Frank Ross is one of the Green Industry’s most highly regarded consultants. His in-depth work on several national industry financial studies, along with roughly 40 years of hands-on experience with hundreds of the most successful companies in the country, give him unparalleled knowledge of what Green Industry firms do to become profitable and what steps they must take to make money.
A while back we spoke with Frank about where he thinks the average landscape company owner goes wrong when it comes to financials. You can hear that interview by visiting greenindustrypros.com/10658213. Here are highlights from the interview.
Lack of educational experience
Many landscape contractors were once taught how to perform various landscaping tasks. Some were taught certain business-related activities, such as how to sell work and manage employees. But the average landscape contractor was never taught financial management. Most contractors have learned financial management through the school of hard knocks, which can be very painful.
Because contractors haven’t had that formal financial management training, they “go with their guts” come decision-making time. “The good news is that landscape contractors are a pretty intuitive, common-sensical group of people,” Frank says. “They’ve already been able to magnify the sales part of their business, along with the leadership part and technology part. For many, that’s been OK; they’ve been able to make some money and have some success.”
However, company owners have to think about it this way, Frank points out: “If they had had the benefit of previous financial management training—as a tool to help make better decisions over the years—think about the incredible increase in profitability that would have brought to them.”
Taking the first steps
Some contractors are intimidated by financial management. That’s why it’s important to understand that you do not need to become an accountant in order to become a good financial manager in your landscaping company, according to Frank.
Start asking questions. Company owners should become as inquisitive as they’ve ever been. “Start asking financially driven questions of your accountant and other business advisors,” Frank suggests.
Read. Find a book or two about financial management specifically for service industries. “You should also continue to be an avid reader of industry magazines like this one,” Frank says.
Seminars. Identify conferences you can go to that are putting on seminars about financial management. PLANET’s Green Industry Conference held every October in Louisville, KY, is a great example. Your state industry association(s) will likely put on conferences of their own, as well. Some of your suppliers might even hold training events of this nature. Just keep your eyes peeled for different opportunities throughout the year. Ask your vendors and peers if they know about any great seminars and events.
Seek industry-specific training. “There are training materials out there that can help focus the learning process for (business owners) who’ve simply never experienced (financial management training),” Frank point out.
By utilizing a unique training methodology known as A Better Way 2 Learn, financial expert Frank Ross can be present at all of your company’s financial meetings—for a fraction of the investment. Visit abetterway2learn.com/pro to learn more and to sign up for a no-risk trial offer.