60-Second Guide to Organizing Your Landscape Business

60-Second Guide to Organizing Your Landscape Business

Organize your landscape business in 60 seconds.

Why a 60-second guide? Because it is a busy time for most landscapers, we understand that time is limited and want to help you get the most out of this season.

So let’s look at your goal for the season — a faster turn-around, better productivity, and increased bandwidth to manage more customers. You need to organize various aspects of your business to achieve those targets, from landscape design to customer communications to crew management. And a landscape business management software will help you streamline these critical aspects of your business. 

0:60 Toss the Hand-Drawn, Crew Routing Calendar

To achieve success with a landscape project, you need to be a good crew manager. Once your crew has access to a mobile app that ties into your landscape business management software, you can track their time and location with geo-stamping; the crew leader simply clocks in when they arrive on the job site, and clocks out when they’re done. Any changes made to the crew’s route can be managed remotely with a dynamic route builder. Imagine saving all that time and energy consumed in tracking resources, crew members, materials, equipment and subcontractors. Optimizing the route of your crew and equipment can save three significant costs: administrative, fuel and equipment downtime costs.

0:48 Streamlining Change Orders

Customers may often request changes that may seem small to them, but are managerial chaos for you. For example, shifting a patio, adding a different tree or reducing the pathway area can significantly increase the time and material costs determined on the original work order. Discouraging such change requests can impact your customer’s satisfaction or, at times, lower your chances of upselling. A business management software with change order functionality can be your saving grace here, allowing you to easily input and process any changes without redoing the original work order. The flexibility of billing each change order separately ensures that you are compensated for your additional time and materials.

0:36 Integrating Design and Business Makes for a Winning Combination

One competitive advantage of having an end-to-end landscape business management software is the ability to fully integrate design and management aspects. This means that as you’re creating your design, the software is tracking every plant, paver and item used, and linking it to your costbook items to automatically generate your quote. Any landscape design revisions can be easily incorporated and quickly updates your quote, leading to faster turnaround times, and ultimately higher customer satisfaction.

0:24 To Organize Your Business, Organize Your Costs

The basis of every quote is your job costs; if updated prices are at your fingertips, half your work is done. On the other hand, if you have to shuffle through spreadsheets to find your itemized costs, it doubles the effort. We suggest using smarter ways to save your costs by creating kits, which are predefined groups of all of the labor, material and equipment costs that you regularly use for your projects. So the next time you are preparing a quote, you can simply add the appropriate kit for the project. This process ensures you’re not missing out on any costs, helps you keep your profit margins consistent, and saves you the time of manually entering prices each time.

0:12 Keep Things Simple

Managing the everyday aspects of a landscape business is challenging, but it becomes even more so if your processes aren’t going through one pipeline. If you’re using 5-6 different programs to support your business, you’re losing productivity. To keep things simple, choose on specialized software take care of your industry-specific needs to simplify storing your customer contact information, preparing your quotes, scheduling your crews, and analyzing your sales figures.

Get in touch with one of our account managers to find out how DynaSCAPE can help you with organizing your landscape business today.

 

“In fact, because I have DynaSCAPE Design, Color and Manage360, I can now design, color and estimate a $100k job in a single day … I could not have done it that easily before. It does all the tedious work for me, which allows me to turn proposals around quicker, increasing sales, which is important, but also frees up more of my time to provide my clients the customer service they expect and deserve.”

Read the full case study (PDF)

Patrick DuChene

Landscape Designer

5 Ways to Boost Revenue Throughout Your Landscape Business Cycle

5 Ways to Boost Revenue Throughout Your Landscape Business Cycle

boost landscape business revenue

5 Ways to Boost Revenue Throughout Your Landscape Business Cycle

As a landscape business professional, a lot of times you might find yourself stuck with the one question, “how do I bring in more revenue?” The first answer that comes to mind is, “let’s get new customers,” and we all know that’s easier said than done. The good part is, it’s not the only way to increase your revenue; you can be boosting your financials at every stage of your business operations, from designing a landscape to job proposals to routing your crews.

Here’s a great example: one of our clients shared with us that on average he saved about 8 labor hours each week and increased his gross profit margin by 10% per job.

