I thought because I was a great landscaper people would call. I thought wrong.

It’s fascinating the lessons learned by new lawn care business owners who leave their full time jobs to go off on their own and start their own business. A member of the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum shared with us some of the issues he ran into when he got started. He wrote “It’s one thing to manage a business for someone but it’s definitely another to own a business. I thought that because I was a great landscaper people would just call. I thought wrong. I now have an interactive website and advertise locally in the community papers. I am trying to make the community aware of the services that I offer.”

I think many employees of lawn care businesses tend to not realize how difficult it is to find work. They are normally told where the job is and what they need to do when they get there but rarely are the involved with the sales process. That tends to be where the magic happens. A lawn care business owner who is a good salesman, can find much success in the industry where a quiet more introverted business owner may struggle a lot more to get attention.

When I asked this lawn care business owner to share more of the lessons he learned as he started his own business and how it differed from working for another lawn care company he responded “I have learned that profit is arbitrary. When I managed a concrete, grading, and landscape business for someone else, he had set prices that we went by. The owner would approve our proposals and negotiate with us on the indicated bid price before we even took it to the customer. In this case it was some very large home builders. He had numbers he did not want to go below.

I learned that in order to grow I need to have systems in place that allow any person with reasonable landscape experience to deliver the same results every time the customer was visited. By this I mean an employee handbook that employees can refer. The previous company I worked for used sub contractors mainly. It was hard to train them on the companies policies because the came and went faster than any company employees would.

I learned that owning my own business means that I am wearing all the hats. I am the Sales Rep, I am the Estimator, I am the Production Manager, I am the Account Controller, I am the Labor and I am the Marketing Director (the most important when just starting out). I am going to have to learn to do all of these things and develop a system. When that position has been mastered and I have it detailed out I will be able to hire someone to fill that position. They will be able to perform it how I want them to. To succeed as a landscape business owner you have to be a good business person first and then a landscaper.

I am suprised at how difficult it was to get any publicity for my business. My marketing plan started out as flyers at banks with cardholders and calling the local newspapers to tell them about my business. I wanted an article on the business…..I guess I wasn’t too compelling. It’s a numbers game totally. I now advertise in a local paper with a large distribution. I always ask - How did you hear about us? I want to track my advertising to see where I am wasting my money.

If you are just starting out, like me, with your own landscape business, I would recommend you do not ever skimp on quality or communication. Your first big customers will either make you or break you and have a great referral program. I have overcome sales objections by simply mentioning my referral program to clients. Sell yourself. Prepare for it like an interview. Have a script ready for phone calls. Be the solution to their landscape concern. The hardest part is done - They Called YOU. You are the professional, most people are overwhelmed by their landscape issue. Let them know you know exactly what to do, how to do it, and why to do it.”

Being a good landscaper is not enough. - GopherHaul 58 Lawn Care Forum Show

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Lawn Care Business Books And Software.
How To Get Lawn Care Customers Vol. 2
The landscaping and lawn care business plan startup guide
A rebellious teenagers guide to starting a landscaping & lawn care business
The GopherHaul Lawn Care Business Show Episode Guide.
Stop Lowballing! A Lawn Care Business Owner\'s Guide To Success