With a bit of creativity and a little planning, your lawn maintenance business income can support you and your employees year-round.
Hey Clippers! Dave Tucker here to talk about what happens with your lawn maintenance business when everyone’s lawn is buried in snow. Needless to say, the grass isn’t growing past a certain time of year. But that doesn’t mean your business has to go stagnant too. So if you’re wondering how to turn a profit in those colder months, keep reading.
I know many people in the beautiful business, and I’ve seen endless creative options for earning money in the winter. Their work generally falls into three different categories:
Do another type of lawn and home care.
I’m a big fan of the “mow, blow, and go” approach. But if there’s no mowing work to do, you can offer other services, such as:
- Leaf removal. Get those blowers out, pick up a few rakes, and keep your crews moving.
- Snow removal. Offer a seasonal contract to your regular customers so you can make money even if the snow isn’t falling. Bring in extra revenue by working for companies who need their parking lots plowed.
- Hang Christmas lights. I know a guy who bought a Christmas light franchise to keep his crews busy well into the holiday season.
Do entirely different work.
Plenty of folks treat the winter months as a chance to take a break from land maintenance and work on something else. Here are a few examples I’ve heard of:
- House flipping. I know a guy who buys a run-down house every fall, spends the winter fixing it up, and sells it in the spring for a hefty profit.
- Delivery. Put those trucks to work and partner up with another business that needs to move large items around town. Think firewood, Christmas trees, or even coal.
- Basic service and maintenance for lawn care equipment. Just because homeowners like to mow their own lawn doesn’t mean they know how to care for their mower. Set a basic maintenance package price: an oil change, new spark plugs, and new blades. For a few extra bucks, you can offer pick-up and drop-off too.
Think about what you like to do and what you do well. You have already started one successful business. So who’s to say you can’t do it again?
Go work for—or with—someone else.
In the beautiful business, winter is the slow season. But other business owners have the opposite problem! Ski resort owners, retail stores, and Christmas tree farms need extra help once it gets cold out. So you might go work for them for a few months just for a chance to do something different. It’s an excellent opportunity to see first-hand how someone else does business.
Better yet: Is there a way you can partner up with these guys? You’ve probably got a few nice trucks and trailers for your business. Maybe one of the Christmas tree farms will hire you to do delivery.
Of course, there’s another option to consider:
Take the winter off.
That’s the beautiful part of the beautiful business: You’re the boss. So if you want to kick up your feet as soon as the first snowflake hits the ground, be my guest. You’d hardly be the first in our line of work. The freedom to spend a few weeks or months focused on family is my favorite part of this lifestyle.
Just remember: Time off still costs money. If you’re going to spend a few months relaxing, you need to plan your spending accordingly. It isn’t much fun if you’re pinching pennies and wishing you had more income. Make sure you’ve got enough saved up to cover your expenses and whatever extra travel you plan to do.
Word to the wise: Remember your workers.
If your lawn maintenance business has grown past just you, you’ve got employees to think about. If you’re paying them year-round, you need to think about where that payroll money will come from. We avoid this problem by hiring seasonal workers through the H-2B program. But you may need to think differently.
Think creatively about alternative work for your crew. Here are a few I’ve heard of:
- Strike up a deal with a winter-focused business, like a ski resort, and get them to hire your employees for the season.
- Contract with a construction company that’d like to hire your employees “from” you for a short time.
- Find someone who needs trucks and drivers for the season. Maybe a hardware store or a plant nursery could use some extra delivery help.
Remember, your employees are relying on you for an income. So please don’t leave them high and dry.
Whatever the case, make sure you have a plan.
You’ve got plenty of options for making the best of the winter months. Just remember: None of them will succeed if you don’t have a firm lawn maintenance business income plan for the winter. So get clear on your actions and their outcomes so you can do your thing without having to worry.