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Motivate Lawn Care Employees All Year Long

Published on August 21, 2018

Learning how to motivate lawn care employees not only creates a more enjoyable workplace, but it also creates loyalty.


Because motivated employees WANT to work for you and do a great job.

Having this much loyalty makes your business MUCH easier to grow. As a result, you won’t be losing entire crews every other week in the height of the season.

So how do you motivate your team when increasing standard wages, providing PTO, and offering medical benefits is not always an option?

We’re going to show you the 8 most common, most cost-effective ways to motivate lawn care employees while NOT breaking your bank.

1. Award Gift Cards “Just Because”

Award your employees gift cards to places they can grab lunch or dinner, movie and bowling passes, or even Amazon.

And here's the kicker that most lawn and landscape owners don't realize...

They don’t have to be expensive cards!

Even $5 to $25 gift cards can motivate your team. All it might take is a $5 Dunkin Donuts card to get your team pumped for work.

Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Dunkin’ Donuts
  • Amazon
  • Movie Theater passes
  • Fandango.com (they rent movies online or get a theater ticket!)
  • Free game of bowling
  • Free car wash
  • Restaurant gift cards


Find a place that offers points or discounts for purchasing gift cards.

Kroger often offers Bonus Fuel Points when you buy a gift card, and Costco usually has gift cards at a discounted price.

2. Offer a Commission Program for New Lawn Care Clients

Develop a commission program where you give your employees a $15 - $25 gift card for each new client they convert.

Or, make it a team effort and set one sales goal for the entire team. When the goal is hit, take the team out for a big celebration. The bigger the goal, the bigger the party!

3. Hold a Monthly Drawing

Tickets for the drawings are earned by doing excellent work, getting a good review, keeping equipment cleaned, etc.

They can also be lost for negative reviews and showing up late. Include both big and small items in your drawings. These are just a few ideas to get you thinking:

4. End of Year or Seasonal Bonuses

Think about issuing a Christmas Bonus or end of season bonus.

You can take into account time worked, position, and length of employment when determining the amount.

Your team just needs to know you appreciate their hard work, and that you're willing to share your successes with them.

At the end of the day, no one wants a boss who's not willing to share their successes with the team that's made it happen.

And let's face it... Without your awesome team, your lawn and landscape business would still be run by "a guy in a truck" (AKA you).

Even the smallest of bonuses and raises can make your team feel appreciated and acknowledged. This means they're more likely to be happy and stick with you. They're also more likely to work even harder for you.

5. Support Their Career Path

Provide additional training and cross-training. Show them there is a path for growth within your lawn and landscape business that could lead to a crew leader position.

Just be sure you motivate lawn care employees with positive rewards.

You want them to see the value of additional training when it comes to their career path - not complain about having additional work to do... so MAKE IT FUN!

6. Pay for Gym Memberships or Warehouse Clubs

Get a Sam’s Club or Costco membership and give your team members access to those discount clubs. Also, you can also offer a full (or discounted) membership to local gyms.

These rewards may seem trivial to you, but they can mean the world to your team. These are the kinds of rewards that don't just benefit them, but they benefit their families as well.

Show your team that you actually care about them, and that you're willing to give them a few nice "lifestyle perks" every now and then. Give them a reason to want to go above and beyond for the business you created.

7. Give Your Lawn Care Team Members Individual Attention

When an employee does something exemplary, like is the cause of a GREAT review, be sure to not only privately congratulate them... but also publicly praise them.

It does wonders for employee morale. As a result, your outstanding team member feels appreciated, and the rest of your team feels motivated.

It's all about showing your employees that you notice their dedication and you reward it.

8. Be a GREAT Leader in Your Lawn Care & Landscaping Business

Lead by example. Be a positive motivator. Be a great coach. Don’t be a harsh dictator.

And most importantly, remember this as you motivate your lawn care employees: You catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.

No one is going to want to work hard for a boss that's angry and unappreciative all the time. This is how you lose good employees.

Make sure you're the boss you WISH you had... and not necessarily the boss you actually had.

Often times, lawn care owners make excuses saying things like:

"Well, my boss was never nice to me. I never got noticed with rewards, bonuses or raises!"

Then, there's another group of lawn care owners. You know, the cheapskates, saying things like:

"I shouldn't have to give my employees any incentives to work hard. It's their job! Since when did we start rewarding people for doing their jobs?"

The Excuses End Here.

I understand the resistance. Really, I do. No one likes spending money... especially when money is probably already tight.

But, think back to all the times you've had team members quit. All of the times you've had call-ins, shoddy work, complaints and bad reviews. Remember the clients you've lost.

How much money have you already lost, because your team isn't happy working for you?

Here's the thing: You care about your business, because it's YOUR LAWN BUSINESS. NOT THEIRS.

The harsh reality is this: No one cares about your lawn care business like you do and you shouldn't expect them to either.

After all, why should they care about something they're not even profiting on?

Every second, you decide to keep your head in the clouds, is another second your lawn business continues suffering.

End the suffering of your business now. Don't be that cranky, cheapskate owner that's still stuck in the past. No one likes that owner, and their business will never get anywhere.

Your employees have stuck by you. Now, it's time for you to stick by them.

9. Be Sure to Address the Negatives, Too

You have to account for mess ups, too.

If you're giving out bonuses or tickets for drawings... You could create a system that takes into account both positive AND negative actions by your employees.

  • Did they get a bad review?
  • Show up late too often?
  • Not taking care of their equipment?

Just as it’s important to point out successes, it’s equally important that you address the failures on your team.


Motivate Lawn Care Employees = Better for Your Business

Keeping your team motivated throughout a long, hot season will keep them working for you.

A hard-working, loyal team means…

  • Jobs get done on time - or even quicker.
  • Customers are satisfied.
  • Clients will recommend you.
  • You take on more clients (due to the rockstars on your team).
  • Less hiring nightmares.

The bottom line is this: You need to give to get.

Motivate your teams and they’ll stay motivated for you.

Related: How to Find and Hire the Best Lawn Care Employees

Originally published August 21, 2018 12:30 PM, updated July 24, 2019 11:06 AM

Lisa Marino

Lisa Marino is the Sr. Marketing Director for Service Autopilot. She uses her 17+ years in direct marketing, sales, and product development to push entrepreneurs beyond their limits. She's passionate about helping others grow their businesses through time-tested marketing techniques. When not writing, you can find her belting out a mean Stevie Nicks at a local karaoke night.


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