How can I create immediate income in my lawn care business?

Question: “I’m just getting started. How can I create immediate income in my lawn care business?

One of the great things about the landscape industry is that you really can create immediate income.

You can go out and get work versus waiting for it to come to you.  As a result it is possible to find work quickly.

All you have to do is walk down the street, knock on doors, introduce yourself and tell the story of your company.  It takes a small bit of courage, but it works!

If you are selling commercial, you walk in the door and ask for the business.  You ask to bid the property.

If they don’t need you now (most won’t), find out when their existing agreement expires or when the contract will go out for bid.  Put that date on your calendar and follow up months in advance to ensure you have an opportunity to participate in the bidding process.

Don’t forget to ask for the name of the person who will make the decision.

These are the three fastest ways to get immediate income:

1) Knock on doors.

2) Put out door hangers. If you don’t have money, pass them out yourself.

3) Build a high quality website and run PPC ads. Google the term Adwords to learn more.

Let’s assume during the start up phase you are in the field 40% of the week. You don’t have enough work to fill up an entire week.  So, the other 60% of the week you need to spend your time prospecting for new business.

Regarding price…

I’ve heard many say when you are starting out, price low. Then, once you earn some business and your customers trust you, raise your prices.

I disagree.

Start out pricing yourself near the middle of the market or higher.

If you price too low, as you start growing, you will not have any money to hire help.  You won’t have money to buy good eqiupment.  You won’t have money to advertise your business.

You will get trapped in the field if you don’t have money.

Long term, the only way to make a lot of money is to get yourself out of the field and pay others to do all of the field work.

As you grow you will have less and less time to focus on sales and marketing.  You MUST constantly replace yourself in the field by hiring help.

Doing so frees up more of your time to seek out new business.

If you stop marketing and selling, your revenue stream will dry up.

Each time you replace yourself in the field, resume exactly what made you successful in the first place…knocking on doors, distributing door hangers, online marketing, asking for referrals, etc.

As you hire ‘guys’ to help, demand hard work and quality. Don’t accept poor or slow work. If you look at an employee and realize that you could do that job in 30% the time it takes them, you’ve hired the wrong person.

There are plenty of great guys. A lot of those guys will surprise you by out-working you.

Don’t settle for mediocre people.  It will kill your business and burn you out.

Once you hire your first foreman and have successfully replaced yourself with a self-operating crew, you have accomplished a major milestone.

Repeat this several times, price correctly, and you will find you have the money to hire an operations person to help you run the business.

Once you reach this point you are well on your way.

You will be ahead of most of your peers in the industry.

Go make your first sell.  Not next month.  Now.

 

 

Stand Out From The Competition And Have Customers Remember You

Watch this video and learn what makes customers remember you in your market.

Are you highly visible in your market? As you’re looking at your trucks today, pay attention to how they show when someone that doesn’t know you sees your trucks on the road. Or, if you have a whole bunch of white trucks, is that doing anything to constantly pound your name into your prospective client’s mind?

Just as important, when you send out marketing, or another client refers you, you want the person, the prospect, to have an association with your company. If I refer you to my friend, you want my friend to have thought, oh yeah, those are the guys I see all the time. I have see them.

That gives them confidence. That makes them feel like they’re making a safe, wise choice. So, running around in an all-white or all-black truck…well, if you’re my competitor, it’s awesome. I would prefer that you continue doing that. But, if you’re not my competitor, I’d suggest that you don’t do that.

Here’s a simple black truck and just look what the pink accents do to this truck. I guarantee if you have five of these running around, people will remember you. Your marketing will work better, referrals will work better, all kinds of things will work better.

Being remembered is important and when you’re seen, you need to be able to be easily differentiated from everyone else in your marketplace.

Lawn Care Door Hanger Critique

Listen to this lawn care door hanger critique to optimize your marketing and get more customers.

I am critiquing this door hanger, and giving feedback. Originally there was a phone number at the top left, in the center there was a logo, and at the right there was a web address. Down below it said “call today”. It had a phone number, it said “visit us” and it had a web address. I’ve removed the identifying information, and I’m critiquing this door hanger for an individual. You can listen to my feedback. This is in no specific order and I’m not going from notes. I’m just going to go down through here and give some pointers.

On this door hanger there’s no door hanger hole and I personally think that is ideal. I don’t believe you want a door hanger hole, so I think that’s good. In certain markets you may feel that you need one, but generally I don’t see most door hanger companies using the hole to hang the door hanger on the doorknob. That’s good that gives you more space. In your email you mentioned that on the other side of this door hanger you were going to use some pretty pictures and some imagery. My suggestion would be that you use some imagery on both sides, and also that both sides have some compelling information.

Whether the door hanger has a hole, or you rubber band it to the door, what you don’t know is which direction this will hang on the door or which side will face out. You can imagine that the individual grabs the mail off their door and they walk it to their trashcan in the kitchen. You don’t know which direction your door hanger will be facing as they’re holding that and walking your door hanger to the trash. For that reason I recommend that your door hanger has a headline and something compelling at the top on both sides.

My first thought on this is at the top you have a phone number, your logo, your web address, and so it could be that that’s the first thing I see. But, nothing about that communicates to me what’s in it for me. So, you have just a couple minutes to catch my attention. Your main hope with this piece is that I am in need of lawn care, and when I see this I think to myself, “Well, lawn care’s exactly what I’ve been looking for. I’ll call these guys.” You’re banking on lawn care, and the words “landscape” and “lawn care” to resonate with me because I have immediate need. But, that’s the only way you’d grab me at this moment with this piece.

My suggestion would be that at the top, you have some type of a headline that grabs my attention, and states a benefit to me. That headline could be what you’re going to do for me, what problem you’re going to solve, or some type of promotional benefit of what I’m going to get. Such as, if I sign up for lawn service, I’m going to get a free iPod shuffle or something along those lines to catch my attention. But, you’ve only got a couple seconds to do it, and it needs to be at the top. I’d recommend that same statement to be on both sides because you don’t know which side I’ll be looking at as I walk your door hanger into the house to the trashcan. That’s point number one.

You need to think about what your client’s number one, two, and three wants are, what their top one, two or three fears are, and you need to answer those in the headline. Give them some reason that they should contact you versus anyone else. If I’m your competitor and my door hanger’s on the door with yours, why is yours going to get their attention over mine? You need to have some type of headline that pulls them in, gets them to read, and continue reading this door hanger.

If for your services you have lawn maintenance, landscapes, snow removal, and then you have some additional services down here. I think that is important to call out the specific services that you offer. You don’t have a price on here, anything like that and I think that’s perfectly okay. What you’re doing here is you’re calling out the key services so that if I have a need, I see these and I think, “Oh this might be for me”, and I continue reading. Good job with that. I would continue that. You might try a slightly different design. Let me come back to that, let me mention design.