Let’s see how he did it, and how you can do it too:

Reduce Design Turnaround Time ⇒ Close More Deals

The perfect depiction of your ideas through a hand-drawn landscape design can consume a lot of your productive time. On the other hand, you can achieve better results for your landscape design in a fraction of the time spent on hand drawings by using a design software. With the flexibility to make revisions, using your previously saved designs or built-in templates can help you be the first to get your proposal in and win more jobs. A landscape design software equips you with the right technology to quickly and easily share the results with your client without having to travel to their location.

Update Your Centralized Costbook ⇒ Avoid Losing Money on Costing Errors

A lot of costs involved in a landscape business are variable, and a costing error can negatively impact your net profit. Providing a correct, accurate, and updated job estimate can be a tedious process involving a lot of searching through different cost files, and you still might end up missing out on a cost update. To make this process efficient, landscape software like Manage360 maintains a centralized costbook meaning all of your costs and prices are consolidated. This way, any cost or price change in your materials, plants, labor, equipment or subcontracting will automatically reflect in your job estimate.

Adapt Your Overhead Recovery Model ⇒ Send Out Quotes You Won’t Regret

To shape your framework for success, you need to know your financial benchmarks. To create financial benchmarks, you need to know the real numbers. Using landscape software makes this task easy and efficient. Once you’ve added all your overhead cost estimates, the software ensures that these costs are built into every job estimate. Now that you know your costs accurately, you can estimate your break-even point, add your profit percentage, and send a quote you won’t regret. All your materials, labor, equipment, subcontractors and other overheads are covered. To make things even simpler, you can select your preferred overhead recovery model from ready-to -use, built-in industry models.

Optimize Route Visits ⇒ Maximize Your Crews’ Working Time

Optimizing yours and your crews’ route is going to give you the room to achieve more. All the back and forth discussions on which location should be visited first, or estimating who is closer to the client’s location can be left for another day. Using a landscape business software helps to create a route map for all your scheduled tasks. A Google Maps integration with your landscape software enables you to select clients based on their geographical areas and view the shortest route to your destination. This way you use your resources efficiently, and save a lot on fuel and mileage costs. All of your unscheduled and unassigned work that could fit into your route is automatically suggested, ensuring you don’t miss a task.

Invoice at Each Milestone ⇒ Improve Cashflow

Have you ever missed sending out an invoice, and eventually, the invoice was paid months past the due date? Concentrating on the financials of your business, along with managing your operations can be challenging. The job management module of your landscape software can help you streamline your financials. Regular and timely invoices are generated at each predetermined step to ensure you have a healthy cash flow, exhibit professionalism, and most importantly, concentrate on doing more business.

Get in touch with us to learn more about how DynaSCAPE can help you automate your landscape business and boost your revenue.

Scale Up Your Landscape Business

Scale Up Your Landscape Business

The Landscape of Landscaping is Changing

With a revival in spending on home improvements, landscaping services has increased as more homeowners are taking on lawn and garden projects. According to IBIS World’s 2018 Landscaping Service Industry Report, annual revenue has grown to $93 billion, the industry employs over a million people and represents over 513,000 businesses.

Confidence in the industry continues to grow as more and more businesses start to enter the landscaping field. According to Lawn and Landscape Magazine’s 2018 State of the Industry report, the median revenue landscaping services company produced was $287,000 in 2017, while the average landscaping company produced $1.1 million in revenue that same year.

 

So, the question for growing landscape design businesses becomes, how do you scale up your landscaping business? Growth is achieved through many ways, but often landscape business struggle to push themselves over that next ceiling line due to many different factors including:

• Lack of budgeting

• A weak sales funnel

• Outdated data

• Poor time management

 

In this eBook, we’ll explore each of these challenges in the landscaping industry and discuss ways to overcome them using landscaping business management software. With new, automated tools, faster designing techniques and better insight into your landscaping business, you’ll be able to push through that ceiling, win more bids and take on more clients and projects.

