How to Forecast a Lawn Service Business
Business forecasting is an effective method for planning growth and anticipating hiccups for the year. Lawn care businesses weather a season-based business cycle that requires forecasting for success. A well-executed lawn care service forecast will prepare the business to financially offset rain-outs and severe storms as well as no-show employees. Lawn care service business forecasts establish the company vision and values, define goals, identify alternatives, and determine the ideal outcome for the year's business.
Determine the year-end revenue goal of your lawn service business. Establishing the year-end goal is key to determining how to achieve that goal. A lawn service requires employees and equipment to meet its goals. It also must attract and retain customers. Your revenue goal will inform how many employees, equipment and customers are necessary to reach that goal.
Review each seasonal quarter of the year. Confirm the services your lawn service has traditionally offered in winter, spring, summer and fall in your region. Calculate the number of customer orders required to generate your revenue goal. Determine the operating cost of filling each type of customer order. Determine what costs can be cut to increase revenue. Determine whether cutting some services and focusing on others would help your lawn business reach its revenue goal. Develop a marketing strategy to reach new customers.
Determine what sets your business apart from other lawn service providers in your area. Your business may offer experts in horticulture, arbor care, turf grass or sprinkler and drain installation among others. Research how many other businesses in the area offer the services in which you specialize. Learn the prices they offer, the technology they use, and the speed and quality of their service. Decide whether your business has the current capacity to match the prices, quality and speed of your competitors. Anticipate an increase of the capacity of your business where needed to compete.
Estimate how many employees are required to fulfill each type of customer order. Calculate how many employees are seasonal and how many are permanent. Tabulate a margin for turnover and no-shows. Create a company strategy to attract and retain employees throughout each season.
List the equipment that is needed for each type of customer order. Check that all current equipment is in good shape for the upcoming year. Estimate how many replacements will be needed. Estimate the number of additional tools and equipment that will be needed as the business grows towards its revenue goal. Calculate the cost of replacements and additions.
Determine a base price for each type of service that will cover operating costs, such as labor and the cost of equipment. This base price should be made also with a mind to attracting customers as well as reaching your revenue goals. The base price should cover anticipated loss of revenue for bad weather as well.