5 things I am doing differently next year with my lawn care business.

Each season you operate your lawn care business you can really learn a lot of great lessons that just might help you improve your operation in the future. Here are 5 lessons one business owner shared with us on the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum. From this list, he decided he would change the way he ran his business to streamline his operation and improve his profitability.

One lawn care business owner wrote “so it’s only been a month in the new lawn maintenance season and I’ve already come up with ideas to try out next year. The way things change around is fascinating.

1. Absolutely no free work
!

2. No fear in standing firm with customers or potential customers on my prices.
It’s better to stand firm on your prices than getting suckered into lowering a price, or anything at all.

3. Saying no to work
.
My lawn care customers often expect me to do work I have no interest in. Saying no and referring someone else to do the job has been working well for me.

I haven’t done one hedge job since May, I have given away 8 jobs to someone who focuses on hedges alone. I will eventually have him work for me. I could have made a lot of money from these jobs, though I saved myself a lot of stress. I have plenty of lawns to focus on and one underestimated job can do a lot of damage and cause a chain reaction of complaints from other customers who are expecting work done.

I don’t risk my time anymore on jobs I am not proficient at. My clients can hate me for saying no to work or they can hate me for getting the job started late and unorganized. I’d rather the first one.

4. REALLY saying no to work.
You’ll often do a big job for someone and that someone will think he/she owns you. They will expect you to work around the clock for them and satisfy all their every request. I have done a big job for this one customer and the requirements he expects of me grows and grows. It’s gotten so bad, I have to look after his mail when he goes on vacation.

The problem is, he demands and doesn’t ask. ‘When you show up, put down some more soil and bill me, goodbye.’ It’s not bad if he’s paying, but sometimes it’s just not something I’m interested in doing. It adds more time to my day when I just want it to end.

5. Creating a waiting list.
Taking and accepting all jobs can cause a lot of people to hate you. If they understand they are on a waiting list, they might ease up.

For every additional service, I now tell customers ‘I’m putting you on the waiting list. You will be contacted the day before we do X service. If you do not answer to confirm, you will be placed at the very end of the waiting list.’

Customers also often ask when you will be able to show up, half the time you have no damn idea.

Customer: Can you dethatch my lawn?

Me: Yes, but I’m backed up right now and I’ll have to get back to you on that.

Customer: When do you THINK you will be able to do it?

Me: No damn idea, I’ll get back to you on that!

Which brings up,

Never schedule work unless you are 100% sure it can be done by then.

I have scheduled work in advance, only to want to avoid it because I’ve been offered more money elsewhere. I have gotten stuck doing lousy paying work, when I could have avoided it and made bigger bucks elsewhere.”

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