Knowing Your Expenses, Costs and Overhead

Every business comes with some form of overhead. Whether it is rent, salaries, office expenses, utilities, insurance or supplies, you need to keep these costs in mind when preparing bids and estimates, because you must recoup that money from somewhere. In landscaping, there are plenty of people who are not part of the actual construction of a project, but yet are vital to the success of the business. Think about your sales people, estimators, your designers, and the office staff you have answering phone calls and preparing invoices. Very few companies think about the overhead costs, and it can drastically affect your business.

landscape design software

To scale up your landscaping services, you need to be thinking of these costs. Nearly 20% of landscaping sales is eaten up by overhead costs. Smaller companies with one crew and a few workers, which may include the owner working in the field, may not be thinking of overhead expenses. But when you start adding more crews, an office and pull yourself out of the field, you have to be asking the question, how is your salary going to be paid? Knowing your fixed and variable overhead costs can have a massive impact on a business. Is it more expensive to make trips to the dump for every project or just have a dumpster on site? Should you lease a new truck for construction or buy a used one? You need to understand all of these costs and how much they add up each day, week, month and year.

 

Then you will be able to calculate those expenses and add them as part of your estimate into each project you complete each year. Your hourly rate will not just include labor hours worked, but also the overhead you need to recoup to ensure you run a successful business. By completing a budget, you can stop hemorrhaging money that you may not even know you are losing. And you can ensure that each of your projects is taking care of the percentage of the overhead needed to run your business.

Where DynaSCAPE Helps

Knowing where your overhead is coming from is vital to any future success. Managing that overhead and putting the cost of it back into the projects and maintenance you complete is something successful landscaping businesses do to ensure they aren’t short-changing themselves on every job.

With DynaSCAPE’s landscape business management software, you can incorporate budgeting into every job, have it completed automatically and applied to each estimate. Use any overhead recovery model that works for your business and figure out what your break-even point really is on each project. It’s not just the materials and labor hours, but a percentage of the overhead expenses your business has to pay.

By knowing what your break-even point and net-profit is on each job, you can begin to negotiate lower rates for jobs if needed, but still remain in a positive revenue-generating position.

Funnel Your Sales Opportunities

To take your landscaping business to the next level, you need to do more work. That’s a pretty obvious statement, as revenue can only increase if you take on more projects, win more bids and satisfy more customers. In order to do this, however, you need a better sales funnel that offers you greater visibility into your sales potential. As more customers come in and more bids and estimates go out, you have to manage each one through every phase of the sales cycle. Some of the challenges landscape businesses face are pushing sales through when they go stagnant, when they bottleneck with other sales opportunities, or you find yourself spending more time on a bid that is a toss-up when another one is in the bank and ready to move forward.

Growth in landscaping services requires more sales opportunities and in sales, you win some and you lose some. The key is to learn why you lost and at what stage of the process so you can track your outcomes. Did your customers not like your designs? Were your estimates too high? Did you not respond fast enough? There are many different reasons at different phases where a sale can go wrong. Plus, coupled with your overhead expenses, you need to project how many sales opportunities you need in order to be successful. How many construction projects do you need to take on in a year to go to the next level of your business? And how many prospective sales calls do you need to make, or how many designs do you need to do in order to get that number of people. In essence, it’s budgeting your revenue and tracking how to get to that revenue line you have set for yourself.

Where DynaSCAPE Helps

Managing a sales pipeline in a growing business can be challenging, but it’s important to be able to identify your best sales opportunities and track the progression of them through each phase of the cycle. With DynaSCAPE’s Manage360, have a firm handle on your sales opportunities and funnel them into successful bids. Set start and due dates for each phase and identify leads that may be stagnant that you need to reach out to again.

Go from start to finish with customers from initial contact, all the way through to the final invoice. Start to track your wins and losses to identify where customers are dropping out, but also where you are getting the most success. With Manage360, supercharge your sales opportunities and never lose sight of where you are with potential customers.

Want to find out how DynaSCAPE can help to boost your landscape business?

Go with Data, Not Your Gut

Decisions in landscaping should come from the real facts and figures; they shouldn’t be coming from a gut feeling. The most successful landscaping businesses are turning to data analytics to help them make decisions about their business. You may have years of experience in the field and have an idea of how things are going, but without the supporting data, you’re still grasping at straws.

