Cincinnati Landscaper Faces 103 Years In Prison for Fraud After Creating a Fake Company

It’s funny, because this kind of thing goes on all the time. I do not agree with awarding contracts to companies simply because they are owned by “minorities”. The best company should get the bid. So many business owners think they are slick. My favorite is when a guy makes his wife 51% owner of the business to qualify for “minority status”.

This guy went a few steps further and now he might end up living the rest of his life in jail. Read the story – HERE

 

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How to Start a Lawn Care Business – The Beginning

If you are a regular reader of this blog or my weekly e-mails you know that I usually do not write about starting a lawn care or landscape business. I know I probably should write about it more often considering new people are entering the industry every day…

But I am going to write about it today because I think there are a lot of people who get started in the lawn care business the wrong way (not their fault) and then when they realize they are doing things the wrong way it becomes difficult to make changes.

I am actually creating a new updated guide that will be very specific about starting and growing a new lawn care and landscaping business. So for the sake of this blog post, I am not going to go into detail about business formation, choosing a name, insurance, taxes, software, etc. I will include all of this in the guide which will be available soon.

Instead, today I am going to write about the “bigger picture”.

First, above all else, I want to say that owning a lawn care business or any green industry business should be and has to be about making money. I am all for creating a business that serves the community, employs people, protects the environment, beautifies the earth, etc. but if you are not making money, you are wasting your time.

I understand that in the beginning you want any work you can get. You do not want to say no to anyone because you are anxious, hungry and you want to be busy. But this is usually one of the first ways in which people get themselves in trouble. They do not know how to say no.

Instead, sit down and make a plan. I am not referring to a full blown traditional business plan. I am talking about deciding what your business is going to be – who you are going to provide your services for, where they are located, the services you are going to provide, what you are going to be known for, etc.

Once you know these things, stick to the plan and operate accordingly. Advertise accordingly. Hire accordingly. Work accordingly.

Too many people in the lawn care industry start as a jack-of-all-trades-master-of-none. They will do clean-ups, cut down a tree, build a pond, cut a lawn, build a wall, kill weeds, etc.

The belief is that if I can do it all, more people will hire me. Trust me, I’ve been there and this is not the case. Instead, you will be all over the place, unorganized, chasing work, learning on the job, getting the undesirable work and never have a clear cut direction for who you are or what you do.

Most people in the lawn care and landscaping industry start by mowing lawns. It makes sense. It is not difficult, there is lots of work out there, the initial investment is not significant and you do not have to have a significant amount of skill to do the work.

But it doesn’t take long for a lawn mowing customer to ask for this or that – something extra or different and our answer is almost always “yeah, we can do that”.

So here is the first lesson in starting your lawn care and landscape business…

Have a plan, decide what work you are going to do, where you are going to do the work, the kinds of clients you want, advertise accordingly and in the beginning at least, say no to every other request.

This will keep you focused, organized and profitable. In time, additional services can be added and you will know when you are ready.

Website/SEO “Professionals” Taking Advantage of Lawn and Landscape Business Owners

I cringe when I watch videos on YouTube of people being scammed – cars on Craigslist, broken computers by Geek Squad types, Insurance scammers running into cars, gas pilfering, etc.

But I am learning that “scamming” by definition is certainly open for interpretation.

I have talked to countless numbers of lawn and landscape business owners who are unhappy about the results (or lack thereof) they are getting from their websites.

If you are a small business owner chances are you have received phone calls from companies telling you that they can get you to the top of Google and/or other search engines and that is where the “scam” usually begins.

They talk about Google Local, directories, citations, on-page SEO, off-page SEO, reviews and all kinds of other strategies necessary to make it to the top of the search engines. The average business owner is rarely aware or understands what they are being told. It sounds technical enough and the assumption therefore is that it must be legitimate.

Then on top of all of this, the salesperson works hard to convince the business owner to spend money on “Google AdWords” so they are definitely found at the top.

I am talking about people being charged $400 to $4,000 per month for this nonsense.

And of course after some times passes and the owner’s website is not found at the top or anywhere near the top of Google they start to panic and get frustrated. They contact the salesperson (who is usually much harder to get a hold of now) and tell them they are unhappy. The salesperson assures them that progress is being made and to be patient because it is a process.

This is true – it is a process to get to the top of a search engine. But if the right research is performed and the right steps are taken, results should follow soon enough.

Are there companies out there providing these services legitimately that produce results? Sure, but notice I said they produce results. And even then, the prices being charged for these results are often outrageous.

They can and do charge these prices because they know the average business owner knows they need to be online and they know they need to have a strong presence. But because the process sounds so technical, they assume that the inflated pricing is justified.

I actually had a business owner laugh the other day when I told him I charge $99 a month to build, update and rank a website. I thought he was laughing because he felt it was too much money. He was laughing because he realized that he had spent over $18,000 in the past year to get nowhere with his website.

Be careful. When these people call, write down what they say, offer and promise and then e-mail me. I can tell you if their offer is reasonable and I can tell you what you can expect.

The Definition of Lawn and Landscape Business Insanity

You have certainly heard Einstein’s definition of insanity…

“The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

So true, right?

So I am curious why lawn and landscape business owners do not think this definition applies to them and their businesses.

Year after year, season after season the same mistakes are made over and over again. Nothing changes, nothing improves, nothing gets better.

But they keep on keeping on.

Is it because they hear and read others doing the same thing so they assume they are on the right track?

Big mistake.

If you are not happy with where you business is right now, wouldn’t it make sense to make some changes? Do things differently? Try a different approach?

Don’t be “insane”…

Up-Selling Your Landscape Services Easier Than Cold Calling

upsellingYou want new customers, more work, more money. You advertise, you receive phone calls, you meet new people, you give estimates, you sell yourself and your business.

You hope that a certain percentage of those leads turn into paying clients.

This is business.

But once your business is established and you have a client list of people you service regularly or people you have serviced in the past, up-selling will save you a lot of time and potentially make you a lot more money.

Why?

These people already know you. They know how you work. They trust you. They like you. They are already spending money with you.

You should constantly keep your eyes open to find new services to sell to your existing clients.

And you should constantly remind your existing clients of all of the services you offer because chances are they are not aware or did not remember.