Podcast 12: Running a Landscape Business Like a Tech Company!
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Don't tell Jon Haws that he doesn't own a tech company! Update, Jon now runs Nursing.com! (Which really is a tech company).
Even though he currently spends his days pushing lawn mowers and leading a crew of landscapers, Jon has embraced the internet and so much more to market and run his business.
In fact, if you ask him about his business, the fact that he cuts grass may never come up. Instead you'll get an earful about long tail keywords, niche sites, subscription based business, auto-billing, lead generation, and more.
Because Jon has been able to think of his company as a tech business, he's been able to build it to over $70k in revenue in less than 6 months!
How Local Businesses Can Dominate Through Online Marketing
Yes, Jon happens to be my cousin (what up cuz!); which is how I got the scoop on his fascinating story. Not only is his experience very interesting to businesses of all kinds, but the principles he discusses can REALLY help you in your marketing efforts.
Rather than go over his entire story, please listen to the podcast below! Here are just some of the topics covered:
- Why Jon put nursing school on hold to start a landscaping business.
- How Jon got his first few customers without a crew, equipment, and living 1500 miles away. (A true lean start-up!)
- Why Jon had to write a business plan and executive summaries for his wife before leaving school.
- How niche sites and long tail keywords bring in 40% of his business.
- The importance of understanding the life-time value of a customer.
- How these online marketing tactics can be applied to any business (and local service businesses in particular).
- How average monthly billing, additional services, and “passive” tactics are all part of Jon's plan for business growth.
You can check out the interview right here on iTunes or listen below. If you like what Jon has to say, I hope you will leave a review on iTunes right here!
Here are a couple of items or websites that were also discussed:
- Stanford Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders Seminars
- Jon's Primary Business website: Working4College.com
- Jon's business Facebook Page: Facebook.com/working4college
Overall, I hope you enjoyed the podcast with my cousin Jon! I would love to hear any thoughts, comments, or questions that you have below.
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John is onto something good! With the recent updates with Google, I am now focusing on local niche sites. Because they are local, I believe that I can rank them higher and sell the leads to local businesses. Who know maybe they will buy the sites or lease them on a monthly basis.
Don’t mean to be debbie downer, but 70k in revenue does not really mean anything if the margins are not stated.
Thanks for adding to my vocabulary. 😉
True. But the point isn’t to wow you with the income; its simply to show that Jon has found a full-time business to support he and his family using online techniques. (The income is enough to live on – which is more than can be said about a lot of businesses).
sounds like a good one to listen too. everyone gets caught up in the anonymous niche affiliate mindset so this is a nice change…….I know a product making the JV rounds right now is about an internet marketer who followed the Bring The Fresh SEO concepts with ranking local lead gen sites and doing $200k a month now just from selling leads to local businesses.
Is that the OMG? Do you think its legit?
Thanks for the interview Spencer! Local marketing is a fantastic and essential key to businesses. Without going too much into our margins I will simply say that in the first six months we have been able to achieve margins well within industry standards (http://www.lawnandlandscape.com/) and pay off nearly all of our start up expenses, thanks in large part to internet marketing techniques and such. But as Spencer mentions the dollar amount is far less important as the lessons and techniques we have learned regarding internet marketing, customer retention, and attempting to create a hands off business (many theories and best practices of tech companies) which have allowed us to grow at a rate far beyond that expected or typical of our chosen industry.
Nice refreshing podcast. I like the way you’re using your IM knowledge and how you apply it on a local business Jon. Where I come from, a lot of local businesses aren’t even active online. And when they are, it’s just some basic website set up by someone they know or a Facebook-page with a handfull of likes. I spotted this earlier, but I just didn’t know what to do with this. This podcast makes me rethink of the possibilities. Thanks for sharing Spencer!
Glad you enjoyed it Melvin!
I think your cousin Jon is pioneering the path that all brick and mortar, or service type businesses, are going to have to take to stay competitive. This really opens up all kinds of opportunity for those of us who know how to build WordPress sites and/or targeted niche sites. This interview has added some fuel to my entrepreneurial fire and has really gotten my imagination going.
I agree, if traditional businesses don’t move in this direction – they will be missing LOTS of opportunities.
Thanks for the kind words. I too am interested to see what happens to businesses that do not begin to compete more online!
Really cool that your cousin is involved in internet marketing too (and that he’s combining that with a physical business)! I’m trying to do some SEO for my uncle’s tile installation company’s website so it’s nice to see Jon having success with it.
Just listened to this the other day. Great stuff.
Gave me lots of ideas, if only I had the time…
I like the monthly charging models for services. Lots of good tips, not just online stuff, in this podcast.
I like how on the website it says they only hire native US citizens. If you said that in the UK you’d be in big trouble!
Wish I’d bought LTP instead of MS now.
Spencer or Jon,
In building out local sites, besides keyword selection, are you doing anything different like site structure and etc?
Also, when searching for the best keywords using the best Keyword search tool out there(Long Tail Pro-Platinum), where you searching for keywords + city?
Given the nature or my business I always use keyword + city. That allows me to really hyper focus and find the best words to really attract my customers. For example, trying to go after just “lawn care” would be much more difficult than defining the city in which I am doing business. Once you tack the city on there I have found most of my keywords have a competitiveness score below 20 according to LTP and they are generally very easy to rank on first page within a couple days even. It works for what I am doing . . . but as mentioned in the podcast I really don’t need very much traffic to make it work for me.
Truly one enlightening podcast, esp in your cousin’s use of his niche website to target local (really local!) customers. Most excellent!