Aug 2020 How To Stay On Your Game Now That COVID-19 Has Caused An Increase In Enquiries and Demand For Your Services
When the COVID-19 outbreak started increasing in late March 2020, we were all in a state of concern. We did not know if the Landscape Industry, like so many others, would be shut down for a prolonged period. While that unfortunately was the case with many industries, thankfully it was not for the landscape industry. Since May, many landscapers have been reporting increased enquiries and sales, which is great news!
However, some landscapers have asked me, “how do I manage my business so that profits stay high and I can continue to take advantage of this busy period?”.
Here is how I would answer this question.
1. Don’t Quote Every Potential Job
It is essential to know who your best, and who your second-best clients are. In other words, who is your target market and secondary market.
Create a profile of these clients so you are clear on who they are. During this busy period only quote projects for your target market. I know it is hard to say no to some prospects, so create a process that ensures you assess every potential client well before deciding whether you will visit their site. That process begins with qualifying a client properly.
2. Qualify Your Clients
When a new prospect emails or phones you with an initial enquiry, it is important to have a small list of qualifying questions so you can decide if this prospect fits your target market or your secondary market. Take the time (10 – 20mins) to discuss their potential project and gather some details.
3. Do Not Change The Way You Do Things
Do not be tempted to cut corners or rush through a job so that you can squeeze in another project. This approach will have critical repercussions, like making mistakes, higher costs and jobs taking longer to finish. So follow the systems and processes that have served your business well to date.
4. Quote and Manage Jobs For Greater Profit
Continue to quote your projects with accurate costs (man hours, materials, sub-contractors, etc) so that you know what Net Profit you will earn. Plan and manage all projects well so quoted profit is realised.
5. Plan Your Week
Every Friday, it is essential to plan the next week. Tasks such as: Revise construction/maintenance schedules, quoting, job inspections, new client meetings, key team meetings, marketing posts, looking at cash-flow, will all need to be scheduled for next week. If you stay at least one week ahead at all times, you will prevent getting overwhelmed by being busy and will deal with any surprises in a much better way.
6. Continue Regular Meetings with Key Employees
Continue to conduct weekly meetings with key employees to ensure everyone stays accountable, encouraged, and supported. These important meetings help to keep your business on track and stable.
7. Continue to Actively Market Your Business
You are currently busy, but you have to assume that it won’t stay that way forever. One way to ensure that you will always have a flow of enquiries is to create a marketing plan and work it regularly (every week or fortnight). Some simple strategies to include are updating your website with professional images and videos, post quality images on Instagram and Facebook regularly, booking professional photography shoots, and building your alliances.
8. Sell to Fill Your Future Project Timeline
Do not feel pressured to fit jobs in prior to Christmas! Focus on winning work for next year or when your current timeline of work finishes. If you are booked out until Christmas, potential clients will know that all quality contractors have full schedules for several months ahead, so your full schedule will impress them and create a greater demand for your services.
So the succinct answer is to keep doing all the fundamentals that have served your business well. There is no need to cut corners, rush to finish work, lower your standards, or try and squeeze in work that will jeopardise current projects. Plan your future weeks in advance and make your employees accountable. Maintain a strong work ethic and you will set your business up nicely for 2021.