There are a number of jobs that simply go idle when the weather is not cooperative. People in the construction business know what it means to have to fill months of their schedule waiting for the weather to be friendly so they can work. Teachers also are idled throughout the summer but not for weather reasons. But when you are operating your own yard care business, you may not be comfortable with simply not working through the winter months. Not only is that hard on your business, it is hard to keep employees when they cannot make a living when it is cold and icy outside. The bills still have to be paid, even when yard care is not as much of a hot business as it is in the spring and summer. Unfortunately, this is the seasonality of the landscape business.
There are a few other things that can be done to a yard such as turning a section of the garden in preparation for replanting and the laying down of pre-emergent chemicals that will stop weeds from growing in the spring. Tree and shrub trimming are perfect winter yard care activities because the best time to trim trees is when they are dormant.
Of course, winter is also a good time for you to do your internal maintenance. If you do have a week when you have no contract work to do, take advantage of those days by cleaning, repairing and tuning your mowers and other equipment. If you have property and buildings that your business uses, these are also good months to do your upgrades, painting and other chores that you could not get to during the spring and summer months when you had to focus all of your energies on taking care of your customers.
From a business perspective, it is a good idea to bank some funds in preparation for these months. Even if you have some fall back work you can turn to during the winter, your business will have expenses to be paid. By setting aside a percentage of your revenue during the 8-10 productive months of the year, you have a slush fund to use for repairs and maintenance or simply to financially get by until you can begin working actively on yard care jobs when the weather improves.
It is also a good idea to do some creative thinking about how you will use months when yards are under ice and snow and you cannot perform your primary mission in life. In states that get very wintry, there may be plenty of work to be had in snow and ice removal. This is a service you can discuss with your yard care customers. They know and trust you and they may be quite open to contracting with you on a “per job” basis to come and clear the ice and snow from their driveways, porches, steps and sidewalks when Mother Nature unloads.
Many yard care businesses also diversify and offer services that are similar to yard care but customized to the seasons. You may have the equipment to put up Christmas lights for people who want a beautiful display but are not physically able to decorate their houses, yards and roofs to fit their vision. With your crew of trained guys, you can get up on those roofs and put those Santa Clause figures and lights wherever your customers want them. And these contracts come with automatic follow up work taking down those Christmas decorations so they can be stored for next year.
Use your imagination to find viable ways to keep you and your crew busy all winter. There is often work available on Christmas Tree farms helping people cut trees to take home for the holidays. If you have the tools and the skills, you can even offer indoor maintenance work or fence repairs that can be taken care of during the months that you are waiting for the return of yard care jobs. By being creative, you can keep your crew active all winter long and even keep the budget of your lawn care business working so you don’t lose any ground on your path to success just because it is cold outside.
When it comes to maintaining your incomes during the winter months, it is important to think outside of the box. Get creative, you may just discover that you have the potential to start another business focused around winter time work. I personally know guys who sell Christmas trees (myself), migrate to warmer areas to have working vacations for friends and families they may know. Most importantly take some time in the winter to plan for the future, read, study, learn something. Who knows you may even find another calling in life. Get a little rest, in a few weeks there won’t be any time to sleep.