Is your lawn care business going in a direction you want it to go? Are you enjoying the day to day activities of it or does it cause you continuous stress? That is the question one lawn care business owner contemplated when he found he was being handed the family property management company. He shared with us on the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum, how he waded through things to find which services he would continue and which he would end. The way he did it may help you re-evaluate your situation as well.
He wrote “I have been in the property maintenance business since 1997 as a family owned company. We took care of lawns, swimming pools, pressure washing and general maintenance. About 1 yr ago I had enough of it and branched out to start my own lawn care / pressure washing/no pressure roof cleaning company. So far it has been moderately successful.
Due to recent health issues, the family business is going to be folded into my business and I will be taking full control of the accounts. I have 22 as we speak.
One of the many problems I had with my family’s business was that we never advertised because we had the same homeowner accounts year after year and saw no reason to expand, not until now. Marketing had been my weak point for years.
Another problem I had with the business was there were many services I just didn’t like to perform. When I was told the business was to be handed over to me, I looked at all of the aspects of the business and took note of those I enjoyed and those which I disliked.
Our core services were mainly all things needed to manage homes for overseas owners full time. Basically we did everything a homeowner would do if they were home. We provided lawn care, pool care, cleaning and maintenance items. Paying bills. We would also rent the property out for them, if requested. 99% are short-term rental properties i.e vacation homes. For all of this we collect a monthly management fee that should have ideally covered all costs plus included our profit.
Since we do not live in a perfect world, I found that there had been many times our costs simply weren’t covered. That made the business tough when the customer didn’t send out enough money or didn’t have enough money in their accounts over here to cover current expenses. When this happened, we basically had to use company money to keep the utilities on in some cases because if there was a guest in the home we could not just have the power/water turned off.
Most of the homeowners and guests are great but some can be a real pain. There always seems to be one in the group that will make a 7 am Sunday morning calls to change a light bulb etc. Or call to ask why is the pool cold when it’s 40 degrees outside. Or need the backed up toilet cleared. Or lost their keys … I could go on forever.
All of this can burn you out and I personally found that it was/is turning me into a grouch. I’d rather be happy and just provide simple services, not full management. At 33 I need to begin enjoying my business and my life as opposed to dreading it. Hence I decided to make some changes.
Most of the time as I worked with my family in the past I found that I’d rather just keep my head down and get things done. I really did not like cleaning swimming pools. Although the money was good, I did not look forward to it at all and got zero satisfaction out of it. That’s why I decided I will only be continuing the pool cleaning for existing accounts and not taking on anymore.
On the flip side, I love seeing a freshly mowed yard and a clean home after I have power washed it. After reflecting on it, I found there was a lot about it that I really didn’t enjoy much. So I will be making some big changes and taking the business into a direction I feel I need to take it in order to maintain my sanity.
If you are running your own business and find yourself dreading waking up to it each and everyday, maybe it’s time to re-evaluate things. Find what you like or don’t like to offer and make some changes. You have to focus on making yourself happy because no one else will.”
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