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Old 11-07-2010, 08:09 PM
larson lawn care larson lawn care is offline
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Originally Posted by Steve View Post
You have been through a very difficult situation that I feel most people never even think about.

As you have your backup plans in place, what say top 5 or top 10 issues do you feel most business owners simply don't plan for?

Which problems do you feel they could quickly avert if only they had a plan in place for themselves?

And why do you feel most business owners don't plan for worst case scenarios?
This is a shot in the dark, but issues small LCO's may not plan for are:

-Drought: It is good to have money stored away for situations where your expected income may be affected.

-Unexpected expenses: Again, you need money saved to compensate for an unexpected vehicle break down, equip repairs etc. For the past few years, I have had customers pre-pay for the season. This helps very much with unexpected expenses and other financial situations.

-Gas prices: I'm sure many have become much better at this but charging the customer accordingly in case gas prices go back up to an insane price. Or simply telling the customer that in the event of gas prices going up, likely you will have to add a fuel surcharge to their bill.

-THEFT: I've had stuff stolen and I'm sure you have too. I've had about $2,500 dollars worth of equipment and tools stolen from me. Now I have an alarm on my truck, locks for everything which stay on at all times when not in use, and an alarm on my garage which houses all of my hard earned equipment.

-Customer loss: You must plan for customer loss, that way you do your best to keep the customers happy. I try my best to think like the customer and cover all angles. Of course you can't please everyone but you can try if you want to. I make sure to explain everything in detail to my customers through letter form. I let them know my plans for the future as an LCO, and I let them know that I am going to keep them satisfied or do what ever I can to do so. I want them to grow with me as a company and with my customer service, I'm sure they feel like they are.

-Upselling: Plan to upsell, especially when expected work is effected due to drought, too much rain etc.

-Plan to answer questions: You have to be knowledgeable in the field you work in. If you don't know the answer to a customers question, you better find it out. I've learned a lot over the past 7 years of lawn maintenance because I would get asked questions by customers, I didn't know the answer so I researched it. Over the past two or so years, I have been able to answer almost every question that I was asked in detail.

-Too much rain: Some customers don't mind if you leave some mud tracks throughout the lawn, but some do and they will be mad if you mow after a heavy rain. Plan to ask your customers and each new one's what their take is on the situation. I've heard of too many people firing their lawn company because of this.

Issues with the customers are something you should see coming especially if you have a plan in place for each situation. I try to explain right off the bat, problem situations that could occur. That way if something does happen, they know that you are aware of it. Otherwise, if you didn't tell them in the first place, they may not even tell you and just fire you. I will mention things like: since my mower is so wide and the terrain is uneven, there may be areas where the mower digs into the ground. Eventually, I will learn every area and be able to prevent it. I will ask them their take on too much rain, should I mow or wait a week? If they need me to wait, I'll tell them I will try to get by sooner if possible. I'll tell them I can't prevent all of the grass from getting into the mulched garden areas, but I will try my best to prevent it and I will do my best to get it out of there. I'm sure I can go on with this but the point is, I take problems that other customers have had in the past (which I fixed for them) and I tell every customer I have and every new customer I get these situations so if/when the problem arises, they don't have to call me and complain and they know I will fix it. They will know you are on top of your game and you are serious about what you do.
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