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10 Reasons Why Lawn Care Businesses Fail

Starting a lawn mowing business is an exciting endeavor that requires strategic planning and sound management. According to Forbes, 80% of small businesses fail within the first eighteen months. The SBA (Small Business Administration) also adds that 20% of small businesses will fail in the first year and less than half of small businesses will survive past the first five years. While there may be some truth to these statistics and numbers, you should not let it kill your entrepreneurial spirit as an aspiring landscaper. This article will discuss the major reasons why lawn care businesses fail and how to avoid falling into this category.

Reasons why lawn care businesses fail

Understanding why some lawn mowing businesses fail will help you avoid following in their footsteps. We will explore the different reasons why business owners, specifically lawnmowers and landscapers, fail within their first year or a few years.

1. Not having value high enough to charge premium prices

To charge premium prices up to $70 per hour or more as a lawnmower, you need to offer premium services. These premium services include a premium brand, premium websites, premium customer service on the phone, a premium sales process. The lawnmower should get the estimates and meet clients in a very professional manner. One thing that should be avoided is drive-by estimates, estimating and bidding for prices without actually going through the process. When you bid too low, you get a meager profit, and when you bid too high, you risk losing the job. When done properly, all these premium services will enable you to charge customers premium prices and provide premium value in return.

2. Not getting through the first two years of pain

The first two years of starting your lawn mowing business are challenging. Most times, business owners start to get momentum in the third year, and also brand awareness comes at little or no cost. Most people give up or get distracted with other money-making ventures in the first two years. According to Forbes, statistics show that successful small businesses are not built over months but years.

3. Dealing with employees

Most lawn mowing business owners struggle with the emotional rollercoaster caused by employees. Hiring and firing people working on the job and dealing with carefree attitudes from employees is tasking and emotionally draining. Some employees show up late for urgent jobs, while others leave the job abruptly without previous notice. This emotional rollercoaster can lead to the failure of a business in the lawnmower industry.

4. Too sensitive over criticism

A lot of lawnmowers take customer criticisms and mistakes way too seriously. Landscapers should learn to take criticisms lightly and not let one bad review ruin the entire business. Please, keep in mind that no one person is going to take your business down, and no negative one-star review would ruin your entire day, week, year, let alone make you close your business. Keep growing your business and work on your mistakes to enable you to render excellent services in the future. Take the negative feedback as a chance to listen to your customers, improve on your business and always ensure you handle the complaint satisfactorily. 

In addition to that, focus on the activities that can attract positive reviews and feedback from your customers. They include offering better customer service, paying attention to your customers, and encouraging customers to leave feedback after offering services to them. In conclusion, instead of allowing a few criticisms to stress and discourage you, respond as calmly as possible, pay attention to constructive criticism, and try as much as possible to increase the activities that allow you to accumulate more positive reviews.

5. Growing too fast

Note that this is different from growing too big. Most lawn mowing companies grow too fast, which leads to them not scaling out efficiently, leading to many holes and gaps during the growth process. Some of these gaps include not having the accounting appropriately done, not building invoices, being owed debts by many people because they have not been following up, among others. This leads to the companies having too many debts to follow and employees that are confused about their roles. All these are caused by growing too fast and the available skillset unable to adapt to the scale of growth. As a landscaper, if you are planning to expand the business, ensure you conduct proper research about new services you are planning to provide. Also, pay attention to proper strategy and planning to avoid financial drains and debts that can sink the whole lawn mowing business. The key to successful growth and expansion while avoiding business failure in the process is strategic planning.

6. Not growing big enough

Sometimes, the business does not grow big enough to avoid burnout. Some landscape businesses remain at the same small size for the next 5, 10, 15, or 20 years. This makes it physically, financially, and mentally draining on the business owners. They remain stagnant and don’t scale topline revenue large enough to afford them and their employees the lifestyles they dream of. Lawnmowers have to grow the business up to the point where they can conveniently hire employees to do the job and pay them accordingly.

