Most people have heard the advice, “Keep it simple.” Sometimes, an individual will have an idea, start a project, and after a short time, find it didn’t work out as well as planned. Making things too complicated is one of the main reasons for this lack of success. When you’re starting a lawn care business, you should be prepared to live and work according to a lawn maintenance schedule.
Sometimes, this schedule will be set for you, by customers who want their lawns to be mowed at a certain time each week, for example. You may also add a customer who wants trimming, weeding etc. completed at a definite point in time. However, you may be able to set a portion of your schedule on your own, especially as you learn more about the business and the living vegetation you’re caring for.
Each job you take on will be completed and paid for according to some sort of measurement. As you start your business, you may establish and hourly rate. So, your work is measured by time on the clock. You may also charge a set amount per square foot of lawn cut and trimmed, which means your work will be measured by the foot.
If you step back a bit from these details, you’ll find that your work is definitely measured by the seasons. Without getting into details about what you have to do during winter, and what you don’t have to do, you may want to start looking at your lawn maintenance schedule from March on. Your customers may want a general clean-up of the yard during this month.
Plan on raking, picking sticks, and be prepared to apply some pre-emergency herbicides to stop the weeds as weather gets warmer.
As you get into the spring of the year, you may have a customer or two who wants to aerate the soil. Learn about this process, even if you don’t use it right away. You may not be able to do much raking or aerating, however, if you used pre-emergence herbicides in March. Make sure you know about this process and avoid disturbing the soil. Let the herbicide work.
May to November
This is probably the month for fertilizing. You may also use post-emergence herbicides at this point. As summer progresses, and the year moves into September, you should look into applications of nutrients. Fertilizing of some types is also used at this time, along with top-dressing and core aeration.
Before you start any of these tasks, be sure you do your research or talk to a veteran of soil and plant maintenance. The fall months of October and November are usually the time for additional fertilization. This is also a good time for broadleaf weed control.
This is a general overview of some special tasks you may have as a lawn care professional. Getting back down to a weekly and daily lawn maintenance schedule, watering will be one of the most important jobs, especially for some customers.
You can determine how much water by using the old trick of placing a container like a tuna can or similar can on the lawn. Run sprinklers until one inch of water is in the can. That should do it during times of normal rainfall.
Watering and other lawn care details will depend on the needs and wishes of each customer, of course. But you may want to allow time during the week to do some proper irrigation, if required.
Mowing lawns sometimes comes down to personal preference, but veterans suggest allowing the grass blades to remain at about three inches of height. Your schedule will be set by how much the grass grows and whether your customer wants the grass to be of a certain height “at all times.”
Setting up a detailed lawn maintenance schedule can be a time-consuming process, especially if you don’t keep it simple (as mentioned earlier). Getting a good schedule in place will take some time. This is certainly true when your business starts to grow and you obtain new clients due to referral. Here’s a summary of the best advice from those who have been doing this work for years.
Leave yourself plenty of time to do each job. Don’t rush through one task to get to another.