How To Start a Lawn Care Business

 

Hi! My name is Jonathan Pototschnik, and I understand you are looking for information on how to start a lawn care business. I want to share a couple of quick things with you. I am the one that put together the package and wrote the guide. And now, I want to tell you why I might be a little different than a lot of the other information that you’re going to come across, and why I think I bring a different perspective to it.

I’ve been in the lawn and landscape business for quite a few years and have built a multi-million dollar company. We are in commercial and residential and are pretty diversified with both middle and high end properties. In our company, we have built a team of pretty incredible people. And, we really pride ourselves in our sales and marketing.

My background has been in ownership of many different companies in the service industry. I also now own a company called Service Auto Pilot. My partner and I built software that runs all of the marketing, scheduling, invoicing and billing for service industry companies.
I know what it takes to build a lawn care business. I’m not just going to tell you how to schedule clients and what equipment to buy. 95% of companies fail because they don’t know how to market their business.

Most guys hate selling. They hate pounding the pavement and knocking on doors. I agree. It’s horrible. So why not build a marketing system that drives all the prospects to you? These people are already ready to buy…all you have to do is close the deal.

I’ve been in business for many years so I will tell you how to bid properties. Everything from commercial to residential to big apartment complexes. You can’t just eyeball everything. I know how to do it. In the beginning, we were scared out of our minds. We wanted to get the clients but didn’t want to get slaughtered if we underbid them!

I can tell you exactly how to do that, what it will take to run your business, and how to put a system to it. I can tell you why, if you don’t get out of the business of doing all the labor and all the work yourself, that you’re going to be miserable five years from now. I can address all of that stuff. For hardly any money, you can get my unique perspective. I’d love to share it with you. If you don’t like it, send it back. I’ll give you every dollar back.

If you’re evaluating the industry, what I recommend is that you take a look at what I’ve got. Go out there and take a look at what else is out there as well. Pay attention to the guys that are really in the business and running a real company. You want to hear from the guy that started the $50,000 business and grew it to a $3 million dollar business. That guy had to go through all kinds of pain, and all kinds of experiences, and he’s been there and done it. You want that guy to show you the road map from when you’re little bitty, to when you get big. That’s what you want.

I also recommend that you just start reading everything that you can. Do a Google search and find all the industry trade journals and subscribe to all of them. They are free. Go buy a book by Dan Kennedy and learn how to market your company. You can also buy marketing books on Amazon for under $10. Learn what a PNL is and a few things about accounting. Start getting familiar with finance. Then, begin searching for lawn service software and find out what is out there for you. Of course, we have software for you, but this will get you started and informed of all of your options.

I’m giving you a whole lot. But, if you really are dedicated and you really want to turn this into something…if you don’t want to work for The Man and you don’t want to be frustrated…if you want to build a life that’s fun and cool and exciting…then you’re probably willing to do some of the extra stuff.

This is going to make you an expert. You are not going to be one of the 95% of guys that fail…you will be one of the 5% that knows what it takes to build a successful lawn care company.

Everybody needs our service. There’s grass everywhere, trees everywhere, and irrigation everywhere. Everybody needs us. I will teach you how to sell a market, how to price and estimate, what equipment to buy and how to run it. Once you know those tricks, you’ll make it in business, and you’ll really create something that’s pretty cool.

So take a look at it. If you don’t like it, send it back for a full refund, no questions asked. You’ve got a full year to try it out. I didn’t do this to get rich. I did this to earn your trust, so that hopefully down the road you will look to us when you want marketing advice or a software system to run your company. That’s why I did this. It’s just honest advice from my life experience.

If you’ve got any questions, shoot us an email and let us know how we can help you. We would love to hear from you.

Thank you.

Who Is Jonathan Pototschnik?

I started mowing lawns at 15 because I didn’t want to make $4/hr working at Dairy Queen or Sonic. I mowed yards through high school and was making more money than many of my teachers.

