DIY Lawn Care & Gardening

Lawn Care Pros: These Are 5 Ways You’re Sabotaging Your Business 

Starting a business or looking to grow yours? Avoiding these mistakes can make you more efficient, so you can focus on reaching your goals—fast.
Amber Guetebier Avatar
A close up of a lawn mower at work on a green lawn.

Photo: Julia Klueva

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What You Need to Know

  • Some of the most basic mistakes lawn care professionals make with their business can be the most costly. 
  • These mistakes include not choosing product delivery, choosing low-quality products, overlooking products that don’t contain harsh chemicals, not taking advantage of offers available exclusively to professionals, and not making an effort to stand out from the competition. 
  • Avoiding these mistakes as a lawn care business owner means that you can focus on growing your clientele, expanding your services, and hiring more employees. 
Sunday Lawn Care

DIY Lawn Care. Simplified.

Bob Vila has partnered with Sunday to get lawns exactly what they need to thrive. See Sunday’s Pro Program

A thriving lawn care business isn’t just about making the grass grow. The best lawn care companies have an ever-expanding loyal client base, with satisfied customers who get the lawn care service they need, when they need it. Whether these companies offer year-round lawn care or seasonal services, lawn care can be a demanding industry that requires businesses to be available with materials on hand as soon as Mother Nature gives the green light. What many lawn care company owners may not realize are the big—and small—ways in which they are costing themselves time and money. In fact, some of the most common business mistakes lawn care companies can make also happen to be the most costly. 

An overhead view of a person mowing a lawn.
Photo: coldsnowstorm

These 5 Basic Mistakes May Be Secretly Costing You Tons of Time and Money

When business owners are looking to build an empire–or at least a successful lawn care business–it’s important for them to be aware of common mistakes that cost time and money. Having this awareness can help lawn care company owners focus attention on their customers and the growth of their business.

Sunday Lawn Care

DIY Lawn Care. Simplified.

Bob Vila has partnered with Sunday to get lawns exactly what they need to thrive. See Sunday’s Pro Program

1. Wasting time and money picking up products and materials.

As a small-business owner, every minute spent away from the jobsite is time lost. This includes the time it takes driving to pick up materials and products needed to use for your clients. And just like at the grocery store, sometimes the best lawn care products or materials required are out of stock or low in stock. With a little advance planning, this can be avoided by having products delivered. 

It’s not just sod and soil that can be delivered, either. Many companies today offer an array of lawn care–specific products, such as the right blend of grass seed, nontoxic pesticides, and fertilizers formulated for new grass. These products can be ordered in advance to be delivered directly to the client or if preferred, the business owner’s home or office. As long as the lawn care pro trusts the products or brand, this helps guarantee the right products are on hand whenever there’s a need, and it eliminates the frustration of driving around town only to discover the product is out of stock. 

2. Choosing low-quality products and materials based on low prices. 

Creating a budget is an important step for any company, but when they’re just starting out, many lawn care business owners may be tempted to spend less on the products, materials, tools, or equipment they need to save on overhead costs. However, letting customers know that the company stands for quality, even if that means the cost is a little higher, can help a company build a good reputation. Customers are more inclined to pay a premium if there is transparency around costs and an understanding of why certain products are preferred. 

Customers, and in turn the lawn care business, will only benefit from consistent product quality. Landscaping and lawn care both require an investment in time to see the results, so the use of quality materials and products that are designed for long-term sustainability will serve to boost the reputation of the lawn care business long after the job is done. Lawn care businesses thrive on word-of-mouth and client referrals, so a business that develops a reputation for using poor-quality materials and products or that lacks consistency with the products it uses can lose customers over time. 

3. Overlooking products that don’t contain harsh chemicals.

While home gardeners have long touted the use of nonchemical alternatives to treat pests and disease, all-natural products may be viewed by some as ineffective. However, products that don’t contain harsh chemicals have come a long way. Today’s products have science-backed natural ingredients that can help revive a lawn and provide targeted treatments to rid a yard of pests, weeds, and diseases. They are also more pet- and kid-friendly—qualities that are increasingly more important for many homeowners. More and more companies are recognizing the negative impact that unnecessary chemicals have on the environment, including the destruction of habitats for bees or other garden-friendly pollinators, and are developing natural products that are better for the planet.

