Case Study: Marketing at Your Bank

I recently had a phone conversation with James Downs from James is a course member at and is  just starting his second year in business. He had a unique marketing opportunity that I wanted to share with you.

Maybe you can use the same strategy or perhaps it will just help trigger some other creative, out-of-the-box strategies for getting clients this Spring.

James has been given the opportunity by his local bank to setup a booth in their lobby. When I talked to James we discussed a few ways to take advantage of the opportunity.

1.) Make sure to change up the look of the booth every few days, otherwise, the “usuals” begin to ignore it. Test to see what works best. (PICS ATTACHED)


2.) Have a drawing for a free Spring cleanup. Collect contact info for all contest entrants

3.) Follow up with all entrants and ask if they want a free estimate or property needs analysis. Time to do the math!

Get 10 entrants per day. 2 estimates. 1 client. Times 30 days (1 month) that he has the booth in the bank… MONEY!


What are you doing for your big Spring marketing push?


How to Go From $100K to $1 Million in Annual Revenue

The million dollar revenue marker has become a milestone for the landscaping industry. The idea that 7 figures worth of sales is processed from a lawn care or landscaping company shows that it is a real business and not just a hobby. It shows that the proprietor (founder) figured out how to create a team around their idea and make a profitable enterprise.

Here are 4 things you must do to take your business from $100K per year to the elusive $1,000,000 marker. Essentially this is how you 10X your company.


1.) Hire Good People

You must have a system in place to attract good people. Your equipment can be great, your storefront and company vehicles pristine but the real value of a business is in the people that work there. Once you have found good people it is important to get them involved in the mission of the business. Until your employees are SOLD on the business succeeding, your customers and clients won’t be. Get your people on-board and involved and watch how much more efficient your company becomes — let alone the company culture boost it will offer.

2.) Turn Good People Into Great People

Notice, I didn’t say that you need to hire great people in #1. Great people cost a lot. Great people are in high demand. You have got to have the training in place and the management style implemented that will foster growth and experiential learning. You can either hire the crew foreman with 10 years of experience for $25/hour or you can hire the recent high school graduate for $15/hour. If you have the right training and education procedures you can make the $15/hr guy work just as good (if not better in the long run) as the $25/hr guy.

3.) Sales Trumps All

You are a sales organization. Don’t forget it! Yes, you sell lawn care and landscaping services… but at the end of the day you live and die by your sales ability. Treat your sales staff like they are the kings of the universe. You will never save yourself to  success and exponential growth. Top line revenue should be a constant focus and not expenses. Spend 80% of your time on revenue generation (sales) and 20% on conservation (budgeting). I find too many landscape business owners that focus on their annual budget and forget to have a sales system and process in place to achieve their revenue goals.

4.) Be Systems-Centric (Not Personality-Centric)

What would happen if your manager got hurt tomorrow and couldn’t work for a year? Or if you got hit by a truck tonight? Gruesome, yes, but it happens… and most landscaping companies fail at that moment or shut their doors soon after. The reason they fail is the positions of the company are upheld by strong personality and people and not the systems and procedures those people follow. You should have an operations manual that outlines the processes of every function within your organization. How do you create an invoice? When do you advertise certain services? How is the shop supposed to be organized? How are the books reconciled? If you create standard operations procedures for all the positions within your company it is much easier to find and train new people to fill those spots if they become empty.

Create a Hiring System to Find All-Stars

Now, finding the right team members (some people call them employees) is one of the most important factors that will predict your landscape businesses success. That being said, finding good people that don’t cost a fortune, are willing to learn, show up on time, have the skills/education required, and will provide long-term value to your organization…. NOT VERY EASY!

In the past, I’ve adopted the “try-them-out” approach. That means essentially hiring someone “on the spot” and giving them several days to work at your business to see if they are a good fit. If they work hard and everyone likes them, they stay on. If they are not a good match they get “fired” quickly. Sounds good, right? Not exactly. Here’s why… (Maybe I am just telling myself this)

You are sending a message to both existing employees and the new hire that you don’t care very much about them. You don’t care enough to take the time necessary to discuss the job requirements and expectations with the new hire. The “try-them-out” method also alludes to the fact that you have no real method or system for hiring, but then once they are employed things suddenly switch and you expect punctuality, dependability, uniformity, and precision. Existing hires get disgruntled because they have to deal with the “losers” of the “try-them-out” hiring method. They have to deal with the guys that don’t work out, bring morale down, are lazy, don’t show up on time, etc… Your most trusted and dependable people have to deal with the carnage of your poor hiring system… and yes, they too will eventually leave.

