10 Best Practices to Prep Your Lawn Care Company for the 2021 Season

lawn care company

The slow season is upon us in the lawn and landscape industry, which makes now the perfect opportunity to plan for the 2021 lawn care season. Whether it’s marketing, operations, agronomics or human resources, here are 10 tips for prepping your business for the 2021 season.

Start reading the blog or click on the bookmarked links below to skip to the tip you need!

  1. Building Your Business' Vision Summary
  2. Developing an Annual Sales and Marketing Plan
  3. Renewing Your Customers
  4. Reviewing Your Cancel List
  5. Training Your Personnel
  6. Surveying Your Personnel
  7. Conducting Personnel Reviews
  8. Reviewing and Making Adjustments To Your Lawn Care Fertilizer Program for Agronomic and Economic Effectiveness
  9. Conducting Equipment Maintenance
  10. Renegotiate Prices with Vendors

Building Your Business’ Vision Summary

An effective vision summary is a rallying tool that drives engagement, alignment, and focus throughout your company. It provides the vision and the strategic priorities your company needs to achieve. So, how do you create a vision summary?

>>At Holganix, we use the Vision Summary template and process outlined by Verne Harnish in the best selling book, Scaling Up. You can access a copy of the template here. Below is a summary of the steps for thinking about your vision summary.

  1. Step One: Outline the company’s vision - The company’s vision includes your core values, purpose, three brand promises, and your big hairy audacious goal.
    1. Core Values: So what are core values? These are the 3-7 rules that define your company’s culture. They guide your employees when faced with a tough decision. At Holganix, our core values dictate who we hire, how we make decisions, who we partner with, and more.
    2. Purpose: Your purpose statement (also known as a mission statement) answers questions like why do we do what we do and why should I care about my work?
    3. Brand Promise: Your brand promise describes what makes your company different from the competition. For example, Apple’s brand promise might be Think Different.
    4. Big Hairy Audacious Goal (BHAG): Your BHAG is a 10 to 25-year goal that, when completed, means your company is headed in the right direction. At Holganix, our BHAG is to eliminate 100M lbs of nitrogen, 25M lbs of phosphorus, and 100M ounces of pesticides through the use of our products by 2025. When we reach that goal, we will not only have made a difference to the world, but we will have also reached certain revenue growth goals at the company.

2. Step Two: Outlining your 5 year, 1 year, and quarterly strategic priorities - These priorities are the initiatives your entire company needs to tackle in order to be successful. Select three priorities for each category and review the priorities on a regular meeting to ensure you are moving in the right direction.


Developing an Annual Marketing and Sales Plan

As Thomas Edison once said, “Good fortune is what happens when opportunity meets with planning!” If you haven’t already done so - crank out that 2021 marketing and sales plan. How do you get started?

  1. Start with a revenue goal - How much do you want to grow by in 2021. Be realistic but don’t be afraid to think big!
  2. What’s your cost per sale - If you don’t already know it, consider what your cost per sale is. This metric will allow you to understand what you need to invest in your sales and marketing budget in order to reach your growth goal.
  3. Build out a marketing calendar - Get down to the nitty-gritty and map out what pieces - direct mail, digital advertisement, blog, video, etc - need to be done in order to ensure you take advantage of the spring selling season.

Here are some resources to help you build out your marketing and sales plan:

    1. Building Your Lawn Care Marketing Plan [VIDEO] by Holganix
    2. How to Build Your Lawn Care Marketing Plan by Lawn Care Millionaire


Renewing Your Current Customers

Now is the time to send out renewal letters so that your customers are locked in for the New Year. Renewal letters allow you to decipher how much of your customer base you can expect to carry into next year.

Here are three tips to make your renewal process a big success:

  1. Offer a PrePay option - Consider asking your customers to prepay in exchange for a discount. You can expect about 10% of your customers to prepay. That revenue can go straight into your sales and marketing budget to grow the business.
  2. Conduct a Net Promoter Score (NPS) survey - NPS is a measurement of satisfaction that divides your customers into three categories: Promoters, Passives, and Detractors. By asking one simple question – “How likely is it that you would recommend [your company] to a friend or colleague?” – you can measure how your customers view your company’s performance. Customers are rated on a 0-to-10 point scale. Promoters score between 9-10; these are your most loyal customers. Passives score between a 7-8 and detractors between a 0-6. The powerful thing is that you will know which customers are unhappy before they cancel services. NPS allows you to “Wow-ify” your detractors and save them from cancellation before trouble occurs.
  3. Exit Interview With Canceled Customers - Take a random sampling of any canceled customers you have and conduct exit interviews to understand why they are leaving your company. It may pinpoint problems with the operations of your company that you aren’t already aware of!

Reviewing Your Cancel List

The wonderful thing about canceled customers is that they are already familiar with your company. Consider that just because a customer canceled services, doesn’t mean they were an unhappy customer; many customers cancel to take advantage of a price break or discount offered by a competitor.