 

You need to be able to know the data for every crew, every employee in that crew, every truck you have on the road and for every job they do; you need to know it for every year, month, week and day as well. All decisions, whether they are small or large, should come from data analytics because that is the actual happenings of your business.

Analytics will be able to look at what jobs are most profitable and which crew is bringing in the most revenue. You will be able to track the revenue you have coming in each day, and how much revenue you will have coming in in the future. If you want to push beyond the new ceiling of your business, knowing the revenue you earned last year, or how much you earned from the job you performed today isn’t enough to continue your growth. You need to be aware of where your revenue is coming from tomorrow and beyond, so you can continue to make decisions that drive profits towards that ceiling. It also comes down to the types of supplies you have, whether you rent or buy equipment in order to lower overhead costs, and deciding which crew to put on which job, based on past performance. Without those types of analytics, you are moving blindly forward on intuition and not facts and figures.

Where DynaSCAPE Helps

Landscapers who use data say they will never go back to gut feelings. It’s hard to argue with raw facts, especially when it comes to business decisions such as overhead spending, the cost of crews and the price of materials. With landscape business management software, back up your intuition with real analytics that come from the field. Know the exact costs to your business and make decisions of buying used or new and renting vs owning with actual cost analysis. Dive into your crews’ performance and see which crew is your top earner, down to the last crew member. Winning more jobs and contracts can be based on the type of people you have. Adjust your crews based on performance analytics that you get from DynaSCAPE’s landscape software and know how you are doing every day, week, month and over the year of your business, down to the project.

design and management software

Better Time Management

Many business owners believe that in order to grow your business, you need an influx of new business and you need to work harder and longer hours. Part of that is true, in that you do need new customers coming in to continue growth. However, working longer hours isn’t the answer to breaking through the ceiling your business is currently at. Better time management practices and efficiency will get you there a lot faster. When you think of your budget and overhead costs, some of the most inefficient practices are costing your business a small fortune. 

 

Landscape designing is a large undertaking, providing your customers with drawings of their planned landscape with a fully costed out estimate for the number of hours it will take to complete, as well as the cost of materials. Unfortunately, manual practices of designing are slow and very labor-intensive. Drawing by hand takes time. Coloring and shading take more time. And all of those hours by your designer is overhead you have to cover later out of the project’s revenue. It’s a necessary part of any landscape project, but the complexity of the job can add additional variable costs into your plan that you weren’t expecting.

Further, turning that design into an actual bid for the customer can be time- consuming. Every plant, flower, strip of sod and piece of furniture has to be costed out from your cost book. Many landscapers are still using spreadsheets for their cost book, and will create a new spreadsheet for each new bid that comes up. And then they manually add in each item to calculate a cost. Perhaps you have some Excel genius skills to speed up production, but it is still time being spent estimating from a design that could be better spent elsewhere. Many business owners find themselves completing estimates after working in the field all day. But with better time management practices, it’s a part of the business where you can see a reduction in the number of hours spent completing it, while adding growth to your business.

Where DynaSCAPE Helps

With landscape design software, some of your most important tasks can be done in a fraction of the time. The key with DynaSCAPE’s software is that both the design and management of jobs can be completed in one system. And in doing it in one system, it saves plenty of time, which in turn saves you money. Designers can use DS|Design to quickly draw quality presentations of landscape projects, measured out exactly using scanned surveyed plans as a starting point. From there, add from the library pre-drawn figures and plants to get an accurate representation of what the space is going to look like. Export your design over to DS|Color and add color, texture and shadows in a fraction of the time it takes to do it with pencil crayons. Finally, finish it up with DS|Sketch3D to complete a 3D rendering of the design to wow your potential customers, as more deals close with 3D renderings than 2D drawings. When it comes to taking that design and making an estimate, every aspect of the design needs to be accounted for. Rather than spending hours costing out each plant and flower from your Excel cost book, import the design into Manage360 and let the cost book you’ve already set up generate an accurate estimate for you to present. If you’re looking for a place to save on overhead, using landscape design software to produce estimates in minutes is a great place to start. Make stunning presentation packages quickly, while spending less on overhead for designers and estimators.

