Money, passion and freedom — these may be reasons why you started your landscape business. Perhaps now, several years into your career, you’re finding that the financial rewards you had envisioned aren’t happening. Equally discouraging, even though you’re calling your own shots, you have little time for anything but work. You’re literally in your truck from dawn to dusk doing production and putting out fires.
Ken Hutcheson, president of U.S. Lawns and 30-year green industry veteran, says you don’t have to stand for that. Read on for thoughts on how to increase revenues while also carving out more time for yourself.
Satisfied with the status quo?
Says Hutcheson, “You may have quit your job working for someone else and started your landscape business, but at some point you realize that what you’re doing is not making the living, allowing you to achieve the dreams that you had. You may even realize that you can’t keep up the pace forever.”
In fact, if you’re an owner/operator out on jobs all day you’re probably working for the wages that a skilled worker might be making rather than the greater rewards you deserve as an owner.
“As long as there is a direct connection between the hours you personally put into the services your company provides and the revenue you earn, you will never make the money that you dream of making. You put in an hour’s work and you earn an hour’s wage,” says Hutcheson. “The customer will only pay a certain amount for a particular skill set.”
Steps to fulfilling your dream
What to do? It‘s your call.
You can keep doing what you’re doing and continue to get what you’re getting. Or you can implement and deliver a higher-margin service or services to boost revenues, such as irrigation maintenance/repair. That will likely boost your revenues, but you’ll still be spending days driving from site to site and working long hours.
The third option is building a business based on “the efforts of multiple revenue-producing people” guided by industry-proven processes and procedures. And according to Hutcheson, it’s the surest way to free up your time as the owner and increase revenues and profits, too.
There is only one way you can take that step — as an owner, you need to invest in yourself, stresses Hutcheson.
“You need to learn to run a business like a business with processes, systems and financial controls,” he says. “You have to learn how to lead, inspire people and motivate people so they work with a sense of urgency.”
A huge challenge, yes. But as the company owner, if you’re involved every moment in everything that is going on in your company, it’s difficult to see how you will ever achieve your dreams, either financially or the personal freedom you envisioned. You need multiple revenue producers to make both of those happen.
Building crew leaders to “own the job”
Commercial landscape maintenance is well suited for achieving those goals, according to Hutcheson. “In our world, what we see is commercial work that allows for the success of a crew leader,” says Hutcheson. Every commercial job looks fundamentally the same. While sizes and shapes vary, each site has a building, a turf area, ornamental beds and hardscapes, such as sidewalks, driveways, etc.
“When a crew leader pulls onto the commercial job, they know to always park around the back of the building. One man goes to the left, one man goes to the right and one man, perhaps the crew leader who might be spraying for weeds, goes straight ahead. Whatever the tasks might be on every job, they are repetitive, recurring tasks. That means the crew leader can own those jobs,” says Hutcheson.
Owning the job is critical. The crew leaders know exactly what is expected of them on each and every property.
Some other plusses of commercial versus residential service are that commercial customers expect to pay what it takes to have a reputable, professional company service their property. Commercial customers also rarely interact (or interfere) with the landscape company’s employees as they work on the jobsite.
No need to reinvent the wheel
So, what can you do now as an owner to fulfill your dream? Begin developing processes and procedures that will grow with your company and attract good employees.
“You will attract smart employees if you are growing, employees that really want to be part of a bigger cause because they will see there is an opportunity for them to grow, too,” says Hutcheson. “If your company is stagnant, your company will be like a revolving door in terms of keeping good employees.”
You don’t have to reinvent the wheel here. U.S. Lawns, with a track record of 30 years of success, is constantly upgrading and improving its systems to maximize its companies’ financial returns while freeing up your time as a business leader, allowing you to carry out your dream, whatever that may be.
This content is sponsored by U.S. Lawns. Sponsored content is authorized by the client and does not necessarily reflect the views of the Turf and LawnSite editorial team.