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View Full Version : What was the single most important factor to expand your business?


LandscapeSolutions
08-25-2005, 02:02 AM
Just a simple question for you seasoned LCOs out there....what would you say was the most important thing that you did or happened that allowed your company to expand greatly? (If you have other great ideas feel free to list them.)

Just curious to see what responses I'll get.......

Tonyr
08-25-2005, 03:24 AM
the time I stopped bagging grass clippings and went into mulching and side discharging certainly got me out of the crappy bust ya butt jobs and into the easier more profitable jobs.

another thing that has been good is get in with a real estate agency, this really works, and now I save $50 a week in less effective newspaper advertising. An get only positive leads, not running around after price shoppers wasting my time.

rodfather
08-25-2005, 05:37 AM
Referral Program.

SodKing
08-25-2005, 06:58 AM
What does your referral program consist of Rod?

rodfather
08-25-2005, 04:53 PM
A nice letter that goes out each March to all of our customers (maint, fert, snow plowing, Fall & Spring cleanups, etc.) with one of our company brochures and a couple of business cards for them to give to prospective clients.

Company brochure (tri-fold, heavy gloss stock) details says a little about us and lists all of our services. Letter details what the referring customer will receive and what the new client will receive as well for their choosing, as well as some highlights from the past year.

It must work. We have never advertised in 11 years now...Yellow Pages, newpaper, flyers, etc. Nothing.

GreenUtah
08-25-2005, 05:08 PM
Development of internal talent that can manage accounts free of your handholding. This means from an operational point of view, that someone can manage a crew or crews, train and follow up on the work of underlings, status of properties, monitor equipment use and needs and give you accurate information boiled down for quick use. Without that, you will always be limited to what you can personally do in a day with people that you are personally watching.

cborden
08-25-2005, 07:55 PM
For me, it was the starting of a salesman. I had enough equipment and manpower, but my people skills are not good.

grassmanvt
08-25-2005, 08:17 PM
Labor, without a doubt, in fact I'm also down to a solo status at this point. Can't even find bad help, I've all but given up on finding good help.

wacamaster
08-25-2005, 08:40 PM
Returning phonecalls

Steppenwolf
08-25-2005, 08:54 PM
Probably for us it was doing a good job,the same day of the week, week after week,no lame excuses why we weren't there. Name and phone number on the truck!!!! The little ole lady network can land you many smaller jobs. Then after that I think it became word of mouth,you never know who knows who.One other advantage we have is that my biz partner is female and is very knowledgeable in all aspects of our business and that makes our customers feel very comfortable talking to to her, people don't feel intimidated by her,vs a cigar smoking,beer gut, sweat pants and no shirt hairy guy.

MMLawn
08-25-2005, 09:56 PM
Getting away (mostly) from residential accts and going to 80% Commercial accts

ncmedic581
08-25-2005, 10:44 PM
Getting away (mostly) from residential accts and going to 80% Commercial accts

What worked best for you attracking your commercial accounts?

cantoo
08-25-2005, 11:35 PM
The nerve to buy a Walker. We had to find more work to pay for it. Now it's only used a few times each week but come fall the muffler will glow red all day.

Wells
08-26-2005, 12:07 AM
Attention to details, quality not quantity.
and building a strong customer relationship.

HighGrass
08-26-2005, 12:43 AM
Newspaper ad. I word it so it stands out! payup

LandscapeSolutions
08-26-2005, 12:46 AM
Attention to details, quality not quantity.
and building a strong customer relationship.

Very well said. That is what I strive for, and my current clients know it.

Thanks for all the responses, keep more coming..................

south jerz
08-26-2005, 01:55 AM
Attention to details, quality not quantity.
and building a strong customer relationship.

Overlooking details and moving on, quantity not quality, setting inflexible rules to reduce customer interaction. Seriously! Bring on the PITA/lowballers- as long as they are on my route. They can "complain" until they get tired of me not answering my phone. They don't pay and me and my "friends" pull a bobbygedd on them, or their house/cars.