My dad is a successful artist… growing up I never saw him go to an office and as a result never thought I needed to work for someone else. Through mowing lawns I got the taste for being my own boss and making good money.

My freshman year of college I got out of the lawn care business… I was burned out (late 2004 I got back in the business).

Since that time I’ve founded and been part of multiple companies. Several in the service industry and several in the software industry. The businesses I’m part of now and have been part of in the past experience annual earnings ranging from 5 Million to the low 8 figures per year.

Business is really good but I’ve made plenty of ‘learning’ mistakes along the way. Daily I learn something new.

I love marketing, applying technology to systems and building companies. I’d go broke before I went to work for someone else to build their company.

Today I own two companies. One is a lawn maintenance company that has over 6000 full service residential and commercial clients. Through another, Service Autopilot, we coach savvy business owners on how to build fast growing companies that can run without their daily involvement.

Service Autopilot is also the most comprehensive lawn care software solution in the lawn & landscape industry. We currently have 15000 users and invoice several billion in revenue per year on behalf of our members.  It’s the exact same solution that runs my lawn care company and made it possible to grow quickly.

I live just north of Dallas TX.  I’m married with two boys.  When my schedule permits I prefer to spend my time auto-racing, snow boarding or traveling.

I also enjoy sharing what I’ve learned. Hence… LawnCareMillionaire.com. A completely FREE site for guys like you and me working to build lawn care companies.

Why a Female Owned Lawn Care Business Is an Advantage

Question
Does the fact that I am a female owning and operating as my own crew, does that discourage people when I advertise?

Answer:
No way. Don’t let this bother you. It’s an advantage!

I’m going to make the assumption that you currently provide residential lawn care service.

I can tell you with certainty that the female of the household is most often influencing the buying decision. Most women are either looking for the new lawn care service provider or they are telling their husband to get it done.

Just because the husband makes the call — that doesn’t mean the lady of the house wasn’t the one that made it (finally) happen. She probably did the research and told him who to call.

This isn’t how it always happens but the statistic is well over 50%.

So. This is your competitive advantage. If I were you I would promote the fact that your business is female owned. This is very rare in the lawn business (especially the part about working in the field while you build your business).

All of your door hangers, your website, and your marketing material must have your personality in it. Make yourself the celebrity of the business and play it up.

Use this advantage to set yourself apart. Moving forward I would even look for ways to hire women to help you build, run and do the work of the business.

Most lawn care companies all look exactly the same to the consumer. They all say the same thing. You have an opportunity to get attention and look different than all the rest.

Who knows… there may be a few guys out there that wrongly assume your quality won’t be that of a male owned business. Who cares?!? They aren’t the customer you want. All you have to do is connect with a small percentage of the marketplace, treat them well, give them great service and good quality and they will be very loyal to you.

And they will talk about you to their friends!

I promise… if you think this is a negative you have to stop telling yourself that. This is an advantage.

Buying Lawn Mowers At Wholesale Prices

Question:
Where can I buy lawn mowers at wholesale prices?

Answer:
Even if we were buying 100 mowers at one time we would negotiate a deal with the vendors in our local market.

Every December we test the market to see if the price we are paying for equipment and supplies is still extremely competitive (we buy most of the equipment and supplies we anticipate needing for the upcoming year in December for tax reasons).
Over the years we have spent a lot of time looking around for the very best prices. The prices we can negotiate in the local market are generally as good as any we can find.

Note: If you want maximum negotiating power buy all of your lawn care equipment at once.

Even if we were able to slightly beat the local vendors we normally buy mowers, line trimmers, stick edges, trailers, truck beds, etc from by buying out of state or 100 miles away — we would continue to purchase from the local vendors we have relationships with.

I firmly believe that if we take care of our vendors and send them a lot of business they will take care of us in a hurry when we need very fast service. (Or need them to help us find a new employee.)
If not, we will find another local vendor next year when we make a very large equipment purchase.

We try to be very loyal to our vendors as long as they are good to us and remain very competitive on price.