Lawn care business lessons from her father.

Some of us are born into families with entrepreneurial blood pumping through our veins while others are first generation and have to start from scratch. A member of the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum is a second generation entrepreneur and shared with us some of the business lessons she had learned from her father. There are quite a few interesting topics that I think will help you grow.

She wrote “I’m not actually running my lawn care business yet, due to an injury requiring a little more physical therapy, I won’t be ready to do any lawn care before spring of next year. By the time I’m physically ready to start, it will be too close to winter to mow any lawns. But I should be able to open the snow plowing side line I want then. Then, around the first of the next year, I plan advertising the lawn care business and, hopefully, have a few customers ready to sign up in the spring.

I plan to use the next 9 months learning everything this industry. It seems rather appropriate taking nine months, doesn’t it? Kind of like birthing my new business. It will actually be a family business, but I like to study and learn details about things more than they do so I’ll learn and then teach, I guess.

Owning my own business has always been a dream of mine. I suppose I take after my dad in that way. He owned several mildly successful businesses during his lifetime. But he wasn’t a very good manager. He trusted too many people who burned him, and eventually closed all four.

I hope I’ve learned from his mistakes. He thought all there was to being a business owner was coming up with a good idea and diving in head first. If I’d known then what I know now, I might have been able to help him keep things going. So all I can do is apply what I know and what I’ll learn and work hard to make the lawn care service flourish.

I’ve already gathered demographics information from the internet and I am beginning to collect all possible information on grasses, trees, shrubs, plants and flowers people tend to use in this area. I want to know how to care for them, what to look for in the way of disease or pests. And I’m looking for whatever I can find to teach myself good marketing skills.

As it’s still early, the more I research, the more I’ll discover needs to be learned, I’m sure. But that’s okay. I believe that educating myself is the way to success.

The different businesses my dad started were a restaurant and then a house painting business all while I was too little to really know what happened. I’m assuming that since he didn’t do well for long in the other two (gas station/fuel oil and a combination pool hall/party store/pizza parlor), his failure was likely all due to the same reasons.

With the gas station he gave way too much credit to the fuel oil customers, which really hurt the income. He also was a sucker for any sob story and hired ‘friends’ who stole from the cash register. It took him a while to figure that out though. In the end he had to file bankruptcy.

With the combo business he might have succeeded if he’d limited it to either just the pool hall or that and the pizza. There never was a problem with the pool hall and it made a nice profit but when he added the pizza parlor his generosity reared it’s ugly head again. No weighing or measuring of any toppings for the first couple of years. People got a whole lot more than they paid for.

So he got discouraged about the lack of profits and rented the kitchen/dining room to a man who already had restaurants in other cities. His employees were careless and left the window open one night and he lost all the money from the pool hall and party store when thieves climbed in the window and found where he hid the register drawers. After that, he didn’t renew their lease.

A couple of the employees, at the time, would write orders for customers and then when they were paid, the employees would tear up the order and pocket the money. That didn’t help either.

I can’t recall exactly when the store was added (this was a HUGE building). But that was, in my opinion, what killed the whole thing. Apparently he wanted to cover every need, to the point of stocking brill cream, which was a hair cream for guys. There was just too much wasted shelf space on things that just didn’t move.

Basically I think it all boils down to being too generous and trusting the wrong people. I feel I did learn from my father’s business mistakes. One big lessons is never give credit to any customer regardless of the reason, I am not in the banking business. While you always need to give the customers value for their money, don’t give away the store.

In general, I feel people are either inclined to be entrepreneurs or they’re not. Like my dad, I guess he figured if that one business didn’t work, maybe THIS next one would. Unfortunately he went in to each business with the best of intentions, but without changing how he ran them. He never seemed to learn from his mistakes.

Another reason he might have failed at business was that he only had a 9th grade education. To him, things were either black or white. If you had a good idea, it should work. I think he missed his calling, too. Early on, he had taught himself to remodel homes and was a master craftsman with wood. For some reason, he got moved away from doing that and dreamed of bigger business to run. If he’d had stuck with home improvement and woodworking, I think he might have seen a good measure of success.

I think we all need to find something we enjoy doing and what we are good at. Once we find it, we should stick with it and work on improving that skill or service. Jumping from one business idea to another, haphazardly, is a one way ticket to failure.

These are the lessons I learned from my father. I hope they help you.”

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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