Matt Foreman: What is up everybody? Welcome to the Mo Money Mo Problems podcast where we sit down with successful green industry business owners and have a conversation about their journey, their business, their successes, their struggles, and their insights from all of the above.
My name is Matt Foreman, owner of Lawn and Land Marketing, and today we are joined by Nate Moses of Precision Landscape Management out in Greenville, South Carolina. Nate, thank you for being on with me today.
Nate Moses: Matt, thank you for having me. It’s a pleasure to join you on this.
Matt Foreman: Absolutely. And it has been it’s been great getting to know you.
So just a full disclosure Nate and I have had a partnership or a working relationship for a while. So I, I do know a bit about you, but I’m, I’m excited to learn more and I’m excited for the people to learn more about you and precision. So with that what can you tell me about yourself?
Precision? What do you guys do? Where do you do it? And who do you service?
Nate Moses: Yeah, yep. So, just kind of a quick overview. It’s Nate Moses. The company is Precision Landscape Management. We’re out of Greenville, South Carolina, and we offer pretty full service landscape offerings to our clients. Mostly residential clients, a little bit of commercial work, but mostly high end residential.
So, we do maintenance, design work, installation work, irrigation lawn care, plant health care. Kind of the, kind of full service offerings for our clients.
Matt Foreman: Awesome. So, did your company always start out with that suite of services? Did it start out with more or less?
Nate Moses: Yeah, it really started very simple and And kind of added on things as we saw clients needing additional work.
And it’s really evolved over the years, but as we started out, I mean, it was kind of your basic grass cutting and, and maintenance service that kind of got us kicked off.
Matt Foreman: Cool. So with getting kicked off. Where did you, where did you really start? Like, how did you even come about the green industry?
Obviously there’s a million different channels that you can jump into. You’ve obviously jumped into this one pretty hard because you’re very successful at it. So what, what got you started here?
Nate Moses: Yeah, yeah, great question. So, I mean, thinking way back I’ve always, I mean, since, since the time I was a kid, maybe 10, 12 years old kind of took a push mower and to some of the neighbors cut some grass and that sort of thing.
And I would say just wanting to make a few bucks and being willing to work hard and, you know, Growing up, I grew up in Michigan and we would do some snow, shovel snow in the winter, and we’d cut some grass in the summer and I just thought it was cool that a little bit of hard work and a simple push mower, somebody would give you, you know, 20, 30 bucks, whatever.
And so that’s kind of how I got introduced to the industry in the first place. In high school and college. You know, had some interests that maybe I wanted to pursue or whatever. And through the course of going to college and realizing I was not a great student sort of made me step back and think.
Is this really going to be my career that the the you know, the major that I took in college? Is this really going to be my career? Does that really line up with my interests? And so I got some advice and found out that probably school was not going to help me get into the industry that I enjoyed.
And I thought, you know, I did enjoy being outdoors, enjoyed working hard, working with my hands. And it was at that time I decided, you know, I am going to pursue a career in the landscape industry. And so that would have been about two years into college that I made that decision.
Matt Foreman: Awesome. So with that is that when Precision was founded?
Did you start something else? And when was that? Like what year?
Nate Moses: Yeah. So I mentioned that I grew up in Michigan and I went to a school in Greenville, South Carolina. And so those climates are pretty different. And I, I was aware that I needed to learn the local climate. learn some of the local plants and learn the local landscape industry.
And so I actually made an intentional decision to work with a local landscape company for one full year before deciding to kind of open my own business. I would not say I was clear at the time that I would start my own business, but I knew that I would make a career out of the landscape industry.
It’s not a surprise that I ended up. You know, starting my own business. I’ve sort of always been a little bit entrepreneurial, but I think if I had joined a company that had growth opportunities, I may have stayed within it. And so it just kind of the way things worked out to to open my own business.
But the year that I stopped going to school was in 2007. And in 2010, Precision was in its current version was, was originally formed, but I was doing some kind of side work. I worked for another company, did some side work, also went into a different industry for a couple years as I was kind of developing the, the finances needed to, to start the business.
Matt Foreman: Awesome. So, wow, yeah over 13 years in business I don’t, you don’t have to have a perfect recollection of this, but was there any moment early on where you kind of contemplated, hey, is this going to work or has it just been like, gangbusters ever since?
Nate Moses: Yes, and no. So yeah, I mean I think if you’re an entrepreneur and you sort of are driven that’s a great thing, but it leads to maybe some chaos And so there definitely have been a lot of moments throughout the years where I was like, man Is this is this really what I want to keep doing?
