How Landscape Businesses Can Minimize Costs by Combining Loads
One of the biggest challenges for landscaping businesses in 2022 will be transport. For starters, we know the truck driver shortage is one part of the problem. Truck drivers are leaving the transport industry and new workers aren’t filling the gaps in large enough numbers. The other issue impacting transport is rising fuel costs. Fuel costs have recently reached an all-time high. Naturally, increased transport costs will in turn eat away at your landscaping business profit margins. So, how can landscape businesses minimize costs of transport? By combining transport loads!
Here are some strategies for landscape businesses to consider when combining loads:
Four ways landscape businesses can minimize transport costs
Full use of truck capacity
When you contract a truck, whatever capacity you don’t fill is money wasted. If the materials for one job don’t take up all of the truck’s available space, combine the loads of different jobs.
The truck is already paid for. Landscapers can save money on booking a second truck when there’s already room available in an existing one.
Reducing separate trips in the same direction
Every mile counts with current gas prices. Consider the final destination when you choose which loads to combine. Two separate trucks traveling in the same direction doubles what you spend on fuel. Fewer separate trips in the same direction will ultimately save on fuel costs!
Lower manpower costs
Depending on the types of plants you’re sourcing for your landscaping business, two people may be needed per trip to load and unload the material.
When you combine loads, you’re minimizing the number of workers required for the transport of your plant materials. Your landscaping business profit margin will increase as the manpower decreases.
Lesser overhead costs from unforeseen circumstances
Anytime a truck hits the road, your landscaping business becomes vulnerable to unforeseen circumstances. Whether it’s a flat tire that delays a delivery or the truck’s temperature control that kills the plants, it will end up costing you.
It’s a game of numbers: the fewer trips your fleet needs to make, the fewer chances of things going wrong and impacting your landscaping business profit margin. Combining loads puts fewer trucks on the road and opens you up to fewer incidents.
When should you combine loads?
Combining truck loads is one of the ways landscapers can save money. However, not every job is a prime candidate for combination. You can combine the following types of loads:
Multiple small jobs
Don’t dispatch multiple smaller trucks or flatbeds. Your base cost isn’t significantly reduced when the truck is smaller. Employee wages, insurance, fuel and rental fees all exist regardless of the size of the truck.
Combine multiple small jobs. Together, these jobs will justify the cost of a larger truck. All it takes is some thoughtful coordination to get the dates aligned for multiple jobs.
Sourcing from multiple nurseries
Between landscaping plant shortages and the trend to diversify plant selection, trucks have to stop at multiple nurseries for the same job more frequently than before.
When you know your truck is making multiple stops anyway, you may as well take advantage of the situation. Driving slightly off the set path for an extra delivery won’t affect the bottom line much if the driver’s day is already spent going from place to place.
Proximity of multiple jobs
Whenever your jobs are near one another, it’s the perfect set up for combining truck loads! Deliver new materials to site A, drop off replacements to site B and finish off by emptying what’s left at site C.
Practical tips for landscaping business trying to minimize costs with combined loads
Make combining loads and reducing trips a strategic priority
Your operations priority for a predetermined amount of time should be to combine loads and reduce trips. Try it for a quarter. Make a concentrated effort. This strategy could improve your landscaping business’ profit margin. You can always switch back to your previous way of doing things if it’s not worth the hassle!
Double check the dates and schedules to avoid repeat trips
Be vigilant in order to avoid scheduling mistakes. Your goal is to reduce the number of trips your trucks are taking or else it defeats the purpose of combining loads.
Find partners who might want to share the loads with you
Reach out to your network in case they’re interested in combining loads together. Your jobs might be close by, you might be looking to source materials from the same nurseries, the options are endless, and the benefit is mutual.
All in all, the industry is bracing for the impact of inflation and rising fuel costs. It’s necessary to have a strategy in place for transport this year. GoMaterials already relies on combining loads to help you minimize costs. It’s one of the best ways landscapers can save money without compromising on their product. Contact us to reap the benefits of combining loads without worrying about the logistics!
Have you combined transport loads before? Tell us about the experience on social media!