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Make Money Cutting Grass

How do you make money cutting grass?
There’s a lot of little secrets to being profitable when running a lawn service to make a living.
Keep one thing in mind; the ultimate goal is to be profitable as much of the time as possible.
That truly is the whole purpose of starting a lawn care business, right?
There will always be things that get in the way.
In fact, it will seem like EVERYTHING is ALWAYS trying to keep you from making a decent profit:
  • Bad weather slowing you and your crews down
  • Help not showing up
  • Equipment breakdowns
  • Subpar performance from employees
  • Clients not paying
  • Customers wanting to talk forever
  • Other contactors being in the way
  • Market price being too low
  • Disorganized route
  • Slow Pays (More of a cash flow issue, but still belongs here)


That is the short list……………………


So how do you combat some of these things and still manage to stay profitable?


Bad Weather

Ok, you can’t control the weather, and it can wreak havoc on your schedule for sure. This will affect your ability to make money cutting grass!


No matter where you are located geographically, the weather will have an impact on your lawn care business.

Being in South Florida, the main weather issues that affect us down here are rain and heat.


Oh, and hurricanes, but they have a slightly different impact on business. We have a couple months of steady work following a hurricane.


During our rainy season in South Florida, we get rain every single day almost, and the lawn care people are almost as good at predicting the weather as the weather people are.


Our lawn routes get disrupted because during rainy season, we may only get to cut in one area during the storms. It may be raining in every other part of town.


Try to keep your equipment as dry as possible, and always keep your crews safe.


A few other things to keep in mind:

  • Pay attention to the weather, and know what's coming a few days ahead and plan for it.
  • Always keep safety in mind - Lightening and string trimmers don't mix.
  • Keep string trimmers covered with a bag if you are in the rain and you use an open trailer.
  • If in hurricane areas, have plenty of chains/oil for saws during a storm - you won't find them at the stores until it's all over!
  • Anticipate decreased productivity during the really hot days, it will slow you and helpers down
  • Keep plenty of water available during summer months, and remember, new helpers will get overheated
  • Educate your helpers on the signs of heat exhaustion

Try to plan ahead and expect weather issues that will affect your lawn care route. The better planned and organized you are, the more you will profit.


Be prepared for major events such as hurricanes, tornadoes, high winds, ice storms, etc.


As unfortunate as these events are, they are a huge potential revenue booster for your lawn business, but only if you are prepared for them.


The first hurricane I went through, I ran out of chains for the saws on the second day of clean up, and you couldn’t find chains for over 3 weeks following the storms. And I was getting clean up calls daily!


Help not showing up

This is a tough one, and the main reason I stopped servicing lawns and went to only doing landscape work.


Good help is hard to find!


If you find a good solid worker, try your best to be fair, treat them right, give them opportunities to grow, but you may as well expect a very high turnover rate in this industry.


I got to the point that I always kept a buffer day open on my lawn care route, just for the unexpected things that happen. That was usually someone not showing up. At least this way, I was not behind schedule due to the no show.


Equipment Breakdowns

The better your equipment runs, the more profitable you will be.


If you are struggling for 10 minutes yanking on a pull cord to get a trimmer started, you are losing money.


Use good gas, no ethanol, and use good oil mix.

Keep basic maintenance tools on your rig:

  • Wrenches and basic tools
  • Tire patch kit
  • Plugs for trimmers, blowers, etc
  • Extra blades for mowers
  • Spare deck belt
  • Extra gas and mix
  • First aid kit
  • Water

The more prepared you are for the invitable breakdown, the sooner you can be back in service, which leads to better profit!


Distractions when you are trying to run the route will affect efficiency

The old saying “time is money” applies here.


Try to keep distractions to a minimum.


It doesn’t matter what the distractions are, anything that slows you down while running the lawn care route cost you money!


You will always have one client that would talk for hours if you let them.

Be polite, but let them know you gotta go!


When I was in  “grass cutting mode”, it was all about get in, get done, and get out.


Down here in Florida, a typical lot is only a quarter acre, and with market prices so low, you should be in, out, and gone in 10 minutes.


If you allow just 5 minutes distraction on each property during the day, it’s costing you over an hour in labor for the day. If you have a 3 person crew, that’s 3 hours pay!


Disorganized route

Plan your work, work your plan.


I see new LCO’s fail to set a good route and stick with the route all the time. Failure to have a good route set up is a huge time and money drain.


Map out your route to minimize drive time between properties, and stick to the route.


If you get behind, clients start calling, you are tempted to drop everything and go take care of them.

Once you do that, you are “off route” and driving from one end of town to the other.


The bottom line

The bottom line is that anything and everything that affects your efficiency during the day will affect…..well…..your bottom line!


Try to keep your equipment in good running order, minimize distractions, stay on the routes you have already mapped out, and keep your help lined out so they know what they are supposed to be doing at all times.


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