Bo Smith’s company, Smith Lawn Management, was voted the best landscape design company in Oxford, Mississippi the past three years by the readers of a local newspaper. In the Spring 2016 edition of WorkSaver® magazine, we explored how he grew the business from a modest lawn-mowing operation. How did he do it? Here are his tips.
- Provide good customer service — it will lead to job security.
“I tell my guys that we are not in the landscaping business, we are not in the lawn-mowing business — we are in the customer service business,” Smith says. If we provide good service to our customers, we all have job security and we will keep getting a paycheck.”
- Hire good employees who have a desire to show up every day — then take care of them.
“Our operators are typically in the cab up to 10 hours a day, so their comfort is vital to their productivity and well-being,” Smith says.
- Insist that employees look first-class on the job — appearance matters.
“Appearance is worth a lot because people notice, regardless of what type of business you’re in,” Smith says.
- Buy top-of-the-line equipment — downtime costs way more than a monthly payment.
“You can buy new and have a payment, or you can buy used and have the potential of a repair bill,” Smith says. “A broken machine not only costs you the price of repairs, but also you are not billing for the work that machine would be doing if it were on a project.”
- Deal with complaints immediately — taking care of problems pays off in the long run.
“If there is a customer complaint, I want to deal with it immediately,” Smith says. “I don’t like that stuff hanging over my head at all.”
- Listen to customers to open the door to more business — and keep them from shopping around.
“We don’t want to tell people that we can’t do something,” Smith says. “We do everything in-house except tree work, so we can offer a wide array of services to maintain our customer base.”