Lawn Care: How to Stand Out from Other Lawn Care Companies - The Edge from the National Association of Landscape Professionals

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Lawn Care: How to Stand Out from Other Lawn Care Companies

A client doesn’t have to look very hard to find a number of lawn care companies in their area that could service their property. With this heavy amount of competition, you may find it a struggle to stand out.

“The great thing is that having good competition brings out the best in people and we believe you either evolve or you become irrelevant,” says Jack Moore, CEO of Grassperson Lawn Care & Landscape, based in Lewisville, Texas. “We also believe that we have a lot of room for improvement and we are continuously striving to improve in areas such as sales, customer service, operations, and safety.”

While there is no one simple solution on how to stand out from LCOs, here are some methods that some lawn care companies have found to be effective for their businesses.

Stand Out Methods

Brad Leahy, vice president of Blades of Green, based in Edgewater, Maryland, says they stand out to the general public with their wrapped trucks, which are all slightly different. He says while some marketers advise all company trucks should be the same for consistency, he says standing out this way helps turn heads. He says the number one thing new customers and even new hires say is ‘I see your trucks everywhere.’

By having their trucks stand out and be different it causes potential clients to go look them up online and see the quality reviews. Leahy argues that most LCOs say they have better products, services and people but it is the client reviews that truly shows your relevance.

Photo: Blades of Green

“In the past five years, we’ve really focused on online reviews, whether it’s coming through Google, Facebook, Yelp, whatever you can do to focus on growing that side of things,” says Dan Hillenbrand, a Spring-Green Lawn Care franchise owner, based Edmond, Oklahoma. “If you’re going online, digitally, whether you’re going to Amazon or anything if you’re trying to find something, you’re looking at reviews.”

Hillenbrand says they will ask customers through conversations or text messaging to provide customer reviews. He says they also put out a lot of educational content on their channels and strive to be engaged in the community.

“We try to do as much engagement in a community and help different organizations with whatever their goals are,” Hillenbrand says. “Because we are a franchise, we do have a national brand, but we also want to have a local focus as well.”

Moore says they wrap their trucks as well, constantly train their field technicians, and do everything to educate their clients on an ongoing basis.

“It is difficult in our market to have an entirely unique value proposition as there are a number of quality lawn care companies located in our market,” Moore says. “Our approach is always evolving but we attempt to offer a comprehensive approach to providing services to our clients. We offer a lot more services than just lawn care and we have found that many of our clients want a total solution provider, so we offer all of our services to clients that meet our ideal client profile.” 

What Matters Most

While lots of clients focus just on the price of the service, by providing communication, education and quality outcomes, you can separate your business from just being about the cost.

“Price is normally the number one thing people want to use,” Leahy says. “We believe value is the number one thing people should use. Price is what you pay. Value is what you get.”

Blades of Green believes in promoting the value of their services and their expertise. They conduct soil tests on every property every year as part of their package. They are working to become more perceived as soil experts and adjust the soil for each individual client.

Blades of Green’s Lawn Lab allows them to test products’ effectiveness.
Photo: Blades of Green

Blades of Green also has their Lawn Lab, which has 14 test plots where they trial different products for their efficacy in their climate. They will mimic some of the things a homeowner may do their own yard by mowing too short or too low, as well as weather conditions such as drought.

“We stand out with the trucks, get their attention and then we back it up with science and proof, not words,” Leahy says.

For Spring-Green, Hillenbrand says their customers appreciate the ease of use of their services. They will communicate with the client through their preferred channel whether that’s by phone, email or text. They are also consistent with their application process and communication.

“Whether they call myself or my managers or my office staff or my technicians, we should all be saying the same thing,” Hillenbrand says. “Whatever their question is, we should all be getting to that same message.”

For Grassperson’s lawn care only clients, they offer a good, better, best package options so they can choose which service is the best for their budget.

“In the end, performance matters and we have to deliver results every time we service a property,” Moore says.

Moore says they monitor the time that their technicians spend on a property to make sure they are not just going through the motions.

“This typically results in more satisfied clients and less service calls,” Moore says. “We do not skimp on the quality or quantity of materials we are using even though inflationary costs have caused margin challenges in our business.”    

Customer Retention

Even if you can stand out and draw clients in initially, it does no good if you can’t retain them.

Hillenbrand’s Spring-Green franchise has a 78 percent retention rate and typically keep their customers for three and half years. 

“Every time someone cancels whether they’re canceling via email, text or calling us or with a technician in the field, obviously we’re trying to get that data,” Hillenbrand says. “We’re trying to find out why.”

The sales manager will also go back a day or two later after a cancellation to call and find the reason behind the cancellation, and if there’s anything they can do better.

“If it is something that we can change or modify or get better at, then we obviously want to do that for that customer,” Hillebrand says.

Hillenbrand says the majority of the cancelations have been due to moving from the area. Moore says they’ve also been dealing with a lot of real estate turnover over the past two years, so if you take that out of the equation their retention rate is at 90+ percent. Their average lawn care clients stay with them for around three years.

“There are a lot of people moving into our area from out-of-state, so it takes some effort to educate them on the need for lawn care services,” Moore says. “Overall, we have been very satisfied with our retention rates and we will keep working to further improve our results in this area.”  

Hillenbrand says the most important thing to do when you gain a new customer is to set proper expectations, so they are less likely to be dissatisfied down the road. They provide a flyer to the homeowner outlining how they operate after their first application.

“This is a partnership,” Leahy says. “Explaining that it’s a partnership is number one. If they don’t mow it right, water it right, get the leaves off, a lot of what we do is hindered by their maintenance practices. So, educating on proper maintenance is super critical.”

Blades of Green’s retention rate is at 83 percent and they tend to keep their customers for a little over four years on average. He says customers often cancel because they do not see the value.

“Go above and beyond on cancels,” Leahy says. “I believe if the customer thinks you caused a problem as long as it’s within reason, do everything you can to fix it, whether you did it or not.”

Jill Odom

Jill Odom is the senior content manager for NALP.