Dear Lawn or Landscape Business Owner: Can landscapers avoid hair loss?

I know this sounds weird. Let me explain.

We received this urgent email (headline below) from one of my clients (an owner of a lawn and landscape company) with these words: 

Something must change! I’m pulling my hair out trying to do all these jobs.

We hope this business owner refrains from physically pulling out his hair. That would be painful. Ultimately it would change his appearance…but I’m doubtful that is the “change” he is really looking for.

So what must change?

There’s always a struggle going on inside the lawn and landscape business owner. The struggle is between the three competing roles (jobs or responsibilities) you must perform if you want your company to grow. 

The three roles are:

  1. The technician
  2. The manager
  3. The entrepreneur

When you are trapped in the urgency of Spring Season it’s almost impossible to know which role is the most important on any given day. 

For example, if payroll is due on Friday and you want your crew to show back up for work on Monday…I’m betting the role of the payroll technician becomes your highest priority.

However, if you have a payroll technician on your team and they call you on Friday morning and say, “Hey boss. Good news! I have payroll completed. However, we need to get another $20,000 in the bank by 2 o’clock or some paychecks are going to bounce.

I’m betting you’ll jump head into being the chief of accounts receivable and collections pretty quickly.

If you’re cruising over to pick up a payment for a job you completed last week and you receive an urgent call from a field crew reporting an accident that just occurred and someone needs medical attention, you’ll become the human resource manager or safety inspector in a flash.

And so it goes…

The roles of the technician and the manager that live in the day-to-day realm of getting lawn and landscape jobs done and the workflow managed always require urgent attention. You bounce between a variety of roles and responsibilities over and over, day after day.

While this is happening, the entrepreneur buried inside you is crying for help to find the time to formulate a plan to allow you to develop the strategies necessary to grow the company in a responsible and profitable manner.

We documented these struggles in the pages of The E-Myth Landscape Contractor: Why Most Landscape Companies Don’t Work and What To Do About It. The book became so popular that a number of prestigious universities began to use it as a text book and required study for students hoping to join the industry. Order online here.

Back to the apparent hair loss situation.

Here’s a plan to help you lower the risk of hair loss from the physical and painful manual pull out process during a busy landscape season.

The process to get yourself out of ANY job follows a similar path:

  • Document exactly what you do, how you do it, why you do it, when you do it and how you measure/define success doing the job.
  • Give someone else the chance to do it by following your written, audio or video instructions.
  • Figure out what gaps, errors or improvements are needed to the description based on your measurement of success.
  • Edit the documented process with more details and repeat.

We have always found it easier to delegate highly repetitive tasks.

We have always found it harder to delegate things that require a broad background of experience that are done infrequently.

One thing is for sure. 

The financial stakes for landscape business owners are growing.

According to our research, the average size lawn and landscape company is now generating $1,031,447 per year in gross revenue with 7.6 employees. The data shows the average annual sales per employee at $135,132 with average employee pay at $44,160 per year.

To judge your success as a lawn and landscape entrepreneur, compare your financial results with those shared above. How are you doing?

Business owners are rare creatures. Statistics show that 1.9% of our population owns a business. 

So it’s pretty easy to feel all alone with the struggle going on inside you between the roles of the technician, the manager and the entrepreneur. We are a minority in the population. 

Let’s face the facts. Some business owners do lose their hair under the stress and strain of business ownership. 

But some of us are able to adjust priorities, create role-defining documents or training materials that allow us to successfully add people and grow the business.

There are very few life experiences that can be as rewarding as building a successful company. So…stick with it. Don’t pull out your hair!

Let us know what’s going on in your life and business. We enjoy your feedback.

Happy Landscaping,

Tony Bass, founder


PS – Please, please, please. If you find yourself frustrated and overwhelmed this busy season, do yourself a favor and take a few days off to give the entrepreneur inside you time to think, plan and dream about your future. 

Or…hit us up and ask for help.