When it comes to building a business in the landscaping industry (or any other industry for that matter), there’s no universal recipe for success. Linear progression does not exist.
That’s the bad news.
The good news is that we can tell what leads to failure and avoid those mistakes when growing our business.
In the first part of our series about critical mistakes, landscapers should avoid we’ve talked about how starting a business without enough capital can cause serious problems, why fast growth isn’t always a good thing, and why you need to identify your superstar employees as soon as possible and leverage their passion and commitment.
In this part, we’ll dive even deeper than before and look at other fatal errors that can endanger the existence of your landscaping business.
5. Not Having the Right Equipment
Which are you more likely to buy: a quality Egyptian cotton towel that costs $60 or order one from Amazon for less than $20?
If you are like most people, then you would probably choose the cheap version and enjoy the short-term benefits rather than paying $60 for the long-term advantage. But, in the time it will take the quality towel to deteriorate, you will probably go through a few sets of cheap ones. In the long run, you will pay several times more on low-quality towels than if you would have chosen the high-quality one from the start.
That is one of the finest ironies of life: being cheap can sometimes be extremely expensive. The problem is that this approach can be detrimental both to your finances and your business’ success.
It might seem wise to choose the cheapest equipment on the market and save some money, but in the long term, this decision can drag your business down. When the equipment is old and not working properly, you will need to hire more employees and put more effort into completing a project than if you would have leased newer versions of the right equipment.
Bottom line: it’s important to be careful about how you spend your budget dollars and cut costs where you can. But, some investments are necessary for the growth of your landscaping business, and you can’t afford to be cheap.
6. Know Your Limits
One of the most common mistakes landscapers make is over-booking their company’s skills.
You probably have a few employees that you know you can rely on no matter what. Others, however, although still pretty good, aren’t as efficient. When you’re growing, and jobs are pouring in, it can be tempting to over-book your skilled employees and neglect the work of your mediocre workers. That can cost your business a lot.
Just picture the following scenario: you are working on three complicated projects at the same time. You assigned two of them to some of your best supervisors and spent most of your time helping them get ready for the job. Meanwhile, one of your less efficient supervisors is handling the third project. He runs into problems while installing the patio pavers and has to redo the entire thing. This mistake costs your business both time and resources but also the satisfaction of your customer.
Be honest about how many projects you can take at once. Don’t sell more than you can deliver. Remember: quality is more important than quantity. If you over-book yourself, you won’t be able to work as efficiently, and that could affect your business’ reputation.
On the same note, don’t accept projects that are outside of your skill set, no matter how great they’re paying.
7. Hiring the Wrong Subcontractors
The cost of a bad hiring decision can be extremely expensive. Not only will it drain your money, time and energy, but it can also affect your business’ reputation. That’s why you need to be extremely careful when you hire subcontractors. You can’t afford to work with someone who will do a lousy job since you are the one who has to account for their mistakes.
Be wary about subcontractors that offer the lowest price on the market. Work with reputable companies that have a proven track record of completed projects and satisfied clients. If you do choose to work with a startup, make sure they are trustworthy and that the business is well-run. Ensure that their employees have the right experience to complete a project successfully.
It may seem tough to build a profitable business in the insanely competitive landscaping industry. But, here’s a last piece of advice: behind every challenge lies the best opportunity. Hopefully, this article series is going to help you identify the biggest mistakes you can make while running your landscaping business and avoid them before they snowball into costly problems.