When starting a profitable business, it’s crucial to structure it in a way that makes sense for both you and your customers. Becoming a “yes” man in any industry often results in frustration and costly mistakes. Here’s how to avoid these when taking on landscaping jobs. It’s easier than you’d think!
Having rails set up on your business
Rails, or clear limits, are essential to understanding how to run a business. It comes down to realizing what your business is and what your business is not. Ask yourself right when you start.
Who is your customer? Who is not your customer?
What areas and zip codes do you want to target? What areas and zip codes are you not interested in?
What types of jobs are you looking to take on? What types of job are you not interested in?
By having these clear boundaries when first establishing your business, you’ll have a deeper understanding of how to succeed. You’ll know and understand your business focus. When in doubt, remember “that which is similar is not the same.” Don’t get roped into doing work that’s not the focus of your business.
Not qualifying your potential customers
One of the best practices that you can develop as a business owner and operator is understanding the needs of your potential customers and whether you can meet them before overinvesting resources in them. Not qualifying your potential customers is a mistake, and the biggest opportunity to avoid it is by prescreening them over the phone.
Business owners are frequently eager to close a deal, and they end up jumping in their car to go chat with a potential customer as soon as they receive interest. They feel as if they are doing something to further their business. Yet, more often than not they are just confusing activity with productivity. The best thing to do is to screen a potential customer over the phone if possible to save yourself the trouble.
When you do this, ask them to describe what they’re looking for. Get in-depth about the process. What is their budget? How big is their project? What is their vision? Put a minimum on it and work to put together a package. Make it worth it for your time and money.
Not knowing your numbers
In an effort to close the deal, business owners will often try to provide numbers on the spot to get customers to sign a contract. Yet, this can often result in them not knowing or understanding the numbers that help their business run. Avoid giving numbers outright, and instead, take a step back and tell your customers that you’ll send them a quote. Even if this means going out to your truck to run numbers for 15 minutes or making a few phone calls, it’s always best to understand the calculations before speaking.
Here are a few questions to answer ahead of time to ensure you have a proper understanding: What’s your day rate? What’s your minimum to make a project worthwhile? What do you need on a project to break even?
Having a thorough understanding of your finances is the best way to run a landscaping business. Even if it means charging a little bit more, you’ll ultimately do a better job because you’re charging for the time. Instead of rushing through the project, you’ll be able to take your time and do a proper job.
There you have it! The three most costly mistakes to avoid when learning to run a successful landscaping business. Set boundaries, prescreen your potential customers, and understand the underlying finances. All of these will lead to a better-finished project!
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