A lot of people talk or dream about starting their own lawn care business, so I thought it might be a good idea to ask members of the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum, what made you different? What made you be able to actually do it, instead of sitting around and talking about it?
Here are some of the responses I got. Maybe they will help give you an insiders look at what’s needed to actually do it.
- “For me it was the dream and idea of being your own boss. My father owned a construction business my whole life and I was always on the job with him learning. I felt my whole life that owning my own business is what I was going to do, I just didnt know what it was that I was going to be doing. I always have loved being outside and have always loved plants/trees.
Some 15 years ago, in high school I took a class called Environmental Landscaping and I don’t know why, I just liked it. Looking back now, it all makes sense.”
- “The short answer is 25 years of hard work in the corporate world. Setting a time/goal when I would break free and work for my own company. Then building the assets to do it and putting some cash away.
I have been an entrepreneur all my life. I started my first company at the age of 12 and even though I have worked in the business world all my life, I always had companies going on the side. I wrote business plans for a time. Did around 100 small business tax returns, built houses, decks, furniture etc and the list goes on. I found a great excitement in starting, building and selling a company.
Businesses in my experience that fail do not have a well thought business plan and they have not performed research. Another thing that many times happens is trouble in partnerships. Growing to fast without the capital to back it up or buying equipment that is not well suited for the task at hand. Beyond this, the list goes on and on.”
- “Throughout high school and college, I had always worked for a landscaping company, every summer. When I finished my degree in finance, I thought I really wanted to pursue a career in the financial sector. Needless to say, it did not work out. One day, I found myself in envy seeing the landscaping company outside of the office building I was working at. So, after several months of debate, I quit! I took what savings I had and began my lawn care business.
I was fortunate in that one of my best friends already his landscaping business up and running. He was able to help me make the transition much more easier.”
- “To actually start a business yourself, you need (In order):
- Self Confidence
- Forward thinking
Self Confidence - If you don’t believe in yourself, no one else will.
Background - My father was an businessman. When I was 10, he bought an ice cream company that had three stands. Over time it grew and became very popular. He franchised 21 total stores in total. He then bought the concession at a county park with 7 amusement rides. At first it was not profitable! ItÂ was open only during the summer. A year or two later, he transitioned it into a very profitable enterprise.
How did he do it? By creating a niche and the need for it. The town I lived in was a manufacturing city with more than 40 factories and many other enterprises. Many of these companies provided company picnics and clambakes for their employees. During the first winter he aggressively sold the concession as a place that could not only provide the food but also provide entertainment for the adults in a family setting with a means to occupy the kids (free rides all day) and thus out of the parents hair.
For six years he successfully ran the business and then sold the concession to my uncle. He then bought three restaurant franchises locations. I grew up in this environment.
Forward Thinking - I learned to develop business plans based on his examples. Making a business plan isn’t an overnight endeavor. It takes days, weeks or more. It takes rewriting, over and over. It involves financial planning. My father always gave himself a salary. He had to budget his money for living expenses knowing that he would not get more from the business ( religiously walking the talk). He later would plan expansion or exit ahead of time.
Experience - Build on what you know. Build on what you enjoy. Build on your experiences with people.
Research - Learning is an ongoing process. There is no limit to where you can discover better, easier, less costly methods of operating and/or expanding your business.
Organization - Use what you learn to improve. Question both every new idea from your research and how you operate. Ask how new ideas, methods, products can help or hinder. Constantly improve - but realize that constant or continual improvement dictates constant and continual change. Decide the plus and minus of standing firm or being flexible. Always keep an open mind and solicit someone to challenge your decisions.
Perseverance - Self explanatory!”