Do falling leaves and cooler temperatures put a knot in your stomach? These things may increase your stress level if you own a lawn care business. But they don’t necessarily need to mean a decrease in income. So, if you’re looking for ways to keep your business alive in the off-season, you’ve come to the right place.
In this article, we look at how seasonality affects landscapers. Then we review specific services landscapers can offer during the winter to continue to make money.
The Seasonality of Landscaping and How it Affects Landscapers
A seasonal business can be a blessing and a curse. As temperatures rise, grass and trees grow. This increases the demand for your business.
And as seasons and temperatures change, your lawn care business income decreases. This can make budgeting and paying bills during slow months more challenging.
Income inconsistency can leave looking for ways to cut costs in the off season. However, laying off workers in the slow season may not be the best choice.
According to 43% of landscaping and lawn care operators in North America, the biggest issue they face is the shortage of quality labor.
By laying off workers, you risk not being able to rehire them in the next season. This could leave you without sufficiently trained staff or not enough workers to meet rising demand.
Keeping quality labor by offering them year-round employment is a win-win. You hold on to quality labor and can attract the most qualified workers. Plus, you both get a consistent income throughout all four seasons.
The landscaping industry grew by 5.3% between the years 2017 and 2022 and is expected to continue to grow. But how do you stay profitable in the winter months?
Staying in touch with your existing customers during the off-season improves the chances these customers will continue with you as lawn care customers next season.
This makes it easier to expand your customer base in the competitive landscaping industry. An efficient way to accomplish this is by offering other services during the cooler winter months.
Expanding the services your lawn care business offers so you can continue making money year-round helps ease the challenges of a seasonal business. These services provide a consistent income. They help you attract and retain quality labor.
And additional services give you another way to stay connected with existing customers. Plus, promoting your additional services attracts new customers for continuous growth.
7 Services Landscapers Can Offer During the Winter to Make Money
Now, let’s look at how to make money in the winter as a landscaper. Here are seven services you can offer during the off-season of your landscape business:
Snow and ice management is offered by 40% of surveyed landscapers. This is an excellent option in areas where green lawns and trees are replaced by frequent snow and potentially slippery sidewalks.
Many homeowners prefer not to clear their own driveways and sidewalks. Many may not have the proper equipment. And with competing obligations like family and work, most people don’t want to spend their time shoveling snow and spreading salt.
But they do want the convenience of being able to easily drive out of their driveway without skidding or safely walk down their sidewalk without falling.
Snow removal is an easy add-on to your lawn care business. It only takes a minimal investment. All you need to get started is a plow attachment for your company trucks. A couple of snowblowers and shovels also work.
Managing snow and ice for your existing lawn care customers allows you to continue keeping their properties beautiful and safe during the winter.
Promoting this service to your current customers is as easy as notifying them of your expanded services before the end of the lawn care season.
Installation & Removal of Christmas lights
Another popular off-season service adopted by landscapers is holiday lighting. Installation and removal of Christmas lights are offered by 15% of surveyed lawn care professionals. This service is a natural extension of landscaping.
Both lawn care services and holiday lighting involve the beautification of residential and commercial properties.
Most homeowners and business owners want a spectacular Christmas light display. But they don’t want to climb ladders home or may not have the time. So, offering a service for installing and removing holiday lights satisfies this need.
And it provides you with additional income during a slower month of the year. Adding Christmas light installation and removal is easy. Plus, it’s another service you can offer to your existing lawn care customers.
Minimize the expense of getting started with this service by installing lighting and decorations owned by your customers. Then, once you’re more established in this service, you can expand to leasing decorations or storing your customers’ decorations.
Most homeowners and businesses want their lights up by December 1st and prefer to have them taken down by January 31st. So be careful not to overschedule as you start offering the installation and removal of Christmas lights.
You want to be able to stay on schedule and do an excellent job, so customers want to use you again next year.
According to the previously cited survey, 71% of landscapers offer landscape design and construction services. This is the perfect service to offer during the off-season. This is when homeowners are planning their landscaping projects for next spring and summer.
Helping them develop their vision and prepare for the upcoming warm weather provides you with additional income during the slow winter months. Plus, it helps you fill your calendar with future projects and grow your business.
Gutter cleaning is an essential service that everyone needs before the onset of winter. However, many homeowners aren’t willing or able to climb ladders to clean their gutters.
Waiting too long to remove leaves and other debris from gutters can cause structural damage or result in a leaky roof.
You don’t need to invest in any additional tools or equipment to get started in gutter cleaning. And you can easily offer this service to your existing customer base.
Removing leaves is an excellent off-season service for your lawn care business. A bonus is that you can be sure that leaves will fall off the trees. Then you aren’t reliant on snow falling to keep you busy during winter months.
Leaf removal is important for homeowners who care about maintaining beautiful lawns because it prevents snow mold from developing.
Most customers are happy to pay someone to remove leaves from their property because it can be a lot of hard work. Homeowners who have a lot of trees on their property are especially interested in this service.
It can take months for all the leaves to fall off their trees. So, it takes multiple visits to complete the leaf removal process for these customers.
It’s important to mulch plants, bushes, and trees to protect plant roots from freezing temperatures. Mulch can also block weeds and pests from penetrating the soil.
Although homeowners want their properties to be beautiful, they often don’t want to spend their off time buying, moving, and applying mulch around their plantings.
This makes this a perfect additional off-season service for your landscape business to offer. Mulch isn’t expensive and most of what you charge the customer are for labor.
Pressure washing is a great option for those who own a lawn care business in a milder climate. Lawn care may not be needed in the winter months, but there isn’t much snow or ice to manage either.
So, you can offer pressure washing of fences, patios, decks, planters, driveways, and home exteriors to remove grime or dirt that has built up during the summer or winter months.
It doesn’t cost much to get started since pressure washing equipment is relatively affordable. This makes adding pressure washing as an off-season service to your lawn care business a great option you can promote to your existing customers.
Start Making Money in the Winter
Now you can maintain a steady income year-round by adding one or all these other services to your lawn care business during the winter months. Doing so allows you to remain connected to your existing customers.
This increases the odds of retaining them as customers in the next landscaping season. You can offer your landscaping services to any new customers you pick up during the winter months. This helps you continue growing your lawn care business.
And offering additional services during the winter months allows you to keep your quality staff. This means you don’t need to recruit new employees when it’s landscaping season again, except as you expand your business.
Get started making money this winter as a landscaper with these tips:
- Do your research. Start by researching which winter services are in demand in your area and can be added to your existing offerings.
- Advertise your landscaping business winter services. Make sure people know that you offer winter landscaping services. Many people are not aware that this is an option, so make sure that they know you’re available to help.
- Get creative with your marketing. Lean into seasonal and holiday themes as you market your winter services. You can use social media campaigns and referral programs to reach potential customers.
- Use seasonal keywords in your marketing. Make sure you use seasonal keywords like “snow removal”, “winter landscaping”, and “holiday lighting” in your marketing so that people can find you when they’re searching for these services.