Last year, Flo Olson tallied up the number of lawn maintenance contractors working in and around the resort community of Kalispell, Montana. By her best reckoning, there were 50 contractors. She added another 30 to her list this year, for a total of at least 80 companies, big and small, all competing for a piece of the mowing/maintenance market.
In a world where there are barriers and walls that divide people, it is encouraging to see times when the “walls are torn down” and people are brought together. Sometimes even a machine, a company and a shared interest brings people together. I have enjoyed watching the example set by Harley-Davidson where the simple act of owning a Harley breaks down barriers. It doesn’t matter if you are rich or poor, blue collar or white collar, long hair or no hair, black or white, tall or short, man or woman, if you drive a Harley you are “in” the Harley family.
Mark Chaffin, owner of Earthworks, Inc., in Lillian, Texas, admits to being a rather low-profile individual who runs a low-profile company. He shies away from the spotlight and his company does very little advertising. In fact, until two years ago, the Earthworks’ name wasn’t even on the sides of its trucks. This may not seem all that unusual until you learn that Earthworks, in business since 1979, employs 200 people, has more than 200 commercial clients, owns 52 trucks, and operates 33 Walker Mowers.
Name an industry other than farming where the cost of doing business is going up while the dollar-value of the product is going down? The answer, of course, is landscape maintenance, and just like good farmers, successful landscape maintenance contractors have to carry a sharp pencil, produce an excellent product, and be as efficient as possible on the job. Enter the Stott brothers.
Driving down the road, 20- year-old Jason Fawcett cradles two cell phones. In between calls he talks about his life as an owner of a very successful lawn maintenance company and full-time fire fighter.
When it comes to selling your wares, you don’t need a degree in marketing from a top 10 university, nor do you need an extravagant marketing plan. Oh, sure, degrees and plans are nice, but they don’t necessarily generate business. What does increase sales is a good dose of common sense. Walker users have pointed that out in issues of Walker Talk over the years, in many different ways.