Lawn care service professionals are used to working in some challenging conditions. But the toughest work condition is no work at all. So when the temperature begins to drop and the yard tools are put away for the season, one question remains: what do landscapers do in the winter?
For lawn care providers and landscapers alike, extending your service offerings is the best way to increase your revenue during the dreaded winter months. Not to mention, it provides a great opportunity to attract new customers to your business who can become regular clients in the spring and summer.
With that in mind, here are 10 ways to expand your business throughout the cold weather to secure a steady income for your landscaping company year-round.
Use these 10 strategies to earn more over the winter months
1. Offer your customers winter lawn preparation
Your customers have invested top dollar to keep their property in tip-top shape throughout the summer months. Winter lawn preparation is a sure-fire way for them to continue to care for that investment, even into late winter.
Offer a comprehensive winter lawn prep package that includes:
- Drain all sprinklers and hoses to avoid freezing
- Aerate the soil by dethatching the lawn
- Prune trees and shrubs and wrap plants in burlap
- Remove dead plants from flower beds
- Remove and store all patio furniture
Once February rolls around, and the ground begins to thaw, revise this checklist to offer services such as debris removal and fertilizing to prepare lawns for the upcoming spring and summer seasons.
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2. Start a snow removal business
Many lawn care service providers transition their business in the winter months by offering snow removal services.
“There is no slow season for us. In the summer we do landscaping and prepare for the snow and ice management season. In the winter, those roles reverse.”
Michael T. Bedell, Bedell Property Management Services
While snow plowing may seem like a natural fit, it can require a substantial investment in snow plows, salters, and snow plow insurance. (Not to mention the added wear-and-tear on your work trucks.) If you’re not ready to front the added costs needed to plow parking lots, consider offering residential snow removal services to your existing lawn care clients. Using a shovel or snow blower to plow sidewalks and driveways.
READ MORE: How to start a snow removal company
3. Install and take down Christmas lights
Homeowners are always looking for that gorgeous light display, without the hassle. Taking on Christmas lights installation can provide a couple months of income during the slow winter off season.
Kirk Brown, Owner of Kirk’s Lawn Care, saw Christmas lights installation as an opportunity to extend his business and bring in extra income over the holiday season. Dynamic Celebration Lighting offers all-inclusive holiday lighting installation, maintenance, take down, and storage. Using a professional website as the base for his winter business, Kirk attracts both commercial and residential clients with a high-quality photo gallery, and a simple quote request form.
While installing holiday lights can be extremely profitable for landscapers or lawn care service providers, keep in mind it’s a short holiday season. Most customers want their lights up no later than December 1st and taken down no later than January 31st. Make sure to not overbook your services for these tight timelines.
4. Prepare for your next lawn care season
Use the quiet winter months to reflect on your recent lawn care season and to plan for the next. Get a head start on your bidding, or tackle those time consuming tasks such as hiring new crew members and marketing your services.
Hire and train the best lawn care professionals
Offering the best lawn care and landscaping services is the number one way to stand out from your competition. But this is only possible with the best lawn care crew. Spend your off-season hiring and training new team members to get them up to speed for their first cut.
Build your client list and generate new leads
Developing a solid growth strategy can help you get a leg up on the competition. Focus on marketing tactics, such as designing door hangers or flyers, and connecting with homeowners through Facebook groups.
Robbie Ackley, Owner-Operator of Ackley’s Property Services LLC, uses slower periods to practice customer outreach.
“We work to grow our business by sending out letters to commercial accounts about being put on their list of bidders.”
Take advantage of all the free resources available at your fingertips to get your lawn care business ready for the next spring and summer season.
Pro Tip: Receive leads without lifting a finger. Jobber’s online booking features enables users to receive leads directly from your company website, your business Facebook profile, and Google Search.
5. Add winter mulching to your landscaping services
Professional landscapers can extend their services when the temperature drops by offering winter mulching. Laying mulch acts as a layer of insulation to keep the ground frozen and plants in dormancy, especially throughout brief warm temperature spikes.
For best results, offer mulching once the ground has hardened, or after the first hard frost, to protect perennial plants from cold damage. Winter mulching can also block weeds and pests from penetrating the surface of your soil.
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6. Provide weed removal service
Protect those lawns you’ve worked so hard to perfect by providing winter weed removal services. While most lawn care providers offer weed removal as part of their summer services, many types of weeds actually thrive in the cold, and begin their germination and growth during the winter months.
Taking preventative measures will help stop the spread of weeds, and make your job that much easier once spring rolls back around. With all the right tools already in your arsenal, weed removal can be a great addition to your lawn care business during any season.
7. Help customers with leaf removal
Most people associate raking leaves with the fall, but the truth is, leaf removal is often needed well into the winter months to make sure your lawn continues to look its best.
Best of all, clearing leaves often requires multiple visits, as some trees can take months to lose all of their leaves. Reach out to those customers with large or multiple trees on their properties. Faced with a bigger job, they’re often the ones willing to pay for recurring leaf removal services.
8. Assist homeowners with gutter cleaning
Waiting too long to clean out leaves and other debris from your gutters can have costly impacts, resulting in roof leaks or structural damage to your property. With no major investment in tools or equipment required, (all you need is a sturdy ladder), gutter cleaning can be a winning addition to your lawn care services repertoire.
“I do gutter cleaning, definitely not the most glamorous job. However, it gets me through the quiet January. We only do it for around 4-6 weeks a year.”
Robbie Lynn, Premier Lawns
9. Plant trees and shrubs
Cooler temperatures make labour intensive jobs such as planting young trees and shrubs much more comfortable. As long as the ground is not frozen, winter months are the perfect time to plant trees or shrubs for your customers. While the typical range for plant installations is between $1,330 and $5,646, depending on the size of the job some landscapers will charge anywhere from $300 to $10,800. Meaning a few large scale planting gigs can get lawn care companies through the slow winter period.
10. Add pressure washing to your list of services
Though not ideal for those frigid temperatures, early spring and fall are the best times to offer pressure washing services. Offer to pressure wash pergolas, fences, patios, decks, planters, and driveways, to clear off any grime or dirt that may have built up over the summer or winter months.
Depending on the scope and surface area, the average pressure washing prices range from $56 to $827. And since the costs of pressure washers are fairly affordable, (you can find a decent pressure washer from Home Depot for as low as $139), adding pressure washing to your service list is a small investment with big rewards.
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Originally published 02/2021. Last updated 10/01/2021