Break Through the Ceiling with DynaSCAPE Software

In order to reach that next landscape ceiling, you need to change the practices and processes of your business to better align with being that successful of a business. Manual work that can be solved by automation saves dollars. Longer hours don’t always equal success in added revenue. In order to compete with the growing and competitive field of landscape design, you need to build your business on a foundation of efficiency and information. That can be achieved by using landscape design and business management software from DynaSCAPE, which can help you to not only reach that ceiling, but break through it.

6 Key Elements for Remotely Managing Your Teams

6 Key Elements for Remotely Managing Your Teams

6 Key Elements for Remotely Managing Your Teams

​Current events around the world have caused a lot of stress, anxiety and uncertainty in everyone’s minds. Businesses around us are shutting their doors, learning to manage their teams remotely or laying off employees altogether, or filing for bankruptcies. Meanwhile governments scramble to put together relief packages to minimize the economic impact. One thing is for certain, nobody knows what the result will be, but we can all maintain hope. The world has experienced a lot of turmoil over the years, but with the help of certain steadfast leaders, we’ve come out victorious. The leaders I am referring to aren’t political or corporate, but normal human beings like you and me.

I am amazed to see how the business community around the world has come together in these testing times to provide a ray of hope for those who have been affected. With active work-from-home (WFH) policies many jurisdictions, influencers have been putting out a lot of ideas to make sure businesses can run as effectively as possible.

The Shift to Remote Management

I have been leading teams for over 15 years and have no shame in admitting that managing an in-house team is much easier on paper than managing remote teams. In fact, it’s a lot easier in general because you aren’t behind a webcam trying to gauge/read body language and instill confidence at the same time, but in this unprecedented time we must adapt and innovate.

Teams across the world have been affected to a varying degree – some are seeing a huge uptick in their revenue as they happen to be in healthcare, services etc., while some teams find themselves re-forecasting the year to ensure they stay afloat. Regardless of which side of the spectrum you fall, leading a remote team brings a whole new meaning given the current state.

Key Elements of Managing Your Team

There are some key elements of management that should not be ignored regardless of the state in which the world finds itself, and in fact, these should be more paramount than ever:

  1. Transparency
    Employees yearn for transparency from their leaders and organization. With the changes that organizations have undergone or are in the midst of, leaders need to ensure that their employees are informed, to the extent that they can be. If changes are being made, let them know the reason for the change, do not beat around the bush.
  2. Reassurance
    Change does not just affect the employees who are impacted, but also the others who are left to pick up the pieces. Leaders should have one-on-one conversations with their team members to reassure them of their places in the company and alleviate any fears they may have.
  3. Celebration
    Leaders have a responsibility to ensure they celebrate even the smallest wins in this climate. They should be sharing every little victory with the entire company to foster a culture of cheering. With everything going on in the world, we should find joy in the little things and celebrate as much (and as often) as possible.
  4. Checking In
    Doing a regular check-in with your employees is the single most effective way of providing transparency and reassurance. Lack of regular check-ins can be unsettling for employees as they could consider it as a sign of impending trouble. In the very least, your teams will likely end up using their imaginations to fill in those gaps in communication.
  5. Be Present
    It goes without saying that you should be present for your team and employees whenever needed. Encourage them to share their frustrations to help with the transition into the new normal. The weight of the current situation can really take its toll on mental health, so be available in your team’s hour of need.
  6. Motivation
    Humans can feed off each other’s energy, especially from those who inspire or motivate. Drive that motivation forward through gamification; try using colorful charts to demonstrate both individual and team growth/accomplishment through these tough times, create friendly team challenges to encourage healthy habits, share online content that you found inspirational. Anything you can do to keep your team motivated will prove to be beneficial in the long run.

Looking Forward

Although these are uncertain times, we should not forget some of the fundamentals of managing teams; the only difference now is that you need to do everything you were already doing, but in overdrive. Stay authentic and as transparent as possible, and I assure you we will all get through this!

To learn about how our landscape-specific business management software can help you to manage your teams remotely, contact one of our account executives today!

This blog was written by Aman Singh, Head of Sales at DynaSCAPE. With more than 15 years’ experience, Aman has been responsible for mentoring, coaching, and managing sales teams with a proven history of increasing the teams’ performance and contributing to the overall success of each organization.

