Do you wonder what to do with yourself and your crews once the snow starts to swirl or the holidays come around?
Conversely, if you live in a temperate state that hardly ever gets snow or in the South where it snows once every few years, you need something other than snow and ice removal to keep you busy over the winter.
Making a good winter income for landscapers and lawn care businesses is do-able, even if you’re used to spring and summer jobs. In this blog, you’ll find ideas for winter income for landscapers along with other business-growth tips to help continue making money 365 days a year!
What Do Lawn Care Businesses Do in Winter?
If you live in an area that’s considered a snow belt, and you enjoy the cold, you can push snow during the winter. Also, there are pros and cons to snow and ice management over the winter, such as
- You need to determine if you and your crews have the stamina to put up with snowy and icy conditions.
- If you enjoy the cold, then snow and ice management may be a good business idea for you.
- You have to work alone in a truck—often for 24-48 hour shifts depending on the snowstorm.
- If you use skid steers and wheel loaders to clean off parking lots, you’ll also need to tolerate sitting and working in cold conditions.
- Depending on your snow removal services, you’ll also need to shovel or use a snow blower to clean off sidewalks, walkways, building entrances, and steps. You’ll also need to apply deicer to keep ice from forming.
- If you’re charging per push or per inch, you may need to return to your commercial contracts throughout the storm to keep their lots and walkways clear of snow and ice.
If you don’t want to handle contracts, bidding, and deciding on how to charge your customers, you can always subcontract with large snow and ice management companies. This is a great way to attain a winter income for landscapers.
If you have a plow hooked up to your truck as well as have a salt spreader in the back then you’ll be adding value to any snow contractors in the area. So, snow and ice management companies have a hard time filling all of their crews.
So, it’s a win-win when you subcontract—the contractor can add more customers, and you have steady work throughout the winter months.
And if you have crews who have trucks, plows, and sanders installed in the back of their trucks, you can provide a contractor with more crews out taking care of other commercial contracts.
Here are some essentials you need to subcontract in addition to a truck and a plow:
- Insurance for your snow removal services. Check with your insurance agent for details.
- You need to be safe and reliable. There’s a labor shortage, so it’s hard to find good employees. Also, don’t add to your contractor’s stress by not showing up.
- You’ll need to deal with unsafe drivers while you clear parking lots and access roads. Keep your cool.
If you do decide to go solo instead of contracting with a larger company, you need to consider the following:
- Bidding for snow and ice removal contracts start in late summer and early fall. If you’re busy with your lawn care customers, you may not have enough time to draw up a bid.
- You need to decide if you’re going to serve HOAs, small retail areas, medical offices, multi-family complexes.
- You also need to consider how many properties you can handle during a snowstorm and whether you’ll be returning to these places multiple times throughout the snowstorm to keep them clean.
- Many new snow and ice management contractors start with residential services. For example, if you live near a rural area, homeowners may have long driveways where your snow plowing will help them out.
- If you don’t want to buy a plow, you can put a sander or a salt spreader on your truck’s bed.
Lastly, you can offer follow-up services where you go to commercial properties and put down deicer. You need to be an early bird because property managers want their lots, walkways, steps, and building entrances to be snow- and ice-free by 7 a.m. or earlier.
More Ideas Around Winter Income for Landscapers
While you may enjoy the snow, if you live in Florida or another warm climate state, you want to make money in the winter months. If you live in a snow-free area, or you have no snow one winter, here are some other ideas to keep your landscaping business open in the off-season:
- Fall yard cleanup is a cash cow as well as a service you can offer your regular clients. You can also market for more yard clean-up customers. Windy storms take down tree limbs, scatter leftover leaves and bring more trash onto your customers’ property.
- You can install holiday lights, take them down in January and store them for your customers over the year. You can sell your holiday lights and display services to commercial and residential clients.
- You can provide consulting services for homeowners, HOAs, and property managers. If you’re offering this service to your existing clients, discuss how to make lawns greener and how you can design a flowerbed for them.
- If you provide landscaping services, you can draw up landscape designs for customers over the winter season. If a homeowner or a commercial company wants to add a pergola, a patio, or an outdoor kitchen, you can get a jumpstart on the design part.
- You can offer landscape design services to homebuilders. Some builders want to add basic landscaping to their buyers, so you can design patios, decks, and other outdoor living features for new developments or new houses.
- If you live in an area where the temperatures are well above freezing, you can offer pressure washing services and gutter cleanup. Since many homes have patios and other hardscapes, you can clean and repair their hardscapes over the winter as well.
- If you provide lawn care services—especially organic lawn care services—you can apply winter fertilizer to residential and commercial lawns. Potassium, fulvic and humic acids as well as iron give lawn grass that extra nutrition during the winter.
- If your lawn care customers have Bermuda grass in their lawns, you can overseed with ryegrass for winter color.
- Power wash and seal driveways.
- Get your crews to canvas neighborhoods with door hangers and other print marketing for early bird specials. You’ll give a discount to homeowners and property managers that sign up for your lawn services by late winter.
- If you’re a certified irrigation contractor, you can offer winter lawn sprinkler services including
- Draining the water out of the system
- Blowing out the system
- Pressure test the system for leaks
- Repair and turn off timers and valves.
- Wrap trees and shrubs to protect them from deer and dry winter winds. You can also offer anti-desiccant spray for evergreens and horticultural oil to snuff out any insects or eggs overwintering in trees.
- You can offer winter garden prep by providing garden design, building a garden and installing raised bed frames.
- Offer handyman services, such as light plumbing, carpentry, and repairs.
- Provide pest control services including removing rodents, spiders, centipedes (thousand leggers), and silverfish. In most states, if not all, you need a pest control certification.
- Plant trees and shrubs, but don’t prune. During the winter, trees and shrubs are dormant. While you can cut off a dead branch or cut down a tree that’s clearly dead, however, you don’t want to prune healthy trees and shrubs until late winter.
- Plan on attending or having a booth (or two) at a local home and garden show. One way to bring awareness to your local landscaping company is through home and garden shows.
Homeowners love walking through these shows because they’re tired of winter or they want to start planning for the spring. So, holding a contest where people share their name, address, and phone number to win a prize (one of the old-fashioned ways of getting leads) would be encouraged.
- Don’t offer any winter services, but concentrate on your business. Since the winter months are quieter, you can keep your crews and back office busy with reviewing the past year and planning for the new growing season.
Wintertime is an excellent time for your techs to get re certified for pest control and herbicides.
- Don’t be afraid to take a vacation. Since lawn and landscaping is super-busy during the spring, summer, and fall, you can spend quality time with your family over the holidays as well as taking a family trip.
Let Spyker Help You with Spreading Salt on Walkways, Building Entrances and Steps
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You can learn more about our Spyker Ergo-Pro™ Ice Melt Spreader by visiting your local Spyker dealer or online. In conclusion, if you can’t find our Spyker spreaders, including the Spyker Ergo-Pro™ Ice Melt Spreader, contact our customer service today at (800)-972-6130 or fill out our contact form.