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Lawncare pro: Wayne Volz

July 1, 2010 -  By
wayne_volz

Headshot: Wayne Volz

In 1979 Wayne Volz wanted a 10-speed bicycle. “My Dad told me that if I wanted it, I would need to earn the money to pay for it,” says Volz, president of Wayne’s Lawn Service. Volz started mowing nine lawns that summer and the rest is history. He continued mowing through high school, and college. After graduating from college, he had a “real” job for four years working as a financial aid counselor before committing full-time to his business in July 1987.

What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned as you’ve built your lawn care company? Success is not measured by customer count or dollar volume. Those are the two easiest measures of operating a business. True success is measured by customer loyalty and great employee retention. If they’re in place, profit dollars will take care of themselves.

You own and operate two companies, Wayne’s Lawn Service and also Profits Unlimited. Tell us about Profits Unlimited. I started Profits Unlimited to help lawn and landscape companies with the same trials and tribulations I experienced the first nine years I was in business. I was working very hard, had no free time and I was not making any money. Although I had a business degree, I did not know how to bid contracts, market or sell to be successful. These are basic for any successful business.

My biggest issue was that I had little to no structure as to what I was charging for my services. I was bidding my jobs based on what I thought the market would bear, what I thought my competition was charging and, in many cases, what my potential clients said they were willing to pay for the services I offered. This kind of pricing is too common for the industry and is responsible for the staggering failure rate for lawn care and landscaping companies.

I knew there were many lawn and landscape company owners just like me who were struggling with these same issues so we decided to offer our bidding and cost calculation methodology to contractors across North America. Thus, Profits Unlimited was founded in 1990 to help commercial lawn care and landscaping companies earn what they deserve.

How do you find time to run two companies? I’m very fortunate to have my brother and other loyal, trained and committed employees. Once I realized I must delegate the responsibility and authority of getting jobs completed without me, our businesses grew.

What is your advice to any young person eager to start a lawn service or landscaping company? Remember you’re operating a business. Let me emphasis the word business. This business is not just cutting grass and planting shrubs. It’s easy to get caught up in the I-am-small-I-can-do-it-cheaper mentality and put yourself right out of business. Know your operating costs per hour based on your unique overhead and expenses and charge accordingly. Don’t worry about what everyone else is doing. Pick a lane for your company by defining what your company is and what it’s going to do better than the competition. Let this separate you from the competition. Resist the temptation to compete based solely on price.

Any final thoughts? Check your ego at the door when running your business and surround yourself with people smarter than you are.

AT A GLANCE
COMPANY: Wayne’s Lawn Service Inc.
FOUNDED: 1979
TITLE: President
HEADQUARTERS: Louisville, KY (sole location)
EMPLOYEES: 10 – 13
INDUSTRY INVOLVEMENT: Past President, Kentucky Lawn Maintenance Association; Past Board Member, Kentucky Turfgrass Council; speaker at industry events; regular contributor to industry publications
BUSINESS GOAL FOR 2010: Striving for excellence in all aspects of operating our business to create customer loyalty.
FAMILY: Married 27 years to my wife, Jane, and has four children – Kyle, Katie, Daniel and Holly

LM Staff

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