If you’re going to print ten thousand of these and you’re going to distribute them, you’re going to have some cost. I would recommend spending one or two hundred dollars, or some amount of money, and get somebody to quickly put together the design for you. I know you’re running out of time here, but it could make all the difference in your results. By spending a couple hundred dollars you could potentially double your response rate. I would absolutely have somebody help you with the design of this. The cost could be all over the board. They could lay it out in Photoshop or Illustrator or professional software and they could get it laid out in font. They could use all the same font types and they could make it look really nice for you and bring in some imagery and your logo and make it look like you’re a large operation.
This is not doing justice in appearance to your business. In terms of what you actually are as a business, this doesn’t look nearly as professional as you are or nearly as professional as your website. Your website looks really professional, but this doesn’t communicate that same message. I would recommend having a designer try to bring that same level of look and feel and professionalism to this, so that when I see this I get immediate confidence that this is a professional company. I would spend the money on that. I’ll just focus on copy from here on out.

The reason I said all that is, within that design I would probably somehow bullet point or call out the services here. It’s maybe not the first focus point. The first focus point, the biggest copy, the thing that my eye falls on, should be the headline. Then this would be another focus point, but not the primary one, somewhere on here where all the services that you offer are grouped together. That would be one thing I’d do.

The direction you’re going with an interesting fact, that’s a good one. Your thought process, in my opinion, is good. I hope you don’t take offense to anything I say here in terms of critiquing this. I would go a different direction based on what I’ve learned. I don’t know your market, so it may be different. My hunch is that you’re not trying to convince the guy that doesn’t have his lawn mowed to suddenly start hiring a company to mow his law, or provide whatever service you’re trying to sell. Rather, your buyer is most likely someone that already has lawn care company, has already decide that it’s worth spending the money, and doesn’t need to be convinced; they’re your easiest sell. I would market to them.

For example, if I was competing against you in your market and you gave me 20 home owners that don’t buy lawn care and haven’t in the last three years, or you gave me a list of 20 home owners that buy lawn care and have been buying lawn care for the last 5 years, I would only market to those people and I’d ignore the 20 that don’t buy lawn care. There are a small number of them that will convert and most that do convert may not stay with it long term. I don’t even want to focus my energy on them. You don’t know who those individuals are when you’re putting out your door hangers, so you need to at least craft your message to your most likely buyer and your most likely buyer already has a lawn service.

The direction here is good. An alternative would be to speak directly to that individual that has lawn service now. What is their concern going to be? Their concern is going to be that my gates are not being closed, that the last lawn care company that I had, the one that I’m looking to replace, doesn’t show up consistently, that the company I have now when there are weather delays or problems they don’t tell me what they’re doing or when I can expect them. They just show up, they don’t answer their phone when I call, I never get my invoicing on time, it’s always a different individual at my home and the work is never consistent. You could go down the list of the complaints you’ve heard from your potential clients about the companies they’ve been working with and that’s why they’re calling you. Answer those objections here.
What you’re doing with the interesting fact, great idea, but how could you tell me some of the benefits that I’m going to get. Bullet pointed lists work well on this stuff; it’s easy to read. It’s easier to read a bullet point list and it’s easier for the mind to quickly sort it out then it is to have to read several paragraphs. It might be that you bullet point out some differences and why we’re your best solution.

That’s another point. I would use more of “you” in this. This is about “you” as in the client. When you’re talking, make sure you’re using a lot of words like “you” instead of words like, “we”, “our”, “us”. Try to shift the writing just a little bit so you’re focused on the person that’s reading it, because it’s about them. You might make your headline something like, “You will receive this”, “you will get this”. Something, again, about them, that’ll be part of the headline. Then, make your bullet points, again, something about them. “You will experience this.” “You will get this if you use our company.” List out the ways you’re different than everyone they’ve used in the past. Tell them what the services are that you offer, and then give them a reason to take action with you.

“Spring is right around the corner. We are now booking our lawn mowing accounts for the year. So call today.” My critique here would be yes, you’re reminding them that spring is right around the corner. Again, I hope you don’t think I’m being too harsh. Where I’m going with this is I don’t know if “Spring is right around the corner” is necessary to say. They know it. The reason I say that is, one thing I’ve learned, and I don’t necessarily do a good job at this, is I’ve heard that great writing is about editing out every unnecessary word. I tend to be a wordy person and so I don’t think I’m necessarily good at that. I’m thinking that maybe this doesn’t help sell anything. I would probably edit those words out and focus on just power words and bigger things that you need to communicate because you have limited space.

Where I felt like you were going, “We are now booking our lawn mowing accounts for the year.” You could go a couple directions with this. One, maybe you are trying to say that “We serve your neighborhood and I’ve got one crew available. We can accept 14 more accounts in your market, in your area, in your zip code, in your city, and then we’re filled up for the year.” Maybe there is some angle like that where you can tell me, “You need to respond right away if you want to do business with our company.” At the top you lay out in the headline the benefits of why I should use you. In the middle, you tell me what you can do for me and why my experience with you is going to be different. Why are you better than all your competitors? Then, at the bottom give me a reason to take action immediately. One could be that it’s limited, in some way there’s a limitation. If I don’t take immediate action I’ll miss out, there’s scarcity. That could be that we only have one crew in your market and there are only this many slots left on that crew and we won’t have availability until next year.

Then can you give me something? If I sign up and I become your client, could I get something from you? You have to imagine what those things might be that you could give away, that you’re comfortable giving away. I don’t tend to like things like $5 off, or the second mowing free. People do that and I think it works, but I think you can come up with something little bit more powerful. What is an account worth to you? What could you potentially give them that would be of value to them? You want to work maybe those two things in. Can you create some scarcity? They need to call you right now or they’re going to miss out. Then, what do they get if they call you over the other door hanger?

If I’m looking at these two door hangers and they both look about the same, the companies feel about the same and appear to be pretty good, then why is it that you’re going to get the call over the other one? What can you give them to get them to call you? Maybe it’s as simple as promising you answer the phone and you’ll get them an estimate the day of. That’s pretty difficult to do in spring. Think about that and those points.

I would put your headline and such at the top. At the bottom, that’s where I think our logo, your name, phone number and email address or web address is most important. I would make the top a headline versus your logo and your name. Again, it’s all about them. They don’t really care who you are until after they start working with you and like you. Right now your logo means nothing to them. My logo at CitiTurf means nothing to anybody, nobody cares. What they care about is what they’re going to get and how they’re going to benefit. I make it all about them at the top and then have your stuff more towards the bottom.

Continuing on with your second piece, just a different version. I again, would say that make sure you use both sides. You have room to put copy on both sides of this piece. On both sides you want to have your headline, and on both sides you want to have your web address, your phone number, potentially your logo. Then you could vary the copy in the middle. I’m picturing a headline at the top, phone number, web address, things of that sort at the bottom on both sides, and then the middle could change.

