The question is, “What are the top 5 must do’s when starting up a lawn care business?”
That is a great question.
Number One: Marketing and testing. Go buy some marketing books to learn how to effectively market your landscape company. You want to do street mailers. You also want to have a website and start doing pay-per-click advertising with Google ad words or through Bling or Yahoo. Start marketing early and test what works for you.
Number Two: Go into the business planning to get out of the field as fast as you can. This is a mindset. Along with that, go into the business telling yourself that your job is sales and marketing. A lot of people don’t like sales and marketing, but your job is to build the business. And, even if you plan to hire sales people or consultants, you still need to have a basic understanding of what works so that you can hire the right people that won’t lead you down the wrong path.
Understand that this comes from my wanting to see you make real money. I want to see you be really successful and make a better life for you and your family. I want to see you have incredible experiences in life and, all that comes from building a real company, not a job.
Number Three: Learn finance. It is incumbent on every business owner, no matter how much they hate it, to understand finance.
If you don’t already know, you need to know how to create and read a P&L. You need to know how to read an income statement and learn cash accounting versus accrual accounting. Figure out what it means to manage debt, what it means to have a line of credit, and how to manage money correctly.
Accounting is more than looking online at your bank statement and writing checks based on that. You need to get to the point where you understand finance so you can job cost your business and understand the profitability of your employees, your crews, and the services you provide.
Number Four: You’ve got to have software…some piece of foundational technology that can run your business. I work with a lot of people that have built companies to hundreds of clients, and they are absolute disasters because they don’t have software. They’re far less profitable than they would have been had they had software from day one. Plus, switching software systems when you’re a million dollar company is an extremely tedious task.
I really recommend getting a software system that can run everything from your marketing and websites to your job costing and scheduling to your equipment tracking…all the way down. You need one system that can do it all and tie into your financial system. It is critical.
Number Five: Build a great team. You’re an entrepreneur. You’re a business owner. You are charged with building a team around you. Your team will take you to the next level and will run your business while you are on your dream vacation.
You will have to train and educate your team and spend some time working with them to build them up into the right people for your lawn care company. You will hire some people, and you will fire some people. Your job is to build your team and so, for the rest of your days in business, you will always be looking for guys that will be on your team…maybe today…maybe a year from now.
You start with employee number one. As you progress, you’re going to find out what a good employee is, and you’re going to become smarter and smarter about your hiring decisions.
Think about those five things, and I think you’ll find that it will lead to true success.