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picframer
07-15-2010, 04:45 AM
We talk a lot about increasing our company profits here on the forum and I have posted our company did it through other services, Steve who posts here also uses the same Organic products as we do and is doing great.

I was researching something a while back and came across the book, although I haven't met the author in person, we exchange emails on a regular basis as he owns Natures Lawn Care which is where we buy our sprays, he is one super person and really knows his stuff, probably because he owns a company that treats over 2,000 lawns in New York in addition to being a supplier.

Anyhow, if you want a really good education in Organic Lawn Care and spraying, mowing and proper care in a super easy to read book, this book is simply amazing and I have all my staff read it as it covers everything.

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0882665189/o/qid=982101418/sr=8-1/ref=aps_sr_b_1_1/107-5714678-2146963

A fellow almost 30 years ago told me knowledge is power, I live by that comment in every business I have operated or started, the more you know, the more deals you will close. I say this based on feedback that while we were higher in price for a job, our presentation and knowledge was superior and the prospect felt better going with us.

Steve
07-15-2010, 10:28 PM
Thank you for the suggestion.

As you have been talking with the author, do you find that you needed to know more information than he covered in the book?

picframer
07-16-2010, 04:46 AM
Thank you for the suggestion.

As you have been talking with the author, do you find that you needed to know more information than he covered in the book?

Yes, we actually exchange ideas, I let him know of other products that are Organic we have tried with success to deal with an issue that they may not have a product for but there are certain conditions at locations that baffle me so I fire an email off with images from the site using my blackberry and detailes of what has been done and here is what the issue is, I always receive a response same day.

At this point we mainly talk about insect and weed control as I know the other areas well and have a handle on them.

Stuart is one super person and probably the most knowledgeable I have spoken with when it comes to caring for a lawn and dealing with an issue.

Steve
07-17-2010, 02:06 AM
That is great to see he is so responsive to your questions!

picframer
07-17-2010, 04:40 AM
That is great to see he is so responsive to your questions!

It is and all my suppliers are the same way, granted we buy a lot but if the relationship isn't there I generally look elsewhere, I think our clients in this business is the same, you have to build the relationships, you increase your network and you don't waste time and money trying to find work.

The other thing which is key in this business is knowledge, which is power, which turns into sales. I did it last night on the way home, my second in command was driving with me as we needed to talk about today so I picked him up for the 40 min drive home and another employee took his company truck home, we stopped on the way home to give a quote on a post hole job which we do a lot of, I explained to the customer they must first deal with their water issue, in short we walked away with $12,000 in work and the client was ecstatic they finally found someone to fix their soggy back yard.

You see in this case, no matter how deep I drilled holes, once winter hit and the ground froze, the posts which would have been in concrete would have either cracked or moved up, this is based on experience and reading.

I used their retaining wall as an example, aside from not being built properly the water is pushing it out, it's three years old, I have an email this morning, they wanted a quote to fix the wall while we are there, I had already measured it (being proactive is 2nd nature to me) I wrote them back and explained the process and a quote for $6,200, I am 99% sure we will get it.

My 2 IC, said geeze Andy, you get every friggin job we look at and then you walk away with projects we didn't even know we were about to see, I simply said Billy, keep your eye's and ears wide open, you can do everything I do and I see you doing it on projects, you drink up the process and you do as I am doing to you, you explain the process to the staff under you, it makes your life a lot easier as I bet they do the same to new people we bring on.

But this is where the experience comes into play, these forums are excellent and key to information but take the time to read books, search the Internet and maybe buy or rent video's from the library, if you want to move from eating hotdogs and working yourself into the ground to make a dollar to coming home and eating steak at 5, then there is a process of learning, marketing and selling you have to get through and when you do, you will be all smiles.

The Cleaning Doctor
07-17-2010, 07:21 AM
Well said Andy.

By the way I ordered the book the other day and you can get it for $.79 for a used book.

Steve
07-18-2010, 02:34 AM
Andy,

I know this is a difficult question but in a newer business do you feel the business owner needs to focus on building business knowledge or service knowledge? Or both at the same time?

And later as the business grows, do you feel it changes at all?

picframer
07-18-2010, 04:48 AM
Andy,

I know this is a difficult question but in a newer business do you feel the business owner needs to focus on building business knowledge or service knowledge? Or both at the same time?

And later as the business grows, do you feel it changes at all?

IMHO and experience you can't build a company and be successful without a good base knowledge or someone on staff next to you with that knowledge, how can we look at a lawn or project and bid it and talk like we are experienced if you haven't done our homework, homework being reading, asking questions etc. People also read us, sometimes like a book and if they feel that we may not know our stuff, they will hire someone they want, it is our responsibility to leave a prospects house with them having a good feeling about our (your) company.

Then we are all going to have issues be it lawn care or otherwise, there is a core knowledge we need, it's fine from time to time to simply say to a client, look I have xx years of experience however this one has me baffled, may I bring an expert in this field in for their opinion? Clients respect that.

We all learn every day, at least I do, sometimes a little, sometimes a lot. I often listen to the staff talk about jobs to be done that day, they are always looking for the most effective way to tackle the job at hand, they talk it out, I usually just listen as I am learning and letting them learn from each other, if they ask for my opinion I will share it, if they are out in left field, I will bring them back in line which is very rare.

What changes is self confidence and the ability to give a quote on the spot and then follow it up in writing, people see this as a sign of experience and they have a comfort level and the relationship begins.

You do not need to know everything, if for example you are looking at a weed issue, two things, keep a book on local weeds with you so that you know what you are up against as you are going to see it again sooner or later (picture books), and educate yourself on dealing with these weeds in this case. You have to speak with confidence to win jobs and really make the company grow.

We need to look for other services we can offer, I do not pressure sell, I simply say we can look after these issues and if it's ok with you I will give you a quote for each and you can think about it, I explain the process in detail for each project, give a rough estimate although my estimates are firm unless we run into issues beyond what we can see which also happens, we almost always walk away with the work, or the client calls us back in stages.