Why lawn care contractors should consider selling and scheduling services online
The last thing lawn care contractors want is more competition.
Guess what? They got it.
This new type of competitor is coming from a place most lawn care contractors aren’t even paying attention to: the technology industry.
That’s right … people with the same creative-type minds that gave us Google, Uber, Airbnb, social media and a long list of other industry-disrupting businesses are after a piece of the lawn care market.
We’re talking about the new business model of automated, on-demand service scheduling.
Here’s how it works: Using a website or app, a consumer requests and schedules service. The website/app then dispatches one of its service partners to perform the service at the requested time. The consumer pays the website/app, and the website/app pays its service partner.
Investment capital has been pouring into a growing list of on-demand lawn care scheduling companies. Here’s a look at the most notable — each of which should be taken very seriously by the typical lawn care contractor.
TaskEasy was founded in 2013 and has raised over $21 million in funding to continue fueling its ongoing expansion. The company has already come a long way. TaskEasy service partners (local landscape contractors) have serviced yards in over 12,000 cities in all 50 states.
LawnStarter was founded in 2013 and has received $7.2 million in funding.
Plowz & Mowz was founded in 2013 and has received $6.5 million in funding.
Lawn Love was founded in 2014 and has secured $1.9 million in funding. Two of its investors are NFL legend Joe Montana and Shark Tank’s Barbara Corcoran. Lawn Love says its service partners allow it to provide services in roughly 120 cities across 43 states.
LawnGuru was founded in 2015 and has raised $1 million in funding.
GreenPal was founded in 2013 and has secured $250,000 in funding.
Takl is one of the more recent entrants into the on-demand service arena. Takl promises to help consumers find quick, reliable and local help for 400+ pre-priced home services ranging from basic housekeeping and painting to pet care and lawn care. Founder Willis Johnson has a significant net worth of roughly $390 million. Maybe you’ve seen Takl’s TV commercial featuring Kathie Lee Gifford. Kathie Lee Gifford? Think about which consumer demographic she appeals to. Click here to learn more.
Why consumers value on-demand services
What’s interesting is that none of these on-demand service scheduling companies own a lawnmower. However, they sell a significant amount of lawn services to homeowners all over the country. How?
On-demand companies are focused on giving consumers the one thing consumers want and can’t find through traditional lawn care companies: FAST, COMPETITIVE PRICES, & CONVENIENCE.
All of the top on-demand service companies promote the fact that consumers can request service, compare bids and schedule service all in a matter of a few minutes. The consumer doesn’t have to leave a contractor a message, wait four days to get a return call, wait two days for the contractor to come measure the property, wait three days for an estimate, and then start the process all over again to get a second estimate from another contractor.
A segment of today’s homeowner market wants their lawn serviced — and they don’t want to have to bend over backwards to get it serviced. This is especially true of today’s younger consumers, Millennials and Generation Z, which are starting to represent a significant piece of the homebuying market.
Is the client-customer relationship out the window?
On-demand service schedulers do the research for the customer. They claim to have vetted all of their service partners, who happen to be local lawn care contractors. Most require a background check and proof of liability insurance. Some require proof of proper licensing in applicable states. Some say their contractor partners must have commercial-grade equipment. Some even require their contractor partners to provide a list of client references for further vetting.
The scary thing is that these on-demand service schedulers are removing the word “relationship” from the consumer’s decision-making process. They believe the consumer doesn’t care if they know their contractor. They believe the consumer simply wants a no-hassle way to get their lawn serviced at a fair price by a reputable contractor. They believe buyers will trust a website to find that reputable contractor.
How do lawn care contractors respond to the on-demand trend?
Keep in mind that these on-demand service websites are looking to local lawn care contractors to go out and provide service. On that note, there are some potential benefits of partnering:
- Contractor gets an automatic stream of new leads without having to do any marketing
- Contractor doesn’t have to worry about billing or other administrative tasks
- Contractor generally gets paid within 48 hours
LawnGuru says its service partners earn an average of $700 per week, with its top-performing partners earning closer to $2,500. To some lawn care contractors, this could be a welcomed addition to an existing book of business.
Keep in mind, however, that there could be some downsides to partnering with an on-demand service scheduler:
- Scheduler takes a percentage of the pay
- Services are price-driven because consumers are simply comparing prices on a smartphone or computer screen
- No control over customer location or how it might fit into current route
- Hard to predict incoming work
For lawn care contractors who value their independence, there is an alternative course of action. Get into the business of offering on-demand lawn care themselves.
Here’s what they need:
- Modern, mobile-friendly website (or app) that makes online shopping convenient
- A mechanism that allows consumers to request and schedule service online
- A mechanism that allows the contractor to quickly measure a property online without having to physically visit the property
- Standard operating procedures to respond to those service requests and deliver the services on time
- A marketing strategy to begin positioning the company as a reliable provider of on-demand lawn services
Delivering services on-demand will not be easy for every lawn care contractor to do. To be honest, not every contractor will want to even try. But for those who are looking to maintain relevance in a rapidly changing marketplace, steps should be taken now to continue giving consumers what they want and value in a service provider: a convenient shopping experience and peace of mind.
Want to learn more about what it takes to provide on-demand lawn care services?
If you own a lawn, landscape, irrigation, or hardscape business, you should check out the videos on this subject available at www.superlawntoolkit.com/2019summit.
The Wealthy Landscaper Summit: Digital Strategies to Dominate Your Market is an education event designed to teach landscapers how to profit from digital marketing and online sales systems. Learn more at www.superlawntoolkit.com/2019summit.