Communication is the key to running a smooth landscape/build operation where architects and crews work in harmony. Equally important is defining processes, keeping promises and meeting deadlines.
At Snow Creek Landscape Architecture – the sister company of Snow Creek Landscaping – housing the two firms in the same building ensures that everyone involved in a project is within arm’s reach. “With our landscape architect at our main office, we are able to make contact with him on a daily basis,” says Tim Boone, president of the two Arden, N.C.-based firms.
Here are some ways that Snow Creek keeps its design/build projects running efficiently and effectively.
Meet early, meet often. Every design/build project starts with a pre-construction meeting, and weekly production meetings held on Fridays ensure that the job stays on track. Prior to breaking ground, the landscape designer works with the client to determine the design intent. After the operations manager prices out the project, everyone meets and confirms that they’re on the same page. “Our designer is at that pre-construction meeting along with our operations managers and the crew leader, and we go over the expectations for the job and the amount of time that is contracted,” Boone says. Discussing these details early and often ensures that expectations are met from the very beginning – and along the way.
Track production hours. Snow Creek knows where each project stands in terms of production hours, so there are no surprises when billing time arrives. Production hours are tracked daily, Boone says. Those hours are reviewed at Friday production meetings, and the designer and operations manager are present. “We know if there are any issues that arise on the job and if there are any times that need to be scheduled out, such as a designer choosing hardscape or if design changes are required,” he says.
Run an open house. When designers, operations managers and crews “live” under the same roof, they work better together, if you ask Boone. Employees in Snow Creek’s gardening division share feedback from client properties with designers, and vice-versa. “That’s what we call the full-circle approach,” Boone says.
This is one of three stories that appeared in Lawn & Landscape's Business Builder. To continue reading about Snow Creek Landscaping:
Natural expansion: Snow Creek Landscaping’s focus on innovative, sustainable design necessitated the creation of a sister business: a landscape architecture firm that will help the company deliver soup-to-nuts service.
Pass the Kool-Aid: A commitment to training helped Snow Creek Landscaping build and maintain a strong company culture.