In a report released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics in 2010, there were 1.25 million American workers who listed their occupation as a ground maintenance worker. The Bureau projects this number will increase by another quarter of a million workers by the year 2020. For the aspiring entrepreneur, this means the lawn care market provides a great opportunity for business growth.
Identify Goals And Draft A Mission Statement
The first thing that must be established when starting a business of any kind is what exactly the business owner wants to accomplish with the business. The business owner should take the time to think out answers to questions like Why am I starting this business? Do I want to work full or part-time? Do I plan to manage a team? How large do I want to grow?
These, as well as, other important questions should be answered before moving forward with starting a lawn care business. The process of identifying goals may seem like a tedious or unimportant part of the process but it is critical to any potential success.
Once the goals for the business become clear to the owner, the focus should be on creating an internal mission statement. This mission statement will support efforts to clearly define the identity of the business as well as articulate the reason the owner decided he or she would operate the business. Later, when tough business decisions present themselves, the business owner can refer to this document to guide their decision-making process.
Understand Your Audience
Possessing a clear vision of who your customers are and what specific problem they need to be addressed by you go hand in hand with drafting a mission statement. Will you solicit business from corporate entities in need of grounds upkeep? Will you concentrate on the lawns of people in your neighborhood? Will your lawn maintenance business grow into a regional chain that will serve customers throughout the entire southeast portion of the country?
The target audience for your lawn care business is exactly what it sounds like. The audience includes individuals, families, and business entities who will be the target of your marketing efforts. To make the most effective use of your marketing dollars, business owners need to know exactly what their ideal customer looks like.
Many business owners and marketers create a document known as a buyer persona to crystallize the picture of their ideal client. This document usually consists of a paragraph or two explaining in detail the characteristics of the desired clients.
Get The Right Equipment
The entrepreneur that has successfully identified their goals, crafted a detailed mission statement, and has a clear vision of the clients they will serve, is off to a great start. Next, it is necessary to make sure the right equipment is present to do good work in an efficient manner.
The company goals and specific services offered by the business will play a major factor in the tools which need to be purchased. It is important to think about more than the initial price of a piece of equipment when starting a landscaping business. Consider the impact each piece of equipment will have on the day to day activities of the business.
New owners of a lawn care business should reach out to more experienced members of the industry to gain insight regarding equipment purchases. Dealers and the internet can also be used to gain information about equipment. Other important factors when deciding on equipment are the warranty offered, the customer service provided by the dealer, and the availability of any replacement parts which may be needed in the future.
Build A Great Team
Whether it happens upon the inception of the business or later once momentum is built, a good team must be assembled to facilitate business operations. The hires you make will have a large impact on the ultimate success or failure of your team. This fact is true whether you are hiring an office assistant to maintain scheduling and billing practices or seeking the services of a field technician who will perform and oversee all lawn maintenance duties.
There are too many horror stories to recount regarding unsavory or corrupt employees. The team that is assembled should be properly vetted. The resumes of all new hires should be carefully checked and validated. It is also good practice for the business owner to make a call to confirm all references given by the potential new hire.
There are also companies available that provide thorough background checks for business owners considering new hires. Many of these companies perform this task for less than $100.
Your current customers are a great target for future marketing efforts. This is because word of mouth advertising is an inexpensive marketing strategy that can often outperform other, more expensive marketing strategies.
There are many ways your current customers can help you get the word out to other potential customers. Do not be afraid to ask customers if they will leave a review or testimonial on a popular online review site or industry forum. Customers can also communicate their satisfaction with their work directly to friends either in person or via social media.
You can increase your marketing efforts through current clients by implementing a referral system that rewards them for providing you with new customers. You can provide customers with rewards like android tablets or Ipads as well as provide discounted services to them in return for their effort and support. You can also provide each customer with packages that include a few of your business cards, flyers, stickers, and other marketing materials they can pass along to friends and members of their family.
The lawn care industry is a strong growth market and there has never been a better time for entrepreneurs to aim their sights on the industry. A bit of careful planning and a strong effort will provide the owner of a new lawn care business with a great opportunity to realize success. The five tips above provide a great foundation for the entrepreneur who wishes to become the owner of a lawn care business.
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