I didn’t know it at the time, but I was creating those on those problems for myself you know, I, I like to think of myself as an organized person, but my level of organization and the level of organization needed for a growing business can, can look different. And so, yeah, I would say there was a key moment in 2016 where I really had to kind of step back and say, am I going to grow an organization or am I going to have a well paying job for myself?
And it happened because we, that year we actually did a million, our first million dollars of revenue in, in in one fiscal year. And I was like, oh man, you know, I feel like I should have arrived. And yet we actually lost money that year. And it was through a lot of poor decisions on my part and poor leadership and poor financial awareness and, and management, but it really challenged me to kind of take a step back and say, is this, is this going to, Is this going to grow into an organization that functions without my day to day oversight, or am I going to have a really well paying job?
Matt Foreman: So when, when you hit your million what was What was that big difference? Obviously, okay, so it took six years to hit that million, so obviously not an overnight success, but there are, and the, the statistics show that well under 90 percent of green industry businesses hit the million dollar mark.
Can you attribute anything, and I know you said it wasn’t like the cleanest hit of a million, but was there anything that you can attribute getting to a million in annual revenue? Anything in particular, maybe multiple things?
Nate Moses: Yeah, so what you’ll hear other industry leaders say what gets you to a million won’t won’t be what gets you to beyond a million.
But I think it’s important you got to first get to a million in revenue. If you’re really going to grow an organization that has a team and kind of provide high level, top notch service. And so I would say what got. us to a million dollars in revenue is a willingness to kind of say yes to whatever the customer was asking us to do.
It was sort of a stay yes and figure it out as you go, which can again, it can be a great thing. It can really help you grow your business now and the effort of doing that it can create a lot of chaos. You know, the landscape industry is a very diverse industry. You have to know a lot of things you have to have a lot of different skill sets.
so much. It takes one set to cut. It takes another skill set to apply fertilizers and do that the right way. Another skill set to do hard scapes. Another skill set to do irrigation. You know, there’s just a very broad skill set needed. And so saying yes, certainly can grow your revenue and it can grow it.
Relatively quickly, especially if you do what you say you’re going to do, you’re thinking about the customer and what they need, and you’re willing to put in the work to make that happen.
Matt Foreman: And not to really touch on my industry, but what was your primary marketing method back then going from zero to a million.
Nate Moses: Yeah. A lot of the marketing I did was maybe like home done. I want to say I had a friend create a logo. I always knew branding was important. And so I had a friend create a logo or not in the early years of business. And we use that and I sort of, A graphic design buddy who who helped out in some ways, maybe create some flyers and that sort of thing.
I think we got a website kicked off and all that. And he helped me with that. But it was more about branding is a lot of word of mouth, that type of thing that kind of helped us get to that level. I will say now that I have an understanding of advertising digital advertising, I wish we probably had done some of that sooner so that we could make sure our clients Oh, That we were affecting the right customers, I should say, because we were casting a very broad net and end up working for a very wide variety of customers that all were great and all helped us learn, but you end up being focused on very different things.
Matt Foreman: Gotcha. And, and yeah, so nowadays versus back then everybody has a suite of tools available to them, whether it’s Canva, which is an infinite amount of graphics that are already pre made, or you can make your own relatively free to, I mean, you can have a website built for free if you really look into it.
So, people nowadays, In my opinion, have a far better advantage than those 10 years ago, 15 years ago, because yeah, you were, you had to know somebody, you had to figure something out, you’re going to have to invest capital versus now there are a ton of free options almost in, in every regard to marketing.
So, I guess it’s just a matter of. The willingness to do that and understand the importance of it. Um, I want to talk a little bit about the business strategy, your approach, um, and how it might be different or unique from just the traditional green industry business, one that does lawn care, lawn maintenance, landscaping.
So is there anything in particular that makes not just precision unique, but you and your team unique? Yeah.
Nate Moses: I think , if you wanna talk about what makes our team unique, I think it’s pretty high level. It’s, it’s the way we view the world. I don’t think we view the world as kind of a closed have to beat each other out.
You know, in order for us to, to succeed, a competitor needs to go under that kind of idea. I think as a team, what makes us really unique is we, we are looking for win-win situations, and we don’t believe that. Like internally inside our leaders. We don’t believe that it’s our success at at the sake of someone else’s failure.
We believe that there is success for all of us if we continue to drive things forward. yoU know, that that shows up in the way that we dialogue with our customers that shows up most importantly with the way that we dialogue with our teammates. We can bring in a new, a new staff. And instead of, you know, having the mentality of well, you gotta, you gotta prove it.
