10 common mistakes when starting a lawn business
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:
- 7 reasons a lawn mowing business might be for you
- How to write a lawn mowing business plan
- How to start a lawn mowing business in 12 easy steps
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
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'