This is the commercial lawn mowing forum isn't it? Or is this the hobby lawn mowing forum? Please let me know

P.S. Wells Lawn Care: Nice website, but that's "exemplary quality," not exemplarily quality. FYI.

topsites
08-26-2005, 01:58 AM
don't know what exactly you mean by expanding BUT here's what I found and the reasons why:

Newer equipment does a better job faster AND it gives me the attitude of 'Im not running THIS into the dirt for you,' which eliminates pitas and low-ballers.

Having a TON of demand, so much work that you will likely finish most but not all eliminates the pitas and the low-ballers as well.

Having a LOT of money in the bank (the more the better) accomplishes the same goals as outlined above.

Thus, I expand (I call it upgrading or improving) in order to get rid of pitas and low-ballers.

sheshovel
08-26-2005, 02:14 AM
Significantly raised my labor charges on all my work.

south jerz
08-26-2005, 02:14 AM
They don't pay and my "friends" and I pull a bobbygedd on them, or their house/cars.

To clarify I will usually start with "It's in your best interest to pay us and I'll leave it at that." Then Plan B.

thecolorgreen
08-26-2005, 02:44 AM
Significantly raised my labor charges on all my work.
Sheshovel,

How did you go about this? I want to raise my labor rates but nervious for reasons I'm not exactly sure of.
How much did you raise it? What kind of reaction did you get from existing clients?

sheshovel
08-26-2005, 07:04 PM
I am a landscaper,otherwize I design and install landscapes so my existing customers do not exist normaly,when I am done with their landscape
I am done unless they call me back for another project .
I bid by the job and the work entailed in getting that particular job done and all the variables that exist on the site.
I just started at a basic hourly rate when I began and after a few years of learning and hands on experience I started realizing just how cheap I was working because I did not think it fair to charge the client when I made stupid mistakes or waisted materials because I was still learning.
When I stopped 90% of stupid mistakes because I had the knowlage and I started working jobs in a more orgainized manner and knew what would happen if I did C instead of B and then tried to do A last.And knew how much of what it would take and how long and how hard the job would be.
(none of us are ever perfect in this part)

Then I raised my charges (that I won't share here) to match my ability and my experience.
When I did mow I simply told my customers that due to reasons beyond my control I was raising my charge and I gave them notice that I would be doing so.

Mueller Landscape Inc
08-26-2005, 07:20 PM
Just a simple question for you seasoned LCOs out there....what would you say was the most important thing that you did or happened that allowed your company to expand greatly? (If you have other great ideas feel free to list them.)

Just curious to see what responses I'll get.......

Requiring CC payments on same day as service visit.

trying 2b organic
08-26-2005, 07:31 PM
To clarify I will usually start with "It's in your best interest to pay us and I'll leave it at that." Then Plan B.


hahahahh, I love that. You have to look the part a bit to pull it off but thats great. I just say "Do you really want to shortchange a landscaper?" Like thats a big threat or something.

bobbygedd
08-26-2005, 07:36 PM
originally quoted by sheshovel-"Then I raised my charges (that I won't share here) to match my ability and my experience". ok, great, you went from $4 an hour, to $6.

6'7 330
08-26-2005, 07:42 PM
hahahahh, I love that. You have to look the part a bit to pull it off but thats great. I just say "Do you really want to shortchange a landscaper?" Like thats a big threat or something.

My motto is,you pay or one of two things happen,you get a caber shoved up your ass,or leroy on the south side of chicago....brings back fingers.

sheshovel
08-27-2005, 03:42 AM
BobbyG you would scream meemie's and cra..p your mower if you knew how much $ I make

bobbygedd
08-27-2005, 08:20 AM
BobbyG you would scream meemie's and cra..p your mower if you knew how much $ I make
listen baby, the salary of a weed pullin shrub clippin chic from california, i am sure, would never impress me. but remember, february is comming soon enough, and i'll be there. and i still will let you take me on a date. start savin up, i drink alot

olderthandirt
08-27-2005, 08:37 AM
Salesmanship- the ability to upsell a $70 mow into a 7k prodject.
Or as I say they never knew they needed all that till I explained it to them.