View Full Version : Hello fellow green industry members

12-09-2011, 11:46 PM
Well, let me introduce myself. My name is Troy Tiedeman, owner of Tiedeman, LLC. Been in business going on 12 years now, and around 17 years of experience in the green industry.

This isn't my first time on Gopher. I joined this forum years and years ago (Steve would have to pull my information as when I first joined and how long it's been since I last posted) and I am looking forward to posting again. I can even remember doing an interview with Steve years ago.

I have been emailing Steve for the last few years now and then, and he keeps on trying to get me back to the forum. Well he has finally twisted my arm and I am really looking forward to posting again.

I still to this day use Gopher software. I think I started using it around 2004???

I have been through it all with the business, the highs and the lows, so any time you guys want to ask me for some advice or ideas feel free too.

Glad to be back.

12-10-2011, 12:08 PM

The man! Troy is back! WOW!

Welcome back Troy!

As you reflect back on all your years of business experience, what's your view now on where you feel most of the new start up business owners go wrong? Why do so many of them fail and why do only a very few percentage of business owners ever get to the stage you are at now?

12-10-2011, 04:20 PM
There are lots of factors and reasons. If I was to say the main reason they don't make it is because they try to get too big, too fast. They want to have all of the fancy equipment, new trucks, etc. They end up getting loaded up with debt, and then struggle to make payments. Don't get me wrong, some debt is good, but you really have to figure out whether it's worth it to purchase that $9,000 zero turn, or could you get away with the $4,000 walk behind instead.

I am constantly changing my business year after year based on the market. Perhaps it's adjusting prices, marketing efforts, or the type of services that I push.

For example, when we started out 90% of my business was lawn mowing. I saw that the market was flooded in my area with other lawn mowers so now I completely sub out my lawn mowing, and it's only about 10% of my business revenue. Right now pesticide applications are the majority of my business, around 65-70%.

If I had to give one definite word of advice, and that is plan ahead with the upselling. Constantly sell, sell, sell to your current client base. Always put something in front of them. Walk there property to find things that need to be fixed, and offer to fix it.

My other advice is that you have to get back to the customer is first thought. I know when I first started out the client worked around my schedule and I had a huge ego, but soon I realized in order to stand out you have to offer an exceptional, unique business that no one else can touch. Go over the top with the customer service (return the garbage cans back up to the house, does it really hurt to prune one additional tree for them if you are doing the entire property) with two things 1) fast response time, 2) communicate with the clients. If you are going to be late, or reschedule for later in the week, call them. I can't believe the number of times that I landed a client just because I was there the same day of the requested quote.

I could really go on and on about it....but will save some of that for later in the forums.

12-12-2011, 10:11 AM
Very good advice!

If I had to give one definite word of advice, and that is plan ahead with the upselling.

What's your view on the best way to come up with an upsell plan?

12-13-2011, 01:52 PM
I really depends on the type of client. I lay out a marketing calendar a year in advance, based on last seasons services. Let's say for example surface feeding insects were horrible the previous year, I make note of it, and push that service for the coming year because more than likely they are going to be bad agian.

When actually on the property in front of the client the main thing is to listen to them, but also look around their property when you're there. You can constantly find things to sell them. Are the shrubs pruned, do the gutters need cleaned out, are there weeds in the lawn, any dead or diseased shrubs there, etc. The list is endless.

The other thing is sometimes you may have a set plan ahead of time in regards to what products you want to push out for the week or month. I am not a big fan of this mean of selling, but if you have a large quanity of a certain fertilizer, or extra mulch on hard, you may try to get out that inventory so it's not just sitting there collecting dust. Nothing I hate worse than dead inventory. I am a big fan of Kaizen strategies when it comes to just in time inventory.

12-13-2011, 04:51 PM
I am a big fan of Kaizen strategies when it comes to just in time inventory.

What is that? The Kaizen strategies?

12-13-2011, 06:07 PM
I was actually introduced to Kaizen back in the mid 90's from my brother. He gave me a Kaizen book for a birthday present, and it was one of the best things I have ever read. In fact, he stole it back from me insisting that it was his (wink).

It's funny, because today we refer to Kaizen as "lean management". It's basically a technique to constantly improve anything and everything for the better.

We read about it all the time today that it's something new, yet the Japanese adpoted these techniques and made them popular way back in the 80's in the auto industry. If I remember correctly, the Japanese have been doing these techniques since after WWII.

Even though a lot in the green industry promote lean management, I would highly recommend reading about how the Japanese introduced it and used it in their companies.

For example, one of the best stories regarding Kaizen was during lunch breaks, the Japanese auto workers would go into the lunch rooms to eat and drink coffee. The cafe workers would set out pots of coffee for the workers at each table. Always at the end of the day there would be wasted coffee in the pots. So the cafe workers began to track the tables, and how much the workers drank from each pot. They then filled the coffee pots with just enough coffee, based on their research for each table, how much each table drank. This way there was no longer extra coffee wasted.

Just think about how simple as a pot of coffee can save you in money.

12-13-2011, 07:25 PM
"My other advice is that you have to get back to the customer is first thought."

Exactly right! Forget about how you started and kiss your accounts GOOD-BYE!

12-14-2011, 01:10 PM
This way there was no longer extra coffee wasted.

That is really brilliant! Have you found examples where lawn care business owners could apply this to their operations too?

12-15-2011, 02:04 PM
Wow, they are tons of things, even simple letter things

For example, when we do our letters to clients we reduced the size of the logo on our letterhead to save on ink.

It's also about motion waste too. So in our office layout, instead of putting the file cabinets down from the desk area, in which we would have to get up, we put them right behind us, now all we have to do is swivel the chair around, and they are right there.

12-16-2011, 07:40 PM
That is fascinating!

Do you find yourself keeping notes of your different daily tasks and constantly working on streamlining operations?

12-16-2011, 07:56 PM
When I first started doing it I actually took the time to set aside an entire day, going through everything to find areas we could be better at. But now, there are things that pop up still to this day that I never noticed before.

12-17-2011, 02:19 PM
It just goes to show you that if you are aware of this and are looking to constantly improve your operations, you will see issues to streamline.

12-17-2011, 02:52 PM
It just goes to show you that if you are aware of this and are looking to constantly improve your operations, you will see issues to streamline.

Exactly! We really wanted to streamline everything, make things not as complex, just keep it simple.

Things even as simple as putting files on your computer in a specific folder so you won't have to look around for them.