LandOpt Helps Contractors Survive “100 Days of Hell”
It’s not too late to join the network for the 2022 season
By Andrew Dickson, Vice President of Operations
While most Americans look forward to spring, many landscape contractors dread the beginning of what we commonly call the “100 Days of Hell.” I remember it all too well from when I owned a contracting company in Pennsylvania. It’s like what retailers go through during the busy Christmas holidays, but it lasts three times longer. What’s more, we have to deal with unpredictable weather conditions.
It is an exciting, yet nerve racking time of the year. On one hand, there is no avoiding it. Spring arrives, and the work has to start. On the other, there are a lot of ways to make this period more manageable, less stressful and most importantly, more profitable.
Even though the growing season is underway, LandOpt is still able to help contractors who join the network now take advantage of our unique expertise and services.
Financial planning and monitoring
Much of our work with contractors centers around financial planning and management, with the goal of improving profitability. This usually starts in the fall when we begin preparing their financial plans for the next year.
For those who join LandOpt mid-year, we start with analyzing their accounts and financials, and help them forecast their revenue for the year. We also educate them on their true overhead, create target profit margins and recommend new pricing that is based on costs.
We also track expenses and set up a scoreboard, so the contractor and his or her team can see how the business is performing on a daily, weekly and monthly basis. July is too late to learn that labor costs are way over budget.
Lastly, we teach contractors ways to communicate financial information to their crews. They need to understand how the business is doing and what role they play in its success.
Hiring and training
New licensees gain immediate access to a wide array of tools and training to help them address two of their biggest challenges – recruiting and training.
- For all team members we reinforce the “always be a recruiter” mindset. The goal is for everyone – from owners to crew members – to continually add quality staff to the organization. Even when there are no openings, LandOpt helps contractors build their bench for the future.
- LandOpt assists contractors hire the right people by interviewing and screening potential candidates.
- We provide coaching on how to create a culture of accountability that leads to success. Equally important is training for crew leaders that includes both financial and personnel management techniques.
- Through our network we have connections to másLabor, which specializes in hiring seasonal H-2B employees for the landscape industry.
LandOpt guides members on when and how to best communicate with clients. We teach the importance of being proactive at the beginning of the season, as well as throughout the year.
It may appear that spring has arrived, with clients expecting clean-up work to begin. In fact, it may be too soon to start clean-ups, as bad weather may yet return. It is critical that clients know when you will be handling their jobs.
We also instill the concept of “care calls” that involve quarterly visits in which the contractor meets with clients and walks their property with them.
We help new members understand that some business will be lost through attrition, which is typically 10%. We then discuss how much new business needs to be sold to hit financial targets.
At the same time, we suggest ways to improve their sales operation. We guide them in identifying who will fulfill the sales, account manager and project manager roles. Clear separation of these three functions allows for proper management and oversight of accounts and projects. Once a sale is closed, there needs to be a clean, detailed hand-off from whomever sold the business to the individual responsible for managing the relationship and work.
Licensees constantly tell us that the peer-to-peer networking opportunities LandOpt provides are among the biggest benefits of membership. As a new member, contractors are able to immediately connect with some of the industry’s most respected and successful players.
- We host webcasts for members and their staffs to discuss challenges and solutions for issues they are dealing with now or that may arise in the future. Currently, recruiting and other labor issues, rising costs of gas and fertilizer, and managing through unpredictable weather are hot topics.
- On a more personal level, our coaching staff identifies teams who are finding success managing particular issues. The coaches then connect them with other members who would benefit from what their colleagues have learned.
Beyond the 100 Days of Hell
Contractors come to us a for a variety of reasons, but growing their businesses is, of course, at the top of the list. When they first join LandOpt many are doing a lot of field work themselves, along with running their businesses, dealing with customers and supervising crews.
In addition to teaching them ways to better manage their businesses right away, we begin the process of developing a plan that enables them to step aside from day-to-day field work. They become more efficient managers, more effective supervisors and better marketers. In turn, their business grows, ultimately working better for them.
Partner with LandOpt this year, and I can guarantee that the first 100 days of next spring will be far less Hellish.
Interested in learning more about the benefits of joining LandOpt? Contact Alison Blobner at 412.567.4328 x 303 or email@example.com.