equipment operation, quality of work standards, customer service and maybe even some admin and peer work if your trainers are generous.  This is just the start. Keep in touch with your trainer (this is your advisor).

Tip: keep in touch with your advisor even after you finish. Who knows, they may be able to share or sell their clients to you for a reduced fee. Who ever said that it’s who you know not what you know - really knew what they were talking about. 



4. Choose the right lawn & garden tools (check list) 

Most people spend a huge amount of time here and this is almost the easiest part. Choose two mowers, as this seems like a correct balance to start with. 

Tip: Only buy new gear. Buying someone else’s gear secondhand has very little merit or value. If you get the gear for under 20% of replacement value and have the expectation to be buying newer gear in your first 3 months, then secondhand gear may be alright in this instance. If it lasts 6 months, that’s a huge bonus. But be sure to have the money to replace immediately if you have to. You don't want to disappoint clients by not turning up to jobs because your equipment broke down - it's not a great look.

 Hand grabbing a line trimmer

The right number for a walk-behind round is probably two in the beginning. If you have too many mowers, your repair bills go up significantly.  Too little and you over-work your gear which will dramatically reduce their lifespan.

Buy a commercial quality kit and look to the the people who have been in the industry for years. 


Here are a few pieces of equipment you should definitely have:

  • Catcher mower 21 inch
  • Mulcher mower 21 inch or Side delivery 
  • Line Trimmer Straight arm loop handle 25 cc + plug in tools are handy like hedge trimmer Stihl 
  • Petrol Blower vac 
  • Pruner Clips 
  • Garden fages x 6 
  • 2X 20 litre petrol cans 

Make sure you look after them, and budget for replacement. 


Vehicle and Trailer

Make sure you consider your set-up and get a vehicle suitable to your requirements and demands of the business. 

  • Van -  Go for a long wheel base
  • Ute - Will need a trailer attached
  • Lite Truck 
  • Trailer - Consider the design. Single axel high sides with built ramps. Also on a wish-list is lockable cabinets, Stowage for lawn equipment on the cross bar with drop ramp. 

Signage on vehicle and trailer is best loud and proud. Customers have mentioned that the Crewcut signage is recognisable and gives them comfort that their backyard is in good hands. 



5. Give yourself some slack, and be patient

When you first start a lawn mowing business, you can have great expectations, but these can be set-back by the reality of the industry. The lawn mowing game can be a competitive one, it takes time to really build momentum. 

Tip: It can take 3 months to set up your lawn mowing business, depending on the season. This will obviously be more profitable in the summer period, but it’s short lived and you’ll be faced with the winter months. You also shouldn’t expect to make much money in the first few months. During this time you’ll be investing a lot in your equipment and gear. Plus you won’t have as many customers as you will in 12 months time. 


6. Use your existing clients to build income

While you can go out finding new customer sources, your best resource is your existing client-base. These are the people who will recommend you to their friends and family - a vital marketing tactic. Use all the options you have, whether it's handing out a few of your business cards, adding a message at the end of your invoice or offering a great referral benefit system. 


Read more on starting a lawn care business:


7. Collect payment routinely

 Stacking coins showing payment towards lawn mowing business

Payment is one of the most important parts of a contractor and client relationship. Without it, you have no income, yet so many feel awkward discussing it. There are a few things to consider when thinking about payment:

  • Training your clients with an invoice rhythm
  • Trading terms
  • Debt
  • Collection rate
  • Internet banking


This is something I could go into great deal about, but for the sake of this article I'll keep it short. Set out how you do payments within the first or second meeting with the client - that sends a message to them that you're organised, and they will need to fall in line. If you can't communicate this from the start, your clients will likely be lazy too. It's far easier to set a standard then try to recoup the costs from customers who don't pay routinely.

Read more: How to get payment on time, every time



8. Organise your schedule and prepare your equipment at the end of each day. 

After a full day mowing, the last thing you’ll probably want to do is prepare your equipment for the next day. But think again, this is an important step in ensuring you’re ready to hit the ground running in the morning. If you're not ready to go in the morning and end up late to your first mow - it will throw off the rest of your day and irritate your customers. This is especially important in those first few encounters with a client - make them unhappy at the beginning and they'll be lost forever. 

 Crewcut business owner maintaining lawn mower


9. Communicate with your clients regularly

Don't be invisible. Be easy to get hold of and keep in touch. Many in the service and trade industries get marked with the label of ‘poor communicators’. Avoid this at all costs. Make sure to call or txt all your clients on a regular basis. It will show you’re being proactive and will make your clients happy. There’s nothing worse than not showing up to a mow and not telling your client. Always, always, always let them know if a part of your schedule changes and will affect them. 


