When you start a business at age 14, you learn a lot of things the hard way. Somethings not only change you as a person and business owner, but they change the way you do business completely.
Here are the TOP 8 things I’ve learned over the last 26 years of owning and running a successful lawn and landscaping business:
Understand what you charge and why.
Setting your prices is one of the hardest things you will do, but it’s also one of the most essential. When setting your pricing, it’s important to really build a entire company budget and shoot to hit these revenue targets with budgeted expenses in mind. When building a budget and ultimately setting your pricing, there are a few things you need to ask yourself:
- What’s my time worth and how much do I want to make?
- What does my overhead look like?
- How much should I charge to recover my equipment costs?
- How much should I markup my materials?
- How much profit do I want to make after I pay myself?
Once you can answer these questions, you’ll be able to set prices from the beginning that are fair and help you scale your business. Keep in mind though, that as you grow and the jobs keep getting bigger, you will need to adjust your pricing according. Also, it’s good to note that many of the above questions can be answered by starting a budget and adhering to it.
Hire a consultant or mentor early in your career.
Hiring a mentor is one of the best things I’ve ever done in my business, I just wish I had done it sooner. A mentor will look at your business from an outside perspective and give you sound advice on what you need to change to scale. PLUS, they will call you on your crap when you are holding yourself back or not taking the initiative you need to in order to grow – personally and professionally.
Get a handle on work flow early on – both in the office and in the field.
How things run in your business makes a difference. If things are not running smoothly, then you are not going to be as productive and efficient.
One of the things I like to do is perform a pop inspection of my landscaping company’s morning roll out. Being there for the team in the early AM before they roll out for the day is important. There will always be areas of improvement that can be made for efficiency. Time is money and when you have multiple people on the payroll, efficiency is key. Even a little bit of unproductive time can add up immensely over a years time, ultimately affecting your bottom line. The same is true with your office.
When you are present in the office, you can get a feel for how things are running on the back-end.
- Are calls being answered on time?
- Are we following up with clients in a timely manner?
- Are we getting too many walk in interruptions from salesman?
- Are we keeping track of the right information from clients, sales, field team, etc.
By overseeing processes in your business, you are taking a huge step into being a successful business owner. Once you have a team, it’s no longer about working in the field, it’s about overseeing the team and keeping things running efficiently and smooth.
Don’t just invest in good equipment for use in the field, invest in good equipment for your office.
Office equipment is important for two reasons – for tracking income and expenses and for documenting operations. Bookkeeping software is the first piece of software every business owner should invest in. If you are not tracking your income and expenses on the regular and understanding the books, then you could be losing money. When you know your business numbers, you know where you can cut costs and where you can expand.
The second piece of software every business owner should invest in is a software that documents office procedures. When you use a software that can keep track of client communications, quotes, field work notes, meeting times, etc., then you are creating systems that will ensure efficiency in your business.
This is why The Green Executive® became partners with LMN Software. It’s the one software that grows with your business and gives you one place to store everything so the whole team can have access at anytime to the information they need.
Track materials so you can save money by pre-ordering for the year ahead.
One of the things that can save you money, is by pre-ordering during the off season. Pre-ordering means you are getting the materials you need for the year ahead at a cheaper price than you would pay for them during the official season. By tracking the materials you use in great detail during the current year, you can better plan ahead of the year to come.
Don’t be scared to lease equipment.
You don’t have to own every piece of lawn and landscape equipment that you are going to use in your business right now. Sometimes, you just need to rent a piece of equipment for a period of time until you build your business to a point that it’s necessary to purchase that piece of equipment. Keep in mind that if you rent for extended periods of time, leasing maybe a much better option. It very well could be cheaper and you’ll then have that piece of equipment at your disposal at anytime during the terms of the lease.
If you know you are doing a one off job for a client and it’s the only time you’re going to need that piece of equipment for the year, then don’t buy – rent!
Build relationships with bankers.
At some point during your lawn and landscape business (if not at the beginning), you’re going to need a loan, so it’s important for you to build relationships with bankers now. Building relationships with bankers makes the loan process easier if they get to know and understand you as a person, not just a business owner. My advice, invite them into your business to see how things run. Once they see operations in action, they maybe more willing to say yes to that loan when you need it.
Hire a team you can trust so that you can step away.
With the right team in place, you should be able to take time off without it affecting your business. Hiring is strictly business, not personal, so in order to hire the right team, you have to have job descriptions for each position and hire people who are adaptable, flexible and trainable. If your new hire is not trainable, then it’s time to cut ties and focus your time and money into someone who will be.
We actually spoke on this during our latest FREE Advice Friday on Facebook:
Being successful in business is not about knowing all the answers in the beginning, it’s about asking the right questions and getting the right kind of help. So if you are looking for a consultant or mentor in your business, setup a FREE consultation and let The Green Executive® help you on your way to profitability.
Speaking of profit, checkout our NEW Facebook group called Profit First for Landscapers!