Mistakes You Should Avoid When Starting a Lawn Care Business
Mistakes are inevitable in business, especially when you’re just starting out. However, you cannot allow these mistakes to become permanent parts of your business. Instead, you have to figure out how to create a successful business even with these mistakes when they eventually happen.
Mistakes don’t contribute to the growth of your business and should be done away with. Some of them may not be mistakes per se, but they are things you shouldn’t overreact to as they have little or nothing to do with your business growth.
What are the common mistakes that lawn care businesses have to deal with in their early stages? We will explore these and more in this article.
Negative online reviews
You like to make people happy and you want them to know that you’re customer-centric. Unfortunately, you get the occasional negative comment online. It shakes you to the core and you begin to worry about the growth of your business because you’re afraid of getting more of those online reviews. This may lead to you making bad decisions in your business, which can easily snowball into more negative online reviews.
Meanwhile, negative online reviews can be your opportunity as a business owner to show how professional you are when dealing with customers who are not 100% satisfied. There is no way to please everybody when you’re doing business and growing. If anyone claims to do that, they’re a small business that is not ready to grow. If you look at many of the big companies you see today, there are people who hate their products and what they do; there are people who speak negatively about their business and brand, but they have not allowed these to stop them from building great businesses.
So if your goal is to build a successful business, you’ve got to know that there are customers you cannot make happy and will say negative things about you and your business. You have to know how to respond to such people professionally. This is not the time to overreact and call customers bad names online.
Businesses often stay small because they’re afraid that their employees will make mistakes. You’re right to think that no one else can do the job you do for your business. No one cares as much as you because your financial future depends on your business’ survival. No matter how you compensate employees, they may never care as much as you do.
The bottom line is that no one is perfect; everyone makes mistakes. That’s why some business owners do not allow someone else to answer the calls or respond to emails and they’re stuck doing all these things by themselves when they should be dealing with other important tasks to improve the business. These are tasks that should be delegated to employees and they may be right. Employees will make mistakes with estimates, calls, and emails. However, if an employee can be 90% as effective as you at a task, you can delegate the task to them. Most small and sole business owners remain small because they never delegate tasks, fearing that their employees will make mistakes. It comes with the expansion territory for employees to make mistakes. Don’t forget that you make mistakes too. Everybody makes mistakes.
Equipment purchases and maintenance
Equipment is important to the lawn care business, but it shouldn’t be to the level that it debilitates your business when something inevitably breaks down. Machines break down sometimes even if you maintain them properly. When this happens, you only need to repair or replace them; you don’t need to make wholesale changes to your business because one mower went down one time. It may look like a big deal for a small business when these things happen back-to-back, but it comes with the territory.
Jobs that go wrong
Mistakes sometimes occur in the line of duty and it can be for different reasons. When they happen, the appropriate response is to find the cause of the mistake, apologize to the client, and avoid going down the same route again. The worst response to a mistake on a job is getting into defensive mode. Open yourself up to corrections if you want to see your business grow. Many jobs will go wrong, but that shouldn’t stop you from doing other jobs when they come.
It can be challenging for a small business to find the right employee and even harder when they have to leave. Then, you have to go back to working solo again. It is even more damaging when employees say awful things about you and walk up one day and leave. You question yourself about whether or not you’re a bad boss or a bad leader. This is one of the things that make people remain small. When an employee leaves, especially when you need them most, you vow never to put yourself in such a vulnerable situation again where you need other people. But things can’t work that way.
You will never be able to grow or expand if you try to remain by yourself. It can be inconvenient when an employee leaves on short notice, but you should also learn to react appropriately. Bad experiences leave scars, but you don’t have to let one bad experience derail your business ambitions. You will remain small if you take a decision based on one or more employees leaving you and you want to do everything yourself.
Many people use the weather as an excuse to remain small in business. The weather is unpredictable, and you have to shift mowing jobs sometimes. You have to realize that weather comes and goes, and even when it looks like all the odds are stacked against you, you are not alone in this. Everybody has to deal with different weather in their regions, but it should never be the reason why you turn down jobs, hire employees, or plan to scale your business.
It is advisable to have a credit card system or collect a 50% down payment before starting any job. Although there will be times when you come across people who do not pay, it is all part of the cost of doing business. But you can’t allow this small portion of unpaid invoices to get in the way of your business and growth. It’s not going to move the needle in your business and you have to get over it. As a growing business, you may need to be more flexible on your payment policy. It won’t work with all customers to collect down payments; some checks will bounce, credit cards will not go through, but always remember that these problems are not peculiar to you.
Marketing is not working
Setting aside some funds for marketing can be easy when your business is booming. However, you don’t have as much capital to work with when you're new. Marketing always works for any business; it only depends on how you go about it and how much you can invest into it. When you’re trying to grow, marketing is one of the things that helps, even though it may be hard to set aside the funds to run an effective campaign. You can’t leave the fate of your business to word of mouth or door-to-door marketing. You should also go the extra mile to create a website, build your social media presence, print media, flyers, and the likes to grow.
This one can hurt, but you still have to trust people. You still cannot overreact to a situation if you want to grow. If you do, you will begin to mistrust other employees, who in turn mistrust you. These cycles are bad for the growth of your business. If one employee steals from you, you still have to trust others to help you become a successful business. You still need to find ways to delegate tasks appropriately to staff members you trust.
First time business owners often make many small mistakes in the early days, and they have to work them out before their business grows to the level they aspire to. You need to maintain your cool when these things happen and work out ways to come out better from these experiences. Employees make mistakes, steal, and do all sorts of things, but you still have to learn to trust the right people too. Some customers won’t pay for jobs, but you still have to remain professional when you deal with them. They may refer you to a paying customer in the future.
These are part of doing business, and if you want to grow a successful business, you have to learn to overlook some things.