Summer is almost here and it’s a time for barbecues, beaches, and boosting your lawncare business profits. Or, at least, if you’re managing your lawn care business correctly and taking full advantage of this busy time of the year. If your profit margin is too slim, you could be working at full capacity and still feel a financial crunch. Here are some tips to help make this your most profitable summer ever.
The Gas Pump is Affecting Everyones’ Business Profits
One of the biggest concerns this year is rising fuel and shipping costs. With gas prices skyrocketing over $5 a gallon in many areas, you need to make sure you have up-to-date equipment that is fuel efficient to avoid cutting into your profit with each lawncare client.
Unfortunately, you may have to increase your prices to reflect the surging fuel costs. This is a common practice in many businesses and your client should understand a slight increase because of the current cost of gas. A well-written notification letter can go a long way to making customers understand the need for this.
Gas Prices Aren’t Your Only Overhead Expenses Affecting Profit Margins
Make sure you aren’t overlooking other saboteurs of your profits because you’re so focused on fuel expenses. For instance, you may be trying to schedule appointments in one area of your city on a certain day, so your employees aren’t putting extra miles on their vehicles by driving all over town every day. But be sure to calculate all your overhead costs when setting pricing. Don’t forget things like equipment maintenance, utilities, and vehicle insurance.
Calculate your total expenses and how many appointments you need to book to break even. Then be sure you set prices high enough so that you are booking substantially more appointments than your break-even point. Set fair prices for your employees’ time and expertise. Ideally, after you calculate wages, fuel, and a percentage of overhead and advertising costs, your gross margin for each lawncare job should be 50-55% profit.
Software Solutions to Make Your Lawncare Business More Efficient and Profitable
ServiceWorks offers a great software program that can help you schedule appointments and consistently review appointment schedules to make sure you work smarter, not harder (and using less fuel). You don’t want to waste time and aggravate your customers with scheduling problems during the summer season.
ServiceWorks offers a free trial of their software to manage all aspects of business, from scheduling to following leads and employee payroll. This can save you and your staff office time and possibly overtime, which adds significantly to your overhead. Have all the data you need right at your fingertips digitally. It’s leaner and greener!
Think of Creative Add-Ons to Your Lawncare Services
One way to get an edge over your competition and increase profit margins is to offer additional services such as concrete curbing. When a client already has contracted you to do their lawn care, this can be a simple upgrade to their service.
Also, consider bundling some of your most popular services together with a small discount for multiple services or bundles. For instance, add lawn fertilization or pest control with your mowing services. Think of additional items like mulching or garden weeding, which is one thing many gardeners dislike about having a garden.
Market Your Business to Get New Clients
You may need a bigger budget for the summer season when people are looking for lawncare services. You don’t want to lose business to a competitor because people don’t even know about your services.
Be creative and use many different types of advertising from social media to traditional newspaper ads. You can also do radio ads so people will hear about your business during their morning and evening commute. You might offer a free landscape seminar in wealthier neighborhoods and where there is an HOA — those neighborhoods can have strict rules about maintaining their yards. But don’t forget to continue to reach out to commercial businesses, also. If they have more than one location, you might offer a discount for bundling together multiple properties.
It’s Easier to Keep a Lawncare Client Than to Find a New One
Marketing and promotion are common expenses in any business, but if you’re having to increase your advertising budget because you need more clients, it can get expensive. That’s where the old adage applies about how keeping a client is easier (and cheaper) than getting a new one with aggressive marketing campaigns if your business is slow.
First and foremost, make sure your employees arrive at the promised time and do an excellent job at each appointment. ServiceWorks software can help keep track of your employees’ locations and schedule people correctly to keep appointments on time. Thorough training ensures they do the job well.
It doesn’t take much to go that extra mile and make a personal connection to your lawncare business clients. When your employees arrive for an appointment, they can do something extra for the client, such as bringing in empty garbage cans from the curb or grabbing that newspaper sitting in the driveway and handing it to your customer. And if you carry treats for the family pet, you can endear yourself to customers, with their permission, of course.
Happy customers are repeat customers, and repeat business adds stability to your lawncare business profits.