How does ego and pride effect your lawn care business?

With time spent running a lawn care business, veterans of the industry can reflect back and think about life lessons they learned along the way. In this discussion from the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum, we hear from one entrepreneur who learned a big lesson when it came to ego. He reflects on how his ego almost destroyed his mowing business. But then he took some time to change course and found much more success because of it. Which path are you going on? The path to having one or two landscape trucks max or are you going to be able to grow to a much bigger size?

One lawn care business owner wrote “as a business owner you need to give in to pride of a job and stop working in the company and work on building a company.

I would rather have 500 cheap lawn care clients that pay every invoice to keep the 10 employees busy and my bank account rolling, over having so few high dollar clients that I personally have to go out and kiss their butt, personally, every week.

If a client complains, keep him, learn from his remarks, take it to heart and learn to be better, with becoming better you learn everyone is the same. So price them all the same way!

When I started, I made $35.00 an acre for mowing. Then the headaches of ‘can you do this and that’, started.

The next year, there was nothing the customer could ask us to do that we did not do. If I got a call from a client, I questioned the crew not the client. I learned if you treat folks as the enemy, always trying to get you to do extras for free, you will find yourself a happy 1 man band with a helper. Right up until something happens to you and then you won’t know what to do. The helper will let you down and you will have to settle or close up shop.

The hardest thing in running a successful lawn care company is getting out of the field and into the office managing. The second hardest step is learning your company will never have the same quality as when you did it all. The third hardest lesson is realizing your ego that drives you also destroys you internally.

The key to being big and having a lot of clients is realizing you need able bodies to do the work the trick is lowering your personal standards so your workers stay happy and with you.

Ten years ago, I had 12 key men walk out in 1 week. It was an eye opening experience that made me question how my ego was effecting my company.

As people, we are raised thinking simple minded ways such as leaders and followers. Or rich and poor. Good and bad. Then we grow up and become more of us. Our parents call it rebellious, stubborn or great (again it depends on who is looking as to what they see).

Then we start a lawn care company and our ego drives us a few years and it sounds like this. I want the best company ever. I want the most pay, the nicest yards. I can do it better than so and so. This is ego

In all those life stories we were told, did anyone ever explain the ego kills a business? And all we ever heard on this is ‘there is no I in team.’ Most parents don’t understand business so it’s up to you, the owner, to face this and figure it out.

I know guys who think they are the greatest lawn care operators and all they have is a job for themselves because their ego is in the way of that greatness.

I have seen it happen many times. A business owner gets a ‘helper’, not a employee? (Helper indicates you have to watch him). Then this lawn care business owner hits a wall at the 1-2 truck size, when his ego hits again. ‘I don’t make half as much money with that crew as I did when I performed the work myself. I have to fix everything that do. I won’t let my quality drop, because they can’t do it like me! I won’t do more work for less than my normal rate because I want the money.’ It goes on and on why today a lawn care operation is, 9 out of 10 times, a 3-5 man show. It’s because of their boss’ ego can’t let go.

So the boss raises hell one day because his ego is in need of a check and it happens, he jumps ass and the next day a man doesn’t show up or worse 2 don’t and one is a driver. Ego check taken and the boss fights back and asks for more hours from the guys this week on those other jobs. Then the phone starts ringing and it’s customers. And they complain because the regular crew does this and that, and now it’s stressing you out and your working Saturdays. At the years end, you lose half of what you worked for because your ego stayed in over drive.

Now take out Mr. Ego and let the mowing customer dictate some of the quality issues. Let them call if they need to and don’t worry about your standards. Let the work place environment mellow and remember if you had listened to your business sense not your ego. When those guys did leave, you would have hired a few men to replace them in the field, to leave the stress behind. Yes the clients would still call but you could. You could then explain you can’t do it all at once and to give you a few weeks and that crew would be good as new.

A lot of time OUR PRIDE kills our company.

A successful business man once told me he would rather have 100 men doing all the work and making him $1.00 an hour each versus 1 man making him $100 an hour. He also said at the same time, to have 100 men under him meant he would always have a job managing them. If it was one man, that one man wouldn’t need managing and would likely quit and do it all himself. With 100 men making him a dollar each, was better for a business man than for the business man to try and make the $100.00 a hour himself, as that would be much harder work.

To make it in any business the trick is to do the work, it doesn’t matter about the numbers as much as the work. Do what you say, when you say, how you said you would do it and remember if the guys you manage have free time, it’s money left on the table. When you fill their time, add a new man and fill his and repeat.

We work hard for our money, why? Why not have others do the work for you. I have no need for a real job. People judge me sure, but yet I have everything others have and I have never worked a day in my life. So I ask why are we raised to let our ego guide us in decisions? Maybe it’s because the Jones’ got that corvette, ‘honey we should get that hummer so we have room for the kids at the ball games.’

There is another more productive way to do things.”

Read more about Lawn Care Business Bidding Tips, Upsells, And Disasters To Avoid. Learn how to improve your bidding process with this lawn care business book and be prepared before hand by knowing what you should be looking out for before a problem occurs.ā€¯

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