With a creative problem-solving mindset, you can overcome any obstacle to growing your lawn maintenance business.

Hey Clippers! Dave Tucker here to talk about thinking outside the box.

When you’re running a small business, you’re bound to encounter a few hiccups. And you’ll sometimes need a creative mindset and a can-do attitude to overcome them. I’m going to share a few common challenges to running a lawn maintenance business and my ideas for getting around them.

What if I can’t drive?

There are a number of reasons why you might not be able to drive. For example, you might have a health issue or no access to a vehicle, or you may simply be too young.

But being unable to drive doesn’t mean you can’t start a lawn maintenance business. You may recall the story of my nephew, James, who started mowing lawns when he was eleven. He was five years away from his driver’s license and still earned $2500 his first summer!

James’ solution is the easiest: He just limited his range to how far he could walk. If you focus on finding customers in your own neighborhood, you can get the job done on foot. The added exercise is a great bonus.

A creative alternative is to buy a small trailer once your business has earned enough money to afford it. Then, hitch it to your walk-behind or stander mower and load it up with your trimmer, blower, and other tools. Now you can get more gear around the neighborhood faster without a license.

Believe it or not, these low-cost options can give you a competitive advantage. You can give your customers better prices because you’re not paying to fuel and maintain a truck. And when the time comes, you can always hire a driver.

 

What if I can’t afford to buy lawn maintenance equipment yet?

James couldn’t afford a lawnmower at age eleven, either. So he borrowed a mower from a friendly neighbor and mowed their lawn for free as payment. Eventually, he earned enough to buy his own mower. But, of course, you could do the same thing.

Renting equipment is another option. Renting gives you the flexibility to try out a few different mowers, so you know exactly which one you want once you’re ready to buy.

And don’t forget to check Craiglist, NextDoor, and Facebook Marketplace for cheap options. Maybe you can’t buy new yet, but as we discussed recently, the right used machine is a great option.

 

What if my lawn maintenance equipment doesn’t get the job done efficiently?

I’m going to answer this question with a story. I heard about a lawn maintenance company that landed a job maintaining medians. Every four weeks, one of their guys would spend six long days edging ten miles of medians. No matter how they tried to retrofit the edging machine, they couldn’t make the job go much faster.

The company owner decided to get creative. After a lot of trial and error, he came up with a brilliant solution. He welded a tractor disc to the end of a pipe and mounted that to a snowplow attachment on his truck. Now he could simply drive along the median with the disc at the right angle at twelve miles an hour. He got six days’ worth of work done in about three hours with this handy new gadget.

I could tell you endless stories like this. Sometimes I can’t believe the ingenuity options of the beautiful business. But the bottom line is this: Just because a tool doesn’t exist doesn’t mean it can’t. So get creative, and don’t be afraid to DIY the perfect solution for you. You and your creativity are a key determining factor necessary to grow your lawn maintenance business.

 

How do I keep track of all my lawn maintenance customers?

A booming business is a blessing and a curse. You’re thrilled with all the revenue, but suddenly you’ve got more jobs, customers, and details to keep track of. The risk of dropping the ball and disappointing a customer goes up, along with your stress levels.

This problem is why I created CLIP, my lawn maintenance company software. I wanted an affordable solution to help other folks like me grow their business and spend less time stressing over the particulars. CLIP manages all the details for you: customer profiles, payments, schedules, and employees. CLIP will even map out your ideal route between jobs so you can save time.

Resourcefulness and innovation are as important as the right mower. If you’re willing to think outside the box and embrace creative solutions, you can succeed in the beautiful business.