Cash Flow Savvy Business Owners Are Keyed In

Cash Flow Savvy Business Owners Are Keyed In

By Joe Salemi     cash flow savvy business owners

Most small to medium sized professional landscape businesses do very well in their technical skill-sets, yet running the business often presents challenges outside of their comfort zones. They often struggle because of poor cash management skills, or at least because of lack of understanding of how to effectively manage cash flow – not letting it manage them. 

Next to fraud, competition, and poor economic conditions, this is THE reason landscape businesses struggle or fail. 

Take all of this and add that it is a significant source of stress. Ahhh!! It makes sense, you have employees, equipment, contracts, office space with overhead and people that depend on you to make their living and the money just isn’t coming in at the right time to take care of payroll or your vendors. More than ever, a foundational business skill is managing positive cash flow.  

Here is some great advice I’ve received over the years of observing and working with high performing landscape companies and cash flow savvy business owners all over North America: 

  • Monitor cash flow closely – keep a close eye on bank balances, sales opportunities (in progress/won/lost), accounts receivables, inventories, payables, and credit card terms. All of these wrapped together give you a great sense of the financial health of your landscape business. 
  • Make frequent projections – take a look at what invoices have been sent out and their terms. Ideally, you’ll have a customer rating system based on how well they pay so you’ll be able to have a quasiaccurate way to project when cash will come in. 
  • Prepare thorough, accurate cash flow forecast – consider historical sales, payment histories, industry averages/trends, current economic conditions. The more you can do to forecast your cash flows and benchmark, the better you can plan in the event that slowdowns or clogs in the pipe start to build up. 
  • Identify issues early – you have a client that is taking their sweet time to pay – don’t be afraid to ask for your payment! I see it all too often that landscape business owners feel awkward or uncomfortable asking a client to pay their invoice. Don’t sit on in it, don’t wait ‘til later to “work on it”. Fix it when you find it and keep the pipeline of cash flowing. 
  • Have a back up plan – in much of the US and Canada, the landscape business is extremely seasonal. And, well, so is cash flow. Give some hard thought to how youll bridge the gap between good times and hard times. Wellestablished professional landscape businesses build reserves. Strong startups have well-backed lines of credit that support their work and growth. If you know there’s going to be a gap in the flow of cash, it may be time to establish an off-season service you can provide to your existing clients (or new ones), allowing you to be revenuepositive on a regular basis. 
  • Grow carefully and be measured – it often takes money to make money, but overachieving and uncontrolled growth can (and likely will) send you into an unrecoverable tailspin. Have a solid business plan that outlines the strategic direction you want to progress towards. Develop objective key results (OKRs) that will keep you laserfocused on achieving your goals (dreams).  
  • Invoice quickly – any delays in getting invoices to clients means a delay in getting paid. This should be a priority for you (or preferably for your office admin professional). Have regular, dedicated time set aside to invoice your clients for the work and services you provide.  
  • Use technology wisely and effectively – if you’re not using an accounting software package, well shame on you! I’ll assume you are and you’re using it to manage your A/R. Focus on the clients who have exceeded (aged) more than 20 days and work to remind them to get their payments in. Invest in a landscape business operating system that allows you to tie invoices directly to the job, and will have them generate automatically for your routine maintenance clients. 

Cash flow struggles are real, but don’t let them loom over you like the ominous clouds and weather systems that have delayed the start of the season for much of North America. If you aren’t as financially savvy as you’d like to be, surround yourself with people that are and learn from them. Ensuring a steady flow of earned revenue is coming into the business is just as important as ensuring the crews complete their projects on time and on budget.  

Let us show you how Manage360 can help you manage your cash flow effectively and efficiently.

The Future is Bright!

The Future is Bright!

In March 2019, DynaSCAPE sponsored the National Collegiate Landscape Competition – Joe Salemi was there to scope out the up-and-comers of the landscape industry, and recap the event highlights.

Above is just a small sample of the audience in attendance for the Closing Ceremonies

One of the biggest issues affecting the professional landscape industry right now is access to quality people, and often it seems like there’s no light at the end of the tunnel; that is, until you experience the National Collegiate Landscape Competition. As a four-day event with over 1,200 students, faculty, and industry leaders collaborating across workshops, professional development series, networking events, a career fair, and competitions, you leave with the feeling that the industry is going to be just fine. I’ve now had the opportunity to experience this event for six consecutive years, and each year it continues to get bigger. In fact, if you don’t book your hotel early and/or secure your registration, there just might not be any room at the inn for you.