You gotta be here for six months and you gotta just work your butt off and you gotta prove it to be part of the team. Instead of we think, well, what would I want if I was coming into a new team? I would want to feel welcomed. I would want to feel like I had clear goals about what, what, how I could be successful in my role.
And so I think that in terms of what. What’s unique about Precision as a team is that we just we view the world through a lens of kind of a win win situation and how can we help you win so that in turn the organization can win through your success.
Matt Foreman: That’s awesome. I noticed in working with a bunch of companies that One of the biggest issues is employment.
It’s not just finding good employees, but it’s retaining them even harder to retain the good employees. So, what is and obviously you touched on part of that, but do you have any advice for those that are trying to get their next supervisor, their next account manager or even just people that are willing to work out in the field and how they might retain them?
Nate Moses: Yeah, yeah. My advice, I would say this is not the easy route, but this is the route that will ultimately lead to success. And that is, I think one of the key moments for me is when somebody asked me why, why would I ever want to work at Precision? Why would I want to work for you? Why would I want to work at Precision?
And I thought, that’s a great question. Why would you? And I think as small business owners, we find our way into an industry like this or similar industries because we want to do good work. We want to take care of the customer. We’re proud of our craft. And that’s all really, really good. But if you want to grow a company that is not dependent on you doing the work every day, it’s important that you think through the lens of why would somebody want to come work for me?
Why would somebody want to come work at Precision? Because as an owner, we try to build a business that works for us, but something that works for us isn’t necessarily. Something that’s gonna work well for staff, especially staff that you want them to take ownership. You want them to have responsibility.
You may want them to even have some freedom within your business to make decisions that you don’t have to make. Every single decision that comes your way. And so how do you create an environment where somebody can have zero equity stake in the business and totally care about it at the same level that you do?
And I’m here to say that’s not easy, but it’s absolutely possible. And it’s not just true in my organization. It’s true in organizations of other industry leaders that I look up to. And frankly, who have. Pave the path for me to learn what I’m sharing with you today. This is not all original to me. And so, I think it’s possible for everyone to achieve that, but it’s going to have to come through the lens of thinking through somebody else’s brain.
Why would somebody ever want to work for me for precision? And it can’t just be a paycheck. Few small business owners can offer the most lucrative paycheck to their employees. And so you have to think beyond the money, even if you can pay well, think beyond the money. Why am I showing up to work every day?
And why would somebody else want to show up to work every day? Work really, really hard out in the hot sun.
Matt Foreman: Man, that’s awesome. That’s yeah, I can tell that you’ve kind of cultivated a really good environment for the entire team. So, that’s definitely going to be a big takeaway for everybody. So with that, though, you also mentioned your Willingness to learn from industry leaders.
And not just this industry, but I do want to talk about. Particularly, particularly leaders in this industry, because it seems like having, having spoken with you a few times and who you’ve kind of connected me with and references that you do have a good relationship with other green business industry owner, green industry business owners.
One, how did, how did those relationships come about? Why have them and, and how do you, how do you maintain them? Because it’s, it seems like you’re, you’re very well connected in. Just the broad, the broad industry.
Nate Moses: Yeah, I mean, that’s, that’s something that I wish I could take credit for it and say that that was a strategy from the early days, but it’s really something that’s been cultivated over the years as I’ve gained value in it.
And so I would say it first started like a lot of people. We want to commiserate, right? We want people that we can relate to and commiserate and maybe complain or share some successes with, but as I. Got connected to the greater industry. And for me, that that started in 2016 was showing up to the Green Industry Expo in Louisville, Kentucky, for the first time and realizing, okay, there’s literally thousands of people connecting and we’re looking at products and going over new innovation and new equipment.
Man, we’re here to learn. We’re here to advance the industry. And oh, my goodness, they offer classes. Who knew that you could go to classes to learn more about how to be a better business owner or a better leader or understand your finances better or do better at sales and sales leadership. I mean, there’s countless topics that we can benefit from to grow ourselves and to grow our business.
And so first being exposed to that was like, wow, this is, this is amazing that we have these resources. And as I dove into that and became a member of the NALP, the National Association of Landscape Professionals, which if you’re in this industry and are not a member, you need to be. It’s that simple. They have resources for you that you cannot get on your own if you are a small business.
