Interview with Wickie Rowland

Interview with Wickie Rowland

 

In a recent interview with Wickie Rowland, APLD of Labrie Associates Design & Build, our own Joe Salemi asks Wickie how she got started as a professional landscape designer, how she stays motived, where she draws her inspiration from, and how she decided to move forward with DynaSCAPE as her landscape design software of choice.

Wickie has recently achieved her certification with the Association of Professional Landscape Designers!

Wickie Rowland has been drawing ever since she was old enough to hold a pencil. Her landscape design work has been featured in KLC School of Design’s 2011, 2012, and 2013 London shows, and she won two bronze medals in the KLC School of Design’s 2013 Alumni competition, designing two gardens for the Eden Project in Cornwall, England. She was the recipient of the APLD Silver Award for the modified rain garden in 2017. On the other side of the competition coin, Wickie has also been a judge of the Boston Flower Show.

Besides using her drawing skills to design gardens, Wickie has written and illustrated two children’s books, Good Morning Strawbery Banke (which won first place in the New England Museum Association’s Publications competition in 2011) and Good Morning, Piscataqua, released in May of 2014.

Interview With Matt Hiner

Interview With Matt Hiner

 

In a recent interview with Matt Hiner of Hiner Landscapes in Colorado Springs, CO, our own Joe Salemi asks Matt how he got into the landscape business, what he has done to surround himself with a great team, and what drew him to DynaSCAPE. Matt referenced a great book, titled “The Great Game of Business” which is a very helpful business coaching system (https://www.greatgame.com).

Elite Award Winner for Innovation from the Association Landscape Contractors of Colorado!

Hiner Landscapes may not have invented 3D design, but they have definitely pioneered a design process that takes full advantage of its capabilities to provide a positive and informative experience. Their ground-breaking efforts earned us The ELITE Award for Innovation from Associated Landscape Contractors of Colorado last year. Using several software programs together, Hiner is able to create a photo-realistic, animated fly-through video of a design concept. Illustrating the design in a way that 2D cannot. For professional landscape design, consultation and installation, more local homeowners are choosing Hiner Landscapes over any other landscape design/build firm in the area. They are the only firm that works laterally with their clients every step of the way to ensure their landscaping needs are met while upholding their high standards of professionalism and excellence.

Interview with Christian Brown

Interview with Christian Brown

In a recent interview with Christian Brown of Perfect Landscapes, our own Joe Salemi asks Christian how he got into the landscape business, what he has done to surround himself with a great team, and what drew him to DynaSCAPE.

Perfect Landscapes is the leader in custom residential and commercial landscape maintenance, design and installation for Northern Virginia.

They take pride in transforming your outdoor space into a usable, and enjoyable place that you will want to use every day and that will increase the value of your home and appeal of your business. Perfect Landscapes provides their clientele with formidable quality, design and service. The vision of the firm’s qualified professionals is to create new and innovative landscape architecture, while preserving the sanctity of traditional landscapes.

End of Season Wrap Up

End of Season Wrap Up

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?

 

Profitability

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.

Have you looked at DynaSCAPE’s Manage360? It’s your budgeting tool, your sales pipeline management system, estimating software, job and crew tracking, profitability reporting, and integration with QuickBooks. It’s really the operating system for your landscape business. We want to be a partner in your success. Get in touch with us and we’ll show you how we help transform landscape businesses.

Get in touch with us and schedule a live demo!

Please send me more information
  • Please let us know about any specific information you are looking for.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Creating a Change Order Culture

Creating a Change Order Culture

The important part to realize here is that when a client wants more work done a formal Change Order will help them understand that more work costs more money! Managing each change through a formal Change Order helps manage expectations and sets out a fair and equitable relationship between you and your client.

Let’s start out by clarifying what a Change Order is. Many contractors and subcontractors start off by offering their services to friends, making verbal contracts, and performing great work while trusting that they’ll be paid. Any modifications to the original project are discussed and verbally agreed without a fuss, and everyone walks away happy. Right. How often does it ever go that smoothly?

A change order is a document used to record an amendment to your original landscape construction contract. Change orders create a record of additional services being provided to your customer, along with pricing for those services. A subcontractor that neglects to use change orders may forget to bill additional costs related to the changes requested, or forget to complete the changes altogether.

 

A change order form has the following features:

  1. A revised scope of work – this could mean less work or more, but usually, the customer is asking for something in addition to what has already been agreed.
  2. Pricing for the new work.
  3. Any relevant modifications to the original contract that result from the new scope of work, for example, extending the delivery schedule for the project because the scope of work is now greater.
  4. The signatures of both the contractor and the customer.

The most important function of change orders is that they show the customer that getting more work done costs more money. Change orders were made to help you manage the customer that always wants more for less, and when combined with a detailed scope of work, you’ll have an easy time ensuring that both and your client are treated fairly.

Overall, just make it part of your standard operating procedures that anytime a client requests a change the request is communicated to the appropriate responsible person to create a change order and have the client sign off on the requested change. Make sure everyone on the team buys in to that. Sure it’s going to add more admin work to your already heavy workload, but it will save an incredible amount of headaches in the long run. Additionally, your client will respect your level of professionalism and appreciate your careful attention to detail on their project.

About Change Orders in Manage360

Change orders can be added to a job at any time, on the fly and on site. Once approved, it’s simply added to the current job in Manage360, which gives you different views of the job so you can see the original contract, the change orders, and a current view showing both.

With Job Management, each change order is tracked and billed separately, which not only ensures that you’ re paid for all additional work, but also lets you see exactly how you’re recovering your overhead for each change, and how all of the changes are affecting the job’s overall profitability.

With output to the client that’s based on the American Institute of Architects’ standard change order form, Job Management’s change order capacity is a simple solution to one of the industry’s most complex problems, namely, how to ensure that all of a job’s change orders are recorded, tracked and compensated for in a way that’s easy to do and consistent with your overhead recovery method.

Let's Schedule a Demo!

Please send me more information
  • Please let us know about any specific information you are looking for.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Summer Time Checks and Balances

Summer Time Checks and Balances

There’s never really a perfect time to review your processes to make sure you’re being as efficient as you possibly could be, but like the old adage “the best time to plant that tree was 20 years ago, the next best time is today”. What better opportunity when you’re in the peak flow of all of your processes to take a few moments and make sure you’re running how you want to be.

Take stock of all of the processes you have for a key area within the business. I wouldn’t recommend a complete audit of every standard operating procedure you have, rather a targeted check-in to make sure you’re doing the absolute best you can in that area. Here are some keys to success in reviewing your processes:

  1. Be inclusive! Have everyone who that process affects in the room when reviewing and making any changes.
  2. Discuss the current reality – are things working or are they not? What can be done to improve? What needs immediate attention?
  3. Have the difficult conversations – if something isn’t working, it’s important to call it out. Be hard on the issue, soft on the person.
  4. Identify best practices – there are many different ways of doing things well. Have someone surface best practices and discuss how the team can do better than that.
  5. Adopt a continuous improvement approach – your processes never become stuck in a state of status quo. As a team, you’re always looking for ways to enhance how you do things.

It’s often difficult to find time in the midst of the summer in the landscape business to work on the business. It’s incredibly important to focus on the strategic direction of your company, carving out time to do that is the key here. Whether it’s once a day, once a week, once a month — make sure you are giving the right amount of attention to how your business runs.