Are you creating competitors from within your company?

Here is some great food for thought. If you think there are a lot of competitors in your area providing lawn care services, you may want to do what you can to not make the situation worse. One entrepreneur shared with us on the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum, the events that got him to start a lawn care business. He went from employee to employer but might have stayed an employee if only…

He wrote “If I knew then what I know now, I would have started my business when I was 20 years old. Seriously.

Growing up, I was your typical liberal, dumb kid, expecting everything for as little effort as possible sort of person. Your basic middle-class son of a mill-rat. I had no drive or ambition and just expected everything to be handed to me. Then I got a job and found myself dealing with a lot more reality.

I learned that working hard for yourself gains you more than working hard for someone else. At my first job, I quickly began to think about why should I work to make someone else rich? The worst part of it for me was when my employer would flaunt his wealth that I made for him, in my face.

Throughout my early working experience I found that business owners lie. When I would ask questions about starting or running a business, they would poor mouth me and tell me how very expensive it was to run a business. How everything cost them so much and it was at the point where they just didn’t know if it was worth it to continue running the company any longer. They would tell me that owning a business was so hard and so expensive and then drive away in a car that costs as much as my house.

The worst example of this that I can remember was back some 10 years ago when my employer owed me a week’s pay and said he didn’t have the money yet. As he was saying it, his wife and her friend were carrying in a giant television set from Best Buy. That was the last straw for me and it helped me push into a direction I needed to go.

Now as I am a business owner, I have learned the importance not to lie to my staff. If my previous employers would have said to me ‘running a business is a lot of work. It’s a lot easier being an employee and getting a paycheck.’ I could have respected that. If they said ‘owning a business isn’t for everyone’, that would have rung true for me as well. There are some people that just aren’t cut out for it and they just end up costing themselves money, relationships, houses, cars and everything else they have, when they try to start a business. Maybe if as an employee I was told these things and not had all this owner’s wealth thrown in my face, I wouldn’t have become a competitor of theirs’ now.

I keep these lessons in mind today. A little over 1 year from my business start up date, I had my first profitable month. Slowly but surely I have worked on getting my business to grow. Since I had no idea when things would start rolling, I just kept going and decided that I wouldn’t give up no matter how hard things became. I just put my faith in God and put all the worries in his hands. He hasn’t let me down.

Even though the business almost immediately started paying for itself when I began, there was really no profit for a while. Being able to break even was a huge step for me, yet even that was only possible because I purchased equipment a little bit at a time over the previous 5 or so years. If I hadn’t bought that equipment I needed over time, I would surely have had to find a low paying job to keep food on the table.

I actually had some money in the bank to buy equipment without selling anything but I didn’t want to let my bank account get too low. Before my last job quit paying me, I had about $10,000 in an emergency funds and quite frankly, it was gone before I started my mowing/fertilizing business.

Now I’m dumping everything I can into the house to get it paid off. From last count I’m about 21 years ahead on my house payments and hope to have it paid off next year. After that a huge financial burden will be lifted and I can relax.”

A second lawn care business owner shared “business owners lie? Really? I left my last job when the owner told me he could not afford to give me a raise, he wasn’t even sure he could make the next weeks payroll. Then I found out he, his wife and daughter went to the south of France for a months vacation. Now I know I shouldn’t have done this, but while he was out there, I called him, and told him I quit.

The next day the only other guy who worked for him asked me why I quit, so I told him. He also called the owner and quit. There he was in the south of France, on a nice vacation and boom just like that, HE HAS NO BUSINESS.

He should have paid me on time and not have flaunted that he was going on such an extravagant vacation.”

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Lawn Care Business Books And Software.
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The GopherHaul Lawn Care Business Show Episode Guide.
Stop Lowballing! A Lawn Care Business Owner\'s Guide To Success