It’s great if you can work enough in your landscaping business during the spring, summer and fall to keep you afloat during the winter season, allowing you to take a long vacation every year. But if you haven’t been able to save enough to take the whole winter off, you’ve got to get creative to find jobs that utilize your skills and keep you busy when it’s cold.
Businesses and homeowners start hanging their holiday lights as early as Thanksgiving and often leave them hung well into the first few weeks of January. Put your ladders to use during that time to hang lights and hook up the big blow-up yard decorations many people enjoy during the end-of-year holiday season. You also can charge them to take the lights down. Discuss the added work with your insurance carrier to make sure you and all your employees are covered for the work, though. Set up a brief training session with a local electrician or lighting manufacturer so you’ll be knowledgeable about the kinds of wiring and connections you need to make sure you and your clients stay safe when all the lights get turned on.
Winter is the ideal time to transplant shrubs and trees that are in their dormant cycle. Trees use the time to establish a root system to start soaking up the nutrients once the ground thaws completely. You’ll have to work around the times of year when the ground isn’t completely frozen, depending on what part of the country you live in, but you should take full advantage of any times available to move trees or plant new ones. Once the trees are planted, you can keep working the project by watering them thoroughly every two weeks or so.
Remove Snow and Debris
A logical step for landscapers living in the great white north is to offer snow removal services. You will definitely be tied to the weather, however, and out of luck if you don’t get much snow one year. On the other hand, if you set up a clientele before it starts snowing, when it does come, you can be all set to go. Contract with both homeowners and commercial sites to remove snow as it falls. Supplement the work by offering to pick up debris, like branches and fallen trees, after winter storms.
Landscapers usually get involved in the entire yard, and as such create walkways, flower bed borders and arbors. Winter is ideal for spending more time on the non-growing aspects of your clients’ outdoor spaces. You can build borders and arbors in a large garage space and transport them to your clients’ yards. Plan to do your repairs on fences and walkways during the winter when the grass and flowers don’t need constant attention. Use the time to draw up new plans for the spring gardens and get approval from clients so you can jump on the new plantings as soon as the weather breaks.
Linda Ray is an award-winning journalist with more than 20 years reporting experience. She's covered business for newspapers and magazines, including the "Greenville News," "Success Magazine" and "American City Business Journals." Ray holds a journalism degree and teaches writing, career development and an FDIC course called "Money Smart."