And it’s there for you with just a small membership fee. And that’s just a simple way that you can get connected to the greater industry. And begin to get some resources that are given back to you. But as far as relationships go in the industry, I mean, that’s where it started and I just, I just asked questions and anybody who was willing to answer a young guys curious, ever, ever curious questions they just engage with me and I, and I appreciated so much their willingness to just take a few minutes, talk, talk to me, share with me, challenge me.
And I thought, man, like if I can put myself out there a little bit, be a little bit vulnerable about what I don’t know. What I gain in return is it’s just a little bit of energy that I’m putting out there. And what I gain in return is, is so much more than that. So much value that I get to bring back and hopefully give that to others.
And so that’s sort of what got things kicked off and what started this journey. And then, you know, as you, as you. Honestly, begin to make friends in the industry friends that you talk to email back and forth and call and say, Hey, how did you handle this issue? And okay, so you added this service to your business?
What did that look like to do that? And did you hire somebody? Did you buy somebody out? Did you just kind of bootstrap it? And get it going. And how did, how did you sell this? And how did you sell that? People will answer your questions. And I love the openness of other leaders in the industry to share their failures, share their successes.
And ultimately at the end of the day, I want to, I want to offer that back as, as much as I can, because I’ve gained so much from it. And so that to me is why relationships are so important. And I’ve taken that on a, on a broad scale. And I try to apply that in my market as well. I, again, I don’t view the world as my success means you have to fail.
And so I speak with other competitors in my market who are doing the same thing that I do. And I’ll talk to them about our pricing. I’ll talk to them about our processes and I’ll talk to them about our people because I want them to also be successful. And at the end of the day, if they’re running better companies.
It’s making the industry better as a whole. And I’m competing against people who have similar values. And then I don’t have to say things like, well, I don’t think you should work with them. I can say, Hey, they’re, they’re a great company. You can work with them. And they can provide that for you. And if you want to work with us, here’s what’s unique about us and how, and why it might make sense to work with us.
But if you go with them, that’s great. They’re going to pick up the phone. When you call, they’re going to make sure that they stand by their work. And so I’d rather have that conversation instead of keeping it silent when they’re like, well, have you heard of this company? Yeah, I’ve heard of them. What do you think?
I’d rather not say I don’t want to go down that road. And so, we all want to want to compete with people who are kind of at the same level. So I think it’s important to build those relationships and challenge those around you to also pursue success. And ultimately, if you can be genuine about it, I think they will want the same back for you.
Matt Foreman: That’s awesome. I appreciate you sharing that it’s it’s actually very similar to my story to with Finding lawn and land marketing. So I, I also went to a conference an expo sort of thing, but for digital marketing and It was it was intimidating. It was, it was really tough to see Oh man, there are a million people just like me, but they’re so knowledgeable.
And so it started off with a an intimidation factor, but it quickly turned into an opportunity to. Be curious, be inquisitive about what others are doing so well. How can I apply it to what I’m doing? It reignited a bit of a passion in, in, in the industry, but also the business that I had. Which ultimately I had a generalist agency.
So working with everybody and then I’ve niched down because I really wanted to better understand the green industry. I know that having worked with others. In this industry, finding success, understanding the success that we were able to find going and making these relationships, learning more, not just from.
YouTube tutorials, but from others that have gone through problems. I’ve gone through gone through problems. I’ve yet to go through have been able to share that wisdom. And, and these people are also direct competitors with me. They have digital marketing agencies that are dedicated to the green industry.
And it’s, it’s awesome because you go to these events again, at the beginning of it, at least for me I, I came on with a bit of. Intimidation oh man, these people aren’t going to want to talk to me, I’m their competitor why would they want to share with me? And then you quickly learn no, everybody’s here because of a passion.
And so, I think that’s just Expos and events in general, like if you, if you really want to commit to the industry that you’re in, commit to your craft, commit to your trade, go to these events, become a part of the overall community, not just like your little pocket. Yes. A BNI is really nice, but if you commit to being the best of the best at a national level.
And go to these things. It’s, it’s definitely going to translate locally when you bring all of that knowledge back home, not just to your services provided, but the people that you’re going to surround yourself with. So, I love that kind of similarity and parallel between the green industry. My industry is a digital marketer in knowing that the commitment to.
learn more, do better and, and, and realize it’s not you versus the world and that you can give back. You can essentially mentor other people that it, it’s, it’s only going to create a, a world of success for everybody involved. So I, I love that. I think that’s a really cool parallel there.
Nate Moses: Yeah, thank you for sharing that.
