Originally Posted by Sea Lancer
Also has any one ever talked to a competitor and worked out any business deals such as trading customers or give referrals to each other? I have 4-5 mowing co. in my community and i was pondering whether or not to try and work with them or fly under the radar and do my own thing.....
I'm still new myself (this being my 2nd year in business) and am a one man crew. I live in a small town so there are not A LOT of competitors. One is a guy who has been around for about 8 years now. He is a one man deal also, but has his regulars that he uses for jobs where he could use an extra set of hands or two.
I ran in to him at the local nursery and we started talking. He ended up letting me in on a few jobs. He was very impressed with the work that I provided but I almost felt like I was working for him. They were his jobs, and I needed to get my own. It was nice to have the extra jobs that I normally wouldn't, but once I made the decision to focus more on my own customers, that is when i gained the confidence needed to run a lawn care business.
Since then I have picked up a lot of customers and have seen that same guy plenty of times... I could tell that he no longer wants to throw charity work my way. He now sees me as a threat instead of an ally. All in all, there really is no working with others. You either have a business partner or you are the boss. To many chiefs is not a good thing and ultimately you will appreciate not having to cater to anyone else but yourself.
If you work on a job with someone, you are liable for their mistakes as well. I even noticed that I was doing a better job than he was and he has been doing it for years. However, at the end of the day, when half of the job looks good (your half) and half of the job looks sloppy (his half) you still have to put your name on the WHOLE job.
Do your own thing but don't look at them as competition. Each customer is different and interact with people differently. If they are not happy they will come find you.