This information came from a session during the 2022 ELEVATE conference and expo. Don’t miss the 2023 ELEVATE in Dallas on Sept. 10-13.
Most lawn and landscape company owners want to grow their businesses. How to go about doing that will vary, as there is no one perfect method, but several others in the industry share what has worked for them.
Bob Grover, LIC, president of Pacific Landscape Management, based in Portland, Oregon, says it comes down to a little bit of luck and a lot of perseverance.
Qualify Your Sales Leads
Kyle Narsavage, president of GreenSweep LLC, based in Silver Spring, Maryland, says three years ago his company would say yes to everything. Then they decided to develop criteria to qualify if a client was a good fit for the company. These criteria included everything from the budget to site access and the project timeline.
Similarly, Brian Mark, owner and president of Chris Mark and Sons Landscape, Inc., based in Pocasset, Massachusetts, says his father, who started the company, viewed no job as too small or customer as too difficult. Yet in 2015, Mark realized this mindset was not sustainable. Their growth had stagnated, so they decided to develop a series of client requirements, such as spending a minimum of $5,000 a year and having an irrigation system on the property.
The company’s client base went from 700 to 400, but their revenue skyrocketed as a result thanks to them focusing on their ideal client.
Once you know who your preferred client is, don’t be afraid to say no to those who are a bad fit. Mark says they will typically give these leads a couple of other landscape companies to look into that are more aligned with what they’re looking for.
Brett Lemcke, vice president of R.M. Landscape, Inc., based in Hilton, New York, says he will still walk the property with these clients, as they might think it’s unfair they got disqualified over the phone.
Another aspect to determine with your sales leads is to define your preferred geography. Depending on the makeup of your business, how much windshield time you can tolerate will vary.
Lemcke says they are currently working to build their density. Narsavage says they will take on a property out of the way if it is for one of their customers with a large portfolio of other profitable properties.
Build Your Company Culture
You can’t grow your business if you’re constantly struggling to maintain your current staff size. Company culture is a critical component of recruiting and retaining your workforce.
One way Narsavage makes sure they are bringing on employees who are a good fit with the team is by conducting a thorough screening process and then having these candidates take a DiSC assessment, which gives them a good idea of how they’ll blend with the rest of the team.
Lemcke says once bringing on a new hire, they provide orientation and work to make sure their expectations are not too high or the timeline is too short for them to be able to produce. He says it’s also important to ask how you can help these individuals instead of just being focused on how they can do more. Mark agrees that you have to slow down and properly train new hires instead of throwing them in the fire.
Grover adds that you win or lose an employee in the first work week if you don’t find a way to connect with them. Narsavage says they have new hires fill out a questionnaire with their favorite things and provide a goodie bag of these favorite items as a way to welcome them. He says they also make a point to have team members share their responsibilities with new hires, so they have a better understanding of operations from the start.
Know Your Numbers
One thing for certain is if you don’t have a firm understanding of your numbers, you won’t be able to determine if your company growing or by how much.
Nasavage says they opt to create their budget at the end of the summer and then finalize it at the end of the fiscal year. He says the important thing is discussing the budget every month. Otherwise, you’ll easily find yourself off track. Mark says they tend to set their budget in November or December. At their company, they practice open book management, so everyone on staff knows how they are performing.
For more content like this, register for next year’s ELEVATE in Dallas, Texas, on Sept. 10-13.