Like many lawn care and landscape companies, you’ve decided that you are ready for growth. But have you taken the time to understand what expansion may look like? Expansion can mean different things to different people. For some, expansion means applying their same business model to reach customers in different regions or geographies. For others, it means providing a new host of services and/or offerings to their existing customer base or area of operation. For a select few, expansion means both. Whether you are attempting to expand your current footprint or are trying your hand at something new, it is important to have a well-thought-out strategy to help bring these aspirations to life.
- Quantifying Need
- Uncharted Waters
- Staying true to yourself
- Be visible
- Exit strategy
The most lucrative and successful expansions hinge on having rock-solid business plans, and using data to support decisions. Start by assessing the current marketplace. Look at what homeowners and businesses are currently paying for such services. Assess how saturated this market is with competition, and how large the addressable market is. Pay special attention to the demographics of your audience. What are the current and future population, growth, and income projections? Consult with your field managers and crew to understand their vantage point. Gather first person feedback from existing customers and prospects to understand if they would be willing to pay for such services, how much they are willing to pay, what they consider most important, and if their needs are currently being met by another service provider. The data gathered from this assessment will help paint a better picture on the attractiveness of this market or if you should evaluate other business opportunities.
Controlling costs is challenging enough. Controlling costs while managing expansion adds a whole different level of complexity. Let’s face it, even though the data supports your decision to expand, you will still be learning on-the-fly. One common misstep among lawn and landscape companies is the failure to manage overhead. Try to avoid knee-jerk reactions by bolstering the headcount of your crews and/or purchasing new equipment before the demand justifies this investment. Don’t be shortsighted, but don’t be spend-happy either. Take a gradual approach. Leverage as much of your existing assets as much as possible. Try renting equipment from a reputable dealer instead of immediately buying. Don’t oversaturate your workforce. Ensure that your crew has enough time to master your new service offering. A quick way to fail is by having your crew run from job-site to job-site providing inadequate service or scaling your business before demand justifies your investment.
When entering a new market or region, rely on your strengths. Try to replicate how you have been successful today. Look for areas where you can apply these strengths to your new venture. Expansion can be fun and exciting, but don’t stray too far from the core principles that got you here today.
Did you know it is estimated that roughly 62% of homeowners read online reviews before selecting new service provider? Although some still rely on word of mouth/referrals and quote comparisons, a growing number of homeowners and companies prefer to do their own research. Make marketing a priority when entering your new market. After all, you are the new kid on the block. Your biggest asset will always be your client base. Taking time to properly market yourself to this new audience of consumers is crucial. Track your social media pages, customer reviews, and advertising spend. What are others saying about your company? Investing in a tool that will help boost your marketing presence can be money well-spent to ensure you are being seen by potential customers. WorkWave Service, for instance, has been an invaluable asset to many lawn care and landscape providers, helping businesses generate more leads and positive customer reviews.
Failure is a humbling experience and something we never strive for. However, it is something we must plan for. Don’t run from challenges – but honestly evaluate your performance. Have a written plan for your new venture. Include timelines, milestones, and financial goals. Track your progress on a monthly and quarterly basis. Just as you had used data to support your decision to expand, use data to help support your decisions on how profitable the expansion has been and where to go from here.
Use these tips as your blueprint as you develop your strategy for expansion. Looking for software to help you along the way? Click here.