Yesterday I sent an email to my email and newsletter subscribers. It was a long email – very direct and to the point. Some may say it was even a bit over the top, harsh or even a bit rude.
What’s the saying… “If you aren’t making people mad, you aren’t doing anything important.”
I know what I wrote about was important, and yes, it did make a few people mad. One guy even suggested that what I wrote was “Anti American”.
Another guy told me:
“Why are you telling people this sh*t? You are an a**hole.”
Fortunately I learned a long time ago that there are far more important things in this world than worrying about a few people getting upset or uncomfortable.
And that’s what this is really about… people that cannot change, cannot adapt, prefer the status quo and do not like when anyone suggests something new or different.
I know what my job is – to help lawn and landscape business owners create the best situation for themselves, to help them be happy, less stressed and to make more money.
There are plenty of people out there in our industry that would rather do things the “old way” and suffer versus accepting how the world has changed and making moves to create something better for themselves.
I am not going to re-write the entire email that I sent, but in a nutshell, this is what I said to my readers…
Our industry has changed and keeps changing. If you believe you can grow a significant, successful and profitable business in this day and age with employees, you are wrong. You will fail.
Working by yourself or even having a business with 6, 7, or 8 employees is not hard to do and not extremely difficult to manage. I’m not saying it is easy, but it is not hard to get a business to that point.
What is hard however, is maintaining that business, organizing it, growing it and being able to step away as an owner to focus on the more important things an owner should be worrying about.
Employees are different now. They don’t value their jobs like they did at one time. They are not afraid to be unemployed. They are not ashamed to admit they are on government assistance, food stamps and welfare.
The younger generation is also not made for an industry like ours. They weren’t raised to work hard, especially outside for 12 straight hours in the heat. They grew up playing video games.
And if you do get lucky enough to find someone who will show up and do their job, they want paid far more money than you can afford.
But wait… Unfortunately, there’s more.
Those young people in the upcoming generation (and others) who are not afraid to work hard usually do not remain the “labor pool” for very long. Why?
They can start their own business. They can get their own truck, trailer and equipment. With Craigslist and the internet, they can advertise and now guess what?
These people that should have been your employees are now your competition.
So what? Competition has always existed, right?
Yes, but not competition like this.
They do not know what they are doing, they are not necessarily worried about building a business and this hurts you and the market you are in.
If they can work for you and make $13-$15 per hour or they can go finance a bunch of stuff (very easily I might add) and make what they believe to be is $25 per hour then why would they work for you?
That’s how they figure it.
Plus they love having and playing with equipment. They love no one telling them what to do. They like that they can hire two or three of their buddies and go out and work doing something they don’t hate.
In fact, many of these people are very good at mowing lawns, trimming hedges, building walls, planting trees and all the other things that need done.
But here is where there is a disconnect – where things have definitely changed in our industry.
These people are NOT very good business owners. Tasks like advertising, estimating, managing, dealing with customers, selling, etc. are more like getting a root canal for these guys.
They are sloppy and sloppy almost always means cheap. They are driving prices down left and right and this is not good for you.
Yes, there is more to this story and this situation, which I will share in my next blog post, but here is what I am trying to get across to people in this industry:
In the very near future there are going to be two types of owners in this industry – ones that accept how things have changed and they adapt and succeed and unfortunately, the other ones will be those who prefer to plod along miserably trying to find, hire and keep employees.