Does the fact that I am a female owning and operating as my own crew, does that discourage people when I advertise?
No way. Don’t let this bother you. It’s an advantage!
I’m going to make the assumption that you currently provide residential lawn care service.
I can tell you with certainty that the female of the household is most often influencing the buying decision. Most women are either looking for the new lawn care service provider or they are telling their husband to get it done.
Just because the husband makes the call — that doesn’t mean the lady of the house wasn’t the one that made it (finally) happen. She probably did the research and told him who to call.
This isn’t how it always happens but the statistic is well over 50%.
So. This is your competitive advantage. If I were you I would promote the fact that your business is female owned. This is very rare in the lawn business (especially the part about working in the field while you build your business).
All of your door hangers, your website, and your marketing material must have your personality in it. Make yourself the celebrity of the business and play it up.
Use this advantage to set yourself apart. Moving forward I would even look for ways to hire women to help you build, run and do the work of the business.
Most lawn care companies all look exactly the same to the consumer. They all say the same thing. You have an opportunity to get attention and look different than all the rest.
Who knows… there may be a few guys out there that wrongly assume your quality won’t be that of a male owned business. Who cares?!? They aren’t the customer you want. All you have to do is connect with a small percentage of the marketplace, treat them well, give them great service and good quality and they will be very loyal to you.
And they will talk about you to their friends!
I promise… if you think this is a negative you have to stop telling yourself that. This is an advantage.
Where can I buy lawn mowers at wholesale prices?
Even if we were buying 100 mowers at one time we would negotiate a deal with the vendors in our local market.
Every December we test the market to see if the price we are paying for equipment and supplies is still extremely competitive (we buy most of the equipment and supplies we anticipate needing for the upcoming year in December for tax reasons).
Over the years we have spent a lot of time looking around for the very best prices. The prices we can negotiate in the local market are generally as good as any we can find.
Note: If you want maximum negotiating power buy all of your lawn care equipment at once.
Even if we were able to slightly beat the local vendors we normally buy mowers, line trimmers, stick edges, trailers, truck beds, etc from by buying out of state or 100 miles away — we would continue to purchase from the local vendors we have relationships with.
I firmly believe that if we take care of our vendors and send them a lot of business they will take care of us in a hurry when we need very fast service. (Or need them to help us find a new employee.)
If not, we will find another local vendor next year when we make a very large equipment purchase.
We try to be very loyal to our vendors as long as they are good to us and remain very competitive on price.
How Can I Learn About Irrigation and Irrigation Systems?
The fastest way to learn the irrigation business is to locate the vendors in your local area – the guys that sell the parts. They can tell you where to get licensed. They can teach you a lot. Many of them run workshops and classes. There is a lot to learn about pipe sizes, flow rates, pressure, heads and the different controllers… they can advise you all of this and guide you on how to best learn it.
Remember… they want to sell you parts. Go visit them in person. Don’t just call them up and ask questions. Go see them. You will get more attention and respect from them in person than you will over the phone.
The state will require you to get licensed. So they provide books and manuals to prepare. This too will teach you a lot. My experience has been that you must also attend classes prior to taking your irrigators test. You will learn a lot in these classes.
Also, Google search irrigation magazines. Subscribe to every magazine you can find on the subject and start reading them. For example, look at www.igin.com.
There is also information that can be learned on forums such as www.lawnsite.com. Remember, forum advice isn’t always accurate but it can be very helpful.
Amazon probably has books on the subject. Search on something like… irrigation installation.
To learn about licensing in your state search on something like… irrigation license ‘yourstate’.
The vendors that sell the parts will be your very best initial source… they will be able to lead you to all of your other sources. If you don’t already have a business, consider working under someone for a short while and learning. Hands on training is the best way to learn the irrigation business.