Landscaping and lawn care companies that want to grow must understand that word of mouth is only going to take them so far. For some contractors, that place is plenty far enough. But for others, it’s not. For those contractors, these five steps can help catapult their companies to the proverbial next level.
1. Create Action Plans for Growth
Your business plan for growth should include revenue goals for each area of your business. “I want to double sales in three years” is too vague. Look individually at each service sector, customer segment and geographic market. Identify your opportunities, their value, and the probability that you will land that business.
Once you have a revenue projection, you can start to look at what you’ll need to do in order to hit that goal. Here you’ll start to think about sales and marketing needs, staff, equipment, etc. If you really want to grow, some investment will likely be required. That’s why doing your homework and getting some sound financial projections in place are so important.
2. Focus on Existing Client Retention
Landing a new client doesn’t mean much if you lose an existing customer in the process. You have to stay focused on client retention. Many contractors get so busy chasing new work that they begin to neglect their loyal customers. It’s not deliberate. Contractors are human and can only do so much. Make sure that showing existing customers lots of love is something you always, always do.
Also on the topic of existing clients, make sure you’re continually asking them if there are any other services you can provide for them. Offer new ideas and recommendations for how they can further improve their properties—based on their landscape budget.
3. Get Employees Excited About Growth
More work means, well, more work. If employees fall victim to the mind-set that they are working hard and you are getting richer, you’re in trouble. Everyone in your company must understand how growth benefits all.
Customer service training starts to become real important now. So does delegation. You need outstanding crew leaders out in the field who will professionally represent your brand—and feel empowered to do so. Incentives might also have to come into play. Goals, and rewards for meeting goals, help keep everyone pulling in the same direction.
4. Develop Systems to Support Growth
As your company grows, how else will your people be rewarded? The opportunity for advancement is a positive development which good employees will get excited about.
Consistent employee performance reviews must now become part of your culture. You need to identify those employees whom you feel have what it takes to move up. Ask them if they want to move up. If they do, get them on a path to growing their skill set so they can start taking on more responsibility. Some contractors have even developed specific “manager in training” type programs to facilitate this process.
5. Compete Where You Have an Advantage
Think about what makes your company special. Next, think about the types of clients who will value this. Also, continually remind your employees about what makes your company special.
For example, you might be the only company in your market with a degreed horticulturist on staff. Maybe you have a rich history of hiring local people with an average tenure of 10 years per employee. Or maybe you are more environmentally conscious than your competitors.
Whatever the case may be, just make sure that your unique point of difference is something customers value. In a hyper-competitive business like landscape contracting, this somewhat gray area is where certain landscape companies sail, while many others fail.