John DeVore, owner/operator of DeVore’s Land & Water Gardens, loves to “waste” time and money. Yes, we know “waste” is a hated word in today’s ultra-competitive, systems-driven landscape industry, but before you get your hackles up, hear him out.
- “Waste your time with your clients,” says DeVore. “Share your expertise, use reflective listening, be aware of your body language and, when you speak, speak with awareness.
- “Waste time on your systems,” which DeVore ruefully admits he needs some help with. “Pre-plan for everything because it helps your team be more engaged. If you get a chance, learn from Jeffrey Scott (an industry consultant) because he is so good with systems.
- “Waste money on the right tools. I got my first little tractor in the late 1990s and it changed everything because of the scale of what we could do,” says DeVore. “It also improves your employees’ morale because the right tools remove a lot of the back-breaking work. If you get a chance, bring your employees to trade shows and let them decide which tools to buy. That lets employees know you care for them. They are the people who will be using them.
- “Waste money on the best materials. Never buy cheap stuff. Don’t skimp. People (employees and customers) expect top quality,” says DeVore.
- “Waste time on your staff and keep them informed about what’s going on,” DeVore says. “Create a team whose members have pride in themselves and want to show up every day and do a great job. When a client compliments me on a great job, I reply that my team is fantastic and does great work. Never take personal credit for the great work employees do.”
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