View Full Version : Hello to All**Excellant Forum
08-17-2009, 10:27 PM
Just a brief " Hello" as a new member to this forum. My name is Chris and am in NW Arkansas. Think I am actually looking to go full-time in landscaping and happened on this forum today. WOW!!! I have spent 4 hours on it already today, downloaded several resources to get a simple website online and am headed that way. Any serious suggestions from folks successful and established is appreciated. I have over a decade of experience in landscape/lawncare as well as 5 years in nursery and crop operations but most years ago. More recently; I have just taken a landscape project or 2 a summer as supplemental income BUT being laid off after 15 years has me considering landscape business fulltime and immediate or at least solid part-time. Enough for now**-Again Thanks and I look forward to this resource.
08-17-2009, 11:14 PM
Welcome to the G forum Chris.
I say go for it!
You sound as you know what your doing.
08-17-2009, 11:37 PM
Welcome to the forum. What kinds of things have you been doing to promote your lawn care business thus far?
In the past did you work with another company? Are you taking the skills you learned then and applying them now? How does it differ owning the business now compared to what you did in the past?
08-18-2009, 05:29 PM
Steve, this is so new for me that I am just now trying to get this off the ground this late in the year to try to make a go of it and get my foot in the door for next.
Considerable Craigslist posting and door to door flyer marketing is the current marketing concentration for me. My hope is to stay small service landscaping and get the typical annual contracts not for the lawn mowing/maintenance but rather the yearly landscape maintenance i.e. trimming,mulching, bed prep and planting, leaf removal and then small scale install/renovations.
As far as other companies- they have always been family/friend owned so kinda grew up around it just as a 2nd nature. Never really saw it as a profit potential until recently. It is just good that I spent the last 12 years in business/finance to help me see that perspective and think of it that way.
If I can just merge the years of landscape and finance experience and turn them into a successful operation I would be happy.
08-19-2009, 05:21 AM
It is just good that I spent the last 12 years in business/finance to help me see that perspective and think of it that way.
What kinds of things stand out as far as business lessons you have learned from those past 12 years?
I bet you have a bunch of lessons you could pass on to all of us.
08-19-2009, 12:22 PM
Just random thoughts here related to business aspects:
1) 99.9% of the time the client/customer really is right- Even though this phrase i overused; it really is true and must always be kept in mind. The clients are the lifeblood of almost all sales/service businesses as without them- we are nothing. Pretty simple Right?? Wrong!! As a business owner/operator or even manager; we must strive everyday to maintain ourselves and our employees in this mindset. It is way too easy to get caught up in the immediate task or issue( especially when all is going wrong ) and either lose sight of the clients specific needs OR find ourselves at mental odds with them over a particular issue. So long as the thoughts are checked before expressed- all is well. Lose sight of client is always right and verbalize your mental attitude and you may find a "Thank You" card from your competition for the new referral you sent them.
The other.1% of the time is a small portin but indeed exists and usually is applicable in the event of collection issues. When it comes time to collecting on past due accounts or check/credit insufficiencies; you must be nice but FIRM and direct......if you intend to collect. Most of the time it is just an error or oversight and a simple but direct outline of corrective action will get you paid and even gain the respect of the client. However; if it passes the specified time then the outlined steps must be taken as you specified. Obviously, you need to prepare for the fact of losing a client if aggressive collections are required but again maybe the cost to constantly collect outweighs the potential profit in that case- enough said.
2) Second big thing is to just treat the clients the way you want to be treated or the way you would want someone to treat your family. Simple things that we all know and not necessarily worth the specifics of here.
Bottom line- from arrival to departure conduct yourself and provide your service as if you were doing it for the person most important to you.This attitude is actually referred to as the golden rule and is actually the golden rule of business as well.
08-19-2009, 08:48 PM
Excellent lesson in people skills!
08-20-2009, 03:21 AM
99.9% of the time the client/customer really is right- Even though this phrase i overused; it really is true and must always be kept in mind.
Do you ever find there is a percentage of your customer base that will feel you out and see if they can get more from you by complaining? If so, in such situations, is it better to give more or to stand your ground?
Does giving in to customers added requests tend to bring more requests in the future?
What do you do when these start to eat up your time and you find yourself giving more and more time?
08-20-2009, 02:36 PM
I guess maybe further clarifications are in order on the client always being right......
The client can still be right without the service provider being held hostage by excessive demands. The key in my mind is to create an acceptable expectation in your mind of what is allowable in terms of negotiations/callbacks/freebies and then convey for instance you allow 3 callback services a year as a part of the annual contract. Then define what a callback is. Maybe it means if the client finds an issue w/in 12 or 24 hours- say a missed section of trimming that you return free of charge OR give a discount at next service. Whatever the give/take is will be at your discretion as each situation is different and will affect your pocket differently. Regardless- know what your level is and educate the client as to what and when a free callback is and what determines a need for service between normally scheduled services. This probably is a paid call but maybe at a reduced rate- and advise your clients of all this in a rate/proposal sheet signed as acknowledgement of receipt even if you do not use annual paper contracts.
I think this covers how to increase/upsell services by the education of the client as to what and when a FREE service can be an expectation of theirs and when they should expect to be paying an added fee. By clarifying the boundaries upfront; the client should already know when they should be looking to spend that extra $$$
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