I did not know that about you and it’s exciting to hear that. That exists in other industries. I think that’s great for young people and aspiring professionals, regardless of the industry, you can get connected and ask questions and really get answers from people who’ve been there, done that. I love that that exists in our world
Matt Foreman: For sure. So, another thing that I know a bit about you is that you were already featured in Lawn and Landscape magazine. I know that you were featured but I don’t know how that all came about. So, and, and I know not every single person is going to be featured or even wants to be, but I know it is an interesting idea in getting your name out there.
Yes. It’s more on a national level. And you’re not, obviously not servicing anywhere outside of your core service area, but it’s still one press, which is great. But two, you get to share your story, which allows you to connect to people that might be looking up you or your business online and wanting to learn more about you.
So how did that. How did that come about? Like, how did your message get out there to make it to Lawn and Landscape magazine?
Nate Moses: Yeah, that’s interesting. So it actually stems from going to conferences, going to events where industry people to get together. And then from there, you know, media from that related industry are going to be there.
They want to know the movers, the shakers, what’s happening in the industry, what new innovation came out. And, you know, from their perspective, they need to be able to feature new things. They need to be able to feature exciting things. And so they’re constantly looking for that. And so, I just, yeah. I’ll see who showed up at these events and, you know, I think introduced myself to different media platforms just as a Solomon and really just built a relationship.
And I would think through, you know, Hey, I’m, I’m following you. I’m reading your magazine anyways. I’m reading your online newsletters that you put out. I may as well shake a hand, you know, when it says on the front page who’s on the staff, I may as well put a name with a face. And so I guess I just was willing to kind of put myself out there and say, Hey, you know, It’s good to meet you and engage in a conversation.
And as far as getting featured goes it just came through relationship came through seeing them at events. And eventually they’re saying, Hey, what’s new with you? What’s going on in your business? Oh, Hey, I noticed that you do this thing over here. I think the first time I was in an article that was about lawn care and I can’t remember how it came up, but they said, Hey, you know, you seem to have some expertise in lawn care.
Would you mind speaking a little bit about that topic in one of our articles? And I said, sure, of course. I mean, I’ve learned countless, I mean, millions of things through these magazines and these articles. If I can give one thing back to somebody else who could read it and make their business a little better, I will absolutely do that.
And so it started small and I would just maybe would have little sections inside an article that had an overall theme. And I expressed to them, Hey, I’m I’m willing to do this. I don’t know if everybody is. I think everybody should because that’s how we learn from each other is we share our experiences.
But hey, I’m willing to do this. So put put my name on the list of people who are willing to be used, whether it’s once in 10 years or or once a year. I don’t care. I’m willing to be a resource for you. If you can think of anything I could offer back. And so, yeah, just putting myself out there, showing a willingness to share, and you know, eventually got to know Brian Horn, the editor of Lawn and Landscape, as well as Seth Jones, editor of Landscape Management Magazine.
And as I see them throughout at events, walking up to them, shaking their hands. Catching up a little bit. And you know, at this point, I try to connect them with other businesses that I think are doing great things and have something to offer back to the industry. Because as I think about what media is doing for our industry and sharing stories, I think, man, if I was in their shoes, how do I get connected to these great people who are doing great things?
And it’s not just about me. It’s about who else can share their story and help industry advance.
Matt Foreman: Yeah, that’s awesome. So I mean, it just goes to show that the building relationships is so important. I can see where it wouldn’t even matter in the industry, or it might seem like it doesn’t matter. It’s like you’re a business owner, you have a job, you have a service you’re providing, the relationships that matter are with my employees and my customers, and that’s it.
But it just goes to show that maintaining a relationship with Industry leaders people that want to look up to you, want to do what you do, want to learn from you and vice versa that you see people that are doing something that you don’t know maintaining those relationships is super important.
Making those relationships is super important because you don’t know what’s going to be on the other end of that. It’s not just going to be the surface. Hey, how are you? Okay, I know this person. Getting to know them, getting to know their story I don’t want to say can lead to something. It almost always does.
It seems like as long as you’re putting yourself out there wanting to have that give mentality and not just trying to get something out of somebody for the sake of growing, you can’t. It seems like you can’t not succeed if you if you make that approach. So, and I think that’s It’s super evident in just how you’ve been able to kind of cultivate this entire business and networking system that you already have and are a part of.
So I appreciate you sharing that.
Nate Moses: So yeah, it’s, I don’t want to make it too elementary, but if you don’t mind me pitching in here, it’s, it goes back to the idea of you get out of something, what you put into it. Right. And if you can add value into something, I strongly believe that you will get value back.