I would like to see, in my opinion, some imagery on both sides. It doesn’t have to be a lot, maybe a nice use of color, things of that sort. I’ve violated what I’m about to say with success, but I tend to prefer black copy not white reverse copy. Not a black door hanger with white copy. It tends to be a little more difficult to read.

Continuing on here. The nice thing about this is that lawn maintenance, landscapes, snow removal, are right at the top. I immediately know what you do. That’s important. Your headline should probably include lawn care or something like that in it, that way I immediately know what you do as I’m walking your piece to the trash. It might make me pause and think, “Actually, I’m looking for a lawn care company. Maybe I should read this.”

A couple things I’d like to see you do on this…105% lawn mowing guarantee, what does that mean to me? What does it mean exactly? It would be nice if you made that guarantee a bit more powerful and said, “It’s 105% money back guarantee!” meaning that if you are dissatisfied with our service and for any reason we can’t make it right, then we will pay you back the full amount of that service that you paid us for, plus 5%. Maybe even with your picture next to it to make it a bit more of a powerful guarantee.

GT Lawns loves cutting grass and it shows. I would say on this one, this is more about you then it is about me. How could you re-position this line to make this to my benefit? Right there you’re talking about yourself, 33 years, that’s okay in my mind because you’re building credibility. Again, this “still having fun” is a little bit about you. Not that it’s bad, it’s just how could you maybe reword this to make it about me and what I get out of this? I get to work with a company that has 33 years of experience, I get to work with a company that has a strong reputation taking care of high profile properties in my local market. What are those big benefits that you can communicate to me and word in such a way that it’s about me and not so much about you? That’s definitely something I’ve learned over time, is make it about them.

I think that talking about your people, your training is valuable. I think that it’s worth mentioning that. I think sometimes we have to be a little more clear on what that means to them. For example, why do I care that you train your people? That’s definitely something I’ve learned. We spend all our time in this business so a lot of times when we picture what we’re saying … for example, we have a visual picture that goes with the words we’re saying such as, where was it, “detail is in the people”. You have a mental picture in your mind of what that means because you’ve been doing this business for so long. But, Mrs. Smith hasn’t the faintest idea what you’re doing and actually thinks what you’re doing is very easy and doesn’t put value into how hard what you do is. The “detail is in the people” might mean nothing to her. Who knows what that picture in her head will be.

Sometimes when you say something like “we train our people”, it’s not so much “we train”, it needs to be repositioned as a statement of benefit, such as “we background check our people” . I would not say it this way but, “We background check our people to protect your family” or something along that line. Background check is the word you want to use but what does that mean to me? What that means to me is that you’re not going to put anybody on my property that you haven’t checked out and you’re not 100% certain that I do not have any concerns about them being around my home, my belongings, or my family.

When it comes to training, what does that mean to me? That means that you’re going to actually close my gates, that I’m going to get a consistently well mowed lawn every single week, there’s not going to be route marks, there’s not going to be debris left in the yard, that the edging is going to be good. What does that training mean to me? You’ve got to almost paint the picture of what that means. State that as a benefit.

When it comes to services, I even like to state the service as a benefit. You can say lawn care, but maybe you want to say something along the line of “beautiful weed free healthy lawn” or “we make your flowers brilliant”, I don’t know, that’s not a good word. How could you state even flower installation in a different way? How could you state flower installation in a different way? Let me add this…you do lawn care, what’s the result of lawn care? You’ll end up with a well manicured, healthy lawn. What’s the benefit of snow removal? It will ensure you can get out of your driveway and eliminate the risk that you slip and fall. Or, however you want to say that. Tell me what the benefit is. You can work the benefit and the word snow removal into one sentence and outline what you can do for me.

I would go back through this, work on some headlines, work on maybe restating some of these services into bullet points. Then I would also think about why you are better than all of your competitors and tell me what those reasons are. Why should I do business with you? Just lay it out for me and then give me a reason. Here you’re making an attempt, our schedule fills up in April, you’re making an attempt to tell me that I better hurry up or you’re going to be full in April. You’re creating some scarcity and reasons for me to take action. Maybe you could define that just a little bit better and make it a little bit more clear to me why your schedule filling up in April matters. Such as, my example I used earlier, you have one truck in my neighborhood this year or you’ve got 14 spots available, do I want one? Historically they’re filled by April 17 every year, or something like that. Tell me why I should take action.

I hope that helps. Thanks a lot.

Why You Should Be Charging Higher Prices

Charging Higher Prices Benefits Your Clients… The Video Above Explains Why.

The question is, “How much do I charge a lawn care client? I don’t want to overcharge or undercharge for landscape services.”

The main point I want to make about this topic is that you absolutely don’t want to be the low-priced company.

When you are the low-price solution provider, you can’t hire the best employees, have the best trucks and equipment, or spend the most money on marketing to out-market everybody else. You can’t afford to do all those things that ultimately make you a much better company at customer service. If you can’t afford the best employees because you don’t charge enough, then you don’t really have a good business. Great employees make your life easy.

Your strategy should be to be one of the higher-priced providers in your market. Not because you’re gouging your clients, but so that you can deliver incredible service to your clients. Most clients expect very little out of a lawn care business. If you can deliver anything better than the norm, you have the chance to wow them. You have the chance to get a lot of referrals and really grow your business.

Strategically, go in with the goal to be an average- to high-priced service provider. Start out average to learn the business. Get in the marketplace and study your competition. Use your competition as your guideline for quoting and for pricing. Use those same prices with your clients. Then study your own business. Learn your own business so you know how to price effectively.

If you have no knowledge whatsoever about pricing, there’s really no magic formula that says charge $55 per man-hour and this is what you do to figure out exactly how many hours there are going to be on the job. It’s all a learning experience. It’s about getting burned a couple of times and then never making those mistakes again. It’s about asking clients what they paid previously. It’s about price shopping your competition. It’s about having your friends ask the competition to come out and do an estimate at their home so that you can learn what they would charge. It’s about doing whatever you’ve got to do to figure out how to price.

Again, no magic solution, you just have to get out there and see what others are charging. Go on their websites and look around. You’ll start to build a feel. If you’re starting out first in residential, it’s really easy to figure out pricing.

Commercial, that’s a whole different deal and is a lot more difficult. That’s why I generally don’t recommend somebody that is just starting out in the lawn care industry to begin on the commercial side until you’ve got your feet wet. You have to understand the relationship of time to square footage, time to man production, time to equipment size, and then task the right equipment and the right size to the right property and the right area on the property. You also have to make sure you have the right guys working on the right task at each property. It’s a whole different game.

I recommend starting out in residential where it’s easy to figure out what your competition’s charging. Then go into the market and charge the average to get your feet wet. Learn the business for yourself. Then before you know it your pricing questions all go away.

If that doesn’t help, please ask another question and I’ll be happy to clarify again.