Remote Selling Tips to Fuel Your Sales Funnel

Remote Selling Tips to Fuel Your Sales Funnel

Businesses across the landscape industry are adapting to the rapidly changing economic conditions. A recent HubSpot data report states, “Average marketing email volume increased 29% the week of March 16, while open rates increased by 53% the same week. Across the month, the open rate increased by 21% overall.” This report suggests two things: first, remote selling is increasing, and second, customers are still looking to engage with companies.

So what does this mean for green industry professionals? Don’t assume your prospects are not going to engage.

Taking the sales mindset forward, let’s look at some practical approaches to help you fuel your sales funnel:

Proactive Communication

The number one mistake you could be making right now is not telling your prospects that your business is up, running, and well-equipped to do remote business.

Here’s an example from the food industry: when food delivery companies started the concept of contactless delivery, they made sure that we, as customers, are well aware of three things – the companies are willing to deliver the food, the type of services we can expect (e.g. a limited menu), and the process of contactless delivery. These three things conveyed to us that they want to serve us, but out of respect for each others’ health and safety, they’ve adopted a new way of doing business.

The present reality of landscaping means that adjusting the way you do business is an essential step in communicating with your prospects. Tell them that your business is up, running, and well-equipped to do remote business.

To get the best results for your communication efforts, we recommend using video messaging. Right now video consumption is at its highest, but that’s not the only reason we are supporting this; video adds a personalized element and instills authenticity in your message. Since you can’t be out in the field meeting and greeting clients and prospects, a video message helps them to set their eyes on you and decide whether or not they want to trust you with the job. A tool to help you easily make videos, like Animoto, can come in handy here to help you create and edit short video clips suitable for sharing with your social network.

Walk Them Through the Process 

Explain to your prospects and clients the changes you’ve made to your operations and processes to help keep them and your staff safe. Help them understand how your company’s action plan can be performed via the web. Here are a few tools to help you streamline your remote sales process:

Zoom Video Meetings

A video meeting is the closest interaction you can have with your prospective clients right now. Zoom, which now has more than 200 million daily meeting participants, is an easy-to-install video conferencing software that allows you to hold individual or group meetings. Along with the video meeting facility, you can also record your sessions which allows you to easily reference anything and everything that was discussed.

A great advantage for DynaSCAPE design users is Zoom’s screen sharing feature which enables you to showcase and discuss your drawings with your prospect. This way you can talk through all the elements of the design, make changes if necessary, and won’t have to send them your drawings until you’ve closed the deal.

Google Forms

To streamline the process of collecting necessary information from your client, Google Forms helps you list out the questions you have for your prospect. This free service lets you share the questionnaire with your clients through a single link.

Google Earth

The functionality of Google Earth allows you to survey an area online to get a rough estimate of the yard size and dimensions without having to drive down to the property; precisely the kind of service landscape professionals needs right now. You can further prepare your quote based on the estimated job size, but be sure to let your customer know that the quote is based on an estimated measurement and could differ if the actual job size is smaller or larger than anticipated.

A key point to remember here is to keep things simple and flexible for the customer. If he/she does not want to spend time typing out an email or using Google Forms to communicate with you, give them the option to share information and/or pictures through whichever medium works best for them.

Allow Schedule Flexibility for You and Your Prospect

Everyone is dealing with different sets of responsibilities in this time of uncertainty. Giving prospects the option to pick and choose makes it easier for them to decide. When scheduling a call time through an email discussion, you have limited scheduling options; sharing your calendar with them allows for higher flexibility.

Calendly is one tool that you can use to share your calendar through the web. It allows you to quickly set up your online calendar to highlight your availability; this way, you can time your sessions well, fit in more and achieve higher productivity.

Take This Time to Build the Bridge

Right now is not the time to wait around and watch your sales funnel dry up. Use this time to adapt and come out stronger. Take the time to build the bridge with your prospects. Show them a plan you can both accomplish. There is nothing more assuring than seeing a well-laid-out plan in this phase. Evaluate technology options that can help you overcome the obstacles of this time. DynaSCAPE is here to provide you with solutions developed by landscape industry experts to meet the unique needs of green industry professionals.

To learn more about DynaSCAPE’s software solutions, contact one of our account executives.

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