So the bottom line is this… if you want to hire great people, you’ve got to have a great hiring system.

Here is the hiring system I am implementing in 2017.

1.) Standard Online Application — Feel free to advertise this however you want (Craigslist, word of mouth, Facebook, website, etc)

2.) Employee Orientation Evening — At your office or shop. Have food and fun-filled atmosphere. Have current management present. Share business history, positions available and the requirements of each

3.) They Sign Up For Interviews — At the orientation they can choose to block out an interview slot

4.) Do Interviews and Make Decision

5.) New Hire Receives Training System and Manager Supervision


I hope that helps you avoid costly hiring errors and allows you to access the (few and far between) golden hires out there. Remember though, the gold wont shine if you don’t polish it. Your systems and procedures allow good people to thrive in their position… it makes them shine!

Be great! Sincerely,

Mike Andes

2 Facebook Ads Strategies to Dominate This Spring

If you are not advertising on Facebook there is a 99% chance you are missing out. In my opinion, you would be missing out on the most powerful (and under-priced) lead generation tool in this (2017) world! Try these two Facebook campaign strategies to increase sales and generate revenue. Small print: these are not super advanced techniques or tricks but are many times overlooked by small business owners. Small print: I know these aren’t necessarily the best tactics for brand building, but when it comes to growing your bottom line, these are your go-to strategies

Let’s look at this example from the point of a landscaper trying to grow their business:

Strategy #1.) Take Your Competitors Customers (Warm Leads)
You’re like: “Whhhaaaat!?!?!” Yes, the thing you have always wanted to do=) Facebook allows you to target the users that have liked the Facebook Pages of your competitors in your market. The people that Like these pages are potential/current/past customers of your competitors and have expressed their need for landscaping (or at least their interest in the service). Perhaps they have used your competitor but have become dissatisfied, or perhaps you could add more value at a better price.

This group of people are WARM leads because they have a need for your services, but may not have heard of or dealt with your business directly.

Strategy #2.) Upsell Past/Current Client Database (Hot Leads)
Facebook allows you to import your customer email database. Facebook then scans those email addresses to see if any Facebook accounts are linked with them. Then you can target your ads directly to those customers only. For instance, (in landscaping) a company might have 2000-3000 email address of current and past clientele, or just people they gave an estimate to but never performed work for. This is powerful! Being able to advertise to people that have already done business with you at some level makes your conversion ratio go up tremendously!

Think of the opportunity to upset past installation customers on continuing maintenance… or marketing to past clients that haven’t bought from you in several months/years. These are people that have shaken your hand, called you on the phone, received work from you, and know the quality standards of your business… assuming your quality and professionalism is something to be proud of, this makes these leads HOT!

How to Double Your Income in 2017

Here are the 5 things that will help you DOUBLE your personal and/or landscaping business income in 2017

1.) Hire Someone to do EVERYTHING in Your Business Besides Sales

You’ve gotta focus on the key drivers of growth and the #1 item you must pay attention to is sales and revenue generation. Yes, payroll, expense tracking, web design, office organization etc are all important but having a clean desk or perfectly design Profit/Loss Statement won’t double your business in one year. Outsource clerical/admin tasks or hire someone to do them for you. You should be out in the field, giving estimates, talking to property managers for maintenance contracts, meeting contractors for landscaping work.

2.) Call Your 10 Dream Clients/Customers

Which companies or persons would blow your business up if they became paying customers? Write them down — call them. Better yet, walk into their office and show them you mean business about doing business with them. If you listened to the last episode on guerrilla marketing you already have some tactical ideas for approaching property management companies and obtaining commercial contracts.

3.) Track Your Time and Work 8% More Per Day

8% is just 2 hours per day. That might mean cutting out some TV time or mindlessly fingering through magazines or watching sports highlights on YouTube, but the results of this ultra productivity will pay big dividends — not just financial ones either. Get your focus on time, it’ the one thing you got! Spend this time systemizing your business, generating leads, and working ON the business.

4.) Cut Your Monthly Expenses by 25%

This is personal finance 101. Cutting back might mean selling the big house in the nice neighborhood or downsizing from the Mercedes E-Class to a Honda Accord. Or it might just mean not eating out and going to the movies 3-4 times/week. Decrease your expenses, limit you junk, live a more fulfilling life.

5.) Know You Numbers and Set Bench Marks

If you want to go from $30K / year to $60K per year you will need to increase your income by $2500 per month. Set benchmarks. In the next 6 months you need to increase your monthly income by $1250. Seem hard? That just means you need to make $42 more each day. Know your numbers, break it down, set benchmarks.

