A lawn and landscaping business does much more than actual lawn management or landscaping. The effort starts with setting up the infrastructure and marketing the services, before getting a chance at landscaping. Simultaneously, the business has to take care of customer relations, billing, regulatory compliance, human resources management, and much more.
Landscaping, the core activity, and the sole revenue generator are just one of the many tasks. Upscaling the business so that the landscaping activities take place in adequate volumes to cover the overheads becomes inevitable sooner or later.
Here are some tips to upscale your lawn and landscaping services.
A sound marketing plan is indispensable to attract more customers and scale-up the business. Many green professionals advise new landscaping companies to spend equal time and effort to build up their customer base as they do for actual lawn care, during the first two years of their operations.
Have a social media strategy, reach out to the targeted customers in the selected area through both on-line and offline mediums, and conjure up strategies to improve visibility. Develop a professional website. Get listed in the popular yellow pages and directories.
Dividends for such marketing and promotional activities may not be immediate. For instance, a flyer or vehicle lettering may not yield any result on the day but would increase recall value.
The best-laid marketing plans come with the caveat of not antagonizing existing customers. It costs around five times more to acquire a new customer compared to retaining an existing one. Delighted customers who refer the business to their friends and leave positive feedback are worth their weight in gold.
A service company is only as good as its employees. The employees are the ones in direct contact with the customers, and who deliver the actual service.
Many employees in the cleaning and landscaping business are in for a temporary, stop-gap or part-time engagement. When such employees leave, the company has to invest more money to recruit and train new employees, undermining growth efforts.
Offer good work conditions. Long hours with low wages, no training or skill development programs, or not having a roadmap or vision for their future is a sure-shot way of alienating employees.
Pay attention to the company culture. A healthy and open culture fosters employee retention and delivers rich rewards. Experienced employees, familiar with their job, get the work done much better and faster. Such employees are more likely to remain invested in the company and engage with customers better.
Technology is in a continuous state of flux. However, the trick for success is not to embrace any new technology just for the sake of it, but rather pick and choose the technology which adds real value to the enterprise and its customers.
Landscaping companies would do well to keep abreast of the latest developments in technology related to their niche and understand how any change creates impact. Rushing in to offer a new technology that adds more value to the customer is a good way to gain a competitive advantage.
Most landscape companies today use drafting programs to create scale landscape plans, with full-color rendering and 3-D sketches. Emerging technology such as Augmented Reality with goggles takes such renderings to a whole new level.
New Roomba-style mower mimics automated vacuums, relying on sensors to cut grass without requiring human control. A landscaping company can rely on such automated mowers to handle uncomplicated grass lawns, allowing human teams to do more of gardening, planting, and tree-management jobs, while also enabling easy scale-up with existing resources.
New green battery-powered equipment marks an improvement over gas or fuel-powered equipment. Deploying such equipment cuts emissions and reduces pollution in the environment. The benefits stem from cost-savings and positive public relations.
Automated solutions for marketing, finance, and other functions, with each system integrated for the free flow of information, do wonders for internal efficiency and customer satisfaction.
A field management suite tops the list of software to improve efficiency. The suite automates several critical tasks such as job scheduling, billing, and inventory management, besides enabling several possibilities such as live tracking.
The automated job scheduler schedules services to optimize employee time, company resources, and client convenience, offering a win-win solution for everyone.
The GPS powered field management suite allows live fleet tracking and gives accurate ETA with live visibility to customers.
Besides, the data gathered by the suite offers rich analytical insights. Analyzing the time taken for each task allows top managers to get a realistic idea of how long each type of job takes. Deep insights throw open perineal bottlenecks, paving the way for remedial measures.
The suite allows the business to scale-up and scales down seamlessly and effortlessly. A one-time investment pays back for itself in a short while and delivers savings throughout the lifecycle of the business.
Well begun is half done. The other half of success depends on how well the business can sustain itself. For this, a smooth and seamless scale-up is imperative.