As a small business owner, you probably feel like you have your hands full dealing with the problems you already have in your day-to-day operations. It’s easy to think about expansion as a problem for another day. But it’s important to keep that idea in the back of your mind, because if your company isn’t growing, it won’t be long before it starts shrinking. We asked Jason Creel of Lawn Care Life about ways to build on your accomplishments.
Retain your customers. Jason and many other experienced professionals agree that the single most important way to expand your business is to maintain your existing clientele. Exact figures vary, but multiple studies have found that attracting a new customer is significantly more expensive than keeping one. How do you do it?
1. Provide excellent service. Your customers won’t recommend you to their friends and neighbors if your work isn’t up to par. You want to nurture lawns that attract attention from random passers-by.
2. Communicate professionally and frequently. Your customers should hear from you at least once a week, through e-mails, social media posts, or face-to-face contact with you or your employees. If you’re present in their minds, they’ll be more likely to talk about you and to call you about problems, giving you a chance to provide more excellent service by addressing them early.
3. Exceed expectations. A small unprompted action can have a large effect. Occasionally throw in a small service, like edging, with no charge. Just a simple note thanking customers for their business will leave an impression.
Find great employees, and keep them. Many of you are shaking your heads, thinking, “Easier said than done.” That’s true, but there are proven ways to improve retention, and they’re all related to your company’s culture.
1. Communication. Employees report higher job satisfaction when they understand what’s expected of them and are given the tools they need to meet those goals.
2. Team-building. Everyone knows what a huge difference it makes in your attitude towards your job when you like the people you work with. Many of your employees will spend the great majority of their time driving around alone. Bringing your team together for regularly scheduled meetings will require planning and effort on your part, but you’ll see improvements in morale and reductions in absenteeism that will surprise you.
3. Competitive pay. You can pay the industry average in your region if you want average employees. A team that you can count on to consistently provide excellent service is worth more.
4. Opportunities for advancement. With more knowledge and experience, your employees will want, and deserve, promotions. If your company can’t provide them, the only path to advancement is out the door, to potential employment with a competitor or even founding their own company.
Consider upgrading your equipment. We don’t recommend trying to economize by using cheap equipment. It’s unlikely to last as long as a more reliable product, and it’ll need more repairs during that shorter working life. Better equipment means less downtime and more productivity, which equal more revenue and more profit.
Look for online resources. There are countless videos and blogs about every aspect of the lawn care business. Jason’s own Lawn Care Life is a great place to start (and you may find that it’s the only site you need).
At Graham Spray Equipment, we’re committed to helping you succeed. These are just some of the ideas we’ve read and been told about. There’s more we could say about growing your lawn care business, so we may revisit this subject in a future post.