It’s an age old questions many businesses wonder about.  Should you include or offer a warranty on your product of services?  What should you include?  Today blog will go into some detail about this question.

Photo By D. Wildermuth of Pro Market Me Inc.
Photo By D. Wildermuth of Pro Market Me Inc.

Many larger companies offer warranties on products.  For Example, Nike warranties sneakers such as the Nike Air Jordan “Breds” pictured above for defects.  However, they will gauge the amount of credit you will receive to purchase new Nike products by how much tread is left on the bottom of the sneakers.  This is to differentiate a warranty issue with normal long-term wear and tear.  Here’s the catch, it only costs Nike about $5 to make this pair of shoes which currently sells well over $300!  There is certainly a large enough margin to work with here for Nike.

But what if you are a small business?  Is it a safe bet for you to warranty products or services?  What if people abuse the system?  Here are a couple of pointers.

  • If you are performing a service, offer a warranty contingent on your continued maintenance of the property or product.  For example, if you are installing a new landscape, offer a 1 year warranty contingent on a weekly service contract.  This will assure you that everything is being performed as its supposed to be.  If you are not maintaining the property after your design is completed, you will have no way of knowing whether or not your customers are executing the appropriate maintenance techniques for your design to strive.  You can do everything right with your design and it can fail due to neglect.  Protect yourself!
  • Be sure to include a disaster and act of god clause in your warranty.  Lets say you just installed a new floor.  You were paid and the customers were happy with your work.  You offered a three year warranty. A few weeks later, the house flooded and damaged some of the flooring.  The customer now is coming back to you stating that your product is failing and wants it redone under your warranty.  Your disaster and act of god clause will protect you in this type of situation.  Be polite, sympathetic, and lead your customers in the right direction in contacting their home owners insurance or renters insurance company to resolve the issue.  Let them know that you will be more than happy to fix the damage once the insurance company settles your customers claims.
  • Be sure to detail EXACTLY what your warranty covers.  Does it cover parts, labor, service calls, etc?  Many air conditioning companies warranty new units.  If there is a failure in one of the central air systems within the warranty time, that air conditioning company will swap out the faulty units and be reimbursed for the units from the manufacturer.  Sometimes the labor and drive time is covered by the manufacturer.  Other times its not.  As an HVAC company its important to write a detailed breakdown for your customer of exactly what the warranty entails and the specific length of time.  This is especially true when just starting out when cash flow is tight.  This is true with all lines of work!

I always like to offer warranties to my customers as long as its fair for BOTH parties an I am protected as well!  Be thorough and detail oriented with the language of the warranty.  I find many customers like the fact that I am willing to stand behind my work.  Thanks for reading.

Wondering how to get your business noticed besides using just the internet?  There are numerous ways that you can do so…  Yes its true, internet marketing is HUGE!  Its growing every year.  However, there are direct ways you can still advertise your business as well!  Here are 3 simple ways you can advertise your business. (Excluding internet marketing)

promotesmallbusiness

  1.  Advertise on your Vehicle – This can be done numerous ways such as a magnet, car wrap, or paint job.  Be sure to include your company name, phone number, web address, and license info.  You are driving around town anyway, why not promote your company?
  2.  Print Shirts & Hats – Create some interesting apparel such as shirts & hats.  You can make these part of your uniform while working and have your employees wear them as well.  Make your apparel unique so you stand out from the rest!
  3.  Sponsor an Event – Find some activities which are in town and get involved.  There are many organizations such as schools that host events during the year who are always looking for businesses to sponsor a particular function.  This will give you an opportunity to showcase your product, advertise your business, and give back to the community!  Its a winning situation across the board!

Three simple ways you can promote your business!  Try them out and start closing more jobs!  Thanks for reading.

Picture taken by D. Wildermuth of Pro Market Me Inc. - Landscapes
Photo by D. Wildermuth of Pro Market Me Inc. – Landscape Connection Design

What are the Top 5 lawn mowing tips?  It’s June 1st which means Summer is right around the corner!  Businesses and home owners alike strive for a well manicured lawn.  Proper mowing techniques are imperative to keeping your lawn looking lush, full, and green!  Here are a few pointers:

