In this interview, Brandon discusses the importance of focus and why he would never get in the lawn business.
Jonathan: What’s up Brandon?
Brandon: Not much Jonathan.
Jonathan: What I want to know, after all these years of knowing you, I’m in the lawn care business, you’re in the tree business, why in the world are you not in my business? Is it just not good enough for you? You guys think you’re better than we are?
Brandon: Well, I’d hate to put you out of business. However, no. That’s a good question, a good question.
Jonathan: Fortunately, you’re in a different state.
Brandon: That’s right. That’s right. That’s a great question, and we get that a lot. We always see even grass trucks driving around saying, “Ask us about our tree and shrub care programs,” and we actually want to say, “Ask us why we don’t do grass.” Number one, managing risk. You’re used to applying herbicides on lawns.
Brandon: We do not allow any herbicides through our products.
Jonathan: Meaning you don’t want that stuff around through your tanks at all?
Brandon: Don’t want any herbicides running through tanks, because you do not want to accidentally kill a hundred year old plant.
Jonathan: Yeah, I could get that.
Brandon: I have been to court based on where people have accidentally killed trees, and they’ve gotten sued over it.
Jonathan: What’s the example there, spraying with the wrong product?
Brandon: Either spraying with the wrong product, a new technician goes out, doesn’t know what they’re spraying, they over-mix, accidentally spray stuff they shouldn’t have sprayed, sprayed the wrong property because they didn’t read the work order correctly.
Jonathan: Okay, and so you guys, what I hear you saying is you’ve decided, “We’re going to focus on this one thing that we absolute do best, we’re the best at, we’re absolute experts on.” You feel that that mitigates risk inside the company.
Brandon: It does. It helps us with our own internal systems. Knowledge is power.
Jonathan: And training.
Brandon: And training.
Jonathan: Easier to train.
Brandon: Yep, that way there’s no herbicides through these rigs. The second reason that you even ask, is to help manage our relationships. We all have relationships with other vendors, other partners. Lawn care people refer us tree jobs, and we can refer the lawn care back out to them.
Jonathan: Yeah we’re, in our local market too, and working with you guys, and different stuff, we also refer out to tree companies, and we’re not even in that business. We have the exact same viewpoint. We feel exactly the same. That’s not an area that we’ve developed expertise in, and then so one of the questions I get all the time through Lawn Care Millionaire is, “How do I grow my company? What’s the first thing I should do?” It’s exactly what you’re saying here, I feel like one of the best pieces of advice is find somebody that you’re not competing with, become their best buddy. Partner with them, and that means you serve them, you help them, you give a lot into that relationship, you develop that relationship, and then they will start referring to you, and hopefully you’ll be referring back to them, and I think that’s what you’re basically saying.
Brandon: Absolutely. You as a landscaper …
Jonathan: So if I’m a landscaper, yep.
Brandon: You can actually have a certified arborist on your staff without actually having them on your staff, because you have a partner.
Jonathan: Yep, so another concept along what you’re saying, that I love, from a marketing concept to think about is, if you’re trying to figure out who to partner with, think about who of your clients, so who has trees. Who are all the people that serve clients with trees that are not your current clients, what do they do? Then imagine also what somebody who could be your potential buyer, your client, is buying or doing. As an example, I think about what might precede needing a tree service? Installing a landscape, because somebody has got to feed those trees. You obviously want to partner with landscapers. What other providers, what other businesses precede your need? Once something happens, the client needs you, and you find all of those, and you become partners.
Brandon: Oh well, yeah. You could be talking about pool installers. You could be talking about house builders, construction, landscapers, you name it. Anything that’s going on in the landscape, in and around trees or plants. That’s where you’re going to need us.
Jonathan: Okay, so along these two lines, in terms of, so we sort of said it probably makes sense to be an expert at plant healthcare, and tree work. In my world it’s an expert at lawn care, everything lawn care related, and I stay out of your world. Now, within your little world of tree care, will you do anything? Do you do commercial? Do you do residential? Will you do anything out there, or does it make sense to shrink even that market? What’s the best strategy in the tree world?
Brandon: Whatever will pay the bills.
Brandon: Nah. We do just about everything related to trees and shrubs, without stepping on the other person’s toes, or our partner’s toes. We try to partner up, figure out what it is you’re doing that we may do some of, and so we can go ahead and negotiate that upfront as a partner.
Jonathan: Are you saying you might even partner with another tree company?
Brandon: Right. Absolutely. Say we’ve got a five, six …
Jonathan: You are actually friendly to other tree companies?
Brandon: Yes, we are.
Jonathan: I didn’t think anybody in the interest even liked anybody in their local market.
Brandon: But, in order to fanatically serve a client, they’re not wanting to wait six, seven weeks. If we can find them a good partner that has a lot of the same safety records, a lot of the same training, I love it, and maybe some of them are actually ex-employees that we’ve already trained, and we can help them and partner with them. It takes care of the client, and that’s the number one, making sure you’re taking care of your client.
Jonathan: Then they … Yep, yep. That is the end game.
Jonathan: Do you have any other reasons why you’d want to focus, and not enter my world?
Brandon: Focus makes your life easier. Just as I think you heard earlier about sales, how you focus on specific areas, specific needs, specific things, to make it so much freer so you know exactly what you’re going to be doing when you show up on the property. Every time. It’s like practice. Keep practicing on the fundamentals, when you go out to play the game.
Jonathan: You know what to do.
Brandon: You’re great.
Jonathan: Fantastic. Any parting words of advice for everybody watching? Now that I put you on the spot?
Brandon: Yeah, now that you put me on the spot.
Jonathan: You gave us a lot of stuff. It was fantastic, so all right. Thanks Brandon, and hey, I didn’t even give you a … Who are you by the way?
Brandon: Sorry, I’m Brandon Brown.
Jonathan: So you actually know what you’re doing.
Brandon: Hey, I’m Brandon Brown, president of Schneider Shrub and Tree Care.
Jonathan: Awesome. Thank you guys.