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Landscapes 2015 – Interview with Mark Bradley

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Business Advice

Foremen as owners

These key employees have to be given the information and tools to be in charge of their crews.

October 21, 2015 | Brian Horn

There is someone in your company who is in charge of a lot of your money – and it’s not just the owner.

“Foremen are essentially carrying your wallet,” says Mark Bradley, owner of TBG Landscape in Brooklin, Ontario.

Bradley, who is also president of the software company Landscape Management Network, discussed the importance of foremen and how to turn them into ambassadors at Landscapes 2015.

Here are some tips to finding and developing the position:

Explain why.  In order for foremen to be the owners of their crews, they need to know why something is the way it is. For example, if management is introducing new technology that might take some training, the foreman has to know why they are making this change. “If they don’t understand how that piece of software will make their life better, then they’ll never buy in,” he says.

Group planning. Bradley has an annual foremen meeting before the season starts, which he needs the foreman to have an active role in. The meeting starts with recap of last year – what went right and wrong. They then co-develop new systems to eliminate waste. He then lets his foremen introduce the new systems to crews. He says it’s easier when foreman are involved because “They will finish our sentences in the field. I always found it easier for foremen to introduce new systems.”

Show them the numbers. Foremen must understand budgets and present their own to Bradley. As the owner, you have to use real numbers to explain what success looks like and help them know how much trucks, repairs and other overhead cost. So now when they see a $150,000 backyard job, the foreman understands the company made $15,000 at the bottom line instead of thinking they made much more than that.

Daily check-ins. An owner or manager needs to check in daily with foremen and ask them these four questions: What are your top three priorities? What was completed today? What is getting in your way? What do you need from me? That way, problems are brought up immediately.

For a copy of the full article please visit: Lawn and Landscape

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