And so it’s a really elementary idea that we all, you know, kind of heard before. But you know, I challenge each of us to think through how can we apply that today? But, you know, what, what can we put a little bit into? And maybe you don’t expect a return out of it right away, but you put a little bit of energy into it.
You mean it, you’re genuine about it, put yourself out there. And in almost every case I’ve seen that be returned, often with more value than I put into it.
Matt Foreman: Yeah, that’s, that’s great. So, we’ve kind of talked about all of Precision’s successes and some of the things that have led you to where you’ve gotten to.
And, and I think that’s the, like, all of those could be used as actionable advice, but what are what are some pitfalls that you, you felt along the way? And so, I mean, we can talk about. You were at a million, but you’re not profitable. Or was there even something before that? I know a lot of, um, aspiring green industry business owners are, are stuck in that even early six figure stage or hovering around that.
Is there, is there anything in particular that you’re like, man, this was such a tough struggle that looking back on you’re like, it would have been easier if we had done X, Y, Z makes so much more sense in hindsight.
Nate Moses: Oh, yeah, yeah, there’s, there’s a lot there. I’ll try to just hit a few things. I’ll, I’ll address the, the number side of it first.
I think that’s something that a lot of green industry aspiring professionals struggle with is maybe they don’t value their service as much as they should. Maybe they’re not charging what they should. Or maybe they don’t know what they should be charging because they don’t know and understand their numbers, and I’ll have to come back to that topic here in a little bit because that connects to the bigger picture, but that’s one where I see a lot of aspiring and growing landscape, lawn and landscape businesses struggle is they don’t put enough value on their services and what they’re giving back to their customers.
But another one I see is and one that I struggled with and really had to. work to get through is this idea that I’m the only one who can do it well. And that again need to work on kind of this open mindset that other people can do something as well as I can. And even though that mindset of I’m going to do things the best way helps you build the skills to go on and start your own business.
It’s one of those things that if you, if you believe that, then it’s going to be really, really hard for you to get out of the $100,000, $200,000, $300,000 a year phase, because if you’re the only one who can do it, well, guess what? You believe that you’re the only one who’s going to continue doing it. And it is hard to recognize in yourself.
I get it. It is not an easy thing that I’m asking you to consider. It was not easy for me to consider it. You know, at the time I was the best push mower. I was the best, you know, striper on the lawnmower. I was the best string trimmer. I was the best weed puller. I was the best of all those things. And I don’t know what it was.
I don’t know what the moment was, but I just, I realized that as I worked alongside other young men and young women that. I enjoyed teaching them. I enjoyed seeing the light go off in their eyes when they got it. And they got to look back and say, oh wow, I did that? I was terrible at this three months ago, and now I can do a really, really good.
I’m almost as good as you. You’re like, you know what you are, you, you’re in fact, I want you to be better than me. You know, and I wish I had said that sooner. I wish that the people I worked alongside in the early days, I had encouraged them to be better than me. And I think that’s the kind of mentality that’s required to grow your business beyond just a few hundred thousand dollars.
Is you have to be willing to help others succeed and those who are working alongside you and not just for the sake of your benefit of you making more money, but for the sake of them making more money as well. And so if you’re, if you’re in that stage where you’re doing a few hundred thousand dollars and it’ll say 500, 000 or less, I just encourage you invest in your people and help them realize that they can be better, that they are capable of leading crews, that they are capable of making decisions.
That they’re capable of servicing customers. Give them that freedom. No, not all at once. Don’t, you know, don’t, don’t go crazy on it, but give a little bit of responsibility. Teach them. They’re gonna fail. It’s okay. You did too, right? So why do you get to fail and your people don’t? Give them a little bit of space to fail.
Come in alongside them, teach them why that didn’t work, and then help them want to do better on the next one. But if you shame them or make them feel small because they made a mistake, well, is that how you learned? Do you learn well that way? And so I just encourage you if you’re considering growing your business, try to help others be successful and it will help you grow your business.
And then we have to come back to the numbers. I would say one of the things that really held us back in our business. And I have to say I ignored this for a little while. I was flipping through the magazines and in the back, oftentimes they’d talk about numbers and talk about knowing your business and talk about pricing and margins.
And at the time it looked really complicated to be totally honest. There were a lot of times I would skim through those and I’d be like, ah, that can wait for another day. And I would continue to not make what I believe to be a healthy profit, and I would continue to not pay myself what I probably should have been paying myself.
And I continue to have this mentality that I can’t charge more. And I, and those were all lies. Those were all lies that I was telling myself to feel good about the comfort zone that I was in. And ultimately it almost led to the, to the failure of my business when, when we lost money and I wouldn’t be able to sleep at night and I, you know, Hey, you know, talking to my wife, Hey, you know, we’re not gonna have money to do this.
