Starting and growing your own business is never easy. There’s risk, uncertainty and always lessons along the way. So we asked five guys about their keys to success. Through it all, a few pieces of advice standout:
1. Don’t go it alone.
For Mark Yarbrough, owner of Outdoor Inspirations, that means “partnering” with an equipment vendor you can really trust. “You want someone who’s knowledgeable, reputable and who offers excellent customer service,” explains Mark. “You want someone who is there to help you out.”
Mark looks for that kind of helpfulness in every aspect of dealing with his vendor: from getting the spray rig that’s right for his business to help with parts and service after the sale. “They’re always looking to help solve problems,” adds Mark, “even when the problems are the result of the learning curve that comes with being new in the business.”
2. There’s more to the business than lawn care.
“Many times, lawn care professionals focus just on the part of the business they love: making their customers’ lawns look good,” explains Graham Stuart, owner of Perfectly Green Lawn Care. “But they end up losing by neglecting the front and back ends of the business – getting and keeping customers and making sure they’re getting paid for their services.”
When you’re starting out and can’t afford to hire help, it will mean extra work for you, but you can’t afford to neglect the little things of maintaining customers and getting paid.
3. Charge a fair price and go the extra mile.
“Fair” means fair to your customers and to you. If you charge too much, you won’t keep customers. Kenneth Crisp, owner of Superior Lawn Service, remembers these words from his father: “Customers are like sheep. You can shear them forever, but you can only skin them once. But if you charge too little, you won’t last long.”
Joe Edmondson, owner of The Other Side, Inc., advises new business owners to “make sure to price your services well.”
“Your goal is to keep customers,” adds Frank Modugno of Frank’s Reliable Lawn Care. “You do this by acting with integrity and doing the best job you can every day.” For Kenneth, that means always doing more than your customers expect.
4. Quality equipment that can stand the test of time is key.
If there’s one thing that everyone agrees on, it’s buy the best equipment and maintain it. Our own Jim Watson, general manager at Graham, drives home the point. “Guys in lawn care can bring in $800 to $1000 a day. When you cut corners, you end up losing money due to expenses and downtime from having to repair or replace cheaper, lower quality equipment.”
We hope these tips have been helpful and that you can apply them to your business and future success. Good luck!