Four Ways To Improve The Efficiency Of Your Growing Landscape Business
Some landscaping businesses start as a simple grass and yard maintenance service with a few lawn mowers and elbow grease. However, with the right market and demand, you can find your business quickly growing to need more employees and company vehicles and equipment. It's hard to manage many different crews of maintenance teams, but there are some things you can do as you transition into big business landscaping.
1. Invest in a fleet fueling service.
Having your fuel delivered to your base site each morning (or every few days if you have a storage tank on site) can save you so much time. If you have three or four company pick-ups, lawn-mowers, small skid steers, and other equipment, stopping to get and mix the right fuel can really cut into the work time. Instead, have a fleet fueling company deliver your fuel so that all machines and trucks can be fueled up before the workday even begins. Employees don't have to stop for gas and can start cutting grass, leveling top soil, and laying sod before the sun gets hot. If you're considering hiring a fleet fueling service, contact a company like Enright and Sons for more information.
2. Have company cell phones for emergencies.
It may seem like a hard-nose thing to do, but cellphones can be a dangerous distraction, and with more landscaping crews out on the job, you can't monitor whether or not people are on their phones. Have a bucket to collect employee phones at home base, and distribute cheap phones to employees, or even just to the team lead. This way, if you need to contact a member of the crew, the crew leader will have a phone. Also, phones are important to call 911 in case there is an injury or fire. Your employees will be more efficient and less distracted if they are not checking for texts or browsing online.
3. Install radios in the company trucks that share a frequency.
Sometimes, phones cannot be trusted, and it helps to have a backup way of communicating that anyone can use in case the phone dies or gets lost. Shared frequency radios, like police radios, can help teams communicate easily between jobs or as they commute back to home base. You can hire somebody to work "dispatch", meaning there is always somebody present to hear the radios call in. This way, no calls are ever missed. The dispatch person can then track several deliveries or cutting jobs at once without ever needing to make a phone call -- drivers or team leads can simply call in and say "East boulevard job is complete," and the dispatch employee only needs to acknowledge and make a mark. This also reduces the amount of time you need to spend collecting reports from team leads. If the dispatcher knows all the jobs of the day, he can check all of the them off as the radio messages come in and give the final report of the day back to you.
4. Start a yard business that deals with smaller customer orders.
Your business may have begun with cutting grass, but as it has expanded, you will have customers asking for things like shrubs, trees, and pavers. You can capitalize on the demand by directing your customers to your home base area -- as long as there is product present to sell. You can begin by keeping two or three kinds of popular trees in stock, as well as a few pallets of sod. This will help you access DIY landscapers who want to do improvements themselves. Keep a few employees back at the base to interact with customers who come looking for products like rocks, decorative trees, or sod. A store with potting soil, fertilizers, and lawn ornaments can also be a good money spinner for when business is slow during the winter.