Mar 2021 Here’s How to Deal With the Post-Pandemic Boom
2021 has started with a bang! Every landscaper around the country has more than enough work at the moment, and that should be a great thing, right? Well, it seems to be a double-edged sword. On one hand, COVID has sparked a mini-boom that we would not be experiencing had the pandemic not happened. But, it is also causing other problems like business owners being run off their feet with a record numbers of enquiries, record numbers of quoting, and very few or no new quality candidates responding to the endless number of jobs being advertised. So, what can you do?
Firstly, let’s get things into perspective. It’s a great situation to be in when there is so much work you can pick and choose which projects and clients will best suit your business. Just 12 months ago, no-one knew whether our businesses would be operational due to the pandemic, so let’s be grateful.
Finding new employees is possible.
I am hearing repeatedly, “I am stressed, I can’t find quality landscapers.” I have written about this several times. It’s tough finding guys, but not impossible. I have a client who just hired 3 new guys that are very good (2 qualified landscapers, and a team leader for maintenance). So it is possible to find guys, it takes perseverance and a plan. Also working on retaining your team is very important.
How to take advantage of this “mini-boom”.
You don’t want all of the work that is coming your way, only the best jobs- Right? Qualify your potential clients properly. Set up a qualifying process by documenting the right questions so you know if a potential client suits your business. You can set up a qualifying document and email it to the prospect asking them to answer your questions. You can also have qualifying questions on the contact page of your website. Include some specific details you need prospects to reveal so you can decide if the job will suit you. The qualifying process can also be delegated to someone in your office or outsourced, once you have the document set up properly.
Your time is important, so once you qualify the prospect thoroughly, if you know a potential project doesn’t suit you, be polite and say something like; “now that I have an understanding of what you require, unfortunately this isn’t the type of project we are best suited to, so I suggest you seek a local landscaping company to quote your project. Thank you for taking the time to contact us.”
You could also recommend a contractor if you know someone that could benefit from this enquiry.
Some potential clients will wait for your service.
Just because you are booked out for the next 6 months, there is no reason not to sell your service to a potential client. If prospects have been following you on social media and they like your brand, or your company has been referred by a past client, they will wait until you can install their garden.
Don’t rush- it will come back to bite you.
The most important message is; don’t rush your processes, your estimating, qualifying and managing a project. Successful businesses are built on consistency and repetition of processes and systems that work. Rushing projects to squeeze in more work or rushing a quote because you are under the pump will only come back to bite you. You and your crew should take the time you usually would to execute thoroughly.
Running two projects at a time when you only have 1 team.
The way to do this is to outsource the project to subcontractors. Make sure you cost it properly. It’s better to receive fixed quotes from subbies rather than an hourly rate for obvious reasons. I know many subbies are very busy also, but this is potentially the best way to run projects when you can’t find employees to hire.
2021 will be a strong year for the landscaping industry, so go forward with a planned, organised, and methodical approach maintaining quality in all that you design, maintain and construct.