When it comes to landscape maintenance work, nothing can eat into the profit like callbacks. Tim Buiten, president of Tim’s Complete Landscape Management in Kent, Washington, says they were getting more callbacks than he would have liked for clean-up and small enhancement projects — and he needed a solution. After doing a walk-through with the client he would relay the information on what needed to get done to his crews, but he says it wasn’t enough. They were still missing important details. That’s when he got the idea to start making videos.
“As I would walk through with the customers, everyone had very different ideas and very different properties even if the tasks were similar,” Buiten says. “There was a lot of information to relay to the crews. So, I decided to start making videos of the property with the specifics of exactly what to do. They are one to five-minutes long and completely answer the questions that the guys might have.”
In order to maximize time, Buiten makes the videos at the time of walk-through with the client — before he knows whether they’re signing on or not. It’s no more than five extra minutes of his time and saves him from driving back later, he says.
Buiten admits he was initially worried that customers wouldn’t like the idea of him videoing their property. But instead of any pushback, he’s only gotten praise. Customers are impressed that he takes that extra step in order to ensure that his crews know exactly what needs to get done on their property. In fact, it may even be a selling point.
“Customers seem really impressed when I tell them that I’m making a comprehensive video for our crews,” Buiten adds. “They see it as an extra step to ensure things get done right.”
Once the customer does sign a contract, then Buiten posts the videos on a shared Google Drive folder that he has set up on his crews’ work phones.
“The guys watch the video ahead of time to make sure they have all of the equipment that they need on the truck,” Buiten says. “Then they watch it again on site to make sure they know exactly what to do. Most of the time, if the guys have questions they can just re-watch the video and find their answer. It’s saved us time in a lot of ways.”
And, best of all, it has virtually eliminated callbacks. Buiten says they may occasionally get one here or there but it usually ends up being something that was covered in the video and the guys just forgot. For the most part, Buiten says customers are happier and projects are getting done the way they should from the start.
“I’m a very detail-oriented person and when I do the walk-through with the customer it’s important to me that the job is actually getting done that way,” Buiten says. “Originally I wanted to take the crews on my own walk-throughs but as we’ve grown that’s not been feasible. This has been an even better solution because they can re-watch the video as much as they like. It’s helped us to be a lot more thorough.”
Our Like a Boss series highlights some common business challenges landscape professionals face and how they conquer them.