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How Creating an Upside Down Organization Makes Your Landscaping Company Come Out on Top

Posted On May 22, 2018 7:00:00 AM By Nanette Seven, Vice President

Upside Down OrganizationThe landscape industry is unique in the fact that its lowest paid employees have some of the greatest power in their respective companies. While they’re certainly not the ones making major business decisions, their actions can have a big impact on the overall success—or failure—of the business.  

Why?

Because laborers are the ones on the front line. In fact, they probably have more interaction with your customers than anyone else in your company. And that’s a big deal.

Put simply: The people at the bottom of your organizational chart are the ones that should be the best at representing your company. Regardless of your marketing efforts, your branding, and any other efforts you make to present a certain “image” of your company to the public, if you have crews that are dressed sloppy, are careless when they work, have poor interactions with your clients, and cause other issues, it’s going to negatively impact your business image.

However, despite all this, a lot of landscape business owners fail to think about the image that laborers portray. Their focus is on getting the work finished efficiently and how they get from point A to point B isn’t necessarily a priority.

But it should be.

By turning your landscape company organizational chart upside down, and putting more focus on your laborers, you can make your business even more successful.

What Value Do Your Laborers Hold?

You already know that your laborers are essential to your business for their ability to get the work completed. After all, if it weren’t for their hard work in the field, your jobs would never get finished and you couldn’t maintain a revenue stream.

Level Green Landscaping TeamBut that’s not where their value ends. Your crews are so much more than that. Just consider the following points.

  • Your crews are the “face” of your company. They’re the ones that clients see day in and day out and that potential clients view working on projects. Everything from what they’re wearing to what they’re driving could be judged. This goes for their behavior, too. Are they cursing or smoking on a property? Do you have company policies around actions like this? Or do you just let your employees go as long as they’re getting the work done efficiently?

  • Your labor force is likely interacting and communicating with the customer as well. Customers may have questions about the work being performed and instead of calling the office, might just step outside and talk to your crews. They’re getting valuable face time with the client but are they trained on how to respond? Do they know how to communicate well?

  • The ultimate satisfaction (or dissatisfaction) of the customer really comes down to how the crews did on the project. Let’s be honest. You could have wonderful account managers who your customers love but if your crews do a poor job on the project, none of that will matter. It is their work that ultimately determines whether your customer walks away happy and eager to recommend your services to friends or family or whether they walk away unhappy and potentially do a lot of harm to your reputation.

As you can see, there’s a lot that hinges on your crews. That’s why you need to turn your landscape company organizational chart upside down and start looking at what your laborers are doing and how they can be better. This isn’t just a matter of telling them how to improve but listening to them and providing them with the tools they need.

Let Your Crews Be Heard

T-Lake Environmental MeetingWhen you turn your landscape company organizational chart upside down, you should make a point to give your laborers a voice. Too often landscape business owners and management fail to listen to what crews have to say. But this is a huge mistake. They are such a valuable resource and may have incredibly important information to share.

The truth is, your crews may have really great ideas about how you can make daily operations run better. After all, they’re the ones doing the work every day. That means they may have ideas that management would never have thought of. If you’re not out there using tools, leaving the yard each day in the truck, or even loading items on the truck, then you might not know if there’s an improvement to how those tasks are performed.

Make a point to listen to your crews and they just may surprise you with all of the great ideas they have.

How?

That part is up to you. It doesn’t have to be a formal undertaking. You can just make a point to bring your crews into more conversations and decision making. If you have a question about a way that you might be able to improve efficiencies, ask your laborers what they think.

Of course, we’ve also seen landscape companies who do make it a more formal affair. While you probably already have a safety meeting, it would be beneficial to have an “ideas” meeting with laborers in which you’re just “checking in.” You can ask them what’s working, what’s not working, and whether they have any ideas about how you can improve. You might also ask them if they’ve encountered any problems with job sites, tools, equipment, or even customers. This is where great ideas are often born.

The truth is that some of your laborers might never speak up unless you prompt them. Make a point to do so! It doesn’t have to be every week. It could even just be a seasonal meeting. As long as you are making a point to check in with them, they’ll feel heard and you’ll likely gain some valuable insight.

