Small lawns are the bane of some lawn care business owners - they hate unloading their equipment to work on a lawn that takes 10 minutes to mow.
It takes longer to get there and unload than it does to do the work. And the homeowner doesn’t want to pay enough to justify the drive. “My yard is so small,” they say.
BUT there is a way to make those small, postage-stamp-sized lawns create huge profits for your business. It’s all in how you sell.
Many, many lawn care business owners see small lawns as the price of doing business - they get your foot in the door for upsells that are actually profitable.
That’s only true if your business model and pricing structure aren’t fine-tuned to handle them.
The way to make little lawns work for you is to sell that work in tight clusters. If you’re driving 15 minutes to one little lawn and then 15 minutes to the next little lawn, it seriously cuts into your profits at each of them. It can even put you in the hole!
BUT - if you have 4 or 5 or even 10 lawns all in a row, you get to greatly reduce drive time. If they are only separated by a house or two, you get to lose the wasted time of loading and unloading equipment.
THIS is how you make small lawns work for you - you aggressively own the neighborhoods with postage-stamp-sized lawns. You park at one end of the block and mow to the other.
The best part of this strategy is that most lawn care business owners are writing off these neighborhoods as a waste of time or, at best, a pathway to money later - not exactly a huge motivator to spend marketing dollars and sales effort!
Because you see the value in the neighborhoods, you can pursue them as the very valuable clients they are. You can direct a juicy offer right at this neighborhood - for real, use the name of the neighborhood in the marketing materials.
Tell them you want them. No other lawn care company in your area will dream of wasting the money to direct an offer specifically at those low-dollar, tiny lawns.
Once you’ve broken into a small-lawn neighborhood, you want to generate a HUGE amount of profit from your customer base there.
This is why most lawn care companies are willing to lose money on maintenance to get in for fertilization, weed control and fall clean-up upsells.
You’ve already made these jobs profitable by clustering them and winning a lot of maintenance work in the neighborhood. Now you have the opportunity to get as many upsells as you can, and it’s all gravy.
Upselling is the easiest kind of sales - you have a customer who already knows who you are and the excellent service you provide. You’re coming to them and offering to take one more thing off their plate for a fair price. This is an awesome position to be in as a salesman!
Small lawns mean less material per lawn, less time spent on labor per lawn, and, because you’ve grouped the work, less drive time between these lawns. All of that adds up to a wildly productive crew that makes fewer trips back to your shop or supplier.
If you don’t know what to upsell - we’ve got 7 BIG IDEAS of services for you to increase profits with limited equipment purchases.
For your upsold services, it’s important to keep in mind the same tactics that made the maintenance jobs profitable in the first place: grouping them tightly to cut out unnecessary drive time that eats profits.
It can be tempting to take the easy way out and group the jobs at random since they’ll probably still be profitable - BUT you’re not that kind of lawn care business owner. Let’s walk through how to do this as efficiently and profitably as possible:
Use something like Service Autopilot Automations to tag your clients by neighborhood and direct a timely offer for the upsell into their inbox. When someone calls in or responds to the email to purchase an upsell service, you need to add them to a list of people in their neighborhood waiting on that service.
Have a specific day that you’re planning on sending a crew out to that neighborhood and stick to it - get as many sales as you can in that neighborhood. Ahead of the deadline, you can have an office assistant call people in the neighborhood who haven’t responded yet.
You can even have the crew knock on the door of clients who haven’t given you a yes (make sure they’ve got a little bit of a discount to offer - that may be the final thing that pushes a fence-sitter over!)
You’ll probably end up with a few jobs that come in after the deadline. In the name of great customer service, you can take the jobs and consider that little bite out of your profits the cost of doing great business.
Follow these tips to convert tiny lawns from loss-leaders in your business to profit powerhouses. Work to build greater and greater density. Use targeted upsell campaigns to get higher-margin services into these neighborhoods with cookie-cutter lawns.
Don’t let the broader lawn care community’s beliefs about small lawns to cloud your judgment - you can make good money working on small lawns. You have to invest the time and marketing effort to make them ultra-profitable.