 

Timing Tips: When To Distribute Door Hangers

 Watch this video to learn the best time to distribute door hangers.

This question comes from David and it has to do with the timing of placing door hangers and marketing on homes. He has been waiting until the “perfect” time to put out his door hangers but has noticed that competitors have already taken over some of the properties in the neighborhoods that he wants to target. He wonders if he should continue to wait and follow his schedule or if he should go ahead and get his marketing out there.

If I’m targeting, and aggressively going after a neighborhood, then I would think in terms of putting out door hangers, and other marketing, more than once.

The ideal time generally, to market lawn mowing, is when the grass is just starting to grow, the weeds are just started to pop up, and the weather is just starting to warm up. It feels like suddenly the birds are chirping and spring is happening and the grass is going to go from dormant to a little bit of green in the next week or two. Right there, at that moment, is the ideal time.

Now, if you’re doing fertilization and weed control, then you back up. There is an earlier time point that makes sense because weeds have already started to pop through the dormant grass and so homeowners and commercial properties are already thinking about this. If it’s pest control, or irrigation it’s different and so on.

Let’s just use a simple example of mowing. There is an opportune time. If you have a budget and all you can do is put out one or two blocks of door hangers or letters, then you wait till the time that will give you the highest probability of selling the most work.

Who cares that you’re going to lose a job here or there? Who cares? You want to go after the most. You will lose the work on the early movers. You’ll lose the late movers as well. So be it. But, you need to put your door hangers out at the time when the greatest number of people are going to be receptive, and so you don’t want to panic. Don’t worry about the early movers.

Now, the ideal scenario is that you have enough door hangers or enough letters to put them out more than once. David mentioned that he was putting out letters.

When I hear letters, I generally think of something you could produce on your own or at very low cost. Also when I hear, it’s a neighborhood across the street, I think, if you’re just starting out, you could put those out yourself and could do it 7 times if you had to. If that’s the scenario, then don’t wait. Get your letters out now, and then get them out again in 2 weeks, and then get them out again in 2 weeks. I mean own it. Pound that neighborhood. If it’s a good one, then it’s one you want to own.

The answer to your question David, comes down to your budget. If you have virtually no money, and for whatever reason you can’t print more of these things, then you wait until the absolute best moment when the greatest number of people are potential buyers and you don’t worry about those that are moving a little more quickly.

If you have a little bit of money and you can afford it, then you go out and you put them out multiple times. That’s going to give you the highest chance of success. You start a little bit early and you put them out several times. That’s the winning formula. Good luck.

How To Start a Lawn Care Business Without Much Money

I spoke with Eric Cozart at Dirtcheap Startup about the Starting a Successful New Business. See the links below for the audio podcast and the article.

Dirt Cheap Start up Soundcloud

https://soundcloud.com/dirtcheapstartup/2015-series-start-a-successful-service-business-johnathan-pototschnik-lawncare-millionaire

 

Dirt Cheap Startup Article

http://www.dirtcheapstartup.com/2015-series-start-a-successful-service-business-johnathan-pototschnik-lawncare-millionaire/

Get the Podcast on iTunes!

https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/dirtcheap-startup-show/id914556100

Daily Cut: November 24th – 28th Summary

 

Video Transcript

Something to think about today is how are you communicating with your clients. What are you not proactively handling. What I mean by that is, this morning when I was out running before work I stopped and snapped a picture of this lawn with my iPhone. Actually, as I continued running I noticed this exact same problem in a bunch of the lawns throughout my neighborhood. We’re under watering restrictions. We can only water once a week, so everyone watered this morning. In a lot of the lawns the sprinkler head did not fully retract. What happens is, as you know, the grass grows up around the sprinkler head and then the mowers come through and mow the lawn, hit the sprinkler head, break it, we have to fix it. We didn’t do anything wrong but the customer does not understand this problem. They don’t realize this is happening. It’s not their world. They don’t think about it, but we get blamed. When we get blamed they look at it as laziness, or even worse, when we hit the sprinkler head because there was grass all around it, the crews don’t even know, they hit, they break it. Next week they have a gusher in their lawn and they think we’re, again, inept and too lazy to bother to tell them that we caused damage to their property. But again, they don’t fully understand why this happens, how it happens, and why we don’t know about it.

In your business you may or may not have this scenario but you’ve got other scenarios, just like I have other scenarios where innocent things happen, and we just don’t think about communicating those things to the client, so how can you proactively tell your client about this? What could you put on your website? What could you have prepared that when a client complains you could send them a link to a video you recorded explaining the problem, or send them a pre-written email explaining the problem and apologizing, then also telling them “Here’s watch out for in your lawn so you can help us avoid this.”

Being proactive can make all the difference. This is just one example. Think about how this applies to all kinds of different aspects throughout your business. Are you highly visible in your market? As you’re looking at your trucks today, pay attention to how they show when someone that doesn’t know you sees your trucks on the road. Or if you have a whole bunch of white trucks, is that doing anything to constantly pound your name into your prospective client’s mind? Just as important, when you send out marketing or another client refers you, you want the person, the prospect, to have an association with your company. If I refer you to my friend, you want my friend to have thought “Oh yeah, those are the guys I see all the time. I see them.” That gives them confidence. That makes them feel like they’re making a safe, wise choice. Running around in an all-white, all-black truck, while if you’re my competitor is awesome. I would prefer that you continue doing that. But if you’re not my competitor I’d suggest that you don’t do that. Here’s a simple black truck, and just look what the pink accents do to this truck. I guarantee if you have five of these running around, people will remember you. Your marketing will work better, referrals will work better, all kinds of things will work better. Being seen is important, and when you’re seen you need to be able to easily be differentiated from everyone else in your marketplace.

When I was at GIE in Louisville, Kentucky I was reminded that you really don’t want to buy the cool mower. What I mean by that is walking through GIE, and every time I do I’m reminded how many different brands there are, how many manufacturers there are selling walk-behinds and riders. There’s Scag and Toro and Exmark. Those are just my local brands. Then when you get out of those brands there’s Dixie Chopper and Walker and about ten other brands. You probably have a whole different set of brands in your market than I have. It’s so easy to go to the show or hear somebody that you’re talking to on LawnSite or in some other market talking about how great their Gravely is or their Walker or whatever.

It might be fantastic. It may be the mower you wish you could have. But the dilemma is, if you don’t have a dealer right there with you that you can build a great relationship with to get parts overnight, have it fixed immediately, then you really don’t want to buy the cool, best mower that happens to not be in your local market. You’ve really got to buy the best of what’s available to you in your very close proximity of your shop, because when you’re down and you have that much money in a piece of equipment you got to get it back fast. My word of caution is to be careful of the recommendations of friends. Be careful of what you see at the show no matter how great it is. Still only buy what you can easily source parts for that’s right near your shop. Buy only the equipment that you have a local distributor that could fix it right away and it’s not a very far drive for your office. That makes the most financial sense, because labor is where all your money goes, and you want to maximize the efficiency of your labor by keeping them on the very best equipment possible. You got to get it back quick when something goes wrong.

