Expert Hacks: Organize your Landscaping Business before the Peak Season
The landscaping industry is ruled by the tides of seasonality. We’re sure you know what it’s like to have a mountain of calls quickly turn to radio silence! When the busy season hits, you’re overwhelmed by the sheer demand, and it becomes impossible to accept all jobs. This can result in a limit on profits. One of the biggest challenges is to figure out how to organize your landscaping business before the peak season stress begins.
We’ve invited some of our panelists from our 2022 landscaping trends webinar to give some tips on managing the pressures of peak season stress.
What Common Landscaping Tasks Need to be Organized?
It’s difficult to know where to start when trying to organize your landscaping business. Based on our recent survey, plant material shortages, and miscommunication with nurseries and architects are the biggest stress triggers for landscaping business owners. Lack of organization or well-defined processes plays a huge role in making both more challenging for landscape contractors. Other administrative tasks such as accounting and invoicing also need better organization, especially when factoring in all the seasonal workers needed during the busy season.
As a best practice to organize your landscaping business, consider thinking ahead- like, really ahead! At Everde Growers, the team works by planning a whole year ahead of the peak season. Bud Summers, Ph.D., COO of the company has a strategy hack for evaluating company performance. Summers evaluates company performance based on WD’s (Well done’s) and Opportunities to Improve (OI’s). During the spring season, if something can be fixed right away, then it gets handled on the spot. Everything else that is categorized as an OI is prioritized by the team for the next year.
“It’s important to create a plan- by quantifying the OIs to avoid any kind of unnecessary stress and debate. The teams make sure to prioritize, create action plans, plot out timelines, and assign accountabilities to address all the OIs,” says Summers. He also emphatically stresses that their teams hold regular calls with their team throughout the year, as they’re always looking to ensure improvement in performance during the peak season.
Bryan Mours, EMBA, VP of customer experiences of the business management software Aspire, suggests using your software system to pull forecasts for labor and materials.
“It is crucial to check, double-check and triple-check that you have the right number of trucks, equipment, and most importantly, manpower to cover the peak season period. Having enough workforce is especially important – this greatly reduces the chances that your project runs into overtime, which can ruin the profitability of that period,” says Mours.
Bonus organization hack from Mours – pre-order materials before the jobs get started. There is nothing worse than setting up crews to watch the clock waiting for materials that haven’t yet arrived.
What are Some Day-to-Day Stress Management Tips for your Workforce?
Both Mours and Summers agree that the most important work is proactive. If you implement the necessary steps to organize your landscaping business ahead of peak season, then workforce stress management should largely be taken care of.
Mours says that it’s important to be flexible and allow time off for life activities in case they come up. Another idea is to plan something fun and lighthearted like a Friday cookout to close out a high-pressure week. Another way of setting that up is a weekend employee family activity. Work-life balance is important, especially during peak season.
Summers underlines the importance of planning ahead of time and of discipline. Everde’s team sees each challenge that arises as an opportunity for improvement. He also reinforces the importance of management’s recognition of employees’ hard work and improved performance. Summers emphasizes the impact on employee morale in recognizing the “well done’s”.
“Sometimes a simple “thank you” is enough for an employee to feel appreciated in times of high stress,” says Summers.
What are Some Other Ideas and Tools Recommended by Industry Experts to Organize your Landscaping Business during the Peak Season?
Firstly, consider outsourcing and delegating all the unproductive tasks (tasks that are not yielding results, benefits, or profit) on your docket that are taking up too much time and energy.
Next, invest strategically in the right tech that will suit your team’s needs. Don’t make that decision arbitrarily – instead, decide how much to invest based on the potential profits that you’re missing out on.
The third and most important industry-recognized tip is to work on continuously promoting and emulating the work attitude that you’d like to see on a regular basis. Lead by example and that attitude will be contagious to the other members of the team.
The landscaping industry works the hardest than any other industry. Yet not enough energy gets invested in proactively planning and organizing, which only increases the stress on industry members. That being said, the tide is turning, and many businesses are turning towards hyper-focused standards and organizing their operations to run like clockwork. A lot of significant changes can be implemented when you take the time to organize your landscaping business. Gradually, this will become the norm and not the exception. It’s best to move in that direction now, as a way to escape the low-profit trap faster than the rest of the competition.
Want to read some more on landscaping business tips? Catch up on our most recent blog posts on how five Florida landscapers are using technology for efficient operations and how five free landscape management software and tools can boost productivity.