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.