Do you work "In" your business or "On" your business?

Discussion in 'Business Operations' started by MDLawn, Feb 21, 2013.

  1. JContracting

    JContracting LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,878

    A very good post MD, I'm starting to lean my company that way with maintenance, either fert/weed control, full service maintenance and then doing as much maintenance on properties after we do the an install. We have no "mow & go" properties, as easy as it is, I wish we had more but our prices are on the high end and it works for us so far. The growth isn't exploding but sales are increasing exponentially each month this year compared to that given month in the two yrs prior that I've had a business of my own.

    The ever present thought in my mind is getting myself out of the field as soon as possible.
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  2. MDLawn

    MDLawn LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,284

    I probably could get a lot of lawn maintenance like that if I lowered my prices and bumped up the number of clients. But here's the problems I see with that.

    1.) I don't want to mow lawns

    2.) If I price cheap I cannot afford to have half way decent workers (don't have any yet as I'm way too small) as I could only offer them peanuts for pay.

    3.) Having subpar workers means more calls about problems

    4.) More problems means no referrals and possible bad news spreading

    5.) Being cheap means you'll be known as that, which means all you can get is cheap work....

    I'm just not seeing mowing lawns as a way to have a money making business the way many things are at the moment. I'll take the ones at my price points but that means walking away from probably 80% of the potential customers. That means not getting landscape maintenance or install projects. But if they're to cheap to afford lawn maintenance can they even afford my other services.

    That business VP customer of mine said this. "Don't become a commodity." Take it as you wish, but I like it... I will not be "traded" on the open market like 90% of lawn guys are.
  3. jrs.landscaping

    jrs.landscaping LawnSite Silver Member
    from Maine
    Messages: 2,764

    You guys have good points. Finding a direction and following it can be hard for a business just starting but if not implemented in the early stages can lead to trouble. We have gone the other way from you guys. We don't target high end clientele, we don't even target residential accounts, we have built our business on the commercial services side. Would I like to target high end beach front home, absolutely, but our business is geared differently. In the coming years I would like to branch into offering sweeping and fert for our accounts instead of subbing out the work. In five years I would like to test the residential market and see if it is something we could expand into.
  4. McFarland_Lawn_Care

    McFarland_Lawn_Care LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,445

    I have a question - it may be a BIT off the topic but not really. In keeping with working ON the business, how do owners handle any complaints? Do they hand it over to the crew leader and have them meet with the client? Meet with the client myself and then pass the info along to the crew leader? Both leader and owner meet with client? I'm just trying to create a better environment so when small complaints come up, the crew get's involved with solving it and making the customer happier, instead of me telling them what needs to be changed, you know? Thanks so much...
  5. 32vld

    32vld LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,983

    Not against commercial. Prefer residential because I am limited in equipment and employess.

    Though last year I got a customer that was paying $40. I got $72, actually she gives me an $8 tip so it's $80.

    This year I got another customer that was paying $45. I got her for $60.

    The point is to remember many people will lie an claim they were paying way below the going rate to get you to match a fake price.

    Many customers even when their lips say they want great service they are lying because they just want cheapest price.

    I do not care what they paid their last guy or claimed to pay their last guy.

    I point out what the other guy was not doing and what I would do for them.

    This is why I got those 2 customers to step up and pay a lot more to hire me. You do not sell lawn mowing. You sell yourself.

    It has taken me 3 years to be drawing a modest salary. I was not willing to wear out me, truck, trailer, mower, and my equipment low balling.
  6. MDLawn

    MDLawn LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,284

    I think from what the E Myth preached is having systems in place. This means that how you handle complaints has a "system" of how it's handled. I would rather put that leadership in the hands that it needs to be in. Whose job requirements is that? You as the owner? Or the lawn crew leader? Don't expect a $10/hr worker to be responsible for conflict resolution though. Obviously major problems may need to be handled by an owner but that needs to be set up i guess
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  7. MDLawn

    MDLawn LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,284

    This ^^^^ is why people fail. The customer dictates the sale not the salesperson (landscaper).

    Great point
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