Three strategies to cultivating your reputation as a true lawn care professional.

Hey Clippers! Dave Tucker here to talk about what it takes to be a lawn care pro. And I don’t just mean being a pro at mowing lawns. I want to share my thoughts on what it means to be a professional in this business.

Lawn care is one of those industries that office types may not take seriously. They may see you as “the guy who cuts the grass.” But you and I both know that you deserve more recognition than that! 

Owning a lawn care company requires business smarts, people skills, sales and marketing chops, and countless other skills. You are a true professional—and don’t let anybody tell you differently.

There’s a lot you can do to show others that you and your workers are professionals. The right look, the right attitude, and the right connections can make a huge difference in how you’re perceived. Let’s talk about it.

Look the part.

Imagine you’re headed to the dentist for your regular cleaning. When you get there, the waiting room trash is overflowing, all the plants are dead, and half the bulbs are out. Now imagine your dentist walks in wearing a dirty t-shirt and jeans with a ripped knee. What do you do?

I’m guessing you’d start seeing another dentist! Why? Because the first guy was unprofessional.

The same principle applies to lawn care. People are bound to notice and pass judgment based on what they perceive as your level of professionalism.

So make sure your guys and gals look professional. Pony up for company shits, sweatshirts, jackets, hats, etc. and tell people to keep ‘em clean. You might even require work pants rather than jeans or shorts. 

And remember: Safety looks professional! Everyone should be in work-safe boots, not ratty old sneakers. And never scrimp on eye and ear protection.

Don’t forget to apply this principle to your vehicles as well. Keep them clean and well maintained, and get dents and damage repaired right away. Each truck should have a clear, crisp company logo, along with your phone number and necessary license numbers.

Maintain a professional attitude.

A sparkling clean truck and the nicest uniforms money can buy aren’t worth a thing if your attitude doesn’t match. The way you treat others—your employees, your clients, even your competition—is what makes you a true professional. All of these people should be treated with respect and good faith.

Respecting your employees means paying them fairly, providing a safe work environment, and treating them with respect. It also means setting clear expectations regarding their own professional behavior. Make sure they understand exactly how you want them to act while on the job. You might caution them not to yell, play loud music, leave stuff behind, or use foul language on the job. 

Ultimately, it comes down to this: Treat them like professionals, and they’ll act like professionals.

Of course, if you have even a scrap of customer service experience, you know how to talk to clients. But it bears repeating: Honesty, integrity, and respect should be at the center of everything you do. If you get some tough feedback, be gracious and investigate a real solution. 

And don’t be nasty to your competition. It can be fun to razz the other guys, but ultimately, it’s not good for your reputation. It’s best to take the high road and be friendly, good-natured, and respectful.

Lead like a professional.

In many industries, being a professional means engaging with other professionals and being a leader. This means attending conferences and trade events, participating in business meetups, and even teaching your peers.

Do a little research and see if there are opportunities like these for you. Maybe there’s a small business group in town and they need a panel speaker. Can you give a talk on localized marketing at your chamber of commerce meeting? Are you involved in online forums for other lawn care professionals?

Engaging with your fellow leaders has two benefits. First, you’ll gain respect and visibility as an industry leader and a true professional. Second, you really will learn new stuff all the time. Implement those lessons on a regular basis, and you’ll leave your competition in the dust.

So here’s my challenge to you: What’s one thing you can do today or this week to boost your professionalism? Sound off in the comments!

Until next time, keep clipping!


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