To create the 2017 Green Industry Benchmark Report we compiled and analyzed responses from over 250 professionals. A few questions asked for written responses. We thought there was nobody more qualified to provide industry insight and advice. For example, one prompt was; “What advice would you give to a new contractor starting a business?”
And what we got from these questions were 308 gems of thoughtful wisdom. Each providing a keen - and sometimes unique - glimpse into the industry. Narrowing down the 308 quotes was no easy task. So, after much deliberation and some second-guessing, here are the top 20 quotes from the 2017 Green Industry Benchmark Report.
20. “Don't be flashy, be practical.”
19. “Know your cost of doing business. The productivity of your workforce. Stay involved with projects. Working with your crews to create reasonable expectations”
18. "Maintaining a solid reputation is paramount."
17. “Learn the financial side before beginning, treat your employees like family and focus on customer service.”
16. "When it comes to marketing; differentiate yourself from the competition."
15. "Never compromise your principles or values just to get work."
14. "There is enough grass out there for everyone to make money, go out and make a name for yourself around the area you live [in].”
13. "Do your homework! Read every publication and book you can on running a successful landscape/grounds maintenance business BEFORE you buy your first piece of equipment."
12. "Sell on the benefits of doing business with your company and its associates. Never sell on price."
11. "If there is a lot of competition, I believe advertising is very important, if your market is not saturated you can cut back on advertising costs and rely on referrals and recognition of trucks and equipment."
10. "Recruit and pay appropriately the best possible employees as that is what you are ultimately selling."
9. "Do an excellent job not just of the work but becoming a trusted advisor to the client - vast majority of continuing and new work is via relationships/referrals."
8. [On what’s more important, bottom-line or customer satisfaction] "Both are important. But I'd rather lose money and have a satisfied customer than have a loud negative voice in the field."
7. Keep your marketing message clear and consistent, have a coordinated approach."
6. "Start with software from the [beginning] to keep track of bidding, operations, routing, etc."
5. "Great customer service drives a business and its marketing. The best and smartest marketing initiative won't matter if your business is notorious for being lousy."
Editor’s Note: Couldn’t resist interjecting a fitting quote that’s also one of my all-time favorite about marketing. Bill Bernbach, arguably the father of modern advertising, once said “a great campaign will make a bad product/service fail faster. It will get more people to know it’s bad.”
4. [On marketing] “Keep your message simple and remarkable. Brevity is the soul of wit. Clarity works wonders. ensure that your clearly focused marketing message is a mantra that all staff - including labor staff - can consistently recite. There is no sense in muddling the message. Consistency wins' championships, not flash and dash.”
3. “What’s more important, my bottom-line or customer satisfaction? My answer is actually happy employees, the rest comes as a result of achieving that.”
2. "Don’t follow competitors for pricing and quality. Set your own bar, and grow at [a] sustainable pace."
And the number one quote from the 2017 Green Industry Benchmark Report is one that doesn’t stop at simply offering sound advice, but rather it goes further, deliverying its wisdom in a unique, beautiful, and hilarious analogy.
1. “Get good. Then get fast. Kind of like how Clint Eastwood learned to gradually get fast in drawing a gun and hitting his target; via first going slower and hitting his target most [of the] time. If you don't hit your target regularly in business - much the same as in a gunfight - then you die.”
With 20 astute and practical pieces of advice, ranking them was a challenge. But when someone uses the "Man with No Name" to clarify their message and get their point across, there was no doubt what quote should reign supreme. If you're hungry for some more green industry knowledge, click on the image below to download the full (and free) report.