Phase I: Lead or Service Offering
Have you ever visited a new restaurant and been given a menu so extensive that it stressed you out? I have, and unfortunately, I typically worry about the ability of the restaurant to master that many menu items, so I just order the special. Could it be that our clients feel the same way about us at times?
In the Green Industry, we’re able to offer a diverse menu:
- Commercial vs. Residential Services
- Landscape Installation vs. Landscape Maintenance
- Self-Performed vs. Sub Contract
As businesses mature, they may go through an evolution of service offerings. Small startup businesses may offer a little bit of everything to survive, but as they grow and mature, it is essential to decide who you want to be when you grow up and what service menu you will be offering.
Being all things to all people doesn't work.
One of the keys to success is determining who you are as a provider, finding your core business, and perfecting it. As you think about which service lines to offer, consider that “Not all offerings are created equal.”
Commercial vs. Residential
Residential offers a point of easy entry to startups but becomes harder to scale and manage as the number of accounts increases. Residential clients are emotionally motivated, which can become exhausting. Commercial buyers are typically spending other people's money, and while they want a solid return on investment, they are making business decisions vs. emotional decisions.
Construction vs. Maintenance
Construction is sexy, and when it's good, it is really good, but when it is bad, you pay. Each year your sales start at “0”, and you have to resell the revenue every year. Additionally, construction is subject to the economy's ebbs and flows, which creates risks in our income stream.
Maintenance offers a predictable model of growth and profitability. It also provides some protection against economic fluctuations.
Subcontract vs. Self Performed
Let's face it; some companies are experts at producing certain types of work. They do it full time, and they are ten times more efficient than we will ever be when producing work some of the time. Additionally, our current labor market makes it tough to flex up when we have sales spikes. Why not offer subcontract services that we can make money on with very little involvement and or risks?
Be financially savvy as you sell subcontracted services. You’ll generate less gross profit on the revenue, so more sales dollars are needed to cover your overheads.
The Bottom Line
Evaluate the risk rewards of each service offering and choose your menu wisely. Limit your options and find your niche. Promote it, train it, and stick to it, and you will grow more profitable each year.