Having a thriving landscaping business is something that many landscapers aspire to, It’s rewarding and can be extremely profitable if you proceed with an end-to-end plan and pre-defined strategies before you’ve even found your first customer.
As a newbie landscaper, you don't have to be an office-floor-dominating personality to manage your business. Far from it, if you possess in-depth industry experience and operational skills in landscaping service, you’ll be able to steer your organisation in the right direction.
In the beginning, it might feel like there are endless obstacles bringing resistance to achieving goals, but if you early identify these 5 unnoticed pitfalls in scaling your landscaping business, it will make things easier for you down the road.
Obscure business plan for long-term goals.
Inability to plan for possible risks
Initially, it may be tempting to get Landscaping projects, multiple RFPs, and recommendations but as you focus on growth strategies, you must also assess your company's strengths and weaknesses. Understanding your company's tolerance for risk such as underbidding, low gross margins and huge debt is critical to securing its future growth. If you haven't undergone a SWOT( Strength, weakness, opportunities, and threat ) analysis, it's time to revisit the risks and recovery measures that could impact your plans for tomorrow.
Lack of efficient marketing
No matter how great landscaping services you provide, your work may not speak for itself unless your customers speak for you too. Marketing is how you attract potential customers and let people know you exist. Define what makes you a cut above the rest of the landscapers and highlight it everywhere you can - your website, social media channels, and with your customers.
Landscaping is teamwork where at every level, all employees contribute toward business growth. Underperforming employees are severe bottlenecks that delay progress throughout all facets of your operation, proving a major setback to building a productive team. Plan of action such as offering on-the-job training, communicating often, and encouraging crew to take full accountability for their role will empower your company's future success.
Investing too much in machinery and equipment.
As a budding landscaper, it might look professional and impressive to roll out shiny new machinery and equipment at job sites, but unnecessary investment in equipment could raise hidden snags, costing landscapers thousands of dollars in debt, even if they are heavily financed.
Sketching certain outlines before investing too much in landscaping equipment and machinery will help your organisation operate seamlessly.
Buying vs. Renting Landscape Equipment.
One of the toughest decisions for a landscape business owner is choosing whether to buy or rent a piece of equipment. Many new landscaping businesses make the mistake of tying up available money or lines of credit in buying out expensive assets such as new trucks, trailers, and labour-saving machinery. The best approach to this bit of a pickle is to consider what the equipment is required for, how frequently it will be utilized, and what operating and maintenance burden it will exert in the future.
Acquiring subcontractors on a commission basis
Most lawn care jobs are very similar, utilising almost the same machinery & equipment. When you need immediate tools for project completion and you don’t have the bandwidth to buy them, other landscapers can help. In such a scenario, collaborating with nearby contractors on a commission-based payroll would help you to get the job done. Remember, before contacting, always figure out how much it will cost you to finish the work, including how much you need to pay as commission. If your margin is significantly lower than what the contractor is charging, you may need to make some adjustments
Inefficient financial planning to scale.
Novice Landscapers often made blunders by investing money and resources into taking risky shortcuts like acquiring projects without investigating the pros and cons at the micro level. As a result, when it comes time to assess the business’s growth, they have huge holes in their budget that are directed toward significant cost rise at operations and margin deficits. Read on these pointers below that might be interfering with your financial strategy-
Stagnant service rates throughout different projects.
Landscaping services are often charged according to situations like local competition, seasonal services, and project type. If you want your landscaping business to be financially healthy, you must make practical and profitable decisions accordingly. Implementing short-term pricing adjustments can enable you to gain full visibility into your business and empower you to stay updated with financial planning that suits your organisation's bottom line.
Improper timing at buying landscaping assets.
The costly mistake that new landscapers frequently make is associated with the improper timing of buying assets like machinery and equipment. Lack of a pre-decided plan to buy service equipment can cost significant downtime in peak-season jobs, resulting in losing projects over competition and cost overruns. Business owners who plan and time their landscape equipment according to when they’re needed are going to be well ahead in their projects and profits as compared to those who suddenly realise they need a high-demand piece of equipment in the middle of a job.
Handling multiple tasks as a business owner.
No matter how determined you are to build your landscaping firm, you cannot juggle too many tasks as a business owner. Handling several tasks at both offices and on the job site can cause burnout, resulting in impaired judgement and poor decision-making. You must be patient and not expect that your omnipresence as the owner will make your business double in size within a week or even a month. Instead, you can try adopting some better strategic approach to smoothly operate business aspects that you think are unmanageable without your interference -
Utilise an integrated system to ease operations.
Centralising your business's information into one integrated solution like telematics and GIS-based mapping tools can do more than just alleviate your workload and help minimize mistakes. As a technological advancement, it enables you to keep track of operational errors that might be a nightmare for you.
Besides ensuring accurate and seamless data sharing between departments, an integrated platform can also streamline communication and collaboration between you and employees at any place.
Offering project training to Employees.
Well-trained and skilled employees have proven to be the backbone of the landscaping industry. Offering frequent project management training sessions to employees at all levels boosts your team's creativity and problem-solving abilities, enabling them to accept full responsibility for their role in the progress of your business. A new landscaping business owner must acknowledge that the company must be able to function smoothly even in his absence. To make this happen, the business owner must determine early that in which case he will need to hand over the wheel to his highly skillful employees whose leadership and management capabilities are comparable to his operating policies.
Overlooking Operational errors due to manual mistakes.
From inaccurate manual site measurements and estimation to outdated job scheduling and billing methods, over time, operational errors arising due to manual mistakes will affect customer experience and limit your profit margins. If you want company growth to be both reliable and profitable, you must undergo a robust plan to identify what operational mistakes your organisation is committing that hinder your service quality.
Deploying technology-based automation tools.
For many landscaping businesses investing in advanced technology may feel extra expenses, so it is critical to consider the long-term benefits. Most automated solutions for a landscaping business are adaptable to the size of your organisation that keeps updating regularly as your business scale. Landscapers must understand early that without any real information and data to rely on, there's no way to benefit from lessons learned. Cloud-based AI tools are an efficient way to deal with unnoticed manual errors, such as inaccurate property measurements, and faulty markups which can be a critical challenge causing you to lose bids and, ultimately, the final sale.
The landscaping industry has become so competitive that every other project bid is targeted by countless landscapers, and what uniqueness you put on the table is the most critical factor in winning RFPs.Landscapers must be loud and clear about the value proposition they can add to clients’ properties and using AI-based automation tools can help you to showcase your USP.
At Ottermap, we realise how crucial it is to have the ideal automation software for the job while managing a landscape business. That's why we developed a cloud-based solution that automates your property measurement and its entire features in just a few steps. Leverage the power of automation to propel your sales to new heights by winning every bid you submit. Contact us today if you're ready to take your business to the next level!