Knowledge and your Biz question.

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by rob7233, Nov 2, 2007.

  1. rob7233

    rob7233 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 876

    I've been curious as to how and/or where everyone has learned about Lawn Care/ Landscaping/ Hardscaping ? Did you work for someone?
    Get formal training? Self trained? Any other ways? Anyone care to share?

    Does it matter to your business or to your customers? How directly do you think it relates to your success?
  2. landscaper22

    landscaper22 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 852

    I am self taught. I knew I could not work for anyone else for long. Bureaucracy and red tape is not for me. I'm a simple straight forward person. I have a business degree, and knew I wanted to start some sort of business one day. I wouldn't say that lawn care is, or was, at the very top of my list to do. If you say you enjoy working outside when it is 100 degrees you are crazy! It also is not fun being blasted with rocks, debris, or the ocassional dog crap. But I don't mind working hard. I saw an opportunity and went with it. I started it out as a part-time job, and it went from there. I had very little knowledge about lawn care or landscaping. I did a lot or reading and surfing the web for info. I have since taken a few classes offered through the local extension office. After 5 years I can say that I have a fairly good knowlesge base now. Starting out, I felt like my drive to do good work along with being dependable has helped me more than anything. Customers are generally very forgiving as long as you strive to do your best and are dependable. Obviously the more you know the better off you will be and your customers will have the highest level of confidence in you. I feel that proper communication and being dependable will take your business further than any amount of knowledge or education.
  3. whoopassonthebluegrass

    whoopassonthebluegrass LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,305

    My big sis married a guy (LawnTamer here on lawnsite) who did the chemical end of things. I spent my summers working for him and eventually went on my own.

    I spent 3 years in college, as well, where I took a bunch of soil and turfgrass courses...

    As far as how this relates to my success, I'm not sure. I guess you could say that I'm far more successful working for myself than if I had pursued the crap, dead-end jobs I'd been working in the past. I got real sick of working hard to make someone ELSE wealthy.
  4. rob7233

    rob7233 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 876

    Thanks for the open and honest reply. I hope more will add to it.
  5. DK lawn care

    DK lawn care LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 763

    I learned most from my dad, who use to landscape yards when he was a teen. The rest, i have been learning on this site. I have only been a member for 3 days now, but i have been lurking this site for a while. I cant tell u how much info this site has gave me! If u r getting into the business, good luck!
  6. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,653

    Wow, those guys are nice, I see things different :laugh:
    First part, self taught for the most part.

    Here's how I saw the question (this bold stuff I edited)
    Would you take your car to a mechanic who can't even seem to figure out how to open the hood of your car, and when you ask him to do an oil change he first asks you to show him where the oil drain plug is, then he's not sure what grade or brand of oil to use?

    Yes it matters, it affects success 100%, income too, nothing indirect about it.

    That having been said, taking the above mechanic as an example, there are customers out there who will give that man a chance.
    But, at a discount rate.
    Because either way you look at it, education is never free, the discount rate is the price I pay for learning.
  7. nitro121

    nitro121 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 380

    cutting my grass and hauling my mower to my moms house to cut her grass. A neighbor joined in, a friend from her work, her neighbor...85 customers now....not counting 1 cuts for real estates and other people. It's a great home based business.

  8. landscaper22

    landscaper22 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 852

    Topsites, I totally agree with what you said. However, my thoughts are that most people starting with with very little knowledge, including myself, started out slow providing just basic lawn maintenance. To provide basic lawn maintenance, you do not have to be an accomplished certified technician. Although judging by the employees I have had, you would think that it would take a degree equal to or greater than computer science degree to be an accomplished certified string trimmer. But when I first started my business, I just made sure I listened to my customers' needs and took pride in my cutting and maintenance practices. I have never really offered services for a discount rate. Sure I have made some mistakes in pricing, but that part of the business is a learning process too. You obviously need to have more knowledge for chemicals, irrigation, lawn installs, etc.. But i was 3 years into the business before I offered such servies. What you know does matter to your business and your customers. But my point was you can start out not knowing much and still earn the respect and loyality of your customers by simply having a great work ethic. The rest comes with time. That's the story of my business....
  9. IN2MOWN

    IN2MOWN LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,993

    I worked for a guy for 5 years FT and still help him in the winter with snow removal. He takes care of about 600 accounts commercial and residential. I learned what to do but more importantly what NOT to do is certain situations. He is a good friend of mine now and still sends me business once in a while. I also went to college for a couple semesters and took some small business classes right out of HS. I knew at the time that I wanted to be self employed, I just didnt know what I wanted to do. After I worked for him for a while I learned to love the business.
  10. JohnsonLawn

    JohnsonLawn LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 400

    I am mostly self taught, worked for a couple of different companies in the past, but thought I could do things better than they were. They have since gone bankrupt and I am still going strong. They had formal education and degrees and I am not knocking people who further their education, but you cannot put a value on common sense, which seems to be a quality some people lack. Don't get me wrong, there are alot of folks who go to college and do very well for themselves, but there are also folks who do not and do just as well. Just know your limitations and by all means use common sense. Good luck to all.

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