10. Love your clients

 Crewcut business owner talking with male customer

Customer service is everything. You want to be friendly, with a ‘nothing is a problem’ kind of attitude. Many clients love to stop and chat with lawn mowing operators as it’s sometimes the closest and most regular form of interaction they get. Show your clients you’re glad to work for them - this will be so beneficial to you in the long-run. They may recommend you to their friends, or give you extra work. 

Tip:  Ask them for feedback on a regular basis. Ask questions and be curious. Customers like to have all their needs catered for. Showing you’re willing to go above and beyond will make them raving fans. Even if the feedback isn't always desirable, it will show your weak-points and areas to improve in. 



11. Marketing and growing your lawn mowing business

For a non-franchised business, this is a large task and only a few with some sales or marketing expertise will find this easy. Most people will need to have a suitable plan that will need to be reviewed regularly. 

This is probably one of the biggest reasons aside from support to purchase a well functioning franchise businesses. I hear some people ask; “Why even buy a franchise?”. Well this would be one of the compelling reasons. Marketers will do all your marketing, for a weekly fee of course. 

The marketing landscape has changed a lot since I started my lawn mowing business nearly three decades ago. Back then it was all traditional marketing like: Yellow Pages, local directories, letter box drops with advertising flyers, advertisements in local suburban newspapers, referrals through local communities and hubs such as sports clubs, churches and schools. All of these except referrals are pretty much out the door. But the old school strategy of building off your existing client base is still a good one to have. 



The new era of digital marketing is here. Now you need to know something about developing a small web page or landing page and developing a Facebook page and getting 'clicks'. Does it sound a bit like mumbo-jumbo? To many it can be frightening to step into the wild world of new technology. While it's scary, it's even more frightening to think that all potential customers are using these technologies and could be going to your competitors. At the very least, you will need to set up a Facebook page to engage with your customers when you're not at their address. 



12. Measure

Review and audit your lawn business every 4-6 months. Look at how your business is developing, and what things have changed since you last audited. Some things you can easily measure include: 

  • Lawn numbers
  • Average lawn price,
  • Time spent on lawn jobs
  • Travel time between lawns
  • Debt collection rate

You'll be able to really tell how things are going by looking at these factors. Room for improvement? That's normal, besides it will have been the toughest 4-6 months you'll likely face in the business. 

As you can see, owning a lawn mowing business can be a lot of work and careful planning. If you're thinking of starting your own, perhaps consider the benefits by joining a well known, national franchise system like Crewcut. We have lawn mowing franchises currently available right around the country, so check here to see if one is near you! 

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7 reasons a lawn mowing business might be for you
 Crewcut operator blows grass clippings away

If you’ve ever talked to someone who owns a lawn mowing business, they’ve probably told you that it’s improved their life in many ways. You might be wondering how, and if you could mow lawns for a living too. So, here are the 7 main reasons why a lawn mowing business might be for you.

1. You want to call the shots in a business you can own

Owning your own business comes with the special authority to ‘be your own boss’. While you still get support from head office and a nationwide network of other franchisees, you are ultimately the maker of your own success. Do the hours you want, the days you want, and organise your business in the way you want to.

2. You want more time to spend with your family

One of the big reasons people come to us for a Crewcut business, is so they can spend more time with their family. As you can set your own schedule, it will allow for more flexibility - so, more time to hang out with the family (or do a bit of relaxing in the man cave).

3. You love the outdoors

It comes with the territory that a lawn mowing operator is going to get plenty of outdoor time. If you want to be successful in this kind of work, you’ll love the outdoors - sunshine or rain. It’s been scientifically proven that if you spend more time outside, you’ll spend less time at the doctor’s clinic. Boosted immunity, plenty of exercise and douses of Vitamin D are going to make you one healthy individual. 

4. You like people and you don’t mind having a chat

Although you’ll be dealing with lawns, you’ll also be dealing with the people that own them. We’ve found that the most successful lawn mowing operators love people - or at least, love talking. At the end of the day, any good business needs communication, and people skills. Trust us, a little communication goes a long way.

Read more Lawn Mowing franchise blogs:

5. You like getting a bit more hands-on than you would in the office

Whether you’re mowing, pruning or clearing sections, you love getting hands on and doing things with a bit more (blood, sweat and tears) than in your regular office environment. 

6. Extra money? That sounds good

With Crewcut, you’ll be provided with plenty of customers for as long as you own the business. And with this, you’ll always have a steady flow of income. If you play your cards right, you’ll be earning well above what an independent lawn mowing operator would earn. Compared to other lawn mowing franchises, our low franchise fees means more money in your back-pocket. 

7. You want to own a lawn mowing business, but being independent sounds scary

A lawn mowing business can be stressful to set up on your own. However, with a nationwide network, most of the work is done for you. You’ll get a customer base, ongoing support, successful marketing, and all the things you need to make your business successful. Customers can trust a well-known franchise, which means you’ll be trusted too. Crewcut has now been in operation for over 25 years, which makes it one of the most respected and relied upon lawn mowing services in New Zealand.  

