Blog / / Green Industry Advice: Larry’s Lawn Mowing Service
Green Industry Advice: Larry’s Lawn Mowing Service
We spoke with Larry Smith, owner of Larry’s Lawn Mowing Service, LLC about an hour outside of Dallas, Texas in the city of Cumby. Smith has an interesting backstory as he went from 30 years as a news photographer to starting his own lawn business right in the midst of the pandemic.
In that time, Smith has gained a lot of experience in lawn care and was more than happy to share with us the advice he had for others in the industry going into the new year.
1. Read the fine lines better.
Smith explained that this past year he took on a larger commercial contract with a company he had never done business with, and he’s had nothing but bad luck trying to get them to pay their outstanding bill. “I’m suffering right now from it, I mean, they still owe me for half of the contract,” he said. “I’ll probably have to go legal.”
Smith mentioned how he read the contract about twelve times, so he knew what he was getting himself into when it came to the contract, but that doesn’t make up for that fact that the bill is still unpaid. He said his advice would be to make sure you do your research and check a company’s reputation prior to signing a legal document.
“I just took it because it was for a big company, so it was going to be okay…and that was probably my fault,” he said.
He went on to explain that since he was in a signed contract with the company, if he didn’t finish the year out and complete the work he’d be in trouble for breach of contract. Smith did finish out the year at the end of fall, but now it’s time to sort out the unpaid bill.
2. Invest in your equipment.
“You have to invest in your equipment to move forward,” Smith said.
He shared how he’ll see other companies pulling around old equipment on a worn-down trailer but driving a brand-new vehicle. Don't get him wrong, he’s not saying there’s anything wrong with investing in a better vehicle for your business. Smith explained, “You need to have the truck to make money, I know that.”
In his eyes, it comes down to the branding of your company and how you want those you’re working for to perceive you. For example, with the nicer, newer equipment you stand out and look more professional than others.
“You don’t have to invest all of the time, but you do have to make those investments,” Smith said. He admitted that it’s definitely not an easy thing to do because right away you wonder if you’ll be able to make that investment back, but it is an important step to take.
3. Create a Google business account.
Another piece of advice from Smith was to create a Google business account if you haven’t already as he’s gained quite a few customers from doing this.
“You can create a Google business account free of charge and you can control the updates.” He went on to say that it’s important to keep updating the account frequently so that when others search for ‘lawn care’ in your city, your business could be pushed further to the top of the results page.
The best part is that according to Smith, the upkeep on the account isn’t very time-consuming. He compared updating the business account page to the amount of time it takes to check Instagram.
Bottom-line, it seems very worthwhile. Not too tough to do and it could lead to some potential customers.
4. Get to know your local dealer.
The fourth tip he had for others in the industry was to get to know your local dealer, Gravely or not, it’s a great thing to do.
“I wouldn’t be where I am today without the help of my local Gravely dealer,” he said. “Sartin’s Powerhouse in Greenville, Texas. I probably would’ve missed so many days of work if it wasn’t for those guys helping me out. It’s a great dealer.”
Smith explained that it’s a key piece of the puzzle because he’s a huge advocate for his local dealer.
“That’s part of the reason I chose Gravely. One, the mower was what I wanted and two, the dealership was great, and they didn’t know me from Adam,” he said.
You can check out the full interview with Larry Smith of Larry’s Lawn Mowing Service, LLC on our YouTube channel below, as he talked with our marketing team about his journey from photography to lawn care, starting a company during the pandemic, lessons learned from customers not paying, and why he stays in the industry.
To learn more tips for success in the new year, see what other lawn experts had to say.