One of my favorite shows on television, other than sports, is The Profit on CNBC. Marcus Lemonis takes faltering businesses, buys a majority stake in the business, and attempts to turn them around and make the successful. He’s the real deal, he tells it like it is, and has a big heart. Most of the businesses he buys into, after he implements his changes and principles, take off and thrive, while the employees are thrilled with the new changes and opportunities he has provided.
So I want to take the next three blogs and relate his three key areas of business success…. people, processes, and profit, and relate these to the lawn care business and specifically how customers can benefit when things are done right. I’ll start with process.
One process in lawn care can be the programs which lawn companies offer their customers. When homeowners or businesses contact us, they usually first want to know the price per application, or annual cost. Lawn programs can differ greatly however in our industry, so comparing just on price per treatment is foolish, as it’s often not comparing apples to apples. For example, many if not most of our competitors now will take the spring pre-emergent, divide it up into two treatments, and charge the customer a lower price, so that they think they are getting a great deal. While at LawnAmerica, we apply the full rate of pre-emergent for season-long control with one treatment. Our application price is often a little higher, but the customer is only paying once for the same if not better results. So in reality, we are the better value.
The same trick is often used by competitors in fall, with two pre-emergents applied, invoiced twice, when LawnAmerica can do it in one treatment by using the superior product named Specticle, which will be discussed when I share about products. Other companies may also send their technicians out to apply granular lime or a “winter fertilizer” to warm-season turf in November and December. This is usually a waste of money, and in reality, is something just to keep their guys busy and the cash flow coming in over the winter. Most areas in Oklahoma and western states are high in soil pH, so lime will actually do more harm than good. And applying fertilizers in the winter to dormant bermudagrass is not efficient and is a waste of money.
Our LawnAmerica programs are unique, and designed in the best interest of our customers and the technical needs of the turf. We apply a liquid pre-emergent first, then come in with a high quality 50-70% slow-release nitrogen granular fertilizer in Round 2 to supply nutrients for about 11 weeks. This allows us to come in in Round 3 with liquid Echelon, a unique product for nutgrass control, broadleaf weed control, and which supplies a booster pre-emergent for late into the summer. We know that most companies don’t use this product, as we’ve been told by FMC, the manufacturer, that LawnAmerica purchases more Echelon than any other lawn care company in the nation. We then apply granular fertilization, using organic components, and finish out with our Specticle pre-emergent in fall.
Our 7-Step Program is the best, most innovative lawn care program available, and will out-perform others with 7 or even 8 annual treatments. Even our 6 and 5-Step Programs will provide better results than many other programs with 7 to 8 treatments, since we do more with each of our treatments . And just as important as the program timing and products are the people doing the treatments on the lawn. I’ll discuss that part of the equation in one of my next posts.