Effective management is critical to the profitability and success of any business. Lawn care businesses require the management of equipment, personnel, marketing and customers. For small outfits, management may be limited to self management, equipment maintenance, record keeping and customer interactions, while for larger businesses attention to financial statements, personnel issues and business contracts is also required. In either case, owners should maximize their time by creating simple systems that allow for easy day-to-day management of their lawn care business.
Create a record keeping system. This system should address basic financial records, customer bills and payments, schedules and any other items that require ongoing attention. Match the complexity of the record keeping to the size of the lawn care business. For example, if you are the boss and primary laborer, create a basic record keeping system that is easy to maintain and collects only the most critical information, such as customer payments, special requests and maintenance contracts.
Develop an equipment log that tracks maintenance and repairs. Clean, well-functioning equipment is vital to providing efficient lawn maintenance services. Poorly functioning equipment can cause delays and throw you off schedule. An equipment log and maintenance schedule will help you track routine maintenance and quickly assess which equipment needs attention.
Manage employees professionally. Recruit dedicated, responsible employees who present a positive image and provide quality service to your customers. Consider running background checks on potential new hires to prevent hiring employees who may become a liability. To maintain the high quality of your services, offer a training program that teaches new employees your lawn care methods.
Be proactive with bill collection processes. Maintaining strong cash flow is vital to your business. Create a system that allows you to easily follow up on customers who are late on their payments. Consider sending letters, calling and discussing the bill in person with delinquent customers. Allow multiple forms of payment, such as credit cards and checks, to give your customers more payment options.
Comply with all local, state and federal business laws and make sure you obtain all required licenses and insurance coverage levels. You will also need to understand any chemical regulations for lawn care in your area. Consult with the state cooperative extension service office nearest you for best practices and regulations. Also be sure to fulfill all business tax reporting and filing regulations in a timely manner.
Maintain competitive prices and services so you can expand your business. Review your local competitors' pricing on a routine basis to ensure you have a competitive edge. Provide service above customer expectations and your business will grow organically through word-of-mouth advertising. To spur more rapid expansion, consider advertising with fliers, newspaper advertisements or direct mail pieces.