Rob & duplicate: Direct reports

Simple solutions to common problems you face every day

Each of Robert Groff’s job sites is a magnet: All materials are shipped there instead of his yard, and his crews report directly to the project.

Groff, president at Groff Landscape Design in Fairfax Station, Va., does all design/build work and about $1.4 million a year.

Instead of paying his two crews of five field employees each to spend two hours a day in traffic, Groff has them drive their own vehicles straight to the job site.

He says this keeps them more engaged and focused. They aren’t spending time at the shop gassing up equipment or loading materials. None of the crew members need a CDL and having fewer trucks (and truck drivers) saves wear and tear on Groff’s pick-ups.

“Instead of wasting one to three, four, five, six man-hours a day of travel and load up time, all of the guys are at the job site,” Groff says. All tools and equipment are delivered in one of the company’s 16-foot enclosed trailers by the project manager, left at the site for the duration of the job and removed when the project is finished.

The trailer is organized with anything the crew is going to need for the job: a Troy-Bilt tool box, a rack to hang shovels and rakes, and crates on shelves to hold fittings. Racks on top hold pipes and ladders.

“Anything that we use frequently, it’s in that trailer and nothing more,” Groff says.

“If we need it once a year, we’re not going to put it in there because it’s just wasted space.” Instead, project managers will bring specialty equipment in their trucks as needed.

Groff says the time his employees save using this direct-report system allows them to finish five more jobs each year.

That adds up, especially when Groff figures his average revenue per project is $32,000.

Idea #1

Email clients the day before you’re set to arrive to make sure necessary utilities (like water and electric) are turned on.

Idea #2

Keep extra pieces of key equipment (saws, compressors, drills, etc.) in the trailer.

Idea #3

Have all materials drop-shipped to your job site to save loading time at your yard.

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October 2015
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