DynaSCAPE’s Joe Salemi oversees the Landscape Design competition, and offers technical help as needed.

Many industry-related sponsors invest a significant amount of time, effort and money because students are our future industry leaders, and they want early (and regular) exposure to these young professionals. DynaSCAPE isn’t any different; in fact, we have a strong academic program with our landscape design software being taught in 61 of the 68 schools that participated.

For professional landscape companies that haven’t been to this amazing event, but are looking for quality, young people to join their organizations, here’s some inside information:

  • Secure a lead or assistant sponsorship for a competition;
  • Book a booth at the Career Fair;
  • Build relationships with your local college or university, and get to know the department heads and instructors;
  • Sponsor your local participating school’s t-shirt (they wear them all week long!); and,
  • Attend the networking events like the Industry/Faculty Reception.

We know these students are serious about their futures not only because of the amazing work they’re producing, but also because they commit to the event during Spring Break. While thousands of their friends are vacationing and taking a break from school for the week, these bright and dedicated young people are focused on building a pathway to success for their future careers.

The Student Career Fair can get quite busy, but is by far the best place to snag your next landscape professional.

While most people imagine relaxing during Spring Break, these students are hard at work during the Planting Install competition.

Even if you’re only mildly considering participating in the National Collegiate Landscape Competition by either helping with a competition or in the career fair, I strongly suggest planning for it now. Landscape companies big and small were at the career fair looking for young professionals to intern and join their teams. There is no other event in North America that even comes close in size and scope for the future leaders of the landscape industry.

Click here to see pictures and final results of the 2019 competition.

Click here for more information on the National Collegiate Landscape Competition in 2020.

Interview with Jeremy Scarlett

Interview with Jeremy Scarlett

In a recent interview with Jeremy Scarlett of Scarlett’s Landscaping in Ventura, CA, our own Joe Salemi talks to Jeremy about some of the challenges that they work through, how his relationship with his father has driven the success of the company, and how they utilize Manage360 to drive efficiencies and profitability. 

Jeremy started his professional career in environmental and financial sectors before entering the green industry.

Jeremy is a Landscape Industry Certified Hardscape Technician thorough NALP, a Level II Certified Allan Block Experienced Wall Builder, and a certified ICPI Concrete Paver Installer. Jeremy was born and raised in Ventura. He graduated from St. Bonaventure HS in 1996 and UCLA in 2001. Jeremy grew up working with his father and continued to do so all through college. After college, he spent time in the environmental and financial fields before rejoining forces with his father in 2008. Jeremy and Tom formed Scarlett’s Landscape, Inc and now provide Landscape Design and Build services for all of Ventura County, Santa Barbara, and West LA County. Jeremy is a 4th generation landscaper, carrying on the tradition his great grandfather started in the 1930s.

Scarlett’s Landscaping Core Values

Team members are Humble. They lack excessive ego or concerns about status. Humble people are quick to point out the contributions of others and slow to seek attention for their own. They share credit, emphasize team over self and define success collectively rather than individually.

Team members are Hungry. They are always looking for more. More things to do. More to learn. More responsibility to take on. Hungry people almost never have to be pushed by a manager to work harder because they are self-motivated and diligent. They are constantly thinking about the next step and the next opportunity.

Team members are Smart. They have common sense about people. Smart people tend to know what is happening in a group situation and how to deal with others in the most effective way. They have good judgment and intuition around the subtleties of group dynamics and the impact of their words and actions.

Lead With Gratitude, Grace, and Obsession

Lead With Gratitude, Grace, and Obsession

Seems like an odd combination: gratitude, grace, and obsession right? Well it is at first blush. Unpack it and you’ll find it’s exactly the right recipe to show your employees that you care about what’s important. Finding and keeping the good ones on your team can be a full-time job, especially given the current labor climate. Here’s how you can make it a little easier on yourself.


To lead with grace requires knowing who you are, which allows you to inspire people to help you move the organization toward its goals. It’s a style of communication that is synonymous with respect and caring. If used appropriately, it can increase the levels of teamwork and create a cohesive culture by building trust and cooperation. A leader who creates this sort of working environment through their communication alone can certainly be called a graceful leader. 