If you’re not using custom trucks and custom truck beds it’s worth taking a look at it. It’s worth considering, especially here over the winter. 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’m a big believer, as much as you can 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 setup to work with by minimizing load and unload time, 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. I’m not endorsing them. I’ve never actually even met Tony but I’ve heard great things about I’m. He is right. He is completely on to something that custom truck beds in all different forms. They could be open truck beds. They could be on the back of a Ford Ranger. I’ve got a bunch of those. They could be on the back of F150s. I’ve got a bunch of those too. Or they could be on Isuzu MPRs, which again I have a whole bunch of those. Custom truck beds work, and what Tony is selling with this one picture right here, again I can’t endorse it. Don’t know any about it but he is dead right, and 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 and there’s a lot of wisdom in efficiency and getting trailers out of your business as much as you can.

You want aggressive salespeople. You want people that are going to sell and they’re going to be like a bulldog, and they’re going to get that deal, and they’re going to get it closed. But you can take it too far. I think it’s something to watch out for. As you think about your sales team, growing your sales team, as you think about how you’re selling, here’s a watch-out to be very aware of. This is a picture in the upstairs of our house in our workout room. We had some water. I actually peeled the paint off of it. Wasn’t actually this bad but we could see some bubbling under the paint. We had some water coming in so we had a leak detection company come out and take a look at it. If you open the window and you look outside the window … That’s kind of a mess, I guess from dirt over the years, but you could see that … Well these are just some pictures outside the window where some water was coming in right around the edges.

We just needed to caulk the windows. Really at the end of the day that’s all we needed to do was caulk the windows. I needed to get this fixed right away so I had this leak detection company out. They looked at my window. They told me a scary story about how big of a problem this is and how it was going to ruin all of the walls in my house over time, and I was going to have brick problems and on and on and on. They quoted me a price to take care of this window of $700. It was not only to fix it but it was also to make it right in terms of making sure this could never happen again. They had this special silicone … It wasn’t silicone, it was some kind of special caulk, but they were also going to do some work on the window itself. We actually ended up letting them do it because I just wanted to get it done and I didn’t have time to deal with it. But then they went and looked at all of our other windows. I will say they did a fantastic job. The work was excellent. It was probably more than I needed to spend. Actually, there’s no question it was more than I needed to spend. But then they gave me a quote for $8,000 to make sure that none of my windows had this problem in the future. I’m pretty certain they felt we had some money to spend so they threw out a quote and thought maybe I’d take it.

Well we didn’t take it but we did let them do this one window. Then, while they’re doing this one window, the sales guy, my wife is home and he’s walking around in our house while his team is working. Then he has this fictitious conversation with his daughter on the telephone about how this is worst window situation he’s ever seen in a house of this type, and how terrible it is, and how the builder screwed us over, and how the alarm company screwed us over, and blah blah blah. We let him fix this. Again, they did a fantastic job. Then we got a second opinion and we got the rest of our windows done for $150 caulked versus his $8,000 quote. One, I think he’s a fraud, but two, I think that it was an overzealous sales guy. Let’s forget the part about them being sort of a fraud and that that they were trying to get $8,000 out of me, but just the whole fear factor of telling us how terrible it was, telling us how this is a huge problem. It really made my wife unhappy to be told that we have such a problem, that something’s wrong with our house, that there’s a flaw. The whole presentation was screwed up because they were trying to sell fear.

The second part of the problem was that then, when they’re actually doing the work, they again tried to use fear to sell us on the idea that we were going to have this massive problem that had to be taken care of and we really needed to spend $8,000 right away. Presentation is everything. Consultive selling is everything, but when you do it or your sales guy are trying so hard to make the sale that they try to scare you, if your people are doing that they’re taking it way too far. These are the kinds of companies that even though they did a fantastic job on the one window they did, I’d still give them a one star review on Yelp. I actually thought about doing it but because I’m in the business I know how much I hate it when people give me bad reviews, that I didn’t.

But they deserved a one star review, not for their work but for the salespeople that they were using to sell it. I will never use them again. I will never refer them. I will never recommend them just because of their sales guy. Watch out for that in your business with your most successful, most aggressive sales guys. Are they selling you a bunch of onetime work but you’ll never have repeat clients because of the way they got the work? And even worse, the clients that you do get, they’ll never refer because they just don’t feel comfortable with the way you sold the work. These are thing to really think about. It’s more than just the numbers when you’re selling. There’s more to it.

Daily Cut: November 10th – 14th Summary

 

Video Transcript

If you’re in the residential business and you’re thinking about going into commercial or you’re in commercial and you’re thinking about going to residential because you’ve heard of all the money that’s in the other business, I can tell you that I’ve been in both, in multiple industries. Here’s what I found, and I think this will hold up in most, but it probably doesn’t hold up all the time. Residential involves a lot more phone calls. Residential requires a much higher level of service. Residential requires a lot more customer touches. Residential is generally harder, in my opinion. I like residential.

If you’re going to expand from residential into commercial, the contract or the amount they’re willing to pay, their quality requirements are probably lower. That’s a broad statement. How do you take people on your residential team and say, “When you’re doing homes or residential properties, do a crazy good job.” Whatever that crazy good means. “When you’re over here at this commercial property, do good work but don’t spend as much time. Do a little bit less.” How do you do that and keep your commercial quality level from becoming your residential quality level?

If you’re in commercial and you want to go to residential, you generally can’t take your commercial quality level, your commercial customer follow-up level – again, broad statements here – and be successful in residential. Residential will drive you out of your mind. There’s too many transactions, too many moving parts. It will drive you crazy. Before you go from commercial to residential, be aware it’s a totally different game. Be staffed for it, have the technology for it, have the training for it. Again, that big people problem, it’s very difficult to use the same people to do commercial as residential. It’s almost like two different businesses in most businesses.

I’ve got a book recommendation for you. The book is The Fish That Ate the Whale: The Life and Times of America’s Banana King. I highly recommend this book. It’s about a guy in the early 1900s that went from literally nothing to a banana mogul. He was ridiculously wealthy for that time, and he built his entire business on the banana business. It’s not a simple story. What went into him building this business and all that he went through, it’s absolutely fascinating. I really recommend this book. I read a lot of business books. I read some self-help books. I read a diverse set of books, but they tend to be themed around business, marketing, sales, things like that. I don’t read a lot of books just for pure entertainment. Although, I find it entertaining to read business books.

The experience I had with this book was that it was really well-written and it kept my attention the entire time. It felt like I hadn’t read a really well-written book in three or four years. It reminded me what a really well-written book is. A lot of times, your really well-written books are not business books; they’re books you would read for entertainment. Two things about this; it’s a great story, it’s a true story. It’s sort of like reading a biography, in a sense, but it’s just really well-done. If you’re into reading and you like business books, I think you’ll find this entertaining.

