Is your lawn maintenance business ready to absorb a significant spike in demand if a competitor goes out of business?

Hey Clippers! Dave Tucker here to talk about the unexpected blessing of hitting pay dirt.

Most of us have at least one local competitor who’s a bothersome pebble in our shoe. We all fantasize about the day they leave town or go out of business. But what if that dream came true?

The reality is that, for many reasons, businesses decide to close up. And when it’s your competitor’s business, you may find yourself giddy over the possibilities. For example, you may stand to double the size of your lawn maintenance business!

But don’t get blinded by the dollar signs just yet. Absorbing too many new customers in too short a period won’t be easy. You’ll need strategy and resources to handle it with grace.

Today, I’ve rounded up some excellent tips from other CLIP users who have lived through this exact situation. Their wisdom and experience can help you manage an unexpected boom much more efficiently.

Start training your best guys to be foremen.

Imagine what would happen if demand for your lawn maintenance business tripled overnight. You’d be scrambling to add more workers!

You can’t accommodate a big boom in business if you don’t have crews to take on the additional work. So how do you prepare when you know that a boom is coming?

Start identifying and training potential foremen and crew leaders now. It’s easier to find workers than leaders, so prioritize creating those leaders first. Then, once you’re ready to add extra crews, you’ll know exactly who can take ownership of them.

Set up a line of credit for your lawn maintenance business.

Scaling up your lawn maintenance business requires money. If you’re planning to add another crew—or crews—you’ll need to outfit them with equipment and a truck. That’s not going to be cheap.

If your business is ready to buy an entire crew’s worth of equipment with cash, pat yourself on the back. But that’s not the case for many—which, for the record, is absolutely fine. Many companies make big capital purchases on credit without harming their financials, and you can too.

Call your bank and ask about a line of credit. That will give you some financial wiggle room to buy your new crew(s) equipment. The trick is to call sooner rather than later. 

It can take a little time to get those things set up. But you’re asking for stress if you wait until the last minute. So do yourself a favor, be proactive.

Another tip: Do some thinking about what you’re willing to buy. You might be expecting a windfall if one of your local competitors is going out of business. You might consider just buying some—or all—of their equipment in some cases. 

As we’ve discussed, used equipment is often a fantastic option for your lawn maintenance business. But it’s okay to turn down anything that’s not in the condition you want. So think about what sort of condition you’re looking for and how much you’re willing to pay for it. 

Remember, you don’t have to buy out their entire inventory. But there might be a few things you’d be happy to take.

Do some price research.

Let’s say a competitor is going out of business. Do everything in your power to figure out what they charge.

Their prices may be right in line with yours, which is ideal. In addition, their customers will be easy to convert to your lawn maintenance business.

If their prices are lower than yours, you’ve got a challenge on your hands. Are you going to match it and lose the revenue? 

Are you willing to maintain your pricing and lose some potential customers? 

Do the math and think about what’s right for you. If your competitor’s been in business for a long time, their customers are probably used to that bargain price. It might be tough to convert them, but it’s not impossible. 

After all, they’re also used to having someone else mow their lawn! They may be willing to pay more to keep that value.

What if your competitor’s prices are higher than yours? Then you keep that price and celebrate the win! Though I’d also advise you to examine your own prices and ask yourself whether you should be charging more.

If you want to buy your competitor’s customer list, you need to think about how much you’re willing to pay. For example, how much is each lead worth to you?

You’re not required to buy that list if you don’t want to. It’s not your only option for attracting new customers. But it can be a boon for your business. 

When you don’t fix small problems, they become big problems.

If you truly strike gold, your problems are going to grow as quickly as your coffers.

Of course, every business is bound to have a few sticky spots. But if you’ve got any process hiccups that cause regular issues, you need to tackle them now. Otherwise, they’ll just scale alongside your business.

Do an inventory of your systems. Are there any areas where you run into the same problem over and over? How’s your inventory management? Your job costing process?

Be sure to ask your team what issues they’re dealing with, too. If you’re at the stage where you’ve taken a step back, you may not see the small irritations they encounter. These sticking points can help you identify the processes and systems that really need an overhaul. 

Solving those problems should be an immediate priority. Nip them in the bud now and they won’t make you miserable when your business really takes off.

Here’s one more piece of advice: Enjoy this moment. A gold mine like this only comes around once or twice during the lifespan of your business. Let yourself enjoy the thrill of a big win. Once you’ve got your strategy and resources in place, the feeling of accomplishment is pure fun.

Of course, I’d be remiss not to mention your best ally in absorbing a big boom: CLIP. CLIP is a lawn maintenance software that can help you manage a massive customer base. You can record details, plan routes, and collect payments without breaking a sweat. Learn more about CLIP’s features >  

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