Learn how selling your landscape company may not be the best way to create wealth and provide you the freedom you are dreaming of.
There is so much talk about people wanting to sell their company, or the dream they have to sell their company some day. It’s sort of the American dream to build your company, sell it, have all this money, retire, whatever. My argument is, and you’ve heard it before, why is that necessary?
When do you recommend buying lawn care equipment for your company?
I generally recommend that you wait until the very last minute to buy new equipment. That allows you to keep the money in the bank until the last minute. There’s a number of reasons behind that. If I need a big piece of equipment, I could buy that a week before I need it or a couple of days before I need it. So many companies and so many owners get excited by a new piece of equipment so they buy it months in advance. Generally, this is not a good idea for a whole number of different reasons.
Is the cool lawn mower a friend recommended, the best mower for my lawn care business?
When I was at GIE in Louisville, Kentucky, I was reminded that you really don’t want to buy the cool lawn mower. What I mean by that is, walking through GIE, I’m reminded how many different brands there are and how many manufacturers there are selling walk-behinds and riders. There are Skagg and Toro and Exmark and those are just my local brands.
Jonathan shares a fool proof plan to prep your seasonal business to have enough money during winter months.
As you’ve probably heard me say in the past, I’m not a big fan of contracts in the residential business. Commercial’s different. I’m talking specifically about residential. One of the big arguments for contracts is that you receive your revenue over a twelve month period because the argument is during the down time, during the off season, during the slower months, there isn’t as much money coming in and those contracts provide for great off season revenue to keep things running and smooth out cash flow. My basic argument is that it doesn’t make sense to put yourself under a contract with a client so that they can be your savings account and make sure you don’t overspend in the months that bring in a lot of revenue and therefore not have enough money in the slow season.
Learn how custom truck beds cut non-billable hours making you a more profitable lawn care company.
If you’re not using custom trucks and custom truck beds, it’s worth considering it, especially over the winter season. Optimizing your fleet to give your team in the field the opportunity to be as efficient as possible is smart business.
Labor is your number one expense. The more you can drive that down, the more money you make. It’s way cheaper to invest in better equipment, better trucks, better truck beds, than it is to invest in more and more people.
Here are several pictures from GIE of custom truck beds. I think you want to get trailers out of your business as much as you can. Like I said, you want to drive that non-billable time out of your business. The way you do it is by giving your guys a perfect set-up to work with by minimizing load and unload time and by making sure they can find all their tools.
This last picture here is from Tony Bass’s company where they sell custom trucks. I don’t know what they cost and I’m not endorsing them. I’ve never actually even met Tony but I’ve heard great things about him. He is completely on to something with the custom truck beds in all different forms. They could be open truck beds. They can be on the back of Ford Rangers. They could be on the back of F-150s. I have several different types of them.
Custom truck beds work. You should look at it in your business, whether you work with somebody like him or you figure out how to do it yourself. There’s a lot of wisdom in this approach. There’s efficiency in getting trailers out of your business as much as you can.
Watch the video to get Jonathan’s 3 tips to get your clients to agree to credit card payments for lawn care services.
I’ve recorded videos about this in the past, and to this day it remains one of the most common questions asked, “How do you get your clients to pay you with a credit card?”
It’s really not that hard.
Now, when we first got started, we just turned 10 years old, I guess it was a couple years into the business, we started doing this and it was one of the best things we’ve ever done in our business.
Back at that time, there were only a couple companies that I knew of that were doing this in our local market, and that is where I got the confidence to try it. At least there was somebody else doing it.
We implemented it. But, when I implemented it, I tried letting the client put a card on file and if they didn’t pay by a certain day, we would auto-charge the card. We tried charging the day after performing the work. We tried charging the week after. We’ve tried all kinds of scenarios, and the one that ultimately worked the best was charging your credit card the week after on a specific day. That’s what we do to this day.
Now, I have clients through Service Autopilot all over, and I know that in certain markets like Seattle, Washington and New Jersey, maybe Arizona, there’s different parts of the country where this is less prevalent. You don’t see a lot of companies doing this, yet we have Service Autopilot clients doing this very successfully.
I know for a fact this works in every market. Technology has changed so dramatically and the way people think about paying for things and money, and just look at cell phone usage and now you have Apple Pay and all of this technology coming to devices to auto-pay, everything’s changing. Fast-food restaurants now accept, and they have for a very long time, accept credit cards at the window. They didn’t back when, to the best of my recollection, they didn’t back when I started requiring that a client pay us with a credit card.
Things have changed dramatically. Yes, you’ll still have some older couples and some, maybe in some cases, military families that can’t pay with a credit card, but the vast majority of people will. The key to it is you have to be confident on the phone, and you have to say, “This is how we do it.” That way you and your team don’t have the option to accept check payment and you don’t have an out.
Confidence is number one and I’ve mentioned this before in videos. In the beginning, I was not confident and I was not having success getting the credit card.
When I realized the problem was with me, I made it very simple. Keeping it simple is tip number 2. “All we need is a credit card you’d like to pay with to start service.” It is something that simple, and then I’d just pause and wait. Then if they questioned me about it, I’d explain it and I’d answer their questions. That really made it easy.
The thire thing is when we finally said, “Okay, no more exceptions,” because we would make exceptions if you were military. We would make exceptions if you were an older couple. We’d make these exceptions and then that made it easy for the team to make exceptions, and next thing you know we’re only getting credit cards from 6 out of every 10 people. When we finally said no more exceptions, that made it work better as well.
When we tried charging the day after, that worked but, I didn’t like it because there was nothing worse than breaking a sprinkler head, or the back gate was unlocked, or a lawn didn’t get mowed or something else not going quite right, and then we charged the client before the job was done perfectly.
I believe it’s a better experience to charge the client the week after, after you’ve had plenty of time to clean up, fix, apologize, make right anything that you might have messed up or not gotten done. So that’s how we do it. I’m telling you, across the board, across the U.S., this is not a problem. Companies in every single market are very successfully doing this and no one has ever come to me and said, “Man, I wish I had waited another year to do that.” Nobody. Everybody universally says, “This is one of the best things I ever did in my business.”
To implement credit card charging, be confident when you ask for the card. Keep it simple. And, don’t make exceptions. Know that no matter what market you’re in, your competitors are successfully doing this and they’re getting benefits that you’re not getting because they’ve implemented it in their business.