Should you be a jack of all trades or a master of one?

Focusing on a few services or even one service is probably not a wise move when you are starting your business. But as you progress with your company and have some time to experiment, you can find which services you like to perform the most and which make you the most money. From there you can decide to offer a wide range of services or focus more on a few. Here is a great discussion on the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum on the topic.

One lawn care business owner wrote “I have been doing a lot of thinking lately about where I want to take my business in the future and have come up with plenty of ideas. I am not positive on which services would be best to focus on, but maybe writing this all down will help in the process. Lawn maintenance lately has been taking care of itself. It’s been really successful, so much so that I won’t have to spend much on marketing next spring.

Gutter cleaning has been great. It’s in high demand and sometimes I can pull in a lot of cash for a little bit of my time. I would love to get into gutter guard installation, but then my customers wouldn’t need their gutters cleaned often.

Garden weeding and maintenance has been alright. The money is amazing but the demand isn’t that high. I would like to improve this, but by doing so I might lose focus on lawn maintenance. There is so much I can do with garden work, I guess I will have to take baby steps. I would love to build gardens, small retaining walls & such.

Anther service I offer is hedge trimming. It’s in demand, but people don’t want to pay the right price. If they pay a price lower than what I offer, it’s really not that appealing to me. So basically I stick with small hedges and bushes.

Spring cleanups are pretty straightforward, people either want them or not. Personally the demand is barely there, though I find it pointless to market this to my current customers. I always make a cleanup the first time I start lawn maintenance in May.

Fall cleanups are my favorite. The weather is perfect and keeps me full of energy. The job is simple and quick for the buck. I can easily make $100.00 for an hour of my time. It’s a great service to offer for me because I won’t be pulling in a lot of cash this winter.

As for winterizing lawns and plants, I don’t know if it’s worth it. Snow removal is something I could get into on a larger scale, but I’m thinking of alternatives. We currently offer our customers salting and shoveling. I am just not sure what I should focus on that is not going to require a lot of expenditure on new equipment.

When it comes to pressure washing, everyone owns a pressure washer here. The jobs can easily be miscalculated and you can waste a lot of time. With all my services, I want to be able to give an exact estimate. If I am called to clean sidings and driveways it just sounds like there will be many upsetting days.

Fence installation sounds out of my league, but painting and staining wooden fences is an interest. I’m sure I could build a market for that.

Window cleaning. It’s trickier and more time consuming than I thought. The work is uncomfortable, as you are inside and outside of the customers house. The money sucks/time.

Tree removal is apparently in high demand here. Many people are planting and removing trees all the time. Though this is another service I wouldn’t be able to afford to perform and I am certainly not climbing any trees.

So after reviewing my options my next step would most likely be doing more garden work. The tools are cheap and easily replaceable. The outcome of a job well done is extremely rewarding, every pre/post picture is fresh advertising. I would love to design gardens and maybe small ponds in the future.”

A second lawn care business owner said “I honestly hope you do not take this the wrong way, it’s just advise and take it for what it’s worth. You need a business plan and if you have to get someone to help you then do it. Focus on what the niche market is and go after it. That is the only way to make serious money. Otherwise you are going to be bouncing all over the place offering every service under the sun with no competitive advantage. It’s that advantage, that brings you the higher profits.”

A third added “it sounds like you have some great ideas there. I know the feeling. I have a few things I would love to do, but I simply do NOT have the money to get it rolling. As such I have to look at what I can do and make sure I do it well. I know I need to find something with a demand or something I can create a demand for and focus my energies on that.

I am trying to be careful to not get my fingers into too many different things and in essence be a ‘jack of all trades, master of none.’ I would rather be able to do a few things well and have the time to push those things. If I offer too many different things then I find I can not completely focus on any one thing. For example, I am trying to get a mower repair shop rolling and am looking at possibly getting into the organic spraying. I don’t think that I can successfully focus on all of these.

I am finding that already with my lawn care business and with my shop, I can not spend the time staying up to date with both. That is one reason I am thinking about splitting from mowing and focusing on small engine repair and organic spraying.

I think if I focus on small engine repair / servicing and the application of organic sprays I can find which is a better niche market and then focus on that.

Among other things I had considered were pressure washing, no pressure roof cleaning, and garden tilling…. You have to find something that you have an interest in because if you don’t have an interest in the thing you decide to do, you will not put your full effort into it. At least that is my view on it.”

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