Targeting your cancel list now before they sign up for another company’s service is the perfect opportunity to bring in new sales. In fact, if you conduct a mail campaign to canceled customers, often you can expect a close rate of 2.5 - 5%. If you combine a mail campaign with a call, the close rate can reach as high as 20%.

If you need help building any marketing tools to target canceled customers, consider checking out our Lawn & Landscape Marketing Support page. It contains dozens of marketing tools that are free to download!


Training Your Personnel

As the saying goes, a company is only as good as its employees. Investing in training can be tough - it means lost productivity in the short term, cuts into time for the trainer, and can sometimes cost money. But, often it pays in dividends.

For GrowninGreen Lawn Care, investing in employees allowed them to get more out of their current employees. “We are all facing a tight labor market and that’s not going to change anytime soon,” explains CEO and Founder Jonathan Rigsbee. “A few years ago, we changed our mindset to how we can get more out of what we have?” For Jonathan, that investment meant reduced employee turnover (Hint: that’s money savings!) and better customer satisfaction (Hint: that’s money savings and money creation!)

Spend time and resources training people during the winter - before spring - so training doesn’t eat into productivity. Here are some resources for training people in the lawn and landscape space:

  1. Training 101 by Lawn and Landscape Magazine - This article features interviews with 3 lawn and landscape operators. The stories and tips shared by these LAWNtrepreneurs are worth the 4 minute read.
  2. How To Out-Train Your Competition by Green Industry Pros - This article discusses key elements of an effective training program.
  3. Visit your local state extension office for information on CEU pesticide credits.


Surveying Your Personnel

If it isn’t already a practice at your lawn and landscape company, consider conducting a survey with your team to measure their engagement and to get feedback on how they feel the company can improve. Sometimes, the best ideas come from the unlikeliest of places!

Here’s a list of sample questions to consider:

  • What should we START doing?
  • What should we STOP doing?
  • What should we KEEP doing?
  • On a scale from 1 - 10, how satisfied are you with your job? 1 being unsatisfied, 10 being very satisfied.
  • On a scale from 1-10, do you feel your manager supports you? 1 being not supported, 10 being very supported.
  • On a scale from 1 - 10, do you find your work meaningful? 1 being not meaningful, 10 being very meaningful.
  • On a scale from 1 - 10, would you recommend working here to your friends? 1 being you would not recommend, 10 being you would recommend it.

Check out SurveyMonkey.Com as a free resource to get started. Also, consider this blog for additional sample questions to specifically measure employee engagement.


Conducting Personnel Reviews

While operations are calm, take the time to conduct annual personnel reviews. Sometimes doing reviews can fill employees and employers with a sense of dread - after all, no one likes to receive or give criticism. But, annual personnel reviews are so much more than critiques! They are a way to give feedback on what your employees rock at - and what they need a little help on. It also opens the door for ways to solve any issues employees are having with an aspect of their job. In other words, do they need more training to be successful at that task? Or, was the task not communicated properly by management?

Here are two resources for personnel reviews:

  1. Measuring success with key performance indicators in the article 3 Ideas To Grow Your Lawn and Landscape Business by Holganix - This blog goes into how to build the appropriate metrics to rate employee performance in a way that’s fully transparent to the employee and the employer.
  2. Delivering an Effective Performance Review by The Harvard Business Review - Annual reviews done ineffectively can sometimes cause more confusion than if they weren’t done at all. This HBR article discusses effective performance reviews and, while it’s a longer read, it’s pure gold.


Review and Make adjustments to your lawn care fertilizer program for agronomic and economic effectiveness

Most of the time, agronomic programs fluctuate throughout the year based on weather. For example, too much rain causes problems with disease, and too little could spell for a nasty summer. Regardless of Mother Nature’s whims, it’s important to strategize what your ideal agronomic program looks like to ensure a successful year.

Consider meeting with your agronomic advisors to review last year’s program and discuss how to make your current fertilizer program more effective from an agronomic and economic point-of-view.

Check out this blog for our 5 Tips for Planning Your Fertilizer Program. Feel free to reach out to your Holganix agronomic representatives with any questions.


Conducting Equipment Maintenance

Before equipment hits the road this spring, take time to look over your equipment and conduct any maintenance needed. At the very least - consider reviewing your equipment for the basics like:

  1. Changing the oil and filters
  2. Checking and changing the air filters on engines
  3. Checking the belt conditions
  4. Checking the tire pressure

Here are some resources for conducting routine lawn and landscape maintenance:


Renegotiating Prices with Vendors

Often, vendors will look to increase prices with the new year but may also have opportunities to prepay or preorder in order to keep current prices or earn further discounts.

Before the end of the year, make a list of your top 10 vendors and start a conversation about what 2021 looks like for both organizations. Don’t be afraid to ask for a discount, to maintain your current pricing, or to renegotiate terms in exchange for making certain commitment levels. Just because an offer is advertised, doesn’t mean it isn’t available.

>>Check out these 7 tips from Quickbooks on how to effectively renegotiate prices with vendors.

Posted by Kaitlyn Ersek on Nov 5, 2020 9:33:09 AM

Kaitlyn Ersek

Topics: lawn care

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