Products with fewer chemicals also support the long-term sustainable health of a lawn and the environment. While some chemicals may provide a quick fix, such as high concentrations of nitrogen in fertilizers to boost rapid growth or greening of grass, ultimately they do more harm than good. According to the Princeton Student Climate Initiative, homeowners in the United States use approximately 3 million tons of nitrogen-based fertilizers every year. The production of nitrogen-based products releases carbon into the atmosphere at a rate of 4 to 5 tons of carbon for every single ton of nitrogen produced. 

In addition, nitrogen can run off into bodies of water including lakes, rivers, and the ocean, causing toxic algae blooms that can choke out wildlife. In light of facts like these, more and more people are choosing products that are less harmful to the environment. For businesses that operate in the outdoors, the benefit of also choosing natural ingredients is twofold: customers that are like-minded may gravitate toward your services, and as a business owner, you can feel better about your choices and take pride in being a steward of the earth. 

4. Not taking advantage of offers exclusive to pros. 

Although investing in top-quality products is smart for any lawn care business, that doesn’t always mean paying top dollar. There are lawn care product brands that offer industry pros plenty of perks. This can come in the form of loyalty programs, exclusive deals and discounts, wholesale pricing, and bulk-order discounts.

In addition, some lawn care product companies offer lawn care professionals paid referrals. For example, if a client chooses to sign up for a lawn care product subscription, the lawn care pro who referred the client to the product may receive a financial reward. Directly, this can reduce costs overall for the lawn care business. Indirectly, this creates consistency with the type of products a client is using. The client either continues to use the recommended lawn care products at home in between visits from their lawn care professional or has the products on hand for the pro to use. Plus, it may even cut down on lawn care costs for the client, with no sacrifice to the lawn care company’s bottom line, and there’s no wondering or guessing what a customer used on their lawn. 

5. Not standing out from the competition.

For lawn care professionals, it’s quite common to not be the only company in town. Still, lawn care business owners can make the mistake of trying to be too similar to their competitors. While using competitive pricing for basic services is a good idea, there are other ways to stand out while still delivering what the clientele needs—this is the key to lasting success. Lawn care services can consider expanding the business into tree care or landscaping, or they might want to build a business based on environmentally sustainable practices. Ultimately, business owners will want to offer something enticing and unique to their customers.

In time, lawn care business owners who find their unique blend of attractive services, quality products and equipment, and efficient tools are better positioned to stand out. They can do this through quality products and equipment, efficient tools, and by finding ways to save time and money. This allows them to offer a top-notch service and cater to loyal and dedicated clientele. That means they can focus on other parts of their business, such as getting more customers, hiring employees, and expanding their services—which, in the long term, can mean more money and success. 

A close up of a green lawn mower.
Photo: deepblue4you

I’m a Lawn Care Pro. These Are the Biggest Mistakes I Made With My Business—And How I Fixed Them

I’ve been working in some aspect of the landscaping industry for more than 20 years, and I’ve made plenty of mistakes. It’s one thing to be good with plants; it’s another thing entirely to be good at landscaping or lawn care business management. I came to landscaping from a retail nursery background, so I had spent a lot of time with product vendors in the past discussing what products should take up any real estate on the nursery shelves. But if I didn’t have that insider knowledge working directly with vendors, I think it would have been daunting to determine what products were best for clients in that specific area. 

For example, heat-stressed lawns were rare in San Francisco where my business was based, but mysterious spots on the lawn, especially curbside, were common. In the beginning, I purchased my materials at a retail price, but one day I ran into a vendor I’d worked with in the past and we set up a meeting. It turned out that vendor provided bulk discounts for industry professionals, not just retailers. I made the mistake of not thinking about buying in bulk at special prices just for pros. I was losing money—and I didn’t even know it. 

As a business owner, I also knew I wouldn’t be applying heavy pesticides or using chemicals in any of the gardens I installed or lawns I maintained, and I made this very clear to clients on our first meeting. My background in retail nursery had introduced me to many large-scale growers who were organic or low-chemical growers, so I knew it could be done. 

The eco-friendly choice is one of the core values of lawn care company Sunday. Sunday’s lawn care products are excellent options for homeowners, and they are one of the best DIY lawn care subscriptions available. Sunday has options for professionals and lawn care businesses, too. The company offers its high-quality, eco-friendly lawn care solutions that are shipped in bulk, with discounts and paid referrals available to pros via the Sunday pro program. With the brand values and product quality of Sunday, pros can’t go wrong.

Sunday Lawn Care

DIY Lawn Care. Simplified.

Bob Vila has partnered with Sunday to get lawns exactly what they need to thrive. See Sunday’s Pro Program