Prepping for the Season of Business

Prepping for the Season of Business

by Joe Salemi, Vice President, DynaSCAPE Software

For most of you, the Spring is the busiest time of the year with new jobs breaking ground and seasonal maintenance contracts getting underway. As the Spring approaches many of you are working to ramp up your businesses so that you and your teams are able to hit the ground running. It’s this preparation and ramp up that is intrinsically critical to the successful launch of your Spring operations.

Well managed, well run, professional landscape companies are typically the most prepared to go into the Spring rush with all hands on deck with the smoothest of transitions. It’s no fluke, there’s a ton of hard work and co-ordination that goes into this.

These companies put significant attention and effort toward the following key areas:

  • Investment in people: making sure they have the right people in the right positions (and making sure they have enough key players in all areas of the operation). Through the “off-season” key members of the team have been upgrading their skill sets. Leadership has made sure that the right training is in place for their returning field crews and new team members.
  • Equipment: they have inspected every piece of their equipment to ensure safe, efficient working order. Any equipment that needs to be replaced is done so, and any new pieces of equipment needed to increase productivity and capacity are added to the fleet.
  • Software systems: they have reviewed their workflows and efficiencies in the software systems they use to operate the business. For some, this means Excel spreadsheets and accounting packages. For others it means a fully integrated landscape design, CRM, sales management, estimating, job + crew tracking, job costing, and billing system (like DynaSCAPE!).
  • Consultants + Peer Groups: Owners and leaders in the business connect with industry consultants to help them work ON the business rather than IN it. They also engage/participate in peer groups to get a sense of what other successful landscape companies are doing and learn about best practices to implement in their own businesses.

I reached out to a few landscape industry friends to see what advice they would offer their peers as they prepare for the Spring rush. The advice is they gave is priceless!

 

Matt Hiner, Hiner Outdoor Living, Colorado Springs, CO

“For the Spring rush we do a few things to prepare. We’ll do some basic housekeeping things like go through all our equipment and make sure they are good to go and restock small tools.

When it comes to handling clients, we will lean on our processes – but we try and take a proactive approach to things too. For annual services we send out reminders and incentivize them to prepay and get on the schedule early to reserve their spot but also allows us to be more organized and efficient. For the procrastinators it’s very important to be polite, upfront and set proper expectations about how long they may have to wait for your services.”

 

Matt Hudson, Matt Hudson Consulting, Jupiter, FL

“Get clear.

Take the time over this next month before the spring rush begins and really get clear about what you want to accomplish during this upcoming spring season. You only get one Spring per year and you want to make the most out of this opportunity.

Set tangible and measurable goals that you want to accomplish this spring. They could be financial goals, both top line revenue and net profit goals month by month, they could be safety goals, they could be operational goals, or anything else that is important to your business this spring.

Once your goals are set then begin preparing to achieve them. Take a hard look at your business and identify what you do best and where your weaknesses are. Find ways to leverage your strengths during this upcoming season and be proactive on improving your weaknesses so they don’t cause you pain in the near future.

Get clear, be prepared and enjoy the ride!”

 

Patrick DuChene, DuChene Design Solutions, Ocean City, MD

“I think the most important thing that any designer can do, especially those using a software program, is to take time before the rush to address the redundancies they experienced on 2019 and turn them into tasks that are much easier to accomplish in 2020.  For example, I have decided that this year, I am going to streamline my automated takeoffs process within DynaSCAPE Software that will save me approximately 15-30 minutes per drawing throughout the year.  For other DS users, one recommendation I have is to work hard at fully utilizing the plant and hardscape takeoffs function within the software.  This is a massively under-utilized tool in the community that is bleeding hours and hours of precious time from many designers’ busy and often overloaded schedules.  Do not try to change everything you do…just pick the 2-3 of the most time-consuming tasks you have, address how to improve upon those tasks, and enjoy the time savings through the season.”

 

Improving processes, leveling up skill sets, adding software systems are all things that DynaSCAPE can help you with to make the absolute most of the impending Spring rush. We believe in well run, well executed landscape businesses and commit to partnering with you to for a safe, profitable, and prosperous 2020 landscape season.

 

Let DynaSCAPE help you get started!

 

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 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 Landscape Designer: Matt Hiner

Interview With Landscape Designer: 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.

Landscape Design Image
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.

Perfect Landscapes
Interview with Patrick DuChene

Interview with Patrick DuChene

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

About DuChene Design Solutions, LLC

Founded by Patrick J. DuChene to provide the best design and 3D modeling services available for the landscape industry.

DuChene Design Solutions, LLC was founded to provide landscape design/build firms with dynamic, cutting edge design presentations and 3D visualizations to increase sales closing rates, improve design presentation, and grow their business. We take great pride in our ability to communicate with the companies with which we work to deliver exactly what is needed to help their business grow, compete and succeed. Beyond our design services, we consult with our clients on strategies for closing sales as well as managing their business for growth and prosperity. The landscape industry is very competitive, and our mission is to equip our clients with a superior product while fostering a profitable working relationship based on respect, trust, and communication.

3D Landscape Design Example