Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Lawn Service & the Economy

Everyone I talk to lately says their workload is slow. No matter what business they are in they are not that busy right now. The economy is slow and has been for a while. Gas prices , especially Diesel ($3.40 here and was $1.50 only a couple years back), are a problem and the Drought in the Southeast has hurt this region. Landscapers have laid off crews due to slower maintenance accounts because of no rain and water restrictions have almost stopped plant installation. No one wants to pay a lot of cash for living things that need water and cannot be watered. Pressure washing companies cannot do anything in most areas unless using well water. I can only imagine the mower and power equipment dealers problems since it would be difficult to sell stuff that is not in use right now. Car washes are even suffering with Jefferson closing 4 car washes due to water restrictions. One company was even using 80% recycled water but the 20% regular city water caused him to be closed as well. What incentive does that give to anyone else considering doing something positive to save water? ZERO. Why would any car wash invest in equipment to conserve water when they could be closed down and not able to pay for the new equipment?
Things will pick up eventually but a storm must be weathered first. I have often read about the most successful companies are the ones that adapt to the environment the best. Now is the time to really adapt!

Sunday, November 18, 2007


Vacation is a good thing. I constantly think about my business.... ideas, improvements, problems, etc. And I may be worse than most because business is fun to me & enjoy reading about other businesses and current trends (inc magazine is a great place for this). I always have this grand ideas I am telling my wife about, which she patiently listens to, usually. Getting away from home a few days helps clear my mind and relax. So when I get back I can get rolling again with a fresh perspective. A great place to go is Destin, FL. The most beautiful place I have personally been. Even in a cooler season like now Florida is a good place to go to.


Friday, November 16, 2007

Drought Victim (Lawn Service)

Pike Nursery has filed bankruptcy , citing the terrible drought as a major reason. We did get some rain this week so every bit helps. Pike is just one business, all the small lawn servcie operations that have suffered this season are innumerable.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Complaining about low ballers (lawn service)

I see this all the time in forums I read.... lawnsite and thegrimescene.
Someone sees an ad in the paper or craigslist and cannot believe what prices are listed. I have to admit that my jaw drops sometimes when I see crazy pricing. Most of the time it is people just doing a bait and switch or just up selling a higher priced service. Or it is possibly some nut who hasn't a clue how to price hi / her work or they are just in a slow season and have free time that needs filling. Whatever the reason , you cannot get caught up in what the other guy is doing. Do quality work and find quality clients, who are appreciative of consistent service providers and you will not have to worry about low ballers. If you do find it necessary to compete with price cutters, be ready to deal with people who will not be ideal clients. They will usually be ready to drop you as soon as a better deal comes around, they will want an as "needed" service (not a consistent schedule), and they will expect freebies because they do not value your work.


Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Books for your Lawn Service Biusiness

Books are essential to learning and what better to learn about than how to improve your business? I've mentioned Guerrilla Marketing before as it is an excellent read. It deals with advertising and marketing and shows different ways that a small company can market its services wisely. Another great book on business and freedom in general is Atlas Shrugged. This is one of the most important books I have ever read and ever will read. It is a fictional tale of business, government, and moochers. If you do not have the time to read either , I'd encourage you to download the audio book to your mp3 player and listen while working.


Sunday, November 4, 2007

Competing with bigger and smaller companies

It can seem hopeless to compete with a big lawn service company or even so called "low ballers" who are smaller than your business. You think you can't be everywhere like the big boys or advertise as much as they do. Your prices can never match the guy with a push mower in the trunk of his station wagon. You are right of course so you just have to figure out what you can do that these other guys cannot or can't do well. The big guys cannot be as personable or accessible as you and the small guys cannot be as consistent or as dependable as you especially if they are working a full time job and doing lawn care in their spare time. Figure up your strengths and your competition's weaknesses and you will have a good battle plan.