Often people get fed up with “working for the man”, so they quit their job with the grand idea of starting a lawn mowing business. We get it. We did the exact same thing when we started many moons ago, and we know how liberating it is to enjoy what you do, and not answer to anyone but yourself.
If your budget is low and you can’t afford a franchise, you’re going to have to do it alone and build your business from the ground up. This means that you’re going to have to be hungry, motivated and avoid the typical lawn mowing business mistakes that people often make when starting.
Guess what? You’re in good hands! Being the turf machinery industry experts, QTurf has put together a concise list of 8 vital do’s and don’ts when starting your own lawn mowing business.
1. Lawnmower, car and trailer
Starting a business requires capital. This is true for even the smallest of businesses. Your mower, car and a trailer are going to be your biggest expenses that you’ll have to fork out straight off the bat. We know from experience that it’s definitely worth investing in great turf machinery to make sure you can provide superior service from day one. Check out QTurf’s range of top-quality Wiedenmann mowers here!
2. Not answering the phone
It’s a hard one to master, but mowing, driving and answering the phone at the same time are key to building a big business. Think about it… if you’re not answering the phone, you’re losing potential customers. We advise a good quality Bluetooth headset, which you wear at all times so you can hear the phone when it rings. If you’re paying for marketing, you need to be answering the phone when it rings, otherwise you’re not only losing clients, but you’re wasting money too.
3. Mowing outside of council hours
Every state in Australia has noise restriction times which must be followed. If you don’t play by the rules, say hello to on-the-spot fines and potential court cases. On weekdays, mowing is generally allowed from 0700hrs onwards and 0800hrs on weekends. It is a good idea to consult your local council so you know exactly when you can start working and when you’ll have to stop.
4. Cheap lawn mowing
This is one mistake that we see a lot of new mowers on the block make. They think that undercutting their competitors is the quickest way to get their name out there. If you’re priced too cheap, you’re actually selling your personal labour hours too cheap. This is your business’s reputation, your equipment fees and also your ability to raise your prices. Customers aren’t going to be happy when you gradually raise your price (usually to what everyone else charges) just so you can stay afloat. Price accordingly from day one!
5. Not keeping up with maintenance on your tools
Your business revolves around your machinery working precisely. This should be common sense, but all too often we see people who don’t properly maintain their equipment and then they end up losing twice as much when their mower is down for repairs and the phone is ringing off the hook. You can schedule maintenance in so that it doesn’t affect your business. This ensures trouble-free work which will save you money in the long run.
6. Waiting for customers to come to you
Just like in the dating world, if you’re not putting yourself out there, you’re probably not going to get anywhere. Just waiting by the phone is a lonely game that successful lawn mowing professionals advise against. If you’re not working, you should be marketing yourself. Doing letterbox drops, speaking to those in your neighbourhood, let them know about your services and be friendly! Being friendly is an easy way to make people remember you.
7. Ignoring safety tips
Your young ones might think you’re superman, but your mower doesn’t care. You are a mortal and no man is a match for powerful mowers. Big machines like lawnmowers have specific safety guidelines for a reason. Be extremely diligent and careful when operating one, especially in public spaces.
8. Trying to do it alone
Again, this is where networking and getting your face out there will help you. Small businesses need to be allied with each other. There are many small businesses out there that offer services that complement lawn care and turf management. Landscaping is one of these. While landscapers do not work on lawns, they may agree to cross-refer you for lawn upkeep, and you may do the same for them when your customer may ask about revamping their gardens. It goes both ways, and it’s best practice as a business owner to network in your industry!
QTurf loves to see other Aussies getting in there and having a crack in the turf management industry. There’s more than enough turf to go around, and anyone who has the desire to build a successful business in the turf industry definitely can. If you’ve got any questions about turf or machinery, call Terry on 0428 290 009 or via our online contact form.