Years ago my dad had a 36” John Deere walk behind mower. Growing up, it was always called “the big mower,” and learning to operate it was a pivotal moment, since my brother and I were tasked with mowing the double sized lot, and using this larger mower cut the time requirement down quite a bit. I didn’t realize it at the time, but this was a great piece of equipment.

For reasons that I cannot accurately recall, my father decided that we needed to upgrade, and he sold the 36” and bought a bright shiny green John Deere 48” commercial walk behind. Gorgeous piece of work, but the folly of this purchase became apparent almost immediately. Namely: a 48” mower was absolutely too large for their yard. While the 36 was maneuverable and left a nice cut, the 48 was simply too big to get around some of the obstacles in the landscape - and worse still, the deck suspension led to absolutely terrible scalping on any of the numerous small humps in the lawn. It sucked, all the way around.

As I look around the industry, I see a lot of similar upgrading going on. In the last few years, more and more large regional lawn and landscape firms are being bought up by even larger companies. If you just look at the acquisitions made by TruGreen, Five Seasons, and Davey Tree in the last year, you can see that these companies are expanding by making sizable purchases of well established and successful companies - maybe in your area. I trust that some of these buyers are doing it the right way and letting the purchased firms operate in a way that is consistent with their prior success. But I’m sure that in some cases, we will see the proverbial 48” mower being put into operation. 

Larger is not always better, because whether it’s your lawn or your client base, some scalping is bound to occur. It’s always tempting to look at the next big mower, or look at the larger company and think that it represents an improvement. But just like a small push mower can arguably provide a better (albeit slower) final result, sometimes a smaller, more nimble company can provide a better experience for the client. Finding the right balance between operational efficiency and the quality of the product is a challenge for any business. 

If you are in a market where outside businesses are gobbling up your competitors, or even if you’re not, I encourage you to look at the size of your business - whatever it is - as a benefit, and figure out what your a company of your size can offer your clients that no one else can. This is your "unique selling proposition," and ideally you will use this in all your marketing and communications. If you want help promoting your business, just let us know. We are here to help.