One of the biggest hurdles for people who choose landscaping as their small Business is the feast or famine aspect. Revenue peaks and valleys are a real issue. Not only for lawn mowing services but for any business that has ups and downs in cash flow during the year.
As business owners, we can view these issues as problems or challenges. A problem is something we complain about. A challenge is something we are more likely to take personally and overcome.
So let’s look at some ways landscapers, in particular, can battle the slow months of the year when the grass is not growing.
Talk and Listen
Take time to talk to your customers, then listen. It’s easy to get in a hurry when you have 32 acres to mow before the days end. But you will leave Money on the table if you fail to connect to the good people who pay you regularly. A five-minute conversation could turn into a request for a retaining wall estimate. Or they may mention that their neighbor is looking into a water pond.
Talking with customers naturally results in more work. Maybe not immediately, but it could materialize in the dead of winter when you need extra work.
Services like lawn care, house painting, and even garbage collection are going high-tech. We may never see a weed-whacking robot on every lawn, but as the owner of a service-based business, technology should be your friend.
There are apps designed to connect service providers with customers. So it’s a no-brainer to get onboard with a company looking to find customers for you. For example, these tech companies know how to find customers who need interior painting in the cold of winter. That’s a big help to a painting crew wanting to stay busy… and warm!
Often the best solution to a problem is the simplest solution. If your lawn business is slow from December through February, you need to pay attention to what services people are using in those months.
- Do you see gutter cleaning companies in your neighborhood?
- Are people having their carpets cleaned before Thanksgiving and Christmas?
- Do your friends and family hang their own Christmas lights, or are they hiring a company to do that?
By watching how folks are spending their money in your slower season, you’ll find ways to offer those services as well. It’s not a guessing game as to what sells when you physically see the same services being performed over and over.
Be Social Year-round
Using social media to promote your small business is smart. And it’s easy to post projects in the busy season. After all, you have something to “talk” about and show off.
Don’t forget to be sociable during the slower season though. Facebook conversations can lead to similar results as chatting with your customers face to face.
What can you talk about online?
How climbing ladders is one of the top ways to get sent to the ER… then mention your new Christmas lights installation service.
Put up a post about how clogged gutters can rot parts of a house. November is the prime time people search for “gutter clean,” according to Google Trends.
Use news items that are trending on your Facebook feed. Connect your services and advice to a local or national news story.
Foot In The Door
During the slower months of the year, you may have to round up some new customers to add to your base. One easy way to do that is to offer a tiny service for a very reasonable price.
Landscapers can get their foot in the door with a simple task like testing homeowners’ soil. Or if you have a friend in the roofing business, you could offer free roof inspections. You’d be able to help your friend get more business and drop off your card as well.
I could point you to 50 different tools to budget your money in order to survive down months in your Seasonal Business. But here are my top picks:
Clark Howard is a consumer advocate who can help you get your spending under control. He is a pro at finding deals on flights and he can spot a financial scam from 100 yards away.
For a digital approach to budgeting, give YNAB (You Need A Budget) a try. This software will help you tell your money where to go before it slips away mysteriously each week.
I’ll admit that getting out and staying out of debt sounds impossible. But if you need a pep talk about “acting your wage,” take a listen to Dave Ramsey’s podcast.
If you like to handle your money with a smartphone, there are several apps for that. Mint is still one of the best, with over 190,000 reviews on Apple’s App Store.
Maybe you want no part of an elaborate budgeting system, then it’s simple. Spend less than you make. It’s not easy, but it is a worthy, actionable habit to build. Especially for landscapers who have more revenue in the warm months.
Your business may never have as steady an income as you’d like all through the year. But if you are steady and consistent in pursuit of that goal, you will see a big improvement.
Try to implement these tips to see which work best for your specific seasonal business.
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