And I’ve got to put this thing back in the business and I can be able to, you know, do this personal thing that we wanted to do. And, and she would ask me, why do you continue to do this? Well, you know, you know, be defensive. And I think I was just, we just have to keep, keep struggling, keep moving forward.
Finally, something helped me realize this is all because I wasn’t willing to truly look at the numbers of the business and understand what a profit and loss was and what it was telling me. What was the story behind the numbers inside my business? And what were the things that needed to change so that I could be proud of what I did, not just from an art and from a craft perspective, but from a return on my investment perspective, how can I, um, make this more than just a job for myself, but something that’s creating enough value that I get a return on the money that I’ve invested in the business.
And so learning your numbers is not why you got into this industry. You got into this industry because you like riding a mower, you like what it. Feels like to do a good job, look behind you and say, I did that with my hands. But I would say. No matter whether you, it’s just you working by yourself, whether you have a team of people, you really need to understand your numbers well enough.
And you don’t have to be a financial expert. You don’t have to be an accountant. Don’t go crazy with it, but you have to understand what those numbers are telling you about your business. Because if you don’t demand that the numbers work, this business isn’t going to work. You know, I think you mentioned earlier in the podcast that.
90 some percent of landscape businesses never get beyond a certain size or fail within the first few years. And I think those statistics are terribly sad. We all are capable of learning about our numbers and learning what the, what the numbers tell us. What’s the story that’s going on inside the business and what needs to change so that you can make a healthy salary for yourself plus a healthy profit at the end of the year.
And so I would just say those, those two pitfalls. are probably a couple of the biggest that I see and that frankly I had to struggle through. I was not good at it and I I had to learn the hard way through some of those.
Matt Foreman: Well, that’s awesome. I appreciate you sharing. I know that’s probably a traumatic time.
I mean, you were probably six years in the business at that point. And you’re like, man, it might not work. I know as an entrepreneur as well. Those are scary moments. But yeah, I mean, it’s, it’s all about the willingness to make the change and understand where your mistakes may be. And I think in this industry, especially for those that are starting up, it’s when it comes to pricing, it’s a race to the bottom. Okay. I’ll like you, somebody’s going to do it for this much. I’m going to charge a little bit less. I’m gonna charge a little bit less and you’re, you’re going to fail. If you do that yes, you might be able to get scrape a few pennies, get a little bit of volume off the bat and say, okay, I’m only going to do this temporarily, but if that’s your only value that you’re bringing is that you’re the cheapest around, you’re, you’re not going to be destined to succeed.
So it, it is. Like you mentioned about valuing yourself, valuing your services, valuing the quality of your services, and sticking with that and having the confidence to keep going through it and, and knowing that you don’t want to be the cheapest. You don’t want to race to the bottom there and, and, and persevering through that.
And yeah, absolutely understanding the numbers. As a business owner, I also have said okay, well, this is enough money. I’m, I know I’m happy with this, but the devil’s in the details where like you got to actually really understand those the profit and losses and understand okay, what are you paying yourself?
What are you investing back in the business? And, and, and all the other intricacies that can come with owning a business. And it’s, it’s super important as, as boring as it may be. It is wildly important. It’s going to be an inevitable reason for your failure success at some point, if you are to continue to scale.
So yeah, you have to, you have to get a grip on that. So, With that, okay, so what are what are the future plans for you for Precision? You’re, you’re still growing, you’re growing at a rapid pace. I know you just made a recent acquisition, so I would love to hear more about that and, and what is ahead for Precision?
Nate Moses: Yeah, yeah, no, that’s great. So just to kind of connect the dots a little bit from where we were to where we are today, before I talk about the future, I think it’s important to understand a lot of that hard work had to be put in to make some of what happened over the last 12 months even possible, right?
If I hadn’t taken the time to learn some of those things and really challenged myself to learn about financials and how to treat people and do things the right way, where we are today wouldn’t be possible. And so, Yeah, within the last 12 months, we purchased a business that was about the same size as we were before and was able to integrate all the staff, all the systems and processes and a new location into the into the precision organization and while obviously nothing goes perfectly, I would say that we were well equipped to do that.
To do this because of what the, the work that we had put into the business before. And I, and I’m here to say, well, not everything’s perfect. It’s gone really, really well. And we’ve retained most of the team and we’ve more than doubled the size of the business by doing this. We’ve actually grown organically at the same time.
