Top 10 Mistakes Made By Contractors when they Start Their Own Lawn Mowing And Gardening Business

Here are some things contractors often get wrong when they start out:

1. Working by the Hour: Once you commit yourself to working for customers on an hourly rate then in their eyes you are not worth anymore than that hourly rate. Working by the hour kills any chance to make serious money.  Always quote a fixed price for jobs. $20 for this lawn, $40 for that one, $980 for the list of gardening tasks – get the picture

2. Inefficiencies: Slow machines and clumsy, inefficient operations hinder your chances of making serious money. Even though it will cost in the beginning, be sure to have the best equipment for the job at hand

3. Bad Attitude: Get rid of the bad attitude! Customers can pick you a mile away. Some contractors (young and old) regard customers as old fogies or as easy targets to be ripped off.  Big Mistake! You’ll make loads more money by cultivating respectful, friendly relationships with your customers

4. Unreliability: Nothing infuriates and upsets customers faster than erratic and unreliable service. On occasions you may fall behind in your roster of work, but keep the customers informed and “in the loop”

5. Arbitrary Price Increases: Sudden price hikes also infuriate customers. You can raise prices, but only with a spirit of friendly negotiation

6. Poor Quality Work: Sloppy work is another good way to lose customers. You’re a professional, so your customers’ lawns should look as good as or better than any in the neighbourhood

7. Big Spending: Buying a bunch of fancy stuff up front – brand new truck, brand new trailer, etc, brand new ride on mowers, tools and so on  – is a big mistake. Buy things only as they are needed and as the business has the actual cash flow to pay for them

8. Executive Mowing: This is that wonderful scheme where you send out the troops to do the grunt work while you sit home by the pool sipping on cocktails.  This one belongs in your “Maybe someday” file.  For beginners it’s usually fatal.

9. Homeowner Machines: Most of us start with machines designed for homeowners. That’s fine if you start out with Dad’s old mower etc, but buying more of the same when the Dad’s old mower blows up is another big mistake. Only acquire machinery with Commercial warranty

10. Hiring “Under the Table” workers: This is a giant mistake.  If you’re going to classify your workers as “subcontractors”, make sure they qualify. Check these details with your accountant

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