Starting a lawn-mowing business can be a challenge. In fact, getting a start in any business will require dedication, time, and a willingness to continue on the difficult days. However, if you stay with it through the first year, and take some of the steps recommended by veterans of this business, you can become a successful business person, be your own boss, and make enough money to take care of your expenses.
One of the key factors in getting a solid start involves making successful lawn mowing bids. Before you begin talking to people face to face, calling them on the phone, or sending out marketing information, you should take a little time to understand the bid process. You may want to start by dividing the lawn-maintenance business into two major categories – residential and commercial.
What’s Your Specialty?
Think of this business in two distinct ways. Start by asking a question: “Do I want my business to focus on mowing lawns for individual homeowners?” Then ask a second question: “Do I want my business to focus on taking care of commercial property, such as government and corporate property?” You can do both, of course, though the equipment and the management of your company will be different in each case.
For example, if you have medium size and large companies in your area, they probably already have someone who takes care of the maintenance of company property. Think along the lines of a groundskeeper. Companies will usually seek bids for this service so they don’t have to pay someone on their staff. They also advertise for bids to save time in finding a reliable company.
One of the key factors in successful commercial mowing, according to the veterans, uses a swimming comparison: Don’t get in over your head.
You can be competitive as an individual, but when the time comes to do the job, will you be able to do all they ask for in the bid specs? Read the company’s information carefully and make sure you are able to satisfy the requirements. In many cases, large private companies will follow the same path as a government agency when seeking lawn mowing bids.
Check websites for classified and business advertising. Get the local and area newspapers and look very carefully for both classified ads and display ads. Call companies directly to ask if they accept bids.
Pricing Your Services
When you are starting in this business, you may not have an accurate number for bidding. You may have to base your bid amounts on the details provided by the potential clients. If you can come up with some numbers from competitors, you will be one step ahead. But this can be difficult to find. It may help to dig into the numbers of the lawn-care companies working for a government agency. This should be public information.
When you prepare your bid, pay attention to details. Don’t just write something like, “We will cut all the grass on your property.” Be specific. Tell them what you will mow, when you will mow, how often you will be on the property etc. You should also provide details about the cost per week, per month, and so on.
If you are already working with lawn-care customers, list them as references, with contact information. Deliver your bid materials in person, if at all possible. The company or government agency may require in-person delivery.
Your focus should be on gathering facts. Get as much detail as you can from the customer, and schedule a time to walk the site with someone from the company or organization. Don’t guess at site measurements or the cost of equipment to get the job completed successfully. You will need to understand labor costs, you overhead (fixed) costs, the amount you need to actually produce a profit etc.
Of course, you can follow most of these same steps if you’re going to focus on lawn mowing bids for homeowners. The major difference will probably be in the amount you charge each customer, but you should not take residential business less seriously just because the property is smaller. After you bid or quote a price, be sure to follow up. Set a specific time for talking with the potential customer again.
You should be quite successful if you devote enough time to each location, and listen closely to what the customer says about their property.