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
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.
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.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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.