Today, we’re going to look at 5 things to consider when starting your own lawn maintenance business. This is not an exhaustive list – feel free to add your own thoughts in the comments – but are seven things that may often be overlooked. Let’s get started:
1. Identify Your Goals. Create a Mission Statement
The first step is to identify exactly what you want to accomplish with your new lawn maintenance business. Exactly why are you starting it like Lawn Care Louisville? Do you want to work part-time? Full-time? Manage a team? How big do you want to grow? Are you prepared to manage the business aspects – invoicing, taxes, legal, sales and marketing? Also, what differentiates you from the competition? Do you have monetary goals for Year 1? How about Year 5?
As you start defining your goals, start thinking about creating an internal mission statement that helps you clearly define who you are and why you’re creating this business. Your mission statement should be designed to help you give a purpose to your business. It may sound like a waste of time and a little bit too corporate, but every time you make a decision, you can look at your mission statement and ask “Am I living up to my mission?” And remember that, like the Constitution, your mission statement can be a living, modifiable document.
2. Identify Your Target Market
According to the Lawn Care Louisville KY Identifying your target market is based in part on your goals and mission statement. Are you targeting corporate office lawn maintenance? Are you going to maintain lawns in your neighborhood? Are you going to open a chain of lawn maintenance businesses throughout the Midwest? If so, what niche are you looking to fill? Do you want to be the low-price leader like Wal-Mart? Do you want to go organic like Whole Foods?
Your target market is just that – the people you plan to target with your marketing efforts. What does your ideal client look like? Many marketers choose to develop something called a buyer persona – a short paragraph or two – that provides a snapshot of what your ideal buyer looks like.
3. Choose Your Equipment Wisely
You wouldn’t go to a gunfight without a gun, right? Once you’ve developed goals, a mission statement and identified who you’re selling to, it’s time to start buying the tools you need to run your business. So how do you choose? First, consider your goals and the types of services you plan to provide. Target equipment that is going to help you get things done faster (so you can do more jobs), professionally (so you provide a quality product) and that requires minimal maintenance (so you can limit the amount of time and money you spend on repairs and/or new equipment). Remember to think about total cost of ownership as opposed to the initial price. Just because a mower has a cheaper purchase price doesn’t mean it’s the best solution.
So how do you choose equipment? The best advice of the Louisville Lawn service is to network with your peers, talk to dealers and leverage the power of the Internet to get a feel for what equipment is best. Also think about what type of guarantee/warranty is included in the equipment, what kind of customer service the dealer has and how easy it is to obtain replacement parts.
4. Start Pounding the Pavement
In the past, one of the best ways to generate customers for a lawn care business was to simply pound the pavement by getting out and talking to your target audience. That’s still a great way to drum up business, but it’s 2012, so don’t forget to use modern technology to add scale to your marketing efforts.
For example, our partner Lawn Care Iroquois has a great solution that enables you to pay a couple dollars per property to get measurements, measurements you can then use to send a personalized price quote to potential customers without ever having to visit their property. It’s a real time – and money – saver that can help you quickly and easily build a customer base.
Whatever route you take, make sure you act like a professional business. It’s worth spending some money on a basic website, a basic logo/brand and things like business cards, local advertising and giveaways like calendars/pens/sticky notes/magnets etc. These items can not only help build brand awareness, but also ensures your first impression is a positive one.
5. Measure. Learn. Grow.
We sell field service software, so this one is near and dear to our heart. You can’t improve your business if you don’t have metrics that you use to determine how your business is performing. We highly recommend that you invest in field service software – ours costs as little as $99/month – that can help you manage your client and prospect information, quickly and easily schedule jobs, seamlessly transmit to and collect data from the field, and automate your billing.
But professional lawn servicecs like ours goes beyond improving your business workflow. It also allows you to collect data that can help you make smart business decisions. Are you quoting too little for a specific property because it takes longer than you initially thought? How many jobs per day can you perform? Can you route your crews more efficiently to save time and money? You can answer these questions – and many more – by analyzing the data your business naturally collects.