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How do you motivate yourself?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by 1MajorTom, Mar 22, 2003.

  1. 1MajorTom

    1MajorTom Former Moderator
    Messages: 6,073

    I guess I could post this in any forum, but since we mostly do the lawn maintenance side, I figured I would post it here.

    Not at all excited about this upcoming season, going into our 5th year.
    Every year we have improved our $ totals, and I'm worried that we might not be able to surpass last year.
    Last year we actually had a good amount of play money left over, our first year where we actually bought something fun for ourselves since going into biz. (inground pool, retaining walls, 6 ft vinyl fence for our back yard. Haven't even used the pool yet, just had it installed in the fall.)

    Our business runs off of sheer volume, and it is imperative that we make our money the first 3 months. So I started running some figures, and I see we are already down money for the start of this April. We've lost customers due to death and moving, and customers who now want to become homeowners that push Scott spreaders around. (Also we had a couple of small lawn renovations that bumped up our figures.)

    I realize we have to make up these numbers, but I'm finding that I'm discouraged about the area we live in.

    We have never been flyer pushers. That is just not our gig at all. That is not how we acquired all of our customers. We have sat back each year, ran one advertisement in the newspaper for one day, and the phone would ring and ring.
    This year we decided we had targeted the newspaper subscribers enough, and decided to Oh God try and lay out the flyers. But the response sucks compared to what we are used to.
    Picking up 8 to 10 customers stinks. I want more like 25 or 30, and I don't see that happening.

    So, my question is this... When you start feeling down, how do you get motivated again?
    Do you print out last years totals, tape them to the wall, and push yourself to reach for more? Do you ever just reach a point where you realize you probably won't make much more?
    I say every year you have to increase your totals due to rising costs or else the business isn't going to succeed.

    How do you turn it around and get out of the dumps?
  2. Barkleymut

    Barkleymut LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,117

    So, my question is this... When you start feeling down, how do you get motivated again?

    Really easy, go buy a bunch of new equipment. If you don't make enough money, you don't make payments and your credit goes in the crapper. Now, just do it.
  3. Randy Scott

    Randy Scott LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,915

    Well, since I'm just beginning my third year, my totals had doubled my second year from the first. So I don't have quite as much time in business as some of you have. I hope to double again this year although there is no doubt the economy is just going to be softer than it has been.

    I would say to concentrate on your take home percentage. Find where you can cut costs and put more in your pocket. Fine tune your daily performance and rituals. Just because you don't gross more, doesn't mean you didn't make more. I have held a lot of prices from last year and not raised them this year. I just know that the time and experience with these routes can be trimmed a little. I want to focus on 110% quality and efficiency with my existing customers. Add the new ones to that and just do the best I can. I'm getting pretty decent feed back and sign ups now but it's not a lot of the bigger projects I would like. Some people are going on their own to try and save money. It's really apples to oranges, but you have to be careful how you put things to them. They may eventually call for your help. I just feel that this year, with everything the way it is, we will need to go beyond the norm for superb service, and really focus on retaining existing customers and try to sell them the extras. They will be more likely to spend than new customers. Also, it's cheaper to sell to existing clients than new ones.

    And if none of this works, spend $50,000 on a new truck like I did. Let me tell you, I have no other option than to be motivated. Good luck with this season. :)
  4. Lawn DOG

    Lawn DOG LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 276

    I like Chocolate! :D
  5. Albemarle Lawn

    Albemarle Lawn LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,544

    But sounds like you have advertising issues.

    I have an ad in the Yellow Pages. It is $4000.00 a year but man it works. The business just comes and comes and comes. I wish you were local I would send some to you because we can't handle it all!!!

    What we really need is more, and better, employees.

    My biggest motivational problem relates to employees.

    You hire them, often train them at great cost, then they flake out and go work somewhere else. Those are the nice ones.

    Then you get the sheer stupidity that comes with some but I have learned to weed that out.

    Every once in a blue moon you get a good one. I guess that motivates me.

    And customer compliments.

  6. GraZZmaZter

    GraZZmaZter LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 740

    I do several things to get motivated when i get down in the dumps about business.

    Try exercising. It relieves stress. Good for your body.

    Meditation? Clears your mind to help focus on your goals.

    Look back and remember why you got into this industry. Remember how excited you were when you cashed your first check from YOUR business! Feel that sence of independence and pride from being in TOTAL control of your destany.

    Always remember.... can you name ONE millionare who worked for someone else????? I cant....

    LAWNS AND MOWER LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,129

    I can feel your pain Jodi. Being solo, each year I feel as if I have maxed out on the amount I can gross. But, I have learned to drop the less desirable accounts and only pick up profitable accounts. Easier said than done, but in my market, I can afford to be picky. For every new account I pick up, I refuse 5 others. Raising my rates has also helped to nudge up my total gross. Good luck.
  8. mowngrow

    mowngrow LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 275

    the way that i get motivated is this:
    i take a post-it note with last years totals on it and put it on the sun visor of my truck. i see it first thing in the morning, after lunch and at the end of the day when i just want to go home. i look at it and decide i can do just one more then go home.
  9. That's the problem with being solo, or 2-3 people and 1 crew, you can only do so much, and it takes to much energy and brain power to get going again.

    This is one of the reasons solo or 1 crew will never happen for me again.

    Motovation.....Gotta think of the money.....Do you want or need it?
  10. Spence

    Spence LawnSite Member
    Messages: 62

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