Worried about spring? Not feeling that calm before the storm? Many landscape professionals face anxiety going into the busy season.
Take LawnSite member AL’s, for instance. He says, “I know … a lot of us have the ‘blues,’ but I get bad anxiety as well. It’s like I have too much time on my hands and no money coming in and the ‘what ifs’ start rolling through my head. Not to mention thinking about the upcoming tax bill. Every day I see about a half dozen trucks pulling mowers go down the road. How? How are they cutting already (early February)? I know it’s been a little warm, but really? None of my clients have called. What if they’re dropping me for 2017? Am I going to be starting from scratch again this year? I can only wonder until the season hits. I want to run a successful landscaping company. I think repeat clients year after year are required to achieve that goal. I also feel like I’m in a hole, or viscous cycle, that I cant get out of.”
Here’s the advice fellow LawnSite members provided.
johnnyflyboy: I wake up in the middle of the night and sweat everything: employees, who’s renewing, who’s canceling, it goes on and on. Best cure is to stay busy, fix equipment, walk neighborhoods hanging door hangers. It always works out. Friends ask why I stress out? It’s actually part of why you succeed, If you worry, it’s because you care.
EquipSpecsTech: All the successful landscape company owners I know solve this problem by staying active, never allowing for downtime; by doing routine maintenance, prepping equipment for the the new landscape season to come, and keeping their business evolving through developing new marketing strategies, maintaining good standing customer relationships, etc. Even when income is low, there are always things that can be done to ensure the continued success of a thriving landscape business.
Mdirrigation: Worry doesnt change anything; actions do. First a seasonal business has to make enough to cover the slow time. Solve that problem by not having a slow time. Go out and find work. So far this year I havent had snow, so on cold days I am in the shop doing maintenance.
EquipSpecsTech: For those who are really ambitious, you can try to advertise and push for customers to have tree work done in the very early spring months. In many areas, trees are still dormant, making the work simpler and easier to perform. I suggest becoming an ISA Certified Arborist along with following through with your state certification requirements for tree work. This way, you are not limited in what services you can offer. Tree work is an extremely lucrative trade that can really save you when winter business is slow. It’s all about selling the idea to your customers to have this type of work performed during those winter months. Also, check out another LawnSite thread title “winter game changers” for ideas.
KLC Lawns: Lot of good info here. Every winter I build on ideas that kept me semi-busy. This year I’m doing anything possible now that I would do in spring so that when spring comes I’m ready for new customers. Call up your customers instead of waiting on them to call. I’ve been emailing them and touching base; they appreciate that. I got a call two days ago saying they hadn’t heard from their lawn guy so they figured he dropped them and wanted me to come give them a bid. Figure out your advertising, call clients, pull your trailer around and pretend you’re busy, prepare for next season, build or do anything that you think will be beneficial to your business in the summer, e.g. website, advertisement, maintenance, organization, preparing routes, etc.
JMK26: I have anxiety. It’s a horrible feeling getting stuck in a spiral of worry. Even if there isn’t anything to worry about, it will hit. If it’s actually anxiety, it isn’t as easy as keeping busy or geting your mind off of it. You can take tests for anxiety. It is highly treatable.
Mark Oomkes: Keeping busy is good, but so is downtime. Taking time off and destressing is very important. I usually have it twice a year: before winter and before spring. Enough work? Too much work? Enough help? Not enough help? Too much snow? Not enough snow? Will the employees stick out the season? Always a problem in low snow years. Prayer, trust and exercise have helped me the past few months.
Weeze: It’s easy to get anxiety in this business. it hits me most when equipment breaks down. i want my equipment to always work and be there when I need it. When something breaks down, I start to worry. I think, “Well what if my backup breaks down too? How much is this repair gonna cost me on my main mower?” No equipment = no customers = no money. Somehow it always works out though. You just have to push all the worry out of your mind and just go with the flow.
For more ideas on fighting spring anxiety, read “Who else gets anxiety?” on LawnSite.