And so, not easy. It was really, really, really, really hard. Probably one of the toughest things I’ve done, but it’s also. extremely fulfilling to be able to provide a good viable career to the people that joined this organization and to the people that continue to grow within the organization.
And so yes, we’ve, we’ve taken on a big thing and doubled the size of our business. We’ll fall short of 8 million this year in total top line revenue. And in 2022, we did just under 4 million. And so that’s, that’s a huge growth. And so what’s next is the team needs to breathe a little bit, you know, we, we just ran a marathon at a sprint pace.
And and while we’re certainly not gonna step back and take it easy, we’re gonna say, Hey, you know, what does it look like to actually run a marathon at a marathon pace? You know, it’s a little bit slower. Certainly, we’re not stopping. We’re not walking that kind of thing, but we’re gonna we’re gonna be methodical.
We’re gonna focus on our processes. We’re gonna focus on doing things healthy way. And we’re still going to grow. We’re still probably going to grow 20 25 percent next year through some marketing efforts, through adding to the sales team, and through making sure that we’re taking care of our customers.
And if you’re doing the right things that that growth is going to is going to come to you. But yeah, we definitely continue to have growth in our in our future. Part of having an amazing team is that allows me the freedom to think through opportunities that exist in the future, opportunities to expand new markets, opportunities to hire on key staff who will really help grow and elevate the success of the business.
And so, yeah. What’s next is you know, we’re, we’re going to continue to lean into being a healthy business, grow the team. And we’re looking at probably 25 percent growth for 2024 beyond what we did in 2023. And so, You know, probably three to five years out, we may look at some more markets and where we can kind of expand our influence, but we’re gonna we’re gonna lock in a little bit for the next couple of years and make sure that we take advantage of this.
You know, it’s like we try to digest a whale all at once, you know, and we, we need to, we need to sit there and, and eat off of that for a little bit so that we can continue to do things the right way.
Matt Foreman: For sure. For sure. Well, that, that’s awesome. I’m excited to watch what you guys are doing. It’s, it’s been fun kind of watching a little bit from the sidelines.
I mean, I’m in there a little bit and understand and see the growth first, not firsthand, maybe, maybe. secondhand, but it’s, it’s incredible to watch especially knowing the industry, especially knowing others in there and seeing you can just kind of power through these struggles and you make it, you’ve definitely made your business.
So viable, it doesn’t seem like it’s a struggle and that’s not to say there aren’t struggles. I definitely know there are and I know your team is crushing it right now. But it, it’s, it’s awesome to see what you’re doing, obviously going from four to almost eight. Is is wild but and and it’s not to say that.
Hey, everybody should be doubling every year that’s definitely not the case, but it’s it’s just goes to show you that once you get everything in place once you not just have a passion for yourself like as yourself but get the people around you to share in that passion share it share in the story of the business that You can absolutely accelerate your business to levels you’ve never thought of five years ago, 10 years ago.
And it is about investing in the business, investing in your knowledge in the business, investing in those relationships. And, and, and then just obviously whenever you see a struggle, lean into that struggle, figure out what’s happening, what’s holding you back and being real with yourself.
And Yeah. And I think precision is such a good window into what a successful green industry business looks like. And, and you shared a lot of really helpful stuff today. I guarantee you, our listeners will definitely be able to take away a lot from your experiences and. And whether they’ve gone through it themselves or are going to be able to avoid it because you’ve gone through it.
I’m super appreciative that you’ve been able to share open up about all of that. So, Nate, thank you so much for coming on the podcast today and, and talking about your story. And honestly, I would really like to follow up with you maybe in a couple months, a year from now, see where you’re at, see that progression.
Maybe share about what’s happened in the time in between because I know there’s going to be a lot of stuff. So, if you would, I would love to have you back. But other than that, it’s been an amazing time hosting you.
Nate Moses: Matt, thank you for having me. I’ve really enjoyed sharing my story. Thank you for the interest that you’ve taken in me and Precision.
And thank you for what you give back to the industry. I know you know, you don’t get paid to do this podcast, right? And so, you know, you’re just offering this back to the industry. And that’s one of the things I love about it. And so I’ve really enjoyed being part of this. Thank you for that opportunity.
And I would love to come back and just be able to kind of share. Some of our progress and hopefully give some tidbits that other people can take away from it.
Matt Foreman: Great, man. Well, again, great having you and I will definitely be talking to you soon. So thank you so much. Again, it’s Nate Moses with Precision Landscape Management. I’ll talk to y’all later.
Nate Moses: Bye now.