Whether you’ve been growing your landscape business for 3 years or 30 years, you have clutter that’s holding you back. We’ll channel Marie Kondo, the charming host of the breakthrough Netflix show, ‘Tidying Up’, to guide you through decluttering your business, one key area at a time.
Haven’t heard of the phenomena that’s clearing out closets nationwide? In short, Marie goes to real people’s houses and teaches her method to help families organize their homes. By the end of each episode, a new family experiences more joy in their life as a result of a simpler, less cluttered home.
And by the end of ‘4 Ways to Declutter Your Landscape Business with LMN CEO Mark Bradley’, we’re sure you’ll experience more joy in running your business (and a lot less aggravation!).
No doubt you have processes, equipment, tools, etc. that served a purpose at one point, but now contribute to clutter in your company. They make things overly complex, create lots of extra work, and contribute more to the frustration of running a landscape business than the excitement of growing one.
In this ‘episode’, we’ll focus on how you can declutter the following areas: Tools & Equipment, Contract Types, Software and People. Oh, and feel free to ‘thank’ those items (& people!) that don’t ‘spark joy’ before getting rid of them. Have no idea what this means? It’s actually part of Marie Kondo’s method!
We love our tools and machines, but sometimes to a fault. When things get busy, it’s easy to misplace tools, buy new equipment (vs. repair) and lose track of what we have. This leads to overbuying, impulse purchases and a disorganized work environment that results in unnecessary costs, lower productivity and overall frustration.
Here are a few Pro tips that can help reduce the costs and the work involved in maintaining a large fleet of equipment and tools:
Standardize Your Trailers – Equip and organize your trailers with the same sets of tools, stored in the same places (labelled) in the trailer to better manage your landscaping equipment. When tools are stored in the same place, it’s much easier to:
Standardize Makes & Models – Over the years, business owners will buy tools or machines wherever they can get the best deal. Upfront, you save on the purchase costs, but with so many different makes and models, your shop quickly turns into a parts warehouse. Our customers report throwing out tens of thousands of dollars in unused spare parts, repair pieces or consumables for tools. Whatever they saved upfront was spent – usually double – trying to maintain different makes and models. Sticking to the same makes and models for tools and equipment may cost you a bit more upfront but you’ll reap the following benefits:
Mark’s Final Word on Decluttering your Tools: “It’s time to toss those tools and equipment that have served you well in the past and welcome the joy of a clutter-free work environment.”
Simplifying your contract options makes good business sense. Sure, you can try to close every sale by offering customers every billing scenario to fit their needs. However, if you’ve got 200 service contracts that are billed 18 different ways, chances are you’re missing billing on some of those services. That’s lost revenue you’ll never recover.
A flood of contracts translates to a tsunami of paperwork. With multiple people working to ensure the right customers get billed for the right services, invoice errors and delays are inevitable. As a result, a chunk of the profit on those service contracts gets eaten up in overhead admin hours. That’s lost profit you’ll never recover.
Pro Tip: Offer Less Contract/Billing Options – We’ve found that savvy contractors offer their customers a choice between 3 billing options. Though they won’t close every deal, our clients report that offering a limited number of billing choices makes it far less complicated for the customer. And when it comes time for your staff to complete monthly billing, the benefits far outweigh the odd missed sale that may result from a buffet of options.
When you make the decision to put a cap on contract options, your business will:
Mark’s Final Word on Decluttering your Contract Types: “When it comes to contract types, less is clearly more. By all means, provide your customers with options but keep them to a minimum to maximize profit.”
The adoption of software has to be one of the most significant changes in the landscape industry over the past 5-10 years. Accounting software came first, followed closely by Web and marketing platforms and now we’re seeing a surge in the adoption of business operations software. The latter covers estimating, time tracking, customer/lead management, etc.
Many contractors fail to successfully implement business software because it doesn’t fit their processes. Or, they choose one, but only use 20% of its capabilities because it wasn’t designed specifically for landscapers.
Pro Tip: Select Software that Meets Your Needs! You’re never going to find software that fits your business perfectly. Take Quickbooks, for example. This popular accounting software was built for small businesses like yours however it doesn’t conform exactly to your current processes or business category. In order to experience the benefits of Quickbooks, e.g. improved money management, invoicing, financial reporting, etc., you’ll need to change your processes to adapt. When it comes to landscape business management software, however, LMN was built with your business in mind. You’ll be up & running in no time, without a significant change to your processes.
Mark’s Final Word on Decluttering Software: “Invest in software that will help your landscape business grow. Where possible, choose software that’s built for your business and you’ll enjoy the bottom-line results.”
“A great employee is like a four leaf clover, hard to find and lucky to have.” In today’s economy, it’s tough recruiting and keeping good people. There are people in your business today that create clutter. You may already know who they are. But if you’re having trouble identifying them, consider these ‘clutter’ traits:
Often times, these people fly under the radar because they’re “good at the work”. The truth is, they’re causing needless problems behind the scenes for the landscape business owner. It’s very difficult to make decisions and move the business forward with these people in critical positions. They will eventually undermine change and create stress for staff and owners, ultimately stunting your business growth.
Pro Tip: Locate and Dismiss the Trouble Makers ASAP If a certain person (or people) have already come to mind, Spring’s a perfect time to de-clutter them from your business and begin the hiring process. Start your busy season off ‘fresh’ and you’ll soon notice:
Mark’s Final Word on Decluttering your People: “Like yanking off a bandaid, the pain of losing an important (but toxic) employee will be temporary. The healing that occurs as a result will provide an ideal environment for new business growth.”
Whether it’s a garage packed to the ceiling with odds and ends or a business holding onto the past, decluttering is never an easy process. You know it needs to be done so start with the four key areas: Tools & Equipment, Contract Types, Software and People, and follow our proven tips to spark some joy in your landscape business again!
We’d like to leave the Final Word on decluttering your landscape business to the inspiration behind this article, Marie Kondo herself: “When we really delve into the reasons for why we can’t let go of something there are only two: An attachment to the past or a fear for the future.”
Happy Tidying Up Landscapers!
Mark Bradley is the CEO of LMN. Dedicated to transforming great landscapers into great business owners, LMN provides the business management software and training owners need to grow. To learn more about how you can start transforming your business, FREE, with the LMN software platform, visit www.golmn.com. Interested in attending an LMN workshop? Visit golmn.com/workshops/ to register for a workshop near you.