Despite some challenges early on, Alex Beam, owner of the South-Carolina based Guardians of the Green, is optimistic about how his fledgling business is faring.
“Business has actually been really good,” he says. “I’ve been able to keep all the guys full-time. We aren’t pushing people away by any means, but I’d say we’re probably 60-70% at capacity.”
As spring settles in, Beam says he thinks more people are inclined to think about lawn care services.
“We’ve done a lot of quotes in the last month. I think people were waiting for it to warm up or were a little worried about economic conditions,” he says. “I think I’ve done about $100,000 in quotes this past month. There’s definitely been people calling and starting to think of springtime.”
Though even with all this buzz on the phones, Beam says he wishes there was more work already lined up for the season.
“I don’t have as large of a backlog of work as I’d like, but normally when I worry about it, all of a sudden three more calls come in from people who want work done,” he jokes. “We’re better able to fit those people in because we aren’t as backlogged. We’ve been able to stay pretty busy so far.”
To get the phones to ring, Beam says he’s made marketing a top priority.
“This year I’ve tried to focus a lot more on marketing,” he says. “And learning that is really new to me.”
By doing most of the marketing himself, Beam says he’s saving money. He admits he originally looked to hire an outside marketing company to man his website and do a few other things, but after being quoted $2,000 a month, he decided to take the task on.
“That might not be a big deal to some, but for a smalltime operator, that’s a large portion of our budget,” he adds.
Beam’s marketing efforts are paying off, as Guardians of the Green is growing. Beam adds it’ll be slow and steady growth for now.
“I’m still in the newbie growth-phase. I’m probably a little more optimistic than I should be, but that’s O.K.,” he says. “My main goal is to get to where we’re sustainable and generating enough business for all of us to be profitable and not just taking any and all work.”
As more work comes in, that’ll mean hiring more employees, something Beam says he’s looking forward to. Currently, the company is up to five full-time employees, including Beam.
“On the horizon, I’d like to add people,” he says. “For now, I’d like to stay in the 10-15 people range. I don’t really have aspirations to be in the hundreds. We want to be more of a niche organization and a premium service where we’re able to offer a higher quality of service.”