Mike Dowling is the owner and founder of Mike’s Landscaping. He began his business journey around ten years ago with only a truck and a push-mower. Mike currently resides in the Long Island area and has quite an impressive customer base. He is excited to continue growing his company to its full potential. 

What percentage of your business is mowing vs. landscaping?

Mike says the ratio is around 35/65. He explains that most of his mowing jobs for his company are from his regular customers. The last few years have been a bit hectic for Mike’s Landscaping, so they have been taking on a wide variety of jobs. His commercial base has grown recently and made up around 20% of the work in comparison to residential neighborhoods. He also finds himself taking on jobs for different property management groups around the area.

How do you get most of your jobs?

Mike lives in the second-largest city in the state, however, the area itself is relatively small. To put it into perspective, Mike says that he has 90 different customers within a 5-mile radius of his home. He explains that to get new business, he’s used tactics such as My Google Business, Instagram, Facebook, Yelp, and even the local newspaper. Mike has previously reached out to marketing specialists to help him promote his business, but he finds that by utilizing the tools mentioned above, he can get plenty of customers on his own.

Have you struggled to find employees this year?

Following the pandemic, many business owners have struggled to find good, reliable help. Mike says that his company was no exception to this. This past year, he saw his income begin to fall because people continued to not show up, which make it increasingly difficult to get jobs done. He has also found that workers are expecting much higher pay, with little to no experience which just isn’t feasible for many companies.

What’s the one thing you wish you would’ve known before getting into business for yourself?

Mike says that there are many things he wishes he would’ve known before owning his company. He expresses that he would’ve liked to have a better idea of where he was going to go with the company and what it takes to run it. He says that he’s happy because he learned quite a few lessons, but they certainly didn’t come easy. However, he expresses the fact that “you live and you learn” and overall, it made him a better business owner and boss. Ultimately, he feels that if he would’ve had a more strategic and solid plan, his path to success would not have been quite as rocky.

What’s one piece of advice that you believe someone coming into the industry could benefit from?

Take a step back. Mike says that when you have moments where you’re feeling overly frustrated or defeated, it’s okay to walk away for an hour. There’s no shame in regrouping and taking a break. If you don’t, you may find yourself working yourself into a frenzy and you’ll continuously struggle to get tasks done.

Stay tuned for the next episode of the Business Hammer podcast!