If you’re interested in learning more about how a Crewcut franchise could benefit your lifestyle, please give us a call on 0800 800 286 or alternatively email us info@crewcut.co.nz.

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Why A Lawn Mowing Franchise Beats Going Independent
 Close-up of Crewcut business owner's shirt


When you decide you want to run a lawn mowing business, the next major decision is - will you join a franchise or be independent? While we tip our hats to those who try to do it themselves, there are some major disadvantages with this route. A Crewcut franchise will provide you with guaranteed success that you can’t get with your own independent business - here are a few reasons why. 



1. A proven business system that works!

When you choose to go with a franchise, your choosing to join a business model that actually works. Crewcut has been operating as a lawn and garden franchise for over 25 years in New Zealand - it means we’re doing something right! If you’re starting on your own, this will be the part that can take the longest to develop. People with far greater business experience have already done the hard yards (no pun intended). 


2. Training

This is the big difference between a franchise and a start-up. If you were going it alone, who would you turn to for advice and training? At Crewcut we offer a 2 week period which will train you in all things lawn mowing, gardening, customers and business operations. We can’t stress enough how important it is to have quality training, especially when you’re trying to learn the ropes. It’s also important to highlight that when new products and equipment come out on the market - you will have to know all about these and be up to date. This is one thing that HO or your regional manager will be able to help you with. 


3. All your branding is done for you

Branding is one of the most important factors when it comes to starting or joining a business. It's the first thing potential customers will notice when you enter a property. However, when people start up their own business, it's often one of the things that gets overlooked, because 'service is the most important thing right?'.
Although great service accounts for a lot, it's not the only thing. Customers have often commented that Crewcut's branding is clean, sharp, trusted and recognisable. This branding is seen through our uniforms, sign writing, and marketing collateral. Always remember, people create a judgement in those first 10 seconds, so make them count!

If you know that branding is important and you want to hire a designer to put something together for you, this can prove to be very expensive and time consuming. 



4. A qualified marketing team

With a successful franchise, you'll also be getting a qualified marketing team who are dedicated to making your business a success. If you thought that customers will just come to you - or that word of mouth is the only form of marketing, think again. Things are changing, and going digital. That's why Crewcut's marketing team is always updated with the latest trends in marketing - bonus, they're willing to help you so you can try it for yourself! You can see here, our full list of marketing collateral both digital and traditional.


With good marketing, comes a good website. The Crewcut website is on the first page of google, and in first position for many searches like 'Lawn Mowing Wanganui'. When somebody wants their lawns mowed, where will they go to find the service? The answer is - google. 

These are just some of the perks we've heard from our franchisees, but there are countless others. Before you start your own lawn mowing company, just think - can you get all of these benefits by going it alone?



5. You'll have a great support system

Here at Crewcut we have a saying:

"What is the most important thing? It is people, it is people, it is people." 

This is so important to us - which is why we have a great support system at every point. When you buy a Crewcut business, you'll gain support from Head Office, and your own regional manager. They have a wealth of knowledge in lawn & garden services, customer services and business management to share with you. 



6. We'll provide you with customer leads

While some customers may come directly to you, many come through our head office contact. We can then give these customers to you - and you didn't have to break a sweat! That's a great part of having a whole team around you that are willing to make your business a success by bringing customers directly to you.



7. National Operations manager

A franchise system also means a top-notch operations manager which ensures everything is moving tickity-boo. They'll be able to help you out with any disputes or accidents - it makes your job that little bit easier and stress-free. 


Read more about owning a lawn mowing business:


8. Growing National contracts

Crewcut currently looks after huge national contracts which are constantly growing. It means you'll always have work on top of your current client base. During the colder months when lawn mowing enquiries drop off, having these guaranteed contracts can really keep machine running. 



9. Wide network of other franchisees

Have a question you wanna ask, and to someone who will understand? That's where a franchise network is perfect. We have over 200 franchisees nationwide who would love to talk to you. We have dedicated Facebook groups and a newsletter which helps franchisees stay in touch. Through these mediums you can discuss all things lawn mowing and business. It's the perfect place to learn a new sales pitch or get a hint on servicing your mower. 



10. You can sell your excess customers back to HO

Are you SO good at sales pitches that you acquired more customers than you can handle? That's okay, because at Crewcut we can buy your customers off you - for a decent price. That way you can keep on top of all your work and still make some good money. 



11. Health and safety

While everyone may have their own way of staying safe on a job, a franchise ensures you know and follow current H&S codes. Not only does it mean you return back home in one piece, but you’ll also not have angry customers yelling in your ear. 


If you're interested in buying a lawn mowing business through Crewcut, please fill out an expression of interest form by clicking the button below. 

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