Why you shouldn’t rush growth on your lawn care business.

Most lawn care business owners tend to want to get their landscaping business big and as soon as possible. They see no downside to such growth and instead only think of what they feel are all the positive things that come along with growing larger. Yet when you get a chance to talk to a lawn care business owner who has been there and done that, you see a very different opinion on forced growth. A member of the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum shared with us his experiences on it and how it hurt his business.

He wrote “hello, I am the owner of a grounds maintenance business that has been in operation for 15 years. I feel like an old timer in the lawn cutting world even though I am only 35 years old. I have been through a lot and seen a lot at the same time.

I was a one man operation for my first 8 years, then I decided, enough was enough and I wanted to grow as large as possible. When I made the decision to go big, I did get to the point of having 3 trucks and 9 employees. One day I was mowing one of my large apartment complexes and found that I truly hated it.

The business totally changed for me. I found there was way too much bs and ass kissing involved to keep the work. When I came to this realization, I thought to myself that I had been running a lawn care business for too long up to that point to have to operate in such a manner to keep work. I felt I just didn’t need it and I hated the fact that I was hating my own business. It was insanity! My creation turned into a monster and what was once a thing that I owned now became something that owned me!

So I decided to make a change once again. I slowly let work and employees go until I was back to just working by myself. I found I was much, much happier that way. I felt like I was back to loving my business again and I was getting up in the morning with a smile on my face, ready to go to work. In order to keep things more fresh and keep my mind working, I decided to branch out and begin offering landscaping services.

As I look back now, there are some things I would have done differently. First off, I would not tried to grow so fast. When I started marketing to commercial lawn care customers, they seemed to come on fast, too fast. I got 4 Luxury Apartment complexes, with the smallest being 14 acres and ranging all the way up to 22 acres for the largest, all within a 4 month period. On top of those customers, I had to continue to service all my residential lawn care customers along with some smaller commercial properties.

I always felt like I was a loyal person to my loyal customers but over time my attention to detail with those residential customers went down the drain. Instead of paying attention to the customers who really mattered most to me and did the most for me, I was constantly driving around to all the large commercial lawn care customers, doing damage control and kissing property managers’ butts because of the crappy job my other crews were doing.

I personally lost the love for the work. That really was a big downer for me personally. So if I could offer any advice to other lawn care business owners out there, it would be to go slow and don’t try to grow big too soon. Add services to your business that you enjoy. Don’t add them all at once either. Do it one at a time. Learn how to perform the service the best way you know how and then add another service. Also, find TRUSTED, HARD WORKING people to work for you. That’s a lot tougher than it sounds. But most of all, don’t lose your love for the work. As long as you want to get up in the morning to go to work, do it the best you can and you will feel proud when you come home at night.”

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