Seizing Opportunities After Your ‘100 Days of Hell’

Congratulations, you made it through yet another “100 Days of Hell.” Those of you doing both snow and spring services know what I mean. Working 60 hours a week, you transitioned your team and equipment from snow to landscape maintenance and turf care, even as you whack-a-moled your way through fickle weather and all the niggling screw-ups each spring brings.

Gary Kuykendall, with GIS Dynamics and a long-time industry pro, described “100 Days of Hell” on a GoiTALK blog. Harking back to his days as vice president at Groundmasters, Inc., Cincinnati, Kuykendall recalled that springtime means six- and seven-day work weeks. “It’s when nearly 50 percent of a landscape maintenance contract is completed in 33 percent of the year,” he wrote.

Now, with summer upon us, you can take a deep breath. You’re entering a saner season. You have time to seek new service and revenue opportunities. You don’t have to be satisfied with getting just the remaining 50 percent of your contracts. You can get more.

Summer brings new (and often unexpected) opportunities. But somebody on your team–whether yourself or crew members–must recognize them before you can seize them. Think of them in terms of pain and gain, a concept shared with me several years ago by Judy Guido, a popular and longtime industry consultant.

Pain? These are problems that develop or become apparent on landscapes under your care this past spring. Or perhaps they become apparent as summer unfolds, explained Guido. These are often issues outside of the scope of agreed upon services. Once they become apparent to clients they may generate calls or perhaps even complaints even though they’re outside the scope of work agreed upon.

Gain? This is the opportunity to generate extra revenue while cementing the goodwill and loyalty of clients by alerting them to and solving their landscape problems before they worsen.

Here are some of the things that you (or your crews) should assess each time you visit a client’s property. You may have others to add to the list:

  • The condition of the beds (mulch, weeds, color, etc.)
  • The condition of the turfgrass. Is there evidence of insect or disease damage? Is the turfgrass struggling or off-color?
  • Are there issues with drainage or irrigation negatively affecting the client’s trees, beds or turfgrass?
  • How about weeds sprouting through the client’s driveway, walkways or pavers?
  • Does the client’s deck or patio need powerwashing?

If you can’t regularly visit clients’ properties, can your employees recognize these landscape pain points? Do they have the ability to price and solve these issues on the spot? If not, have you instructed them to take photos of them with their phones and share them with you?

Stay a step ahead of clients in recognizing their landscape pain points before they become worse. You’re the landscape professional, not your client. Don’t wait until an issue becomes so nettlesome to a client that they call you. Take the initiative.