Going from being an employee to starting your own lawn care business can appear to be a daunting challenge. As an employee you don’t so much have to find the work as you have to do the work. Many of the day to day business issues are dealt with by the business owner. As an employee, you simply need to be on time, get the job done and collect your paycheck at the end of the week. But what about when you want to make that jump from employee to owner. Will you be successful? Do you have what it takes? That is what a new lawn care business owner was interested in knowing when he wrote us on the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum.
He said “I’m looking to start my own lawn service and snowplowing business and am in need of some good business tips. I’ve always had the thought in the back off my head of becoming an entrepreneur, but when it came up I always told myself it wasn’t something that I was cut out to do. I have mowed lawns and snowplowed for another lawn service for about 7 years and have always had a passion for it. Lately I had been working with an excavating outfit and recently got laid off due to a lack of work and nothing seemed to be coming down the road. So with all this free time now, I figured if I was every going to do this, now is the time.
I always considered myself a 9 to 5er with paychecks on Fridays!! I never thought I could be the business man as well as the grunt worker. I still don’t think that I have all the requirements to be the best at it. My people and sales skills aren’t aren’t where they need to be either. But I am a firm believer in, if you want something, you have to fight for it and make it happen. So I am ready for anything I can get my hands on. I have been talking to everyone I can talk to and trying to get as much information as I can get before I make a huge investment. I am strongly considering taking a night class at my local community college in business management. Believe me, there are still those lingering thoughts about not being able to do this, but I know I have to get past them.
Trying to keep my head on straight with all of this has been tough. I’ve got a good friend who is a business owner and about to graduate with his associates degree in business management. He is trying to teach me some valuable information on business operations. I think it’s doing more harm then good though in a way. There are so many things to consider when starting a business it makes my head spin. All the licensing, insurance, overhead costs, weekly costs, knowing how much it cost to run my equipment each day, week and year. How much to figure for equipment depreciation, replacement cost. etc etc. It’s enough to drive a person mad.
With all of that said, do I have the right stuff to start my own lawn care business or am I just woefully unprepared?”
As a new business owner, you can’t let any of that freak you out. Anything you do that is new, always has the potential of being overwhelming but if you take it in small bites, you can get through it all, step by step.
Getting insurance is as simple as a phone call. Getting a business license is a trip to your local county court house or town hall. Figuring out your operating costs is as simple as taking your total monthly costs and divide that by the total number of hours you plan on working in that month.
The toughest part you will probably find with everything is attracting new customers. Going from a worker to a salesman, which is what you will become as a business owner, tends to be difficult. Especially for those who aren’t extroverts.
To make it easy on yourself early on, promote your business to people you know. Try to get some friends or family members signed up as customers. Use that experience to build up your confidence and then reach out further to neighbors who live in your area. Work on building up referrals from the small group of customers you initially get. As you go, you will find it easier to talk about your business and to sign up more customers.
Don’t expect it all to happen overnight because it won’t. Slow and steady will win you the race in the long haul. If you are wondering whether or not you have the right stuff to get started, you do. Just remember to take your business building in a step by step fashion. Don’t let the setbacks stop you. We all have set backs. Those who succeed, realize set backs are simply momentary and will be overcome.