7 Keys to Prosperity in the Residential Maintenance Business

Contractor Mike Stegall shares how his "small" company looks "big" in the eyes of the individual customer.

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Mike Stegall, president of Manicured Lawn & Landscaping Inc. in Mocksville, NC, doesn't think of himself as a business expert. "But I have learned a few important things along the path of building my business," he adds.

Here are Stegall's 7 Keys to Prosperity in the Residential Lawn Maintenance Business.

1. Bigger is not always better. To the individual customer, it doesn't matter if you're a one-crew company or a 100-crew company. As the contractor, you simply need to focus on the customer—one at a time.

2. A larger company doesn't mean you'll bring home more money. When you get into the three-crew range, everything changes. You'll likely have to incur more overhead. You start "losing control" a bit. This is OK and definitely manageable, but you must be prepared to change your management style.

3. Never think that a job is too small to do. "Small hinges can open big doors," Stegall says. So rather than use gross sales dollars as his guide, he uses job profitability and future opportunity.

4. Owning a business is an honor and responsibility. Always keep in mind that your business has a reputation in the community as not only a contractor, but also as an employer. "My message to my employees is simple: You take care of the business and the business will take care of you," Stegall says.

5. Build bridges, don't burn them. The world you live in is smaller than you think. You never know who might know who, so be careful how you treat people. Always take the high ground and maintain a solid reputation.

6. Don't worry so much about your next customer. All good businesses should be generating new leads and new customers continually. But, Stegall warns, “Don't become obsessed with opening your front door. Instead, focus on shutting your back door by loving the daylights out of the customers you already have. Happy customers will do more marketing for you than any website could."

7. Don't feel like you have to offer every service imaginable. Find your niche—and do what you do to the best of your ability.