Guerilla Marketing to Get Commercial Contracts

Getting commercial contracts for apartment complexes, strip malls, and retail properties is a great way to scale your business. There is one secret… the landscape maintenance contracts for those properties are usually managed by a property management company.

The traditional way of marketing to these companies would be to take business card in or even ask if they have any properties up for bid.

Today, on the podcast (click to listen), I share one way that my company is trying to get commercial contracts. It’s strange, a little different, and might cause a little fear, but I think it’s gonna work!

1.) Create “cold” estimates

You don’t need permission to go create commercial bids. Just drive around your local area looking for apartment complexes or commercial properties. Take note of whether they have an on-site manager office or if they are managed from an outside company (hint: look for the “For Rent/Lease” contact sign). Remember, these property management companies are always looking for vendor estimates and contract/vendor renewals.

2.) Create “Introduction Packets” and bake homemade cookies (WHAAT!?)

We have talked about intro packets before. These are clean, professional hard-copies that outline the history of your business, before and after pics, customer testimonials, etc. And yes, homemade cookies will set you apart from everyone else… just do it!

3.) Hand-deliver estimate with the intro packet and cookies to property management office

In some cases you will just have to mail the packets and estimates but if the management company has a physical office location make sure to make that personal touch by showing up in-person.

Have a great 2017!

PS – For the first time, we are having a webinar THIS SATURDAY. Get all your questions answered for free and learn how to create these commercial contract estimates.


Happy New Year!


Mike Andes

Standardizing Estimates and 1st Year Blues

Today, a caller by the name of Nathan Jones had a question about creating standardized pricing for estimates… specifically, for fall cleanups and landscaping jobs.

Why is Standardized Pricing Good and Necessary?

1.) Is essential to creating consistent profit margin

2.) Must be done for the business to scale and grow

3.) Much easier to train an estimator as your business grows


Why is Standardized Pricing Hard to Do?

1.) You’ve always done it off the top of your head

2.) You think you need years of experience to eyeball work

3.) It takes a lot of thought and time to create a standardized pricing menu


How to Create Standardized Pricing

1.) Track time and expenses at all mowing and landscape jobs

2.) Determine break even point and expected/target profit margin

3.) Set your hourly rate for mowing and landscape jobs (this should increase as you grow and provide more value)

4.) Bundle services and products into a menu-like list so that the estimator can easily match “what is needed” to the corresponding price


To get one-on-one help with creating your standardized pricing list visit


Mike Andes

3 Business Financing Options

Some people say that access to capital is the key ingredient to a startup’s success. Let me be clear. I don’t think that’s true!!

Neither do economic situations, boundaries, legislation, or tax laws dictate the ultimate future of a business. I believe that hard work, grit, determination, stamina, patience, and the ability to grind is the recipe to creating a successful business.

That being said, there is a tiny bit of truth to the notion that it “takes money to make money.” In the event that you have limited resources (which I would guess is most of the people reading this) it is important to know how to allocate funds during the infant stages of your business. Managing debt, cash flow, and startup costs will determine what type of financing you use to start and/or scale your landscaping business. Let’s talk about 3 of the financing options I have used and my experience  with them.


1.) Bootstrapping

This is basically using your own savings and cash. Notice, I don’t talk about taking loans from family. This is an option and is still considered “bootstrapping” but personally I would not recommend this. Although it is advantageous and positive for some business owners, I don’t want to jeopardize my personal relationships for business. If you are hungry enough, that might not matter to you… But definitely think about the worse case scenario and ask yourself if the damage to relationship would be worth it.

2.) Equipment/Asset Financing

Usually equipment & truck dealers offer low interest rates loans with little or no money down to purchase the asset. Remember, a 0% down loan isn’t free… you are paying for it. It’s marked up in the price. This a great way to scale your business without having to make large capital expenditures. For instance. if adding another truck and trailer mowing setup will net $8,000/month. It is a no brainer to get equipment and/or truck loans that cost $2000/month to finance. Yes, financing/loans of any sort will hurt your net profit margin… but it can greatly increase the speed that you can grow the business.

3.) SBA Loans

First of all, let me say that I have never actually received an SBA Loan. In 2017, I may use their 504 program to purchase land for our second retail/shop location. Listen to the last episode of the podcast for a breakdown of all the costs for that second location. One thing to remember is that SBA (Small Business Administration) loans are NOT given by the government. They are still funded by banks/ credit unions however the government is incurring the loan since they are high risk. The government does this to make sure small businesses still have a chance to get money… thanks Uncle Sam!