Beware: Robotic Lawn Mowers Are Coming

Will robotic lawn mowers eventually hurt your lawn business?

Watch this video and learn what you should be worried about.

If you’re worried about people underpricing you, about too much competition, about somebody stealing your business or your employees, I’m telling you, you’re worrying about all the wrong things. I don’t think about that stuff.

What I worry about is water restrictions brought about by cities that aren’t producing enough water because, there’s too much growth and they’re not dealing with the demands of bringing enough water into the area. I also worry about droughts, chemical restrictions, and yes, I worry about robots.

It sounds crazy but, I’m being totally serious. I’ve thought about this stuff for a couple years and those are the things that I worry about. I’m in the Texas area and we have serious water problems. A lot of it’s because of growth. A lot of it’s because we’re just flat out not getting enough rain. I can’t control that stuff. There’s nothing I can do about it.

I can control my competition to some degree. I can outperform them, out market them, out think them, out wow them, and out perform them. I can do all kinds of things. I have control over that.

I cannot control the weather. I can’t control the city if they’re crazy. I can’t control the population growth in my marketplace. I can’t control that.

I can’t control if eventually they’re going to limit chemical usage from a fertilization weed control standpoint. That will change pest control and lawn care as I know it. I have no real control over that.

But, eventually, I am 100% convinced, you cannot persuade me otherwise, that eventually I will not need guys mowing lawns. They will be mowed by robots. I am positive.

We are going to have self-driving cars. And, we will have something mowing our lawns and it won’t be guys pushing lawnmowers. If you think that’s crazy, you should be aware of how fast technology is moving. Things are moving so fast.

I live in the technology world and I think about this stuff. I’m very aware of the 3D Printing and all of the other things that are coming that are going to change everything. I am certain that my business will not be what it is in 10 years…especially in 20. The point of all of this is, I think that we all must be aware of what’s around the corner.

So many of us start our businesses and go through the motions. This is not the 60s. Things are moving fast and they’re changing, and the pace at which things are changing, is speeding up. I have talked to guys that sold their businesses for huge amounts of money in the late 90s, early 2000s. The profit margins, in commercial businesses, are not around anymore. They don’t exist.

Those margins don’t exist, and therefore, you can’t sell your business at those margins. None of this is to say that you shouldn’t be in this business. None of this is to be negative. You’ve got this problem in every industry. I don’t think our industry is going away.

Just think about all the industries that are gone that were around 10 years ago. Think about all the stores that were really popular that are gone or barely making it now. It’s all due to technology. If you’re not on top of this stuff and you’re not aware of it, if you stick your head in the sand and say, “You know what, that’s silly. There’s no way that robots are eventually going to mow lawns. It’s impossible. How could they possibly weed? How could they possibly edge concrete? How could they possibly take into account all the things that I think about when I’m mowing a lawn?”

I’m serious. You better accept it because it’s coming. The reason I thought to record this video is because I’ve thought about it for several years. I keep getting all these questions that are so negative. They complain about this problem and that. They worry about this and that happening and that the world is coming to an end.

I was reading this news article the other day and it said that something was going to happen to the economy and that China was going to take over the world. Blah, blah, blah, blah. That stuff will just wear you out. You’ve got to ignore that stuff, but at the same time, you need to be aware of the reality of what’s going on and what’s changing in technology, in business, and in your customers’ tastes, likes and wants.

Because, if you become a veteran player in your market and you start to become apathetic, you open the door to some young guy that pays attention to what customers want and where they are buying. You have given him an opportunity to get a foot hold in your market and eventually, to come in and take away your customers and possibly get bigger than you. Just like you did to the guys before you.

As you mature in your business, pay close attention to what’s coming. It doesn’t have to be something as crazy and dramatic as robots taking over the industry. It could be something as simple as the shift in software technology. It could be something as simple as the shift in phone technology. It could be something as simple as going from chemicals to organics and starting to learn that stuff now. It could be anything.

I’m just saying, be super aware of this stuff because if you are, you can start making little transitions in your business so that you’re not caught off guard. Just as exciting as that, you’ll be prepared for opportunity.

For example, I’m a big believer in putting big amounts of money in the bank. I don’t like debt. I want to be prepared for when we have economic hard times.

If you’re not in a position where you have some cash, where you’re not totally strapped, then you’re going to get hurt. You could get wiped out or your business may have to pull back 30 or 40%. Whereas, if you’re thinking ahead and see that about every 7 years, the economy seems to go through a cycle, you can stash some money for the next opportunity. So, when everybody’s closing up shop, you could be out there marketing.

That’s the whole point of this video. I threw a lot of things at you but my whole point here is, really think about where things are going. Think about what you could do different than others. Think about what the world might look like and realize that, technology is getting faster and faster and faster. Think about what might change that you’re not expecting.

I also think legislation change is speeding up. I could be wrong on that. I’ve only been alive for so long. Maybe it’s always been this way, but in my perspective, it sure feels to me that legislative changes are going faster and faster.

That’s going to have an effect on our industry. It’s going to have effect on all industries. Be aware. If you capitalize on opportunity, you’ll be really successful because of it. Good luck.

2 Replies to “Beware: Robotic Lawn Mowers Are Coming”

  1. This is really great to be aware of, I was actually talking to my friend about setting up and installing robotic lawn mowers for other people and leasing out the machines, blockbuster and Hollywood video are extinct because of red box and Netflix. I can totally see this happening, I also had another idea of just performing weeding and pruning services, I am sure it is possible but I can’t see robots weeding and pruning as well as humans. I want to be that young gun who comes and takes my market by storm. How much money should a company have saved up? Six months operating expenses or more?

  2. Thanks Jonathon for the post. Of course technology continues to evolve and we have different pieces of equipment taking care of jobs that normally other people have to do.

    But, we do have mowers like zero turns and riding lawn mowers which definitely produce faster results!

    Do you think that eventually robotic mowers will get faster and more efficient?

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