Why So Few Win at “Spring Startup”

“Spring is coming.”

Some of the emotion for those three words is new and exciting. A forecast with no snow. Birds’ songs returning. A twinge of burnt dust coming off sharpened mower blades. Mix gas from the maintenance bay as single stroke handheld engines wake up from winter hibernation. A new year for our brand. A fresh opportunity for our team.

But any veteran in the industry will also share the emotion is laced with hurry. Landscape companies often spend half to two-thirds their maintenance contracts’ cost for the year in barely one-fourth of its time. Spring Clean-ups. Mulch. Irrigation. Backflows. Turf treatments. Weekly mowing. Seasonal color. What was barebones staff on part-time wage explodes into peak season labor – and peak cost flow – in a blink. Somehow the spring expert rises to the opportunity and shines with the June sun, with certain market share growth ahead. Their competitors? Either fail at efficiency and sink the entire year’s hopes of profit; fail at quality and become the attrition victims of the expert; or fail at culture, leading their team – or themselves – to implode under the pressure.

Everyone knows the look of the spring expert. Somehow when the peak season comes their best is already present to greet it. Just the right amount of crews and equipment. Scheduling so immaculate you could hang it next to your hometown team’s championship banner. Materials that arrive just in moment teams need them. Every manager, even any mower, can tell you they we are, what matters today, and what’s coming next. It’s impeccable.

The secret is in how they got to that fully prepared state on time. That seemingly innate ability to see what’s coming – and when – before it happens, providing enough time to draw up the perfect map to get there? Most experts call that “forecasting”. It is a team’s ability to project the labor and materials they will need at as high-level as budget dollars per month and yet as detailed a level as day 43 on Mowing Team 5’s schedule – and whether or not they have to edge this week. They could tell you in March how many headcount they’ll need in October. Literally.

It’s sickening to compete with and exhilarating to harness. So how do we harness it?

Some teams attempt it by combining a mountain of paper work orders and behemoth Excel spreadsheets; that takes the equivalent of a Landscape PhD, some untold amount of sorcery, and a little luck – and weeks’ worth of work on top of, you know, running the whole business. But you can get there. Maybe.

The experts find a solution with true forecasting, written and intended exactly for your industry, such as BossLM. By offering a completely integrated business management platform for sales, operations, finance, and ownership, your master operating budget forecasting sees every service on every job at once, and that powerful cloud-based software on a world-class platform does all that forecasting magic for you.

Your job simplifies down to clicking a button to view the forecast, making a plan, and heading out to be the boss of spring.

David Rempfer shares from 13 years of profit and non-profit team leadership, is a veteran leader of multimillion landscape and snow operations, and is one of less than 300 professionals in North America to be SIMA Executive CSP certified. He now consults industry executives and leadership teams in their pursuits of business improvement and quality-of-life.

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