  • Mow in a different direction every week.  This will allow your grass to grow vertical and not get trained to grow in a repetitive direction.  Mowing in a different direction each week will also prevent your grass from getting tire marks and ruts from repeating patterns.  Its best to have 4 set patterns.  (12 to 6 – 9 to 3 – 10:30 to 4:30 – 7:30 to 1:30)  After four maintenance days, you can repeat this pattern.
  • Mow no more than 1/3 of the grass blade.  This is a common mistake I see where to much of the grass blade is being mowed at one time.  By mowing more than 1/3 of the blade of grass, you are welcoming thatch build up, turf disease, and more wear and tear on your lawn mower.   By following this proper horticulture practice, you will notice an overall improvement in your grasses health.
  • Don’t mow the lawn when its wet.  You get your best cut when the grass is dry.  When you mow grass wet, you have a better chance of inviting and spreading fungus into your lawn.  You will also notice the grass will want to stay together and it can clog your mower.  Your overall blade life will suffer as wet grass will dull your blade quicker.
  • Which brings us to tip #4, BE SURE TO USE A SHARP BLADE!  I see this from both home owners and professional companies.  They mow every week, fertilizer, have a proper irrigation schedule in tact, yet they are mowing with dull blades!  When you mow grass with a dull blade, the grass is yanked out of the ground and often has a choppy edge.  When you are using a sharp blade, you will notice a clean straight line across the top of the blade of grass.  A dull blade can also invite turf disease into your lawn.  If you are a homeowner, buy an extra set of blades, blade balance, and a grinder.  You can change out one blade and sharper the used one in your spare time.  If you are in the landscape business, you should be sharpening your blades every day!  Take the time to perform this step!
  • Don’t contaminate your grass mowing other lawns.  This is tip is SO important!  If you are a homeowner and are trying to be the NICE NEIGHBOR by offering a lawn mow or two, be sure to clean and sterilize your mower deck!  Weeds, fungus, and invasive grass varieties can be spread from your neighbors lawn to your lawn if you don’t thoroughly clean your mower deck and sterilize your blades!  Here in SWFL, many commercial companies mow by golf courses which have Bermuda Grass along the perimeter.  A good portion of these companies, DO NOT clean the deck and sterilize the blades.  Then Bermuda Grass will get transported by the mower deck to the next property!  All of the sudden, new blades of Bermuda Grass will start peaking through that lush Floratam lawn.  There is no selective herbicide to kill the Bermuda Grass so this can cost hundreds and even thousands of dollars to rectify!  If you are going to mow multiple properties, be sure to follow this important step.  It may take a little bit of time to perform, but will save you time & money in the long-run!

These are the top 5 mowing tips.  Enjoy spending your time outdoors and maintain a beautiful lawn!  Thanks for reading.

relaxation-techniques

Sunday is a day of rest and relaxation.  Be sure to find ways to relieve stress.  Running a small business can be intense.  Its important that you find ways to separate your business life and personal life.  Here are a few pointers.

Turn off your business phone – this can be a little tough to do. (especially when you first start your busness).  But its important to have that separation of your business and personal self.  Clearly have your hours of operation posted on your website and business storefront.  You can always accept emails on Sundays and answer them first thing Monday morning.  You need to take time for yourself, family, and friends.

Find an outlet or activity to take you away from your business week.  This can range from golfing, bike riding, or any type of activity which you enjoy.  You can even involve family and friends to enjoy your time away from the workplace.

Make time for your personal or religious beliefs.  Without getting into too much about different denominations, beliefs, or preference, its important to engage in a community environment of like-minded people.  Follow through and dive into giving, helping, and making the world a better place!

Happy Sunday and thanks for reading…

Reuse-Reduce-RecycleSimply stated, green up your business by following these simple words.  Reuse, Reduce, & Recycle.  But in what ways can you accomplish this?  Here are a few pointers:

  • Plastic is one of the human races inventions.  Its cheap, easy to make,  and long lasting.  So long lasting that it takes over 1000 years to break down and decompose!  Think of how many generations will go but until that gallon milk container you drank is no longer an environmental issue.  If you have plastic products which can be used again, do so!  I can’t even begin to tell you how many plumbing and sprinkler companies I see just cut and throw out left over materials on a job-site.  If you don’t want to save the material for the next job, sell it to someone who will use it or give it away for FREE!  It will prevent the landfills from filling up with long lasting material.
  • Sometimes you can even re-purpose products.  Just the other day, I ate the last pickle in the glass pickle jar.  I finished a job repairing a lanai and had many left over bolts which I bought in bulk.  I cleaned out the pickle jar, labeled it “Lanai Bolts,” and stored the combination away in my workshop.  Now I have  a nifty container to hold my supplies!
  • The best tip I can give regarding recycling is separating your precious metals and scrapping them.  And by precious metals, I don’t mean gold, silver, or platinum. (Though these metals can be recycled as well)…  I am talking about aluminum, brass, copper, stainless steel, etc.  All of these different types of metals offer a price/pound ranging on the overall market price for each individual product.  Don’t keep multiple metals together and recycle them as such or you will be paid at a lower rate classified as “white goods.”  You will be surprised how the little items you use and materials you pull out of jobs will add up to big bucks!

And if you can’t sell, give away, scrap, or re-purpose your material, recycle it through the county and green up your company!  Customers like a company that is Eco-Friendly and it will make your business more profitable!