Living in the present

Columns - Industry Voices

Smart landscapers take some time to review the year gone by and plan for the upcoming year.

November 1, 2012
Marty Grunder

Marty Grunder

Well, fall is here and winter is right around the corner, so I thought it would be helpful if I shared with you what my team and I are working on right now and what the landscapers I coach are doing as well.  

Smart landscapers take some time to review the year gone by and plan for the upcoming year.

So, this month, take some time to think. Take some time to dream. And take some time to plan. I find most landscapers need help in the following areas, so to help jump start your planning process, give thought to the following:

How is your hiring? Do you have several key people? Do your key people have their successors in place? Give some thought to the “who, what, where, how and when” of your hiring. When you look at each and every member of your team, you need to ask yourself one of my favorite questions: Given what you know about this person now, if you had a chance to rehire them, would you? If the answer is maybe or no, then you have your course of action clearly laid out. Train them and make them better or do both you and them a favor and terminate their relationship with you.

What are your sales goals for next year? Given those goals, how many people do you need to achieve those levels? 

What does your organizational chart look like? Do you have the right people in the right places? 

At Grunder Landscaping Co., we talk a lot about hiring the right people, not just people. We have found that our culture drives everything. My friend and bestselling author Joe Calloway says “culture drives results.” That is so true. When you get the right people on your team, they will naturally do the right things.

And when people do the right things without your asking them to do that, you have the right culture and momentum is in your favor.

How are sales? How can you generate more sales? 
Are you happy with your sales levels? Do you have sales goals? If you have a sales force, do you have weekly sales meetings? What are they like? Do you do them every week? If your answers aren’t what you would like for them to be to these questions, then you know what you need to do.

For starters, the best landscaping companies enlist all their people to help with sales. The question becomes how you do that. A simple meeting with your best people discussing how they feel you could make more sales will often lead to some awesome ideas.

It’s then up to you as a leader to take those suggestions and implement what you can and then communicate clearly what and why you cannot implement the others.

I see landscaping companies realizing gains in sales just by doing a lot of small things like placing door hangers at the properties that are next door to the ones you are working on, asking clients for referrals and giving your crews a small commission for the leads they get you that materialize.

Little things can make a big difference in sales, so start looking.

What about your work orders?
 Are your work orders written on the back of the paper placemats you used from breakfast at your favorite morning stop? (Mine used to be like this.) 

Or do you not even use work orders and simply tell your teams what to do every morning in what some refer to as the “morning circus?” I could go on for days about the power of work orders done well. Let me just say this.

Do your work orders under the impression that you will not be available when the work is to be done. Put together everything you can to make the job clear, especially how many hours you have budgeted for the job. If you just do this, you will become more efficient.

I hope I have motivated you to have a conversation with your team and ask them how you can find more of the “right” people, make more sales and be more efficient.

Remember, as my mentor and friend Dave Sullivan says, “all planning is good.” So, if you believe that, what are you waiting for?


Marty Grunder is a speaker, consultant and author; he owns Grunder Landscaping Co. See; mail