It’s amazing the difference a year can make for a business owner. Especially when that year is your first year in business. The first year can be so extremely tough in many ways. Let’s take a look at some of the lessons one lawn care business owner learned over his first year that helped him find some real growth. He shared with us some of his insights on the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum.
He wrote “This year has been a nightmare within a dream this season! I’m getting calls left & right. The more work I do it seems the more work that gets ordered! Right now, I just CAN’T finish up all these yard cleanups I got going on. So much to do, so little time!
I now need help managing my growing lawn care business. I hired someone to answer the phones. I also hired another employee to help me work on the lawn work and another for garden work. I love being busy but I’ve been getting 10 calls per day & my head is starting to spin. I am now completely booked for lawn maintenance.
When new calls come in, I find myself grinding my teeth and saying,’I'll give you an estimate’.”
That is all fantastic news! What business lessons do you feel you learned in the past year that have led to all this business growth? What new policies or plans have you implemented that have helped you grow?
“Well this year I don’t need notes to read off of. Everything a client asks, I can give them an answer on the spot. I think this past year has helped me with building my confidence level and my sales presentation. I just flow better now when I am talking to customers. I am more smooth in my interactions.
I can better price materials this year and estimate lawn care bids a lot closer to the mark than I could last year. That is just a product of doing it over the past year. If you underbid one or two properties, you tend not to repeat that process. It’s also easier for me to quote odd jobs now. Basically I know my expenses so I know what to charge for materials, gas, & equipment, insurance and everything else. I can judge more accurately how long a job should take me, give the customer my exact price.
As for how new lawn care business owners should learn how to bid, my advice is to use your own property as your testing laboratory. Perform different services on your property and measure the total square feet of the area. Then keep track of how long it took you to perform that service. Once you do this, you will have a good standard to base other future jobs off of. The more times you do something, the easier it becomes. Cutting my own lawn has helped me quote all of my clients. By doing this, you will learn your pace.
Over the past year, my attitude has changed completely. I think it’s because I’m not desperate for work anymore. I’m able to maintain a neutral attitude with my potential customers. I think that is the key to success.¬† You have to go into business with the mind set that you are already doing good. If people sense you are desperate for work, they may think there is something wrong with you or your business. They may also feel you don’t know what you are doing. When a customer hires you, they don’t want to hope you can get the job done, they want you to reaffirm to them that you are an expert and you will get the job done. You need confidence to sell successfully.
Another thing I do, is I pass by clients now regularly, just to wave or stop & say hello and catch up on news. I am learning the importance of customer bonds. I want to build a foundation with all of my clients. I want them to know me as being personable and not just out there to make a profit off of them.
When I meet a new customer, I start off by talking about what interests them before I even speak of the job(s) I can/will do for them. I try to be their friend, then later there will be time to sell my services.
This year I also bought new uniform shirts to create a better company image. I bought signs for my truck and trailer. Those have brought in business for me & I’ve been getting many compliments from people all over town about them! My new trailer is an eye catcher for sure, it’s worked wonders!
So try these things out. Look professional, act professional and soon, you will find your lawn care business blowing up too!”