For many people, the coming of crisp fall and winter weather is a welcome change, but if you work in the lawn care industry, fall’s arrival may fill you with trepidation. As the temperatures drop into more comfortable numbers, the amount of work in this industry begins to drop off, too. You may find yourself asking a critical question: What do lawn care businesses do in the winter months?
Snow removal has long been a popular method for lawn care professionals when things get cold. The problem with snow removal, however, is that not every lawn care business owner lives in an area that receives snow. If you live somewhere warmer and are wondering how to survive after Labor Day, here are some ideas on how to make money in the winter without snow.
1. Winter Lawn Prep
Lawns must receive treatment to keep them healthy when the temperatures drop, which is why lawn care businesses should offer this service. Someone who already pays you to take care of their lawn in the summer will likely want to protect their investment during the winter. Since you already have all the equipment, winter lawn prep should be part of your off-season services.
There are a wide variety of tasks clients may need to prep their lawns for the arrival of freezing temperatures. You can create comprehensive winter lawn prep packages or offer individual services. Some of the more common tasks include:
- Tree and shrub trimming
- Dead plant removal
- Aerating the lawn
- Fertilizing the lawn
- Draining sprinklers
- Removing lawn and patio furniture
2. Gutter Cleaning Services
When it comes to winter jobs for landscapers, gutter cleaning is another service that makes a lot of sense. Everyone needs to have their gutters cleaned, especially before the start of winter. Still, not everybody is willing or physically able to do it themselves—which is where your business comes in to fill this need.
What’s great about gutter cleaning is that, for the most part, you can make use of the equipment you already have. The average gutter cleaning cost comes out to about $150 per visit, so adding this service to your repertoire can bring in some excellent profits.
3. Leaf Removal
Leaf removal is an excellent way to take advantage of the off-season in lawn care without depending on snowfall. Removing leaves is a tiresome job, and many customers will gladly pay someone to come and take care of this task for them. There will be more demand for this service in the fall, but customers may need leaf removal well into the winter, as well.
What many lawn care companies like about offering this service is the potential for steady business. Sure, some clients may only need a one-time removal, but others might require multiple removals throughout the season. For example, if your client has a large property and lots of trees, you may find yourself quite busy all through the fall.
Leaf removal is a service that you can offer throughout a customer’s property, not just their lawns. Be sure to let them know that you can remove leaves from any of the following places:
4. Pressure Washing
Any area of your property exposed to the elements can get quite dirty during the summer months—think of things like patios, decks, fences, and the sides of your house. These areas must be adequately cleaned before winter arrives and freezes everything—and lots of people are willing to pay for this service.
People are willing to pay because pressure washers are less common household items, and even those that have them don’t always have the time to use them. So if you’re already at a property doing leaf removal, pressure washing is a fantastic upsell. Customers may also not think of hiring this service, so take advantage of your existing network to offer this upsell.
5. Christmas Light Installation/Removal
Many lawn care businesses provide Christmas light installation and removal services for their customers. You should know before getting started that Christmas light installation requires more planning than other off-season jobs, and it has a lot of costs up-front. You won’t see any big profits right away, but if you do it right, this service can be quite lucrative after a year or two.
There are some things you should keep in mind before deciding to explore this avenue.
You’ll need to find a commercial wholesaler you trust since you’ll have to purchase material. Expanding insurance coverage is also a must. Your team will be climbing ladders and walking on roofs, so you have to have the proper policy to cover them in case of an accident. And professional insurance is also a good idea, in case you overload a circuit breaker.
Proper scheduling and time management are also critical. Installation and removal will happen in the same relatively short period. Make sure you’re only taking on a realistic number of installations so that your team is not overwhelmed.
If you can manage to organize everything properly and do a fantastic job, Christmas light installation can be a tremendous source of revenue. Plus, word of your abilities can get around pretty quickly, and you have evidence of a job well done on display for all to see.
Mulching is a vital part of pre-winter landscaping, as this practice protects plants’ roots from freezing temperatures. Though the benefit to plants is evident, for many people, mulching is a tedious, time-consuming job that they prefer to leave to the professionals.
Smart lawn care professionals will offer this service to their customers. Why? Because someone who already pays for you to take care of their lawn will likely be interested in protecting their plants from harsh winter weather.
Not only is it generally pretty easy to sell these services to existing customers, but also it’s easy to make a decent profit. The cost of mulch is relatively low, and most of what you charge the customer is labor. This formula translates to potentially significant earnings.
7. Weed Removal
Spring is the prime weed season. With more agreeable temperatures come the proliferation of invasive plants, and stopping them can be downright impossible. Winter is the perfect time for weed removal. It’s also an ideal time to use weed killers and take preventative measures, so this is another fantastic service to offer your clients.
8. Snow Removal
Though we wanted to focus mainly on landscaping services in the winter without snow, we couldn’t leave snow removal off our list. Landscapers who live in these areas should offer these services to their clients. All you need is a detachable plow to turn the trucks you already have into snow plows, and you can remove snow from driveways and parking lots.
This service keeps profits coming in, though it does require more flexibility since you depend on the weather. But it can be an excellent way to stay busy.
Now you know the answer to “What do landscapers do in the winter?” is that the sky’s the limit. Lawn care professionals have lots of options for growing their business year-round, aside from snow removal. All it takes is a little ingenuity and planning to stay busy—and even turn a profit—when the weather turns cold.