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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?

 

Know-how

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!'

 

Franchise

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.

 

Marketing

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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MoneyADMIN
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