Finding and retaining top personnel
Attracting and keeping hard working talent has always been an issue in most industries, but many landscaping contractors have identified personnel problems as one of the most pressing issues facing them today. While the economy has been slowly improving in many areas, costs for many contractors have been increasing, which has kept wages relatively flat.
As a result, landscaping contractors are forced to spend much of their time focused on recruitment and training rather than building their businesses. Many contractors have identified attracting qualified applicants to be the real tripping point in their recruitment process, but some have found success by advertising for the jobs online on their own websites as well as on recruitment sites.
Once you have employees, it can be complicated to hold on to them. But finding a little extra in the budget to pay quality workers what they’re worth can make all the difference. Many contractors are also putting emphasis on improved training and employee development programs so that workers can feel like their employers are investing in their futures.
Let’s face it – government regulations are something that all small business owners need to deal with, and landscaping contractors are no exception. From municipal bylaws about fertilizer and leaf blower usage to federal employment regulations and Obamacare, governments don’t seem to be happy unless they’re increasing the cost of doing business.
Unfortunately, there isn’t much one can do to avoid legal requirements, no matter how costly or unnecessary they seem. The best that most contractors can do is ensure that they are on top of all their requirements, because fines can be even more costly. This is where professional associations and local business groups can come in handy. You may also be able to find online communities for professionals in your area who can help you stay up to speed.
Everyone knows there has been an epidemic of lowballing contractors who have driven down pricing for landscapers industrywide. Whether they are driving down prices out of their own desperation or just bad business sense, they are not able to provide the high levels of service that many customers expect and have tarnished the reputation of the entire industry.
Landscaping contractors have two options to deal with this issue. First, you can lower your prices and service quality to compete with the lowballers on their own level. Second, and perhaps more attractively, you can attempt to distinguish yourself as providing higher quality work, justifying your higher prices.
With existing customers, you can demonstrate your excellence simply by performing great work and providing a great value. For new customers, however, you need to be able to establish credibility right from the start. A professional, high quality website is one of the best ways to do this. When a new customer is searching for a landscaping company, you want your website to impress them right away.
Unfortunately, lowball competition isn’t the only problem facing landscapers right now. With the rising costs of doing business and an economy that is still unsteady, margins have been getting thinner and thinner for many landscaping contractors.
Even as landscaping customers seem to be willing to spend more, it is still important for landscaping contractors to do everything they can to cut unnecessary costs and to make sure that their investments are offering a good return. For example, keeping equipment closer to larger projects can help reduce on drive time and fuel costs.
Finding a way to focus on the best opportunities
Everyone knows that some landscaping jobs are more profitable than others. However, it can be difficult to be selective about which jobs you take on when every single job is necessary for your cashflow. Different contractors have been focusing on different areas to try to increase the number of profitable job opportunities.
Some contractors are focusing on increasing their route density by heavily marketing their companies within targeted neighborhoods, saving them money and time on commuting between worksites. Others are focusing their online marketing efforts on the jobs that have the best margins, such as spraying or “organic” landscaping.
Doing well can be its own problem when you have issues scaling your operations. Between expanding your workforce, managing a higher number of inbound calls and emails, and raising capital for expansion, managing the logistics of growth can seem like a new full time job.
If it’s time for your landscaping company to grow, all you can do is determine how you can be as efficient as possible with the resources you have so that you can still deliver services profitably while also investing in your growth. This is sometimes easier said than done, but any expansion goals need to be evaluated carefully.
Growing your customer base
But of course, expansion can’t happen at all if you aren’t building your customer base. With the large amount of competition for landscaping jobs in most markets, simply providing the best service isn’t always enough anymore.
Because of this, many landscaping contractors are turning to the Internet in order to help increase their customer base. This is a situation in which ranking near the top of the results for keywords related to landscaping can really be a huge boon for your business. And these days, with more and more people using their smart phones to search for local services, having a responsive site that looks great on a small screen can be the difference between landing that new customer and losing them to one of your competitors.
Partner with LinkNow Media to solve your marketing problems
Whatever aspect of the landscaping business you’re currently struggling with, LinkNow Media’s online marketing expertise can help you get things back on track.
Are you experiencing any of these issues with your landscaping business? Do you have another big problem that we haven’t mentioned? Let us know in the comments or drop us a line on Twitter.