Five Time-Saving Tips for Landscaping Jobs
Time management for landscape professionals can be tricky for many reasons. You plan ahead, invest in some new software to keep your competitive edge, purchase new equipment or spruce up some old equipment, your staff is ready to go ﹘ and yet the beginning of the season can leave you scrambling. It happens! There can be many hidden reasons that affect time management for landscaping professionals.
The most notorious productivity drains are coordination issues, mismatched tools, mismatched specs and quality, miscommunication with clients and inspectors, and a team culture that works against any effort to organize. We’re taking a look at each of these obstacles to give you the best time management hacks for your landscaping business.
Coordination Issues for Landscaping
On top of your day-to-day client care and staff management, you have plenty of other tasks. Building quotes and trying to get them out in a timely manner, balancing product availability, sourcing the material, and scheduling delivery details to name a few. Coordinating all these processes between different vendors may become overwhelming.
All it takes is one call from a vendor letting you know he can’t supply you with a specific shrub, and suddenly you have to start the process all over again to see who else can fill that gap before you reorganize your logistics.
Time Management Hack #1 for Landscaping:
Hiring a project manager can greatly ease your workload and help keep tasks running on time. We’ve touched upon the benefits such a hire can bring to your landscaping business in a previous article.
If you’re not interested in bringing another employee on board, but you still need a solution today for your coordination issues, you can rely on external partners like GoMaterials. Getting help from a third party alleviates a large chunk of the coordination work and saves a monumental amount of time.
Mismatched Landscaping Software & Tools
A popular trend making the rounds in 2021 is landscaping management software. Software, like any tool, only saves you time if it’s the right fit. Are you using landscaping management software in your business? More importantly, are you confident that you’re using the right one?
A mismatched landscaping software can slow you down in a variety of ways. It might be too complex for your staff to use or it might focus on procedures your business doesn’t need.
For example, if the system focuses on letting the landscaping crew guide the job and make changes, but you just want your teams to mark timestamps at job sites, the software is wasting time and exasperating your users instead of helping anyone.
Time Management Hack #2 for Landscaping:
The tools you invest in need to work for you. Depending on the size and scope of your business, you might need to adjust which software you’re using. We’ve compiled a list of the most popular landscape management softwares. A quick look at this article can help make sure you’ve got the right fit for your team [link to landscaping management software article here].
Also, it’s important to remember that software comes with a learning curve and that can drag down productivity while employees become accustomed to using the system. Make sure to train all staff members on using your business’ software before the busy season gets here. You can do this via online training videos from the companies themselves, one on one guidance, or any number of ways.
Need an immediate fix? Schedule a group “wellness check” tomorrow to run your staff through the basics of your software and make sure everyone is on the right page.
Mismatched Landscaping Material Specs or Quality
To your vendor, a three-gallon shrub that’s three feet tall might be an acceptable replacement for your client’s request of a three-gallon shrub that’s four feet tall. This seemingly small change in the meantime can completely halt the day’s progress on your job site, wasting time and money.
Mismatched specs or quality leads to returns and wastes important man-hours. While equipment is being returned, your crew is left waiting on a job site until the proper materials arrive.
Time Management Hack #3 for Landscaping:
The long term solution is to work with vendors whose quality you trust. Improving the accuracy of the specs from the source will also avoid job delays. Your next check-point in this process is your crew. Your team should be knowledgeable enough about the material specs and expected quality standards.
If you need to make a change today to avoid mismatched specs or quality of your sourced material, make an agreement with your vendors to have them advise you of any changes or replacements they make beforehand.
Miscommunication with Landscaping Clients and Inspectors
This time-waster is as straightforward as it is frustrating. Maybe your client is expecting work to begin on one day and you planned on another. Maybe you’re not on the same page regarding the plant standard required for the job. There are instances where you can even source the best possible quality for a particular type of plant, yet it still gets refused by the client or inspector.
Time Management Hack #4 for Landscaping:
“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”
Clear communication to prevent this problem will save time in the long run. Set the right expectations with your clients every step of the way. Make sure they understand what changes they’re approving or requesting ﹘ and keep traceable, written confirmation, just in case.
Clarify issues with experts on your team to make sure good quality materials aren’t rejected. A good rule of thumb is to have your team member present for the delivery of plants before any inspection. You can also check out our other tips on managing unreasonable customer requests.
Inefficiency-Prone Team Culture
Despite having the right tools, extra help to coordinate, knowledgeable staff, etc, you might still face mismanaged projects that are wasting time. This can be due to a team culture that doesn’t incentivize greater productivity.
We know that low company culture leads to high turnover and high turnover slows down productivity. This obstacle is trickier for landscaping businesses because the staff is often seasonal, and many smaller landscaping business owners do not have the time ironically to nurture the culture.
Time Management Hack #5 for Landscaping:
Buzzwords like “strong company culture” might sound like fluff and feel daunting to put into action, but it can be quite simple. Come up with your values and your visions for your business, and share them with your team. Make decisions keeping this vision in mind and your staff will follow your lead.
Projections suggest spring 2021 will be very busy for the landscaping industry. Be empathetic towards the struggles and stresses your employees will experience as they manage their workflow. While empathy doesn’t directly save time, it helps with employee retention, which does lead to higher productivity.
All this to say, efficiency cannot be improved overnight. It’s an ongoing objective but there is still some time before the start of the season scramble begins. You can use the next few weeks to clean up processes that are wasting time, improve employee morale, and get your team on the same page, ready to tackle the season ahead!
Is there anything you’re looking to improve in your business before the spring busy season arrives? Let us know on social media!