7. Too much debt

Many landscapers have too much debt to fill the growth caused by expanding the services offered. After beginning the lawn mowing business, it is very easy to get distracted and expand into other services. The other services that landscapers add to lawn mowing include excavation, degrading, pools and water features, bush trimming, and tree services. While adding all these services as a landscaper, note that you have to acquire new equipment and go into debt while trying to get them. While doing this, you might think you are growing the business by getting more equipment and employees. However, this approach of growing service offerings is the least profitable. By adding more services and needing more equipment, a lawn care business owner might have to go into more and more debt to finance them. The profit margin is much lower because more services are added instead of taking the core services you are good at, doubling down on them and making them extremely profitable as the business keeps going.

8. Doesn’t play well with others

Some landscapers are not willing to learn and grow well with others. You need to be willing to build connections with other people and benefit from the mutual growth of cooperation. Anyone could be a potential customer, business partner, or source of inspiration. Always take advantage of podcasts, books, and Facebook groups for help when you are lost. Also, try to connect with other local landscapers and offer them services that you are not interested in, the services you don’t offer, or the excess jobs you have and cannot handle at the moment. This leads to a network of people you can lean on and grow together as landscapers. Finally, keep in mind the golden rule of networking: The more you give, the more people want to give back.

9. Ego over numbers

A lot of landscapers make decisions on what they are going to do, what equipment they are going to buy, services they are going to offer, what their website is going to look like, and so on just because of how they want it to look in front of other people. At the end of the day, you might find yourself making these decisions based on factors other than empirical evidence. Eventually, you find out that you get trapped in equipment you don’t need just because the equipment looks flashy and you want to impress other landscapers and friends. This can lead to the failure of the business.

10. Too proud to ask for help

Not reaching out for help when struggling is something many business owners, including landscapers, often do. Creating a network of other individuals you can lean on is very important, especially when you have to reach out for help. When you realize you have been spending too much time trying to solve a problem, you should probably take a step back. After stepping back, accept the problem might be a bit larger than you can handle or just something you have been overlooking. No matter what stage you are in with your lawn mowing business, there are always people you can reach out to for help. By asking various people for help, you gain different ideas, insights, and perspectives on problem-solving techniques that you otherwise would not have imagined. Asking for help can make you stronger, more successful, and more confident in your business. 

Essential tips for growing your lawn care business

Having a successful lawn care business is not only about providing services to customers. It takes more than that to generate leads and maximize profits on jobs. We have outlined some essential tips to help you make your lawn care business more successful and maximize revenue.

1. Maximize profits by efficiently pricing services 

Charging lower prices for services is not an effective way to generate more money for landscapers. Instead of doing this, focus on maximizing profits for potential business growth in the future and offering value to your clients. Instead of offering the lowest price for services, let your lawn care business provide the highest quality of services at a reasonable price tag for all parties.

2. Create a unique brand for your business 

This is an excellent way to stand out from the competition offered by other landscapers. By having a unique brand, you emphasize the value gotten from your services, which makes it easier to gain even more clients. Having an online presence is an excellent way to build your brand. Also, always ask for reviews from old clients to encourage prospective clients to contemplate doing business with you.

3. Focus on finances

A lot of lawn care owners struggle with finances because they don’t prioritize it as much as they should. Overspending, getting into debts, not keeping accounts, not setting the business up for the future financially, and other reasons lead to lawn care businesses struggling financially.

4. Hire the right people

One major issue affecting landscaping businesses is getting and retaining quality labor. This is mainly because of the unemployment rates and competitive pay in other less strenuous industries. To hire the best employees, you have to be prepared to pay them what they are worth with various incentives to encourage them. Ensure you create an excellent company culture to stand out and motivate employees to help grow your business.

5. Minimize the amount of capital tied up in inventory and equipment

Another important way to ensure a successful lawn mowing business is not holding more equipment than you need. This is very necessary because it is easier to control your cash flow. When you are thinking of expanding and introducing new services, ensure you conduct research properly to determine the equipment needed and the funding required for them.


Running a lawn care business can be exciting and rewarding, but it is also quite tasking. Now that you understand why some lawn care businesses fail, you are going into this venture more informed and prepared. Remember, there is a huge opportunity for growth in this industry, and it can be a gratifying career path. 

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