Holding high standards is one thing. Implementing a system that ensures those standards are ingrained in the company culture is what Serpico Standards accomplish. They are more than a set of ideas about what is expected. They include operating instructions for making sure those expectations are met on a daily basis.
If this sounds militarily strict, well, you’re partially correct. Sharon Serpico Hanson, CEO, Serpico Landscaping, Hayward, Calif., credits her penchant for quality control to her father, a career Army officer. “His life was structured around doing things right and having a plan in place,” she shares, adding that his influence was significant, particularly in the way Serpico Hanson embraces and tackles standards head on.
Serpico Standards address communication, pricing and work quality. And these key areas are exactly what must be addressed for companies to keep homeowners association (HOA) accounts over the long-term, Serpico Hanson says.
Communication is emphasized through monthly account reports, real-time work orders, emails and property walk-throughs. “It’s a communication intensive business,” she says.
Pricing must be competitive, but that is not what ultimately wins over HOA clients. “Being competitive in price is necessary, but you don’t have to be the cheapest out there (although there are some HOAs that are looking for that),” Serpico Hanson says. “What’s more important is having a lot of patience and doing quality work. Mow, blow and go doesn’t cut it in this environment.”
To that end, quality is upheld at Serpico Landscaping via a work order system. If a client or Serpico Landscaping manager recognizes a need on a property, that information is entered into a work order system that was developed for the company. The work order is dispatched the same day and rated as to how soon the task must be completed. All managers on the account sign off on the order. The work order system enables tracking for when the task was completed and by whom. “We hold people accountable,” Serpico Hanson says.
Each month, HOA management receives an account report that sums up all work performed on the property and the cost. This type of reporting facilitates communication: It provides a platform for benchmarking (Did Serpico Landscaping deliver what was expected on budget?) and for discussion (Why was this service performed?).
Technology, Serpico Hanson adds, allows work order reporting and general client communication to be accomplished in real-time. “We can deliver more accurate information and get it out to our people in the field faster,” she says. “Technology makes us better at what we do, and enables us to educate our clients faster and more accurately.”