One of the main attributes people who lead with grace also seem to have is authenticity. Authentic leaders are not afraid to show their vulnerability in front of employees. They are self-aware, which requires knowing and understanding themselves. They know that their vulnerability helps them to connect because people sense that they’re genuine. Authentic leadership, at its most basic, means not being “someone other” at work than you are at home. If you pretend to be one way at work and act another way at home, your behavior won’t be natural and you’ll come across as awkward and unsure, which will create distrust.

A second attribute that qualifies leading with grace is compassion. Compassion starts with a belief that ‘we are all created equally’ and that no ones’ work is above anyone else’s, including yourself as the leader. A leader who is compassionate is aware of and respectfully acknowledges employees’ efforts and feelings, which results in win-win situations more frequently. Instead of a transactional approach (“do what I say because I give you money and benefits”) or an authoritarian approach (“do it my way or get fired!”), a compassionate leader thinks about the collective: “Let’s achieve these great goals together.” A compassionate leader generously recognizes work well done, but also gently, firmly and without apology, corrects employee’s efforts as often as is needed. Helping an employee improve their performance through communication and feedback is compassionate. Letting an employee ‘wallow’ in bad work habits is not good for the company or the individual employee. They also tend to put employees first and attempt to be as flexible as possible if their employees have had difficulties, like a death in the family or divorce.

Learning to balance authentic and compassionate actions with accountability is the key to leading with grace.


The combination of leadership and gratitude is extremely powerful. The power of gratitude gives leaders the edge they need to quickly pivot during stressful situations, such as their team not performing or their bottom line dropping. When leaders pause for 60 seconds and use the Gratitude Practice outlined below, they give their brains and their bodies a chance to recalibrate. This allows them to focus not only on the present and how they can turn things around, but on hidden opportunities to be grateful. 

When leaders engage in this practice on a regular basis, they are able to generate gratitude from within, which allows them to show gratitude to others. Think of it in these terms:

A leader who is grateful towards his or her employees gains their respect.

The simple act of gratitude produces other behaviors. When a leader takes time to intentionally thank her employees, she gains their respect. Because gratitude is a virtue, we tend to respect those who exemplify it.

A leader who thanks his employees gains their trust.

Gratitude can’t be faked, and that’s one of the reasons why it is one of the emotions that elicits most trust.

A leader who thanks his employees gains their effort.

Gratitude also produces greater effort in those who sense it. Someone says, “Thanks, that was awesome! You totally rocked that deadline!” That kind of grateful language is encouraging, because it’s a reward for effort. When we’re rewarded for our effort in such a way, we want to give even more effort.

A leader who thanks his employees gains their appreciation.

We appreciate virtue when we see it i others. Thus, when you express gratitude towards other people, your behavior will gain appreciation.

A leader who expresses gratitude prevents other undesirable emotions.

Grateful people are rarely angry. And angry people are rarely grateful. Think of it like this, that gratitude can eliminate some of the more undesired traits associated with leaders — micromanagement, authoritarianism, rudeness, etc.


A healthy obsession for the right things is ultra critical to drive the success of your company. Obsessing about quality of work, the level of service your employees perform for your clients, the way your employees treat your equipment…etc. A healthy obsessive tendency perpetuates a culture of continuous improvement. And a continuous improvement culture drives everyone to do better.

Leaders who take deep dives in to the processes that are critical to the delivery of product and service that drive revenue don’t let anything else preoccupy their mind. The go “all in”. Think of this like working on the business rather than in it, but 10X. This is where the details matter. Obsessed leaders look at every aspect of the business and how it runs, in it’s finest detail. From how your front line employees interact with your clients to the follow up emails they receive as a thank you for their business.

Don’t let yourself get distracted. Obsession with improvement means that every day, without fail, you will relentlessly focus on finishing each of these process goals. They become your top priority.

The landscape business owners I know who are at the top of their game got there not by wanting to be better, but by becoming obsessed with improving. Because we live in such a result-oriented society, it’s easy to forget that the key to happiness lies not in the end goal, but in the efforts along the way toward achieving the goals we’ve set for ourselves.

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 LandscapingWickie 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 (

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.