Getting into the landscaping business is a truly rewarding experience as the fruits of our labor are actually palpable. However, as our influence reaches more and more people and our business starts to expand – we are faced with a unique transitionary period where we need not only manage ourselves but others under our wing. Despite the number of challenges we are all destined to face, none of these are insurmountable. In reality, most of the pitfalls of expansion can be avoided by utilizing the previous experiences of others and laying out a solid plan. This turns a turbulent period into nothing more than a smooth ride.
First and foremost, a business owner has to understand that management systems are an ever-evolving entity and that every company and situation requires a specific approach. What once worked for a one-man operation will most-certainly not be enough to manage five people, let alone fifty. Ignoring this issue is a surefire way to end up in a logistical nightmare with no way of reliably knowing what transpired within the past month, let alone the fiscal year. By figuring out our needs and hiring personnel to manage employees or come up with systems to keep track of everything efficiently – we pay a bit more upfront but save thousands in the long run.
There’s no way around it – your employees will be the face of your company, like it or not. They will be the first, and hopefully not last, face they see when procuring a service. Whatever the task might be, it is an absolute necessity that these people are sufficiently trained and upbeat about their job. Nothing breaks a deal like a general unwillingness to do one’s job and a bad attitude towards customers. A bad employee will get rooted out eventually, sure, but the damage they could do to your brand and company isn’t something that will go away as easily. Tread carefully.
Train your people
When you do actually find people worthy of your trust, make sure to train them in the field. Always offer them opportunities to improve upon themselves and rack up those references for their CV down the line. Any form of training can be presented as a bonus to employees as it increases their skill set while also reflecting positively on the company itself as its workers are trained and have a wide variety of skills. This will also allow you to somewhat tweak pricing to reflect the quality and professional help you’re offering to potential clientele.
With an increasing workforce, it can get extremely hard to find the right methods to motivate everyone equally. However difficult and time-consuming it might be, it is imperative that every employee feels appreciated and like they have a higher purpose – a reason to work hard. Make sure any company needs are communicated properly and that every worker knows exactly what their job is and when it is complete. Leave no room for misunderstanding and be as transparent as you can afford – this forms bonds akin to a family instead of an office and makes them feel like part of something bigger.
Invest in GPS tracking
More than just a safety net for rogue drivers, GPS tracking allows for drivers to get from point A to point B more efficiently and improves customer support. Installing GPS tracking isn’t a big deal and you have systems like Teletrac which offer real-time tracking with updates every few minutes. This can help give updates to worried customers, help provide an ETA, find out where a driver has been during his shift etc. This also has the Big Brother effect – employees will know that they have a GPS in the truck and will avoid slacking off.
Quality makes a difference
With all of that out of the way, it’s time to focus on what we’re actually offering to our customers. Simply put, quality service only works if complemented by a quality product. Your employees can be experts in the field all they like if they don’t have the right materials to work with. Strike a deal with a trusted local supplier like Sand4U or other trusted companies in your region to guarantee the best materials and even use their own influence to your PR advantage. With quality personnel and a quality selection of materials, the sky is the limit.
Handling a company is no easy feat and surviving in this dog-eat-dog world is truly an accomplishment. When starting out, it’s important to look ahead without getting ahead of ourselves. This essentially means that we need to anticipate future problems, come what may, without going so far as to lose sight of what’s directly in front of us. By following these steps, we set up a good set of guidelines to make sure we stay our course through and through while allowing us enough flexibility to adapt and overcome any challenges our business is sure to face down the line.