It's winter again, and you’re trying to decide what you'll do with your lawn care business to make it through the off-season. For many lawn care owners, the answer is to add snow services to their lawn and snow company.
After all, adding snow removal services to your lawn and snow company allows you to:
By offering snow and ice removal during the winter, you can not only make more money - but you’ll also keep your team’s rockstars and your best clients happy.
Unlike when you first started your lawn care business, you already have clients and a team.
In other words, it might not be as hard as you think to add snow removal services to your business.
Here’s how to transition your lawn care business into a snow removal business during the winter:
As a current lawn care business owner, you probably already know that you need to be bonded and insured.
While it’s important to become bonded and insured in the lawn care industry, it’s especially important for the snow removal industry.
In the snow business, there are way more risks, hazards, and liabilities than in lawn care, such as:
There’s a significant increase of risk when operating heavier machinery and hand tools during extreme weather conditions.
Due to this substantially increased risk, you’ll likely need to add or change the current insurance policy you’re using for lawn care.
This is because many insurance providers require higher coverage to provide insurance for snow and ice removal.
Don't forget to check with your insurance provider to ensure you’re completely covered under your policy.
In snow removal, your costs are astronomically higher than that of lawn care.
Not only are you going to require more expensive equipment and tools, but you’ll have to pay your team more.
Depending on your local laws, you’ll likely need to get the team certified for snow. Plus, based on the area, you might have to pay the team overtime for increased work time.
Due to these circumstances, you should charge clients more to account for these additional costs.
As you determine how substantial your expenses are, remind clients why they’re paying top-dollar for your snow removal services.
Let them know that while you may charge more than your competition, there’s way less liability - potentially saving them more money in the long run.
During this step, you need to also choose how you’ll charge your clients, for example:
Since you’re going to require additional snow equipment, it’s always a good idea to start small.
In other words, when you’re first getting started, don’t offer too many services at once.
In general, you want to add equipment AFTER you’ve sold the jobs where it’s needed.
It’s better to find a sub or drop a client than to have an expensive snow plow collecting rust and salt in your yard - all because you were too quick with your checkbook.
Do you remember how many services you offered in the beginning of your lawn care business?
Pick a few snow removal services and really hone in on those skills within your first season. Then, gradually add more services as you go along.
Also, don’t forget about the learning curve too.
You and your team will have to acquire the proper training and certifications to offer these services. You don’t want to overload you and your team with extreme training and equipment costs to start off.
As a general rule of thumb, you might begin with one or two services in your first year.
For example, you might offer driveway plowing, sidewalk snow removal, and ice treatment during your first year.
Also, prepare for the certification exam by studying early using helpful resources, such as SIMA’s online CSP Study Guide (Certified Snow Professional). Plus, they'll explain the certification process.
Remember, not only do you need to check with your state’s laws on certifications, but you should also account for this cost in the clients’ prices.
Here’s the great news: You already have clients who love you, so you ideally won’t have to spend as much money on client acquisition.
Depending on when it begins snowing in your area long before the snow season starts.
Generally, marketing around two months before you’ll begin snow services is a good rule of thumb.
Then, follow up when the first snow is in the forecast (when people are worried about snow). This is a great opportunity to push fence-sitters over the edge and turn them into customers.
Plus, think about leaving an “exclusive offer” to existing clients, so they might be more open to additional services.
As a business owner, one of your main goals is to clone your best clients.
Providing referral offers to your best clients is one of the best ways to accomplish that.
Remember, as you pass out magnetic business cards to your best existing clients, be sure there’s a referral offer on there!
A common misconception among business owners is that your offer would be so small it wouldn’t matter. However, this couldn't be further from the truth.
In fact, in many cases clients are just happy that you’ve made them feel special.
While you should still try to make the offer as appealing as possible, don’t be afraid to give $15 off their next service for every successful referral if that’s all the budget allows.
Though, keep in mind, a referral offer is a relatively small price to pay when considering CLV (client lifetime value).
Depending on when the snow season begins in your area, you typically want to start bidding your snow clients in October.
This gives you enough time to make bids, conduct preseason visits, and assign clients to teams before the season begins.
Bidding this early ensures you won’t be as overwhelmed when the busy season starts.
Pre-season snow visits helps to mitigate the liability and protect the lawn and snow company from liabilities like:
Not only do preseason visits protect you from potential liabilities, but they also boost the team’s efficiency and allow you to establish client expectations early on.
Don’t skip out on the one thing that can save your lawn and snow company hundreds (if not thousands) of dollars.
Maximize profits this snow season by completing preseason snow visits early.
Manage your clients and employees all in one system
Whether you’re new to the industry, or you’re looking for tips to maximize profits this year, these steps will help you to meet profit goals and continue year-round revenue in your lawn and snow company.
When you take the proper steps, the snow industry has the potential to be highly profitable for you.
Take advantage of these useful steps to start snow season preparations early and decrease the chances of unexpected events throwing you for a loop!
Related: How Much to Charge for Snow Removal
Originally published Dec 10, 2019 7:00 AM, updated Oct 25, 2021 4:50 PM
Tags: Business Operation