This is part 1 of 2 in a series that explores the common mistakes of lawn care owners.
I don’t want you to fail.
But so many small businesses fail.
I want you in that 20%.
By the end of this article, you’ll know the 7 deadly mistakes that 80% of owners fall prey to (right before their business goes under).
7. No Paycheck for the Boss (You!)
You work for your company. You deserve to be paid for that work. Figure what hourly wage your company can afford for your time and start paying yourself that.
Start with this question: What would I pay someone else to do this job?
Now pay yourself that amount. If your business can’t afford that, it’s not going to be scalable (able to grow).
Paying yourself “all the profits” is not a safe way to run your business. A healthy business pays all of its employees, including the owner, and then stashes away some of its profits as a safety net.
6. The 'Meh' Factor
You finish Ms. Smith’s lawn, get your equipment back on your trailer and leave while her dog barks at you.
She sips her coffee, grabs the paper and surveys your work. She yawns.
Your service needs to “WOW” her. Blow her mind.
The newspaper that you tossed out of the way three times while mowing, should’ve been hand-delivered (you see her reading it every Tuesday).
You should know that her dog’s name is Rowdy. You could’ve waved. Anything that made her feel a positive connection with you.
You don’t want “meh,” or, worse, hate, you want “whoa.” Amaze your customers with great customer service or they might find someone else who will.
5. Being Unreliable
You can’t be counted on.
So you lose another client.
This is a simple concept that my dad taught me, “When you say you’re gonna do something, do it.”
If you tell Ms. Smith that you’ll take care of her lawn every Tuesday, take care of her lawn every Tuesday. Meet the expectations you agree to, or you can bet that the next lawn care company that knocks on Ms. Smith’s door with have her attention.
4. Punish All Your Clients Because of One Bad Apple
You’re going to have clients that are awful.
Clients so bad they make you angry.
And angry business owners make bad decisions.
They decide that because one crappy client perpetually sends the crew away from their scheduled mow that all clients will be charged a trip fee if they cancel on-site.
This can alienate good clients, ones that pay on time and love your business.
Don’t punish good clients because another client takes advantage of you. Drop that terrible client and extend your best customer service to good clients who make a bad choice every once in a while.
3. Drink Straight from the High-Ball
Some lawn care owners read the mistake above and have the opposite response.
I won’t be a low-baller; I’ll charge more than anyone in my market.
I think there’s generally a cigar and some whiskey involved in a statement like that.
You can charge more than anyone else in your market.
But that means you have to provide better service than anyone else in your market. You have to be the luxurious private jetliner of lawn care services in Cleveland, Ohio.
Or you’re toast.
An overcharger is just as dangerous as a low-baller.
You’ve heard the expression: “You get what you pay for.”
But I’ve got an addendum: “You can provide the service you charge for… and you get the client that wants to pay that way.”
When you try to undercut your competition, you’re copying their worst instinct (the lowest price they can offer) but you’re making it EVEN worse.
When you’re providing the lowest price, you:
- Provide the lowest quality service
- Pay the worst wages (a.k.a. hire the worst employees)
- Attract the most god-awful customers you’ve ever encountered.
Rock bottom pricing is the kind of stuff you offer as your company dies. It’s never going to lead to health. It leads to, well, rock bottom.
Your competitors don’t know what they’re doing.
They have no idea. Zilch. Nada. There’s nothing worth copying over there.
Let’s say there are five lawn care companies in your town.
80% of them are going to fail.
One company in your town is still going to be around two years from now.
When you copy a competitor, you’re saying one of two things:
- They know their stuff and they’re the company that’s going to make it (and you’re not)
- They’re going to fail but you want to steal their practices anyway … ?
Don’t copy your competitors. Don’t copy their look, their marketing, their services, or their prices.
While these mistakes are fixable, it's still important to correct them ASAP.
This article shows you:
- The common lawn care owner mistakes
- How to fix these mistakes
- Resources that will help your business grow
The longer you keep making these mistakes, the more money your business loses.
Be sure you're constantly evaluating your lawn care business to find out what is and isn't helping your lawn care business' growth.
Updated March 12, 2019 7:00 AM