Every year the same thing happens, and we know it’s going to happen. We don’t even need a crystal ball because we just know it’s going to happen. I’m talking about spring, of course. I view spring as something akin to a hurricane wrapped inside a tornado crescendoing into a giant tsunami of bed edging, mulching, spring cleanups, first cuts, training, not sleeping, rain days, even snow days, and people wanting everything done by yesterday.
What if the same scenario was happening with the weather? Look at the people who live in areas where hurricanes happen — they don’t just sit around with their windows open and say, “Bring it on,” do they? No. They prepare, get the sand bags out, batten down the hatches, board up the windows. They do whatever they can to make sure that their belongings are as safe and secure as they can make them. So let’s get after it: Here are spring storm prep ideas for landscape professionals.
1. Train, train, train.
Train your people. Let them know what the rules are, what you expect and that they will be held accountable for their work. At my company we have a full-day “Training Rodeo.” We go over everything from equipment and truck operation to safety to what we expect when it comes to quality and customer service.
2. Set up for success.
Make sure all of your equipment is in good condition, including trucks and trailers. At my company we are going over every piece of equipment, truck and trailer we own and making sure it is ready to go for the season.
3. Plan for setbacks.
Yes, you will have setbacks. Think about problems you have had in the past and try to plan for the worst scenario. What can you do differently to get a better outcome?
An example would be employee absences or no shows. Whether we like it or not, people get sick or just plain don’t want to work or just don’t show up. To curtail this you may want to hire a few more people than you need in the spring and let them weed themselves out over time. The ones who are left might turn out to be great team members.
4. Make scheduling a priority.
Work on a schedule before the first day of production. We have already scheduled our first week of spring cleanups. Everything is entered in our landscape management software so the crews know how many hours they have to get the jobs done, how much mulch they need, what tasks need to be completed and how many people will be assigned to get the jobs done.
5. Have some fun.
All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy! It wont kill you to grab a few pizzas and drop them off for your crews at lunch time or to bring in coffee and donuts for your weekly safety meeting. (You do have those, don’t you?)
Spring is crazy busy every year; the storm is on it’s way. I can feel it in my bones, and it wont be long before we are in the midst of a heavy duty landscape storm. Will you be ready?