At this point in 2018 you’ll have decent understanding of your financial position. How did you do? Now’s the time to step back and see how you did. How you really did. There’s a lot to consider when trying to determine just how successful your season was. Did you trend toward the profit margin you set for yourself? Did you get that granular when you were doing your planning?
At the highest level, you want to key in on where you were most profitable. Was it your design/build division? Or was it enhancements? Remember, don’t rely on just looking at your total sales. It’s more than that, look at your expenses (overhead, job related, and labor) that went along with generating that revenue. How much was left over? How did that compare to last year or the year before? (In DynaSCAPE Manage360, the job profitability report will show you this information.)
Take a look at your most profitable type of work, this will help you plan for the upcoming season by looking to sell more of that type of work that yields higher margins. How do you know what type of work is more profitable? Well, let’s break that down. These jobs tend to be what you’re best at, what your known for. Everyone has a speciality. What’s yours? These profitable jobs are usually what your crews like to do, you easily recover all of your overhead and job related expenses, and your clients are willing to pay more for that type of work. After it’s all said and done, it has the higher profit margin than your other jobs or services.
Is there a particular area that you service that has more affluent neighborhoods? Are you tracking where your affluent clients are? What geographies are producing the more profitable jobs for you? Are you visible in their circles? Be where your clients are, be as visible as you can. If you’re not, your competition will be.
Review this season’s budget and plan for next season
During your budget planning you would have set out your projected revenue for each of your divisions (design/build, enhancements, grounds maintenance, gardening, snow and ice as examples). Did you reach that key result? Did you fall short, meet it, or exceed it? Have you built up your pipeline enough to carry you through the spring for the upcoming season? Planning your expenses (both overhead/admin and job related) are key aspects of your budget planning process. Make sure you’re looking at it from all angles and include your key people. They’ll have insight into parts of the operation that you might not or might overlook. You’ll want to make sure you account for any planned equipment purchases, staffing needs, investments in coaching or consultants and software (hint DynaSCAPE!).
Staff performance reviews
Feedback for your staff is more important than you think. Don’t take it for granted that they know how you feel about their performance. Without the right feedback your staff are going to interpret your behavior as either positive or negative feedback. Saying nothing can be the most detrimental. If someone isn’t performing to their potential let them know how to improve in a constructive reaffirming way. If their behavior needs to be corrected then do it in a firm but coaching oriented manner. Reward those that go above and beyond. Your key people should be treated like they are key members of the team and compensated to reflect that. If not, you may find yourself looking to have to fill their spot because they moved on to an organization that will.
When wrapping up your season, it’s important to gather the key members of your team and do an open and honest debrief. Talk about what went really well and how you can repeat that. Talk about what really went horrible and how you can avoid it for next season. Plan strategically for the spring so you can hit the ground running.