Quite a number of companies that do not accept American Express because American Express does charge higher fees, so they don’t take American Express and I understand. I think that’s a mistake. I would highly recommend that you do take American Express. I’d set up an account with American Express. If you accept credit cards, take American Express, but an option is … It’s really important to have American Express when you serve the commercial market. If you’re really concerned about this, one thing you could do is on the phone when your team is speaking with a client or when you’re in person, just say, “Would you like to pay with Visa or MasterCard?” You’re immediately implying that it’s one of the two choices. You might not even promote that you take American Express. However, when asked or pushed for it, you’ll have the ability to take it.

Don’t promote it; have it and then accept it when you need to. If you don’t just make it available and say, “We take American Express,” then you won’t have to worry about as many people just automatically using their American Express. For example, I use my American Express for everything, but if they don’t have American Express or they don’t take it, then I have a Visa card as well. Everybody has a backup card, I would imagine.

I would recommend, number one, accepting American Express, and then if you’re really worried about the fees, just don’t promote it, don’t ask for it. Maybe change the language you use internally in your business to get the MasterCard or Visa, but then happily accept it when that’s all that they have or if they’re a business. Most businesses want to use American Express, and it puts you at a deficit compared to your competitors or it’s not fantastic customer service when you don’t accept it.

To get started in business, the absolute easiest way to do it is to just start. I know that sounds silly, but let me explain. When you think about building a company, you think I’ve got to find customers; I’ve got to set up an LLC; I need to get a bank account; I’ve got to buy equipment; I’ve got to buy a truck. You imagine all the stuff that’s going into your business. Also, when you’re starting a company, you’re picturing what that business is going to look like in a year or two years when it’s operating and running. None of that matters now.

Most guys that dream of starting a business and tell everybody they’re going to start a business and buy info products when starting a business never get started because they’re thinking about it all wrong; they’re trying to do too many things. All you need to do is make a thousand dollars. That’s all you’ve got to do. You provide one service and make a thousand dollars. It doesn’t even need to be a recurring thousand dollars.

On a side note, there’s all these businesses that you might think of. For example, maybe you want to be in the lawn care business or maybe you want to be in the cleaning business, and then as soon as you do a thousand dollars worth of work or five thousand dollars worth of work, you realize this business sucks. I don’t like this. I couldn’t imagine doing this all the time. The best time to figure that out is right now before you buy equipment, buy trucks, get licensed, all that other stuff. Just focus on making a thousand dollars. Block everything else out of your mind; don’t worry about anything else. You just want to make a thousand dollars.

Then after you make your first thousand dollars, then your next goal is to make one thousand dollars on recurring money each month. Just set your business up so each month you have enough work coming in if you do nothing else that you’ll make a thousand dollars. It’s that simple. You don’t think about anything else. You don’t buy any equipment that you don’t absolutely have to have to provide that one service that will make you a thousand dollars a month. If you keep it that simple, it’s not nearly as intimidating. Your odds of being successful because you actually get started will go up tenfold. Go make one thousand dollars immediately. Only do that and nothing else.

Good morning. It’s about eleven o’clock in the morning on Monday and I’m heading into the office. My family and I just got back in town at about four o’clock this morning. We were out of town for the weekend, a surprise event. My aunt had passed away, completely unexpected, never would have guessed. We just got back in town and it got me thinking. I was talking to one of my cousins over the weekend and it got me thinking about wills.

I for a very, very, very long time put off doing my will. Even after I had accumulated a fair amount of assets and I had kids, I still had put it off. I had it on my to-do list, but it just kept getting bumped and bumped because I knew that I needed to go to a lawyer and I needed to get this thing done. This is my suggestion for you. If you’re in a situation where you’re like me, you’re crazy busy and you’ve delayed for many years and you said, “I’m going to do a will. We’re going to get a will done or we’re going to redo our will; it’s been so long.” You keep putting it off because you know that it’s a lot of effort to go find a lawyer and then deal with the lawyer on it.

What I ended up doing because I had put if off so long, it dawned on me, let me just take a first easy step. I did this quite some time ago, and I just went and I did it on … You can go to Nolo.com; you can go to some different websites. I just went and did it online, and I recommend that you just do that, just as a first step. I’m not saying that’s the only thing you should do. I’m not saying you shouldn’t use a lawyer. In fact, if you have a lot of assets, if you own a couple of businesses or your business is complicated, if you have a number of key man life insurance policies, if you have quite a few different things like that, you really want to- and you have kids, you might want to consider a lawyer.

At least as a first step, for a hundred bucks, there’s LegalZoom; that’s where I did it. There’s Nolo.com. Go to one of those sites. Just do you will. It will take you a couple of hours. It will force you to get everything organized, and it will force you to double-check all of your insurance policies and everything to make sure that your beneficiaries are the right people. If you have the wrong beneficiary on your life insurance policy but in your will say something different, I believe that the life insurance policy will trump the will. It will make you get everything organized and together.

I’d highly encourage you to go check on your will today, your life insurance today. If you haven’t done a will, just go spend a hundred bucks, knock it out in a couple of hours, and then keep on your to-do list going to see the lawyer, but at least get it done today, especially if you’re a business owner with kids.

Daily Cut: November 3rd – 7th Summary

 

Video Transcript

Are you being cheap? Think about what it is in your business that you use all the time. What is that thing you live on? What is that tool or equipment you use constantly? Now, have you bought the best? The most productive, the easiest to use, the thing that doesn’t frustrate you, the thing you don’t curse at all the time? As an example I live on a computer. I don’t use my cell phone much for phone calls, in fact it’s near impossible to get a hold of me on my cell phone but I have a cell phone for texting and emergencies and it’s an iPhone.

If I’m going to carry this thing in my pocket all the time even though I don’t use that much, I’m going to have the best phone. I happen to think it’s an iPhone. Everybody has a different opinion. I live on my computer more than anything else. I have a $2,200 Mac. I think that because I spend all my time on my computer I should the best computer. Now, there’s stuff that’s best, but that’s the fine. That’s the in between point where at $2,200 I get everything I possibly need and it’s what I want need.

If I was sitting on a lawn mower all day, I’d buy the best most productive lawn mower. If I was cleaning a house I would have the very best equipment chemicals, chemicals is probably the wrong word to use in cleaning, but I’d have the very best materials available to me to clean that house. If I’m in my truck all day long I would have a fantastic seat, a good interior. If I was in my truck I’d have a CD player to listen to audio books or I’d have an excellent iPhone or a mobile device that I can connect with a Bluetooth or plug in so I can listen to MP3s and audio books and such.

