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Brandon Comstock

Hiring Series for Landscapers: How To Find & Recruit Top Talent For Your Landscape Business

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Business Advice

Hiring the right crew is an important investment in a landscape business plan. It’s a fact your success is directly tethered to the quality of people on your team. Without the right team in place, the quality and quantity of work your landscape business can produce is diminished, and you’re forced to pick up as much of the slack as possible.

But even then, your time is limited in a day. And all of the extra time you’re pouring into your business because you haven’t formed a rockstar team is preventing you from spending your time how you want – like with your family, friends, or growing your company by leading rather than doing. But more importantly, it is preventing your company from reaching its true potential.

Brandon Comstock

Brandon Comstock, Owner of Landscapers by Nature, and both an LMN user and BTA Member. He is working on his One-Page Strategic Plan at the 2020 BTA Winter Summit – an annual event where BTA Members get together for three days of adventure and strategic business planning.

Having worked with hundreds of business owners, Breakthrough Academy knows first-hand the significant impact key people can have in improving revenue and profits. Recruiting top talent is one of the first things they teach contractors in the BTA Program, a three-year course designed to build profitable and efficient companies through proven processes, coaching, and community. And this is one of the many reasons LMN has decided to partner with BTA – because we know we’re better together in growing your landscaping business and making it more profitable.

Proven Recruiting Tips for Landscapers

Here’s the problem we see every day: landscapers know attracting top talent will make or break their business; but they simply don’t act like it will. They don’t put in the time, money and energy their recruiting program needs and deserves. If you missed part 1 of this article series, I’m a Landscape Business Owner and Can’t Find Awesome Talent. Here’s Why—make sure you go read it first so you can learn, but more importantly, so you know what is required in a successful recruiting process.

Compare yourself with the General Manager of your favourite sports team. In order to win the championship, they need to get to it. And in order to get to it, they need key players on their team who can handle their accountabilities and hit their goals, so they can win their games. As such, they spend much of their time and a heavy portion of resources into recruiting top talent.

So, what does your “championship” look like?

Is it building a business can provide you with a comfortable retirement income? Are you just trying to work a few days less per week so you can spend time with your family, friends, or just doing what you love? Impacting your community in a certain way? Whatever it is, you’re going to need a team of awesome people to help you achieve it.

Landscaping business owner directing team

Here are three key recruiting tips Breakthrough Academy teaches its own members when building out their own winning teams you can start using right away.

Tip #1 – Always Be Recruiting

If you didn’t already know, most major sports team General Managers spend time daily on recruiting. It’s literally always on their radar. The wheels are constantly turning, and they’ve learned to love the excitement of finding the ‘diamonds in the rough.’ In contrast, landscapers are often guilty of approaching recruiting as a ‘necessary evil’ of running a business. “It’s tedious.” … “It’s challenging.” … “It seems hard to really get to know someone in an interview… if they show up.”

In this industry, it’s typical for business owners to avoid this task until it’s a glaring urgency. And then, it usually looks like this:

  • “Yikes! We’re (about to be) busy and short staffed!”
  • “Quick! Put an ad on Craigslist or Kijiji!”
  • “There are no good applicants! Hire the first person shows up on time, is sober, and sort of qualified!”

It’s so easy to get caught in this cycle, especially when you’re running a growing landscaping business pulling you in different directions, all year long, making this just one of the reasons it’s so important to have a one-page strategic plan. But for any entrepreneur to successfully win their “championship,” the most impactful hours of their time are spent on attracting top talent.

You must have the right mindset about recruiting in your landscape business.

There is a difference between recruiting in instances of need vs. always having high caliber candidates in the pipeline. You never know when or where they are going to show up, so if you have plans in motion all of the time, then you’re way more likely to build a network of resumes you can call upon when the time is right.

Remember: this process should be fun. Energizing. After all, it’s what is shaping what your business looks like five years from now and is going to fuel your goals being achieved. Top talent is attracted to a business always open to discussion and a business owner who is genuinely inspired by their own vision.

Tip #2 – Build Your Ideal Candidate Profile

Of course, there’s more to successful recruiting than just “bringing the energy” and keeping your ear to the ground. After all, if it was just about working energetically, there are many General Managers in the sports world would have won a championship by now! The biggest error we see in attracting top talent happens before a business owner even starts their search: they don’t develop a clear profile of exactly who their team needs!

By building a profile of exactly who you need on your team to win your championship, you give yourself the ability to efficiently search for, sell to, and interview the most ideal candidates. Good recruiters won’t have the wrong person in front of them in the first place. They know if they try to “jam a square peg in a round hole,” they’ll end up with the wrong person on their team, and the person will likely turnover anyway.

Before you dive into recruiting, you should know exactly what you need. Ask yourself these questions:

  • What are the role(s) missing in my business?
  • What skills and abilities make someone great at those roles?
  • What makes them not great?
  • What makes someone enjoy the role?
  • What would make them stick with it for years?
  • Who would enjoy being on my team?
Breakthrough Academy Ideal Client Profile

An example template for building an Ideal Client Profile when recruiting for your landscaping business.

When you take the time to answer these questions, you can begin to define the preferences, abilities, and fit of the candidates you’re looking for. These are the building blocks of what is called an Ideal Candidate Profile, which you can use to build catered job advertisements to attract qualified resumes for specific positions.

If you’ve never built an Ideal Candidate Profile before, be sure to register for the webinar Thursday, March 26th from 12 – 1:30 pm EST, where we will walk through this process and provide a free Ideal Candidate Profile template you can use in your business.

Tip #3 – Use a Proper Hiring System

Effective entrepreneurs develop systems and processes. They record best practices and consolidate those practices into a standard operating procedure (SOP). They do this to ensure consistent, effective performance across their team provides the desired result, over and over again.

The best General Managers out there in professional sports have a process too. It starts with an end of season assessment, tallying statistics and identifying what they need for next season. They send a summary out to their scouts, and short list only acceptable players. They meet with player’s agents, promote their brand and ask top talent to come to their city. They even leverage the networks and know-how of their current players to help land other top talent.

It’s absolutely key to follow a proper recruiting and hiring system ensuring you follow all the right steps in place, and especially at the right times. Successful landscapers would never show up and build a complicated landscape without a design and a defined process and the same mentality should be applied to building a winning team. Having and following a standard operating procedure for attracting top talent to your business will actually attract top talent in and of itself because of the professionalism it shows. The best people out there want to feel confident about the brands they are going to stand behind. They want to know they can trust their leader to continue to grow a successful business. And they want to see you’re serious about who you let play on your team and how you treat them.

Make sure you schedule the time right now to join our live webinar on Thursday, March 26th from 12 – 1:30 pm EST if you haven’t already. Breakthrough Academy will walk you through each step of their tried-and-true hiring system for contractors. They’ll also give you free templates and resources to use, so you can begin recruiting immediately without having to build your own hiring system first.

And on a final note, remember attracting top talent requires top landscape business leadership. They’ll want clear direction, fair compensation, consistent support, and ongoing growth and development. You can handle it.

Just be sure to tune in for part 3 of this Hiring Series on the LMN blog, next week, to learn proven strategies for retaining your talent.

Live Webinar

How to Attract & Hire Rockstar Staff

Benji Carlson, Assessment Specialist from Breakthrough Academy

Mar 26, 2020 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM EDT

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