Spring is almost here and you might be debating whether or not to hire a lawn care service to take care of your weekly maintenance. Maybe your equipment is in the dumps, you don't have the time to worry about the lawn, or you have a little extra cash and want to relax on the weekends instead of working your butt off in the yard. As a professional lawn service provider, I would suggest thinking about the following three items so you can feel confident in your decision. Whether you are hiring the local high school kid down the street, or a professional "big boy" service, here are my two cents on what to consider.
Most broken sprinkler heads involve a simple fix that any home owner can do. The temptation might be to call a service that specializes in sprinkler head replacement, but this could cost upwards of $50.00 for a simple repair that anyone can do on their own. If your pop-up sprinkler has been broken because of a mower, edger, or string trimmer hitting it, the cost will usually be less than $5.00 and only take a few short minutes to replace.
This week I decided it was time to reseed my lawn because of damaged dog urination spots, digging, and general dog craziness. In the past, for small dog spots I have generally chosen to use Scotts EZ-seed. This product has worked great for me in the field for small bare spots, dog urination damage, and thin grassy areas. This time I decided to put Scotts EZ-seed to the test by applying a 20lb bag to an approximately 10'x10' bare patch to see if it is worth acquiring the $50.00 bag to fill in a larger damaged area. My hope in this process is to do one of two things:
1) Encourage home owners who may not have the know how or the resources to reseed a larger area by the traditional methods to use EZ-seed
2) To see if this product works best only in smaller areas and is therefore not worth the money to reseed a larger one.
The video below will show the complete process I undertook in using Scotts EZ-seed on my lawn. I used the EZ-seed in the proper manner, from the prep work to the watering, in hopes that this product does not disappoint. Since I have seen many of my customers use this product incorrectly, I wanted to make sure that I documented that I have done everything possible to ensure success in reseeding my lawn with EZ-seed. Although this product is expensive, I hope that in a short time I can come out heavily recommending anyone to use this product for larger reseeding areas, instead of the traditional methods.
There are so many benefits to being an entrepreneur, but at the same time there are also many headaches. For most of us, there inevitably comes a time when we are unable to be in complete control of our business and therefore must trust and rely on the training and leadership of our employees to run it in our absence. This became a reality a few weeks ago when I left the country for two weeks and had to rely on my relatively new employees to complete the landscape maintenance of 268 homes, all while providing the same customer satisfaction that we strive to provide. One of my employees dislocated his shoulder wrestling with friends just days before I left, so I was at a point of absolute panic thinking that my business would implode on itself while I was away. It was not until I returned and saw that everything was still intact that I realized how dumb it was to freak out so much as to whether or not I had trained my employees enough. Below are some pointers, suggestions, and ideas I realized after going through this experience.
1.) Trust your Employees:
If you are the great boss that you believe you are and you have trained your employees to the standards of your business, allow them to take the reigns of your business in different forms. This doesn't mean dropping the business as a whole on their lap and saying "deal with it," but it means allowing them to make decisions that you as the boss would normally make. This can be as simple as speaking with a client, or as big as making business decisions while you are away.
2.) Train your Employees:
In a small business situation it can be the temptation to just train your employees to do the basic things they need to do when you're around. Since you will not always be around, whether you are on vacation or are sick, it is important to train your employees to take over for you when you are gone.
3.) Don't Freak Out:
When the time comes that you are away from your business and have to leave it in the hands of your employees don't freak out. If you have trained them properly and you have trust that they can complete the job or run the business while you are away then there is no point to run the worst case scenario over and over again in your head. Trust that your employees will rise to the occasion.
I read an article today on the 8 rules to good customer service, which made me think if Cory's Lawn Service was keeping to these 8 rules? This is a area of a business that is probably the most key for success, because if you don't go out of your way for your customers then your customers will go out of their way find someone who will. I realize there are hundreds of lawn care trucks driving around in Reno everyday, so why should someone choose Cory's Lawn Service to take care of their property instead of the other guy? Before reading this article I prided myself on our over all customer service, and I still do, but I can see there are still some obvious ways we can improve to help our customers. (Quick Story) A few years ago my wife and I were picking out our Christmas Tree from a lot. I have never really thought about desiring good customer service at a tree lot because its a once a year purchase and half the time I forget where we got I tree the year before. Anyway, after selecting our tree I realized I did not have any cash and told the tree guy we would be back to pick up the tree once we went to the ATM. Right then the guy loaded our tree up in my truck and said, "Just bring the money by later this week whenever convenient. You guys have a nice evening". Since that day, I have continued to return to the same Christmas tree lot year after year and recommend my friends there as well.
So, how can a lawn care service provided a similar type of wow reaction? How can we stand out above the crowd? How can we better serve our customers? This is where the lawn care business can not just be about mowing the lawn and getting the job done, because honestly the next door neighbors kid can do that for a lot cheaper. It means, consistently thinking about small things that customers enjoy that you necessarily don't get paid for. It means, owning up to your mistakes and fixing them. It even means, taking the extra time to chat when Mr. Johnson comes outside to pay you.
Although nobody is perfect, as a business owner it is a priority for us to be thinking and applying these steps daily. If you are a current customer who is reading this I want to know if there are ways we are excelling or lacking in our customer service? Let us know your thoughts, good or bad.
Just when it seemed that it was almost spring and time to start the mowers and blowers for lawn care in Reno, certain parts of the city got over a foot of snow. We even had one entry way in Del Webb that had over waist deep snow to remove. Luckily, because of some trusty workers, we were able to tend to the overwhelming amount of phone calls for snow removal. It is amazing how 8 hours of snow removal will turn a consistent night owl into a sleeping baby that must have 12 hours of rest. Over all, Cory's Lawn Service had a very successful two weeks of snow removal. We removed snow from 76 driveways with our deepest removal measuring 32" in the picture to the right. You would think this would come with an award or something, but all it came with was a larger bill and noteworthy photo! In the process we were able to break 2 of our snow blowers, borrow another blower for part of a day, and buy our 6th snow blower.
During this time, I was able to complete the companies first on-site video (below), followed by a few more that can be found on our youtube.com/lawncarereno site. In the end, I lost 6 lbs in the past two weeks from the exercise and actually had a good time of getting to know both Brandon and Geoff while we worked our tails off. Thank you to everyone who used our services these past two weeks, and please feel free to call me or email me with any other needs you may have.