What are the things you’re doing everyday that use all the time that just drive you nuts, that are always having problems, that are always costing you waste and frustration or that just don’t make your life easy? Spend the money on those things. Those are the priorities that you should spend on money on. Spend a day and evaluate where all your frustration points are fix them. That’s money well spent.

The late Zig Ziglar had a saying that your car can be a mobile university. Basically that you can get a college education driving around in your car. For so many of us in the service industry that’s so true. You’re doing estimates, you’re doing sales maybe you’re going between jobs to actually perform the work. Whatever the case may be you spend so much time in your car. If you’re just listening to ESPN Radio, or Talk Radio that most of the time is just going to wear you out mentally because you’re convinced the world is going to end. Or whatever the case maybe, maybe even just listen to music which is great and which I like, you’re missing out on so much.

I highly recommend if you don’t have a subscription to audible which is 14 bucks a month or $24 a month, in fact there is a link on my Lawn Care Millionaire website on the right side that will get you a free month. If you’re not doing that or you’re not listening to podcast, there are so many smart people that now have a free podcast. If you’re not listening to that stuff all the time you’re really missing out on incredible education.

So many people don’t like to read. I don’t have time to read every book. I listen to a lot of books on audible. You can listen to them at double speed once you get used to it. If you don’t like to read and you’re a person that says, “I don’t read books. I would never read books I hate. I don’t have time to do it.” Get an audible account and you can just blow through books. If you start a book it’s cheap. If you start a book and it’s not very good, stop. Don’t read it. If it’s not resonating with you move on to the next book.

Use your time and I think it will just massively change your business. It will change your attitude. You’ll feel so much more positive. You’ll feel like you have so much more potential and possibility because like they say, knowledge is power.

Last year the president of a company that I’m partnering basically pranked me and sent me a text and said he needed to talk. I think as usual I didn’t respond right away because I’m slow about responding to text message and horror bound at responding to phone calls on my cell phone. He sents me this text, I don’t immediately respond so then he sends me this longer text if I’m getting all my facts right, and basically tells me he needs to talk. He’s grateful for the opportunities at the company. It’s been a fantastic ride, on and on and on but he’s just got to do some things for his family. A new opportunity has come up and basically he’s going to move on.

Now, I wouldn’t have thought that would happen and I thought it was joke because he’s good at that stuff, but I got to say my heart stopped. Here we are like a year and a half later and I was thinking about today’s topic and this thing popped in my head and it’s a great reminder. Today as you’re going through your day, this week as you’re going through your week, where are the weak spots in your company? Where are you at risk? Where do you have people with no backup plan?

What things are happening in your business that there is no backup plan? If a person leaves a piece of equipment breaks, a truck breaks down, a phone system stops working? We’ve had some problems with our phones at Service Autopilot and we’re on this really high-end phone system now. We’ve had some problems with our internet. Now we have a backup system in our company for our wireless internet. If one of our $500 routers goes down I have a $500 router that takes over.

In our software system that runs Service Autopilot we have ridiculous redundancy but that’s a no brainer. Where do I have redundancy in my company if somebody’s laptop crashes? Do I have another laptop I could pull out of the closet and give it to them so they can keep functioning because labor is expensive? Today in this week, think about where all your weak spots are. Just make a list. Just jot them all down, don’t worry about fixing them just make your list. It’s something to start working off as you continue working on your company. It will let you sleep a whole lot better at night when you get all of those things fixed.

I’m trying to figure out, okay, what am I going to record a video about today, I thought of something that happened a couple of months ago that I think it’s a great lesson. I doubt you would ever do this, but boy, it’s a great reminder and it’s especially important to pay attention to your team and make sure they’re not doing something this insane. When we moved into our office a while back we had to sign a contract with a company Time Warner to get fiber optic service into our office space.

We were going through the motions, we had the sales person and this sales person puts herself out there as a beauty queen whatever. You completely get the feeling that she is completely selling based on her looks and that’s the angle that she’s going to play. Everything about dealing with her although supposedly she’s one of their top sales people was pretty much a turnoff. I’m pretty frustrated with her. I’m not getting her to negotiate the way I want. I don’t like the terms on and on and on so I get another company involved to help me negotiate try to find somebody else that’s better. Try to find me basically a better deal.

I get an Email from her, after we haven’t had that great of a relationship and she sends me an Email and she says, “Will you please help me make my quarter. Today is my last day. If you will please do me this huge favor and sign the contract today I would really appreciate it. Can you do this for me?” It’s really worded almost exactly like that. Then she calls me as well and I ignore the phone call. That just pissed me off more. That’s the point of this video. Is what might it be that you and I and our teams say that’s phrased as benefits for us and not benefits for our client.

I didn’t give a flip about this girl. She was a terrible sales person and there was no way I cared to do anything to benefit her. What I wanted was her to give me $300 a month cheaper or whatever it was I wanted and better terms on our deal. I wanted something. I wanted anything. She came back to me with nothing. There was no benefit to me. There was nothing. What are we saying to our clients, our potential clients in a way that benefits us and is about us and matters to us versus saying it in a way that matters to them? It’s about them we’ll make their life better make them feel better.

We want to make sure that everything we’re saying and doing is phrased towards their benefit and not to ours. I hope that’s a helpful tip today. It sure was frustrating to me and I think phrasing things correctly to the client to benefit them is a huge, huge thing in this act of selling and in fantastic customer service.

This video won’t apply to everybody, but if you have cash and you have any desire to see that cash grow then you’re well aware that money market funds pay virtually nothing. If you happen to be in California, Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, Texas, Alabama and Florida, BBVA compass and you can find them online at compassbank.com, they’re offering one percent on your money in the form of a money market fund through the end of 2015. This applies to any amount deposited between 10,000 and two and a half million.

I highly recommend that if you’re in any money market funds or you have a lot of cash just sitting in your checking account that you take a look at this. I personally moved a fair amount of money because I had it sitting in Vanguard. I do think you need to keep money in a number of different places, but I highly recommend that if you have a bunch of cash at least 10,000 that you can deposit there is a great opportunity for you to get one percent on your money which is far better than most money market funds pay and then we evaluate it at the end of 2016. Hope that helps.

Daily Cut: October 27th – 31st Summary

 

Video Transcript

Ever heard of profiling you clients, so I’m not going to tell you who to use on this one but there’s a bunch of ways to do this. I’m going to tell you about a concept that’s absolutely worth it. I’ve done it in the last several companies that I’ve used.

What you do is after you get to some size in your business, you take your client list, name, address, phone number, things of that sort, email address, and then you take out of that list the clients you don’t really like or you don’t want more of or don’t really fit into your business. Maybe you like them but they’re just not the perfect client. Basically you get your list down to a point, maybe it’s 60% of your list, maybe it’s 70% of your client list, but you get your list down to a number that really represents your ideal clients. Or maybe if you want to get really advanced you get your client list down to just the top 20% of your clients that probably generate somewhere between 70 and 80% of your revenue.

