Even though the season is half over you still have time to improve your margins — but you have to act now. Many of your competitors are catching their breaths and taking it easy now, so get busy.
The smartest operators continue to find creative ways to generate additional revenue from existing clients and, also, add new customers. These are the only two ways to increase sales. Sounds simple, right? That’s because it is simple. Here some ideas to build mid-summer business.
Target irrigation installation and repair. Irrigation can be a relatively easy service to sell that adds to your bottom line. As conditions get dry during the heat of mid- to late-summer, landscapes that don’t have irrigation really stick out. This is especially true if these dry properties are adjacent to well-maintained, irrigated sites. Is there really a better time to suggest a state-of-the-art irrigation system? And, even if your clients have systems, they all require maintenance. Some systems even need to be replaced with more modern systems altogether. Stress the savings — water costs, plant replacements, etc. — that clients can expect from these improvements.
Keep selling enhancements
Selling enhancements is a great revenue and profit builder, regardless of the season. Review your client list and target clients who you know could use upgrades to their turf, ornamentals, trees and patios. These are among the most obvious enhancements, but don’t stop there.
“During the spring we think and sell for summer work knowing summer can break the whole year from an income perspective,” says Mark Lay, president of AA Tex Lawn Co., Matthews, North Carolina. “Good items for us are the things that will promote fall reseeding. Reestablishing drainage by removing silt, elevating trees and redoing rip-rap are all summer profit opportunities. The main thing is to plan ahead and have work sold or ready to close as summer moves on.”
Are there services you don’t offer that could bring in more revenue and increase client loyalty? Think about the jobs you as a property owner hate doing even though they must be done. Then figure out a way to profitably provide these services to your customers – things like bed edging and gutter cleaning, for instance.
By mid-summer, ornamental beds need some fresh TLC. Grass has invaded some of the bed edges, and weeds are starting to peek their nasty heads through the mulch. Remind your technicians to be on the lookout and to let you know when they see these things and report back to you. This will give you great opportunities to reach out to your clients and remind them that you can keep their beds attractive heading into the fall.
Clogged gutters are nightmares for property owners. If you offer this service, make sure your insurance covers your employees on ladders. Even if a client doesn’t need a particular service now, you’ll be first in their mind when they consider it in the future.
Sure, it may be difficult to sign on new maintenance accounts in mid-summer, but why not look for ways to complete your existing jobs faster and more efficiently? Examine your schedules and crew productivity now, and chances are you can find ways to reduce job times or complete more jobs without adding to your labor burden. This is what smart, successful operators are doing. When you increase productivity, you increase profitability.