In the landscaping industry, time is money. It’s an old adage that gets thrown around, but it does matter when you a running your own business. Time management is such an important skill that it behooves you to embrace it and make it part of your culture.
You work on deadlines most of the time, with each customer depending on you to hit those dates. Customer satisfaction can deteriorate when you miss them. You may even be subject to less profit if you don’t hit promised deadlines.
In an effort to help you manage your crew’s time more efficiently, consider these six proven ways to manage time.
Time will elapse quickly when you don’t prioritize each part of a project. You need to plan for each day what needs to be done. Yes, you still have the big picture in mind but breaking it down into steps will help.
However, sometimes you may find that all the tasks are of equal importance. To make the decision on what to do first, consider which task would have the most negative consequence and put it at the front of the line.
Prioritizing goes beyond individual projects. There is work your staff needs to complete that isn’t project related, like maintenance on machinery. Yet, you’ll also have regular spaces you need to tend to for your customers. Customers should come first, as that’s how you stay in business. Don’t ignore needed maintenance, just try to fit it into times of less activity.
You don’t have to handle every single task. You can empower employees to make time management decisions when you delegate properly. Delegation must be done with excellent communication.
You can provide detailed instructions or have specific training for certain individuals. When you’re running a landscaping business, you have to balance and juggle lots of projects along with all the other things it takes to run a business. Delegation can serve as a great tool to get some things off your plate.
Time-wasting is at its peak when landscape crews only discover the day of what the schedule is for the day. This can cause late-starts when assembling teams, equipment, materials, and tools. It sets the day in motion on the wrong foot.
What you can do instead is prep for the next day. At the end of the day, you need to be looking at what’s on tap for tomorrow. Get trucks pre-loaded the night before with all necessary materials and gear.
Then when employees arrive in the morning, they are ready to go and not taking up hours that should be billable. It helps employees plan better as well since they know what’s expected of them tomorrow.
You can also communicate broadly about the daily and weekly schedule. This may be on whiteboards or it could be a document you make accessible to workers.
Time wasting also happens with potential clients. Of course, you need to meet with any new client and probably offer a free consultation. You may find these are tire kickers, not people that want to hire you.
You could charge for the consultation, but that may lead to a huge dip in prospects. You could change it up a bit and note that the charge for the consult will be used as a credit should they hire your company.
If you still want to go with free, here are some ideas to reduce the time drain:
- Limit the consultations to a certain amount of time
- Provide prospects with information and pricing upfront
- Get as much information about the property during a call before going on site
Hold Workers Accountable
You can plan and prep for days, but that doesn’t mean things won’t go awry. When they do, look closely at why. The why could be a who.
That’s why accountability matters. You need to know who is showing up late or slacking off, as these could be the reasons you’re not meeting deadlines. You can provide a warning to start. If the behavior continues, it could be grounds for termination.
When you have written rules about time management, workers can’t say they didn’t know about the policy. This could actually change your company’s culture. When you have a zero-tolerance rule about being on time and working as expected then workers understand the rules.
Get and Stay Organized
When your business is organized and every material or tool has a spot, you won’t spend hours throughout a week looking for what you need. Everything should be organized—your office, vehicles, storage areas. Organization helps workflow and gets employees to work faster.
Not only should you as the owner be organized, but you should instill it in your employees. When everyone on the team embraces organization, it can help you work more efficiently to meet deadlines.
Spend Less Time Sourcing Materials
How much of your day is purely focused on sourcing? It probably eats away at the day. However, there is a better way to source. By using tools like an online marketplace, the time you spend trying to find plants and getting them on site will be dramatically reduced. Managing your sourcing time better allows you to focus back on other activities. If you’d like to learn more about how LandscapeHub, a landscape supply online marketplace, you can start with these important buyer FAQs.