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The Top 6 Lawn Care Industry Trends to Watch in 2018

2018 will be an exciting year for business owners in the lawn care industry. New equipment and technology, changing customer expectations, and a growing online community is shaping what the industry will look like in the coming year.

The Jobber Academy team reached out to experts in lawn care and small business to get their trends and predictions for what to expect in 2018. They’ve provided great insight along with a few tips for your lawn care business in 2018. Here’s what they had to say:

1. The number of green industry entrepreneurs will keep growing

“The number of lawn care companies in the industry increases every year. It’s the greatest thing to not be working for somebody else. The lawn care business is a great industry because of recurring and predictable income.”
– Jason Creel, Owner, Alabama Lawn Care Pros

“More people are getting into the lawn business all the time and from all sorts of backgrounds. I get just as many questions from 30-50 year olds who are burnt out from corporate America as I do questions from 16-25 year olds who are just starting their careers. I see a lot of guys 30-55 who are established and successful but still want to make that entrepreneurial leap.”
– Brian Fullerton, Brian’s Lawn Maintenance YouTube Channel

2. Customer demographics and expectations are changing

“It’s not just older families that can afford our services, we’re getting a lot of younger customers. Young dual income families lead busy lives and are looking to hire out for services like lawn care. When it comes to paying for lawn care services, younger customers don’t want to write cheques. Younger customers are thinking about convenience and want to pay with a credit card online. About half of my customers pay online. Even though there is a fee for accepting credit card payments, it’s convenient for my customers and it’s convenient for me.”
– Jason Creel, Owner, Alabama Lawn Care Pros

“For the longest time, paying for regular services was something that many people thought was only for wealthy (especially lawn maintenance), but it seems this belief is quickly vanishing. In these busy times, people value the time they can spend with friends and family. When you hire a service professional what you are really buying is more time.”
– Dave Ferris, Product Manager, Jobber

“Customer expectation management and communication is a key pillar in our day to day operations. You have to be able to manage customer expectations and explain how things like weather affects your schedule. Set expectations at the beginning of the client relationship and that will save you heartache later down the road. There is nothing more important than communicating with your clients and doing it on a consistent basis.”
– Brian Boase, Owner, Mil-Spec Lawn Care

3. Use technology to find efficiencies or get left behind

“If you’re managing more than a few clients, a good software system is imperative to help you manage everything or you just become that company that isn’t reliable or dependable. 60% of our clients come from other companies who failed them by not showing up and by not communicating anything to their clients.”
– Brian Boase, Owner, Mil-Spec Lawn Care

“New technology, whether it be software or equipment, can help your business create efficiencies. You don’t want to be an employee trapped in your own business, and if you find ways to increase efficiencies, you’ll be more successful”
– Jason Creel, Owner, Alabama Lawn Care Pros

“If you’re not evaluating your business, adopting technology, establishing new habits, then you’re going to be left in the dust from the company that embraces technology and mobilizes faster than you. The amount of productivity you can increase in your business by utilizing technology in 2018 can absolutely maximize your bottom line. Anything I see that can help me shave 1% of costs I’ll take—1% of across the board adds up!”
– Brian Fullerton, Brian’s Lawn Maintenance YouTube Channel

“With technology everywhere and our phone being more powerful than the computer of just a few years ago, cloud based software is becoming a must for any growing business. Not only does it give you everything you need in the field, it gives clients a much easier way to access the contractor. Clients want things to be easy and we need to make that way—and cloud based software helps. I personally choose Jobber as my software and it makes my life and my client’s life super easy.”
– Brad Lloyd, Owner, Your Way Lawn Care

4. Winning new business means being responsive and building trust

“If a customer wants a lawn care service, it’s not hard for them to find a provider. As a business owner, if you’re not responding to service inquiries, you’re going to lose ground in this age of technology. If you’re not answering a customer inquiry within a few hours, you’re probably going to lose that customer because they’ve moved on to the next company.”
– Brian Fullerton, Brian’s Lawn Maintenance YouTube Channel

“In 2018, don’t be an estimator or order taker. Be an educator. Be a partner. Take the time to answer questions, explain what it all means, what needs to happen, and exactly what the outcomes are that can be expected.”
– Stanley Genadek, Dirt Monkey University

“People are busier than ever and have more demands on their time and attention. Find ways to make better use of your client’s time and they will remember you for it. Don’t make them wait a week for your estimate because you have to take your handwritten notes back to the office and have someone else put it into the system.”
– Dawne Leaney Davidson, Owner, Freelife Accounting and Bookkeeping

5. Battery powered equipment is improving

“With the advent of battery power equipment being introduced over the past couple years, we have seen great improvement in this technology. With all the major players—Dewalt, Echo, Stihl, and several others—getting into this space, we have seen the technology go from mediocre at best to becoming a true competitor, in some instances, with gas powered equipment. Dewalt has introduced there 60V battery line which I feel is the biggest player in this field at this point. This is a technology to watch and one that I see being a major player over the next 5 year competing head to head with gas powered equipment.”
– Brad Lloyd, Owner, Your Way Lawn Care

6. Social media is making it easier to connect with your customers, your peers, and learn

“Social media is the future of communication! You can go your whole life never talking to someone in your town that has the same interests as you. But through social media, you can connect with several. Apply this to your business. Potential customers are searching everything online now. If you don’t have an online presence, through social media, they may never find you!”
– Naylor Taliaferro, the Lawn Care Rookie on YouTube

“Sharing information on social media is real time. It’s not uncommon for someone to have a bad experience and share on Facebook immediately. If you’re not handling your complaints correctly, that is going to be very revealing to any customer viewing your profile on any social media sites.”
– Brian Fullerton, Brian’s Lawn Maintenance YouTube Channel

“Social continues to explode and dominate more and more of our marketing activities as small businesses. In the next year, plan on increasing your activity and efforts on social. Small businesses will need to continue to be strategic to figure out what social platforms make sense. Over the past couple of years, we’ve seen a decline on Twitter as that becomes more and more a niche news channel. We will continue to see Instagram become the dominant player for business as that platform invests in its advertising products and tools.”
– Micah Slavens, Principal, Lift Interactive

“You should have someone on your team who understands the marketing world. Don’t have the budget for it? That’s okay, get your Google on and start figuring it out on your own—there are plenty of great resources online to help you with your marketing in 2018.”
– Brian Boase, Owner, Mil-Spec Lawn Care

“There are more high quality lawn care blogs and YouTube channels. At the GIE in Louisville this year, I got to go to a party where I met dozens of lawn care pros who were starting blogs. It seems like a whole community of like-minded professionals is coming together online, and it is an exciting time for people to get involved.”
– Dave Ferris, Product Manager, Jobber

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