A Key to New Revenue Streams

As you allow your employees to become more vocal, another benefit may be discovering untapped revenue streams on your existing job sites. When you take the time to ask your laborers what sort of extra work might exist on the job sites they’re at, you just may be shocked how many opportunities are out there.

After all, they’re the ones on the site day in and day out. As a result, they’re going to be the ones to spot an opportunity.

Sometimes it can even boost your efficiency. For instance, you may check in with a crew leader about what they’re noticing on a job site and they point out that there are low-hanging branches which are getting in the way of mowing. Now you not only have an opportunity to pitch a pruning service to your client, but by trimming up those low-hanging branches you’ll also boost your mowing efficiency.

Because spotting these revenue boosters can be big for your bottom line, you might even consider incentivizing crews to find them. If they report the low-hanging branches to the office and a sale is made on those services, you could reward your crew for finding the work. That will only encourage them to continue doing it.

Giving Crews Tools They Need to Succeed

iCREWtek Mobile AppAnother way that you can improve your crews’ odds of success is to give them helpful tools. One such tool is mobile app support to your landscape business software, which can be used in the field. With the right mobile app technology, your crews will have greater ability to satisfy the customer.

For instance, consider the following points.

  • Getting Work Finished Efficiently: With this mobile app technology, the work orders for your crew’s day will be automatically dispatched to their mobile device. This leaves no room for questions over what’s supposed to be done that day. Your crew leaders can always refer to their orders if they’re uncertain or forget. This allows them to get to work as soon as they’re on the job site and get the work finished in an efficient manner.

  • Recording Work Requests in Real Time:  With a mobile app, your crews can capture requests from the client as soon as they occur. For instance, say a customer comes out and asks your crew leader that they add some tree trimming to their job order. Instead of writing it on a piece of scrap paper that can get lost, they’ll enter it into the app where it will get sent right to the office and processed. This keeps the client happy that their needs are being listened to and also keeps the revenue stream healthy by preventing potential work from getting lost in the shuffle.

  • Improved Communication with the Office:  Mobile technology can also improve your crews’ ability to communicate back with headquarters as a means of staying on top of the account. That means your salespeople and account managers can have a better picture of exactly what’s going on with the accounts they oversee. Crew leaders can use the mobile technology to take photos of the project and file them with that specific account. Customers are happy that all of their property needs feel fully addressed.

Turn Your Landscape Company Organizational Chart Upside Down with Landscape Business Software

Landscape business software can help provide you with support as you make an effort to turn your landscape company organizational chart upside down and pay closer attention to your front line. With iCREWtek, the mobile app companion to Asset, you’ll be able to have real-time data about exactly what your crews are doing in the field. You’ll also be able to provide them with better support, improving their ability to be efficient and to get the job done well.

In turn, your customers will be impressed at how well your crews communicate and how on top of the project they are. That makes it a win/win all around. In the end,  you’ll see that creating an upside down organization chart has actually made your landscaping company come out on top.

If you’re ready to turn your organization chart upside down and want landscape business software that can support that effort, then let’s explore and see what Asset can do for your landscape company.

Landscaping Operations Tips

Image sources: Level Green Landscaping TeamT-Lake Environmental Meeting

Topics: Production & Operations, iCREWtek

Nanette Seven, Vice President

Written by Nanette Seven, Vice President

As a child, I was tasked with summer chores like weeding the rose garden, and helping to plant and harvest the vegetable garden. These childhood “chores” evolved into something I enjoyed. I have a passion for being outside, whether it is getting my hands dirty gardening, coaching and watching sports, or being on the Chesapeake Bay. Outdoors is where I would prefer to be. So, when the opportunity to work for a high-end residential design/build company presented itself, it seemed a good fit. I never imagined that almost 25 years later I would still be working in the landscape industry. I feel fortunate to have worked for Include for the past 20+ years. I wake up every day and do something that I truly enjoy, and with people I honestly like being around. I travel quite extensively to industry events to stay current on the changing needs of the landscape industry. Learning from our clients, consultants, and peers is also a focus of mine; I want to know what they need to help their businesses grow and thrive. This valuable information is used to help build and improve the software and services Include provides. I personally get great satisfaction knowing that what Include Software does as a team is unmatched in our industry. We provide leading edge software with top-notch customer service, and make a positive impact on people and their businesses every single day.