Checklists and specializing vs. diversifying

Checklists and specializing vs. diversifying

Departments - Ask the Experts

The Experts help you develop a checklist for your crew and figure out your service mix.

January 30, 2013
Lawn & Landscape
Industry News

Q: I am looking for a checklist for a crew leader.

A: When it comes to a checklist for any position, one must consider the desired results of the position. In this case, it includes people management, equipment use and care, customer service, paperwork, and safety issues.

Following is a list of activities you may want the crew leader to check on a daily basis:

  • Conduct a safety check of trucks and trailers before leaving the yard.
  • Check fuel levels in cans and equipment.
  • Check on route for the day with account manager or supervisor.
  • Meet with crew members before leaving the yard to update them on the day’s activities.
  • Select the quickest route to the first job site.
  • In the truck to the first job site, assign task to crew members when arriving on job site.
  • Check in with the customer at each job site, especially to see if there are any special requests.
  • Walk the site and look for issues that need to be addressed.
  • Check on crew members to ensure work and performance quality.
  • Walk the site at the end of each job to ensure quality.
  • Complete paperwork for this job site, including time and special notes.
  • Check that all equipment is loaded and secure on the truck and trailer.
  • Travel to the next site and start the process over.
  • At the end of each day, turn in daily time sheets.
  • Fuel up the equipment and truck for next day.
  • Have the crew leader conduct weekly safety meeting.

This list should contain all the steps you want your crew leader to take each day to ensure that the customer is satisfied, the crew safety is assured, and the crew is being as productive as possible.

You may have items that you want to add to this list, which is great, but keep in mind that the idea is for the checklist to be simple and something that is easy for the crew leaders to follow.

It may also be the crew leader’s responsibility to judge performance by crew members and report this information to the supervisor, but do this as part of a separate job function. The employee management is an ongoing task and will require some special training that you can provide separate from the checklist. As part of an ongoing training for crew leaders, it is important to review this checklist and update any additional suggestions that crew leaders may have. Allowing the crew leaders to have input to this checklist will only help to improve the process. Use this opportunity to build the list with your crew leaders, allowing discussion and input from their perspective.

Rich Wilbert, Landscape Industry Certified Manager, SiteSource, Inc.

Q: Should I specialize or should I diversify?

A: The answer to this question is different for every company. With this particular company, after digging in and asking questions, I learned that it was turning away work, and that it had a good niche in the high-end market.

My advice was to do a bit of both. Stay specialized in its niche, and work on exploiting that more. Instead of going after other markets, get more clients and more referrals from this market. Do more public relations to get your name out there, and take better advantage of the great location of your facility. On the other hand, it is okay to diversify by offering your niche clients more services. But, diversify slowly and make sure it is profitable. First, get profitable (pay yourself first).

Start training your replacement; get more efficient at handling your current flow of incoming leads (turning away some less profitable ones and taking more of the more-profitable ones) ... and then look to add more services.

Jeffrey Scott, The Leaders Edge Peer Group

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