Liquigreen Lawn and Tree Care of Galesburg, Ill., offers service in an eight-county area, and its service calls often require driving 40-45 miles at a stretch. The secret to success in a rural area, says Assistant Manager Charles Goodrich, is not only good, efficient routing but also using one’s referral network to cluster customers together.
“If you’re going to travel 40 miles in one direction for one job, that’s really tough,” he says. “If you take care of people in rural areas, and they like you, they’ll tell their neighbors. Then, instead of one, you might go out there for multiple people.”
Maintaining strong customer relationships and taking advantage of word of mouth are key. “You might travel 300 miles from morning till night, so you gotta make it worth it.”
Although Goodrich says that it might make sense in some cases to travel more than 40-45 miles, he rarely strays from that self-imposed limit. Why? Because other companies are in the Peoria and Quad Cities regions, and he doesn’t want to compete with them.
“Out of respect, we stay away from that,” he says. “It’s kind of an unofficial boundary.”
At the end of the day, maximizing efficiency and profitability is also about setting up efficient routes, too. “You have to cluster your jobs together so that it makes sense.”