Brad Johnson of Lawn America in Tulsa, Oklahoma has always worked for locally-owned companies during his three decades in the lawn and landscape industry. His proud ethos is that of a small business owner committed to serving his community.
“People just trust us, and a lot of it is because we have really great people that service our customers really well,” he says. “We push the local ownership aspect of our company a lot. That’s a big selling point versus corporate lawn care.”
In Johnson’s view, locally owned companies have a natural competitive advantage over national franchises if they provide attentive service and market themselves effectively.
“In our industry, people like to do business with local guys,” he says. “We give 3 percent of our gross sales back to the community, and we’ve begun to market that.”
Community service is a big part of Lawn America’s overall strategy for embedding itself in the local community.
Although Johnson’s motivations are genuine – he wants to help strengthen his community – there is an added benefit in company branding, he says.
“We do a lot of free applications for nonprofits, churches, schools and municipalities,” he says. “People tell us they do business with us because of our strong community involvement. That’s not the reason we do it, but hey, we’ll take it.”