The landscaping industry is at a crossroads. Landscaping companies are facing:
- A shortage of skilled laborers to provide quality services
- Increasing costs of labor make attracting labor even more challenging
- Difficulty increasing service costs to cover labor without frustrating customers
Moreover, the market size of the landscaping industry is increasing faster than the economy— adding a layer of difficulty.
Landscaping businesses must develop a way to overcome these obstacles without sacrificing profitability if they want sustainable growth. Here, you will learn strategies to address six common challenges for landscaping businesses.
1. Expand Your Reach to Overcome Seasonality
Seasonality is one of the most prolific hurdles for landscapers.
To succeed, you must offer a wide range of services. But offering the right services for every condition is difficult in locations with vastly different weather seasons.
You do not want to haphazardly offer a revolving door of services requiring a broad assortment of training and tools.
Instead, consider what services you can add to extend your working season without considerably enlarging your overhead expenses.
For example, adopting a summer workflow to fit a fall landscaping service, like using the equipment you use to blow and bag freshly cut grass off the pavement to clean up leaves.
The other option is for landscaping businesses to expand their service territory, which introduces a new concern—appropriate staffing.
2. Lean on Contractors to Address a Staffing Shortage
Due to the seasonality, landscaping businesses often find acquiring and retaining quality employees challenging.
If you do not have the clientele to pay your employees year-round, you may opt to work with seasonal gig workers.
The biggest hurdle to working with gig workers is efficiently finding and onboarding the best talent.
You want to ensure every contractor can be hired and sent to a job site within hours while maintaining the level of service your customers expect.
If you choose to utilize contractors, you must have a streamlined workflow for every service you offer that your contractor can access remotely.
Fortunately, talent management platforms, like Field Nation, make finding talent easier and work with Zuper to solve onboarding at scale. Using the Zuper and Field Nation integration, you can find contractors and bring them up to speed on your services in less time than hiring an employee.
3. Boost Productivity with Refined Scheduling
Scheduling landscaping services requires operating around many uncontrollable factors, including the weather.
So, not only do you have to create a schedule to allow the right technician and equipment to be available, but you also have to account for backup service timeframes.
There is no time to waste on excessive travel. Therefore, every service provider's route must be optimized to eliminate downtime.
Zuper’s AI-assisted dispatching helps manage all the moving parts to ensure the right technician is assigned every time. You can refine your criteria by technician availability, location, or skill set, along with equipment availability.
4. Streamline Inventory Management to Prevent Stalled Jobs
Landscaping businesses that offer a comprehensive lineup of services are tasked with maintaining a large inventory of lawn care equipment, including smaller equipment such as leaf blowers and larger equipment like trucks and trailers.
Beyond that, they must maintain a lineup of weed-killing chemicals appropriate for varying plant types.
Keeping track of their inventory can become overwhelming. And they do not want to cancel a service because they do not have the right equipment available at the time.
Landscaping companies need to invest in a platform to accurately track their inventory to better anticipate the supplies they will need during a specific time frame and use the information to better predict expenses and available cash flow.
5. Provide a Consistent Result to Improve Retention
For landscaping businesses with a multitude of service offerings and a broad service territory, you have to create consistency for your customer experience to excel. Your customers want to know that no matter who shows up to complete the service, it will be consistent and in line with their preferences.
You must rely on detailed, repeatable workflows, smart automation, and integration to scale.
You can automate tasks like appointment status update notifications to keep your service providers on track and your customers up to date. Plus, you can integrate with sales, support, and other operations platforms to provide a connected system to stop your customers from falling through the cracks.
Zuper’s robust automation and integration make it the most flexible and customizable field service management platform to manage your landscaping workflows. Zuper features integrations with platforms like HubSpot, Zendesk, Zoho, QuickBooks, Stripe, and many others so companies can work their way.
6. Customize Services to Your Customer’s Liking
When it comes to lawn care, customization is crucial. For example, some customers prefer their grass cut super short, while others prefer lush greenery.
Your business processes must be flexible enough to accommodate any customer preference while still being streamlined enough, so your service providers know exactly what to do.
The only way to accomplish both is by choosing the most customizable field service platform to let you work your way.
Using Zuper, you can customize every step of your customer experience—beginning with custom fields in your intake forms to ensure you collect your customers' preferences from the start.
How to Measure Your Field Service Success
Your landscaping customers want beautiful yards without having to spend a lot of time worrying about them. They want to schedule their yard work and not have to think about it again until they pay the invoice.
The best measures of successful workflows are your completed service rate and the average time to time to completion.
Your completed service rate tells you if your customers are receiving the services they requested on the first try, and your time to completion tells you how long the service took.
Services with low completion rates or that take a long time to completely damage your customer experience and must be optimized or eliminated.
Zuper customer, TRIM Landscaping, uses Zuper to improve their job completion rate and reduce the average time of completion. These improvements allow the fast-growing landscaping company to expand its service area across multiple states.
This post was inspired by Zuper FM’s Streamlining Services in the Landscaping Industry with Ben Souva and Jacob Krum. Listen here now.