From that list you send it to a company. That company will reverse-profile it. Now I’ve done really basic reverse profiling but then you can get into more advanced stuff that will get into psychographics and different things and it will give you a really detailed picture of your clients’ ability to spend money and different things of that sort. You can do this a couple different ways.

The first time I ever did I just reverse-profiled my list to find out that my clients live in a certain size home, that they’re a certain age, that they make about x amount of money, that they have on average 2.1 kids. It was that type of a reverse-profile. More recently we had our list reverse-profiled and we found out the clients’ risk tolerance in a sense, the risk that in a down economy they might cancel service, things of that sort, how much money they might make. This will tell you a lot about your business.

Then if you want to get really detailed with this, more advanced, you then take that list and you use that profile to buy lists of those exact best clients to go market to. Consider profiling your clients. It will be an eye-opener.

One thing I’ve learned, it’s advice that’s been given to me, I’ve experienced it, I believe it, and that is you we’ll never build a big, successful, highly profitable business by cutting expenses and managing expenses. In your own personal life, in my personal life, especially when I was younger, I would really pay attention to the little expenses: going out to eat; I remember when I was even younger, magazine subscriptions; buying books. I would try to save money on all these little things. The example of not buying a Starbucks coffee everyday will save you $5 a day, that’s silly advice. The real money, the real expense is in the big stuff: the cars, the houses, college, those big things. That’s where you blow money, and you blow it really fast. You could do one big purchase every two years and it’s three times more costly than the silly Starbucks coffee example.

The exact same thing I believe is true in your business. You cannot manage your way to success and high profits by constant cost-cutting. Now you should optimize your business and you should pay really close attention, but spending most of your effort trying to save on your phone bill is, for the most part, a complete and total waste of time. Your time is much better spent trying to grow sales and marketing. You might save $100 a month by fiddling with the phone bill for a day, a day a year; whereas if you spent that day you might be able to put something in place that generates you an extra $5,000 in sales per month, which is a better activity.

That’s my point. The focus on cost-cutting and constantly obsessing over small bills in the business is a total waste of time. You can do that some day, but for the most part you should hardly do that. You should spend the majority of your time on big 80/20-type tasks: sales and marketing, hiring the very best employees, mentoring and training your employees.

The point of this, and maybe the encouragement, because it’s something I’ve learned because I’ve shifted from a penny-pincher personality to look at things the way I’m describing them, and I think it’s had huge results – the benefit to you is less stress, less concern, less worry, bigger profits, more time, and an overall better business. Become a guy that thinks about 80/20 and not a guy or a gal that talks about cost-cutting and penny-pinching.

A lot of people push the concept of starting a business part-time. I don’t talk that works. Now I think you can get to your first thousand in revenue, your first thousand in monthly recurring revenue part-time. If you’re building a product-based business, I think you can sort of do some of that part time, but if you’re building a service-based business you can’t go very far part-time. When you’re part-time you give yourself 5,000 reasons not to be successful. You still have a crutch; you still have a backup plan.

The moment you put yourself in a position that you either win or lose, that you make it or you fail, you will do everything that it takes to make that business succeed. When you have to, you will. When you can slide by, when you don’t have to, when you have a backup plan, you’ll take shortcuts, you’ll procrastinate, you’ll delay, you’ll find reasons not to do this or that. You’re not as committed. You’ve got to be 100% all in if you want to give yourself the maximum possibility of being successful in your new venture. That’s why I don’t think part-time is the answer. Earn your first thousand in recurring revenue, then go full-time, all in, all your cards on the table. That is your most likely formula to success. A lot of people would disagree with me on that.

Hey, there’s a long-standing debate when it comes to painting, wrapping, lettering your vehicles, your trucks. Should you have phone number, web address, both, a list of the services that you offer? Should you have your logo, a graphic? Should it be colorful? What should it look like? How fancy should it be? How simple should it be? Or maybe should you put anything on your truck at all? That’s actually a debate as well.

My attitude on this is that all that really matters at the end of the day is your web address. Is your truck clean, does it look good, and will I, when I drive past your truck at 30 miles an hour, 60 miles an hour, if I even care or even notice you, what will it be that catches my attention that I remember when I get home or to the next stop light? Or if I’m in a neighborhood and I drive by your truck and I slow down for a second, what is the one thing that I most care about? We no longer live in the age of picking up the telephone and calling a service provider. We want to text our service provider, email our service provider, fill out a website form, go to their client portal. We don’t want to pick up the phone and call them.

If that’s the case, what’s most important? My argument is it’s the web address. I personally have phone number and web address on our trucks but if I could only have one thing, and I believe in simple, I would have the web address. My position is have a web address, have it be your company name if it’s easy and memorable and unique, and it’s easy to spell, and if you can’t accomplish that, make it a phrase that benefits the client, such as crazygoodservice.com. Now crazygoodservice.com is not the web address I would use. It doesn’t state the benefit well enough but that’s an example of what I mean by a phrase. If you do not have your web address and it’s not memorable, I would correct that immediately on all of your vehicles.

I’m at the Service Autopilot office today. It’s Saturday and I’m going to show you something that’s worked out really nicely for us. I’m in the support area right now where our support team is that works with all our clients. Back here we are trying out a new headset. Let me show you what they look like. We’ve used Plantronics headsets at this company and then another company that I own. The Plantronics at the other company are nicer. I don’t know what this one costs right here. We’ve been using some at the other company that are a couple hundred bucks to $300 and they’re wireless. For some of our team that can work from home and they can just hook it on their waist and they can walk around and it’s completely wireless.

Here they’re plugged into the phone and then we just have this wireless setup right here, and they’re pretty good. We’ve been testing this one right here. We bought it from headsets.com. In fact, the box is actually still sitting here, headsets.com. Really like them; they do a good job. I might record a different video about those guys at some point. Here’s the headset. I don’t even know how to pronounce it. We’ve been trying it for two months and we really like it. I can’t even tell you all the benefits of it because I was originally looking for a good headset. If I zoom in here and you can see the name of it. You know what? I’ll put the name on the screen when I do not video here because I don’t know how the heck to say this name. It’s Sennheiser and it’s the DW Pro 2. It basically just sits on this little thing. It’s completely wireless. It covers up both of your ears so you don’t hear anything. Plus it has noise reduction, and it has a really good boom mic on it so that it just picks up your voice. It doesn’t pick up everyone around you. The support team’s in a pretty open environment here in the back.

This is the charging station and the wireless station. I don’t know if you saw how far I walked when I walked back in here. I think this room is about 3,000 square foot that I’m in, this particular support section. If you go all the way to our front of our office, which is over 6,000 square feet away. I don’t know how to put that exactly, about 6,000 square feet away. This thing still works perfectly fine. You can walk all the way up to our boardroom and work in that area as well. Headsets.com. This again is the brand. Think you’ll like it.