By Jennifer Lemcke
Although many lawn care professionals located in the South are lucky enough to provide lawn care services all year long, business owners located throughout the rest of the country are approaching the off-season still contemplating their plans to bring in a healthy revenue stream for the next few months.
Developing a solid plan is vital for any business, especially a seasonal one such as lawn care. Diversification of a business, if done properly, can increase revenue and profits. It can make a business stronger, and allow key employees continued growth within the organization.
Often, efficiencies can be created or adopted from the new service offering such as route density or cross marketing services to existing customers. Given the choice, most customers would rather hire one company to perform more than one service on their property
For lawn care businesses, the next few months offer an ideal opportunity to invest in providing add-on services such as holiday lighting and snow removal. The following are examples of a few add-on services that Weed Man and other lawn care professionals have implemented into their businesses, as well as tips to get you started on the right path toward bringing in a healthy revenue stream over the next several months.
Mark Foster, Ann Arbor, Mich.
Foster is a perfect example of how snow removal during the winter can create a healthy revenue stream during the winter season. As an industry veteran, he has been providing snow removal services to the community for the past 36 winters. If your business is located in an area where snow proves to be a yearly problem for the town, snow removal is a viable add-on service in this economy as it offers two lows; a low cost of entry and a low risk. If fertilization is a part of your everyday services during the warmer months, you can even utilize fertilization equipment for the snow removal if there is a liquid tank. For Foster, the service has proven to be successful. After originally starting with one employee, he currently has 50 employees performing snow removal services.
Mark Foster’s add-on service business tip: “Remember to get a written agreement from customers so that there is no confusion on the exact services being completed and the schedule for payments. To ensure cash flow, it is alright to ask for a pre-payment.”
Chuck Russell, Novi, Mich.
For those seeking a low-cost-of-entry, add-on option, Russell recommends pest control. Pest control is a great business opportunity that is more than just seasonal, and can provide profit margins that are equivalent to lawn care, long-term equity, as well as a very low material expense. In addition, Russell noted that pest control offers fantastic customer loyalty.
Before diving into it though, he recommends conducting the necessary research. In some states, licensing can be restrictive. Pest control will likely require businesses to obtain separate workers, as a very different set of skills are needed from the lawn care side.
Andy Kurth, Madison, Wis.
As any lawn care professional would agree, the winter months can be brutal — especially when you are located in the Northern half of the country. In addition to his lawn care services, Kurth has started offering a salting service during the winter months. As the owner of a company that takes pride in helping the local community maintain a healthy lawn, he also wanted to begin offering an environmentally friendly salt service. Whereas many salts, typically rock salts, used during the winter desiccate plants, salts such as Supermelt with DeFrost, use friendly ingredients to help melt ice — even at temperatures of zero degrees and below.
With the winter forecast that has been predicted for the Northern half of the country, selling environmentally friendly salt as an add-on service provides the opportunity for an ongoing cash flow this winter season.
Kurth’s add-on service business tip: “If implementing an add-on service, it is important to look at what services fit with your business model, and truly offer your customer base something they seek. That combination is necessary to make sure you aren’t spreading your business too thin, while also showing your customers that you are dedicated to bringing them new and exciting products/services.”
Good business diversification can result in tremendous business growth and profit. However, don’t rush into a new service add-on without thought and thorough business preparation. If it’s not done properly, diversification can increase chaos and confusion to the core business, and ultimately decrease revenue and profits. Make sure your team has the right energy and resources to fuel the new growth, and the full support needed to implement the additional service or product offering.
Jennifer Lemcke is chief operating officer of Turf Holdings Inc./Weed Man USA, Canada’s number one lawn care provider and a growing network of locally owned and operated lawn care professionals in the United States — providing environmentally responsible fertilization, weed control and integrated pest management services. Lemcke helped launch Weed Man in the United States, and is responsible for training and supporting all Weed Man sub-franchisors and franchisees, which has grown to more than 230 territories across the country. Lemcke is involved in the Professional Land Care Network, and has served on the Management Team of PLANET and as Chair of the Governance Committee. She can be reached at email@example.com or 905-579-4000, ext. 115.