Winter Is Time For Landscapers To Shut Down, Or Is It?
The busiest time of the year for landscapers is by far in the spring. Not only are we rushing around to get beds edged and mulched, but we are also dealing with grass that is growing at an accelerated rate and flowers that need planted and then bushes that will begin to grow and need pruned back. Then it seems that when we get to the winter months that everything slows way down or stops unless there is an abundance of snow. So what can be done during these months to bring in extra income for those of us in this lucrative business? I have often thought of this very thing and will introduce a few ideas for those who wish to be active during these months even when there is no snow to push around.
The first idea for keeping busy through the winter is to look at the clients who you have now and see how you are able to improve their properties now. It is also wise to gather ideas on how you could start accomplishing projects that would normally take place in the spring so that you can free up time during this chilly season. Some ideas are starting to edge, limbing up trees now so that it is easier to mow in the spring and there is less debris to haul away now, winter and rejuvenation pruning, dead tree removal, cutting back certain perennials you might leave through the winter such as ornamental grass or start projects or acquire jobs that are inside, out of the elements, such as cleaning. There are multiple ideas that a business can do in order to continue to bring in revenue during these barren months. One only needs to think outside of the box and use their creativity and imagination to grow their business in other areas than the norm.
Sometimes the best thing to do is to plan for the winter during the months of abundant work. If, for example, a tree needs to be removed, offer a lower price to the client to leave it until the winter months and thereby securing work and income for this scarce time of year. Make sure to mark the trees with something that will not fade during the warmer months and that will last until you are ready to remove it. Another option would be to keep the wood from trees that were cut down in the warmer months so that during the winter you can split it and possibly sell it to those who would use it to heat their home. It could also be used instead of gas heat at your place of business in order to lower the cost of gas heat during the winter months. You still want to leave the thermostat at 60 degrees in case the fire goes out, but you would be surprised how much money you could save during the winter simply by heating your office with a wood burning stove.
Other ideas could be anything that would generate some kind of revenue and that would generate more money than it uses to operate. If there is a deficit during this time this could be offset simply by planning for it ahead of time and storing a budget for this specific time.
There are a variety of things that can be done in order to bring in additional revenue, but it requires a little bit of imagination. You could turn old pallets into furniture or something that you could sell. You could collect scrap metal and sell it to be melted down and reused. You could even start an online business to pad your finances during this time. The sky is the limit and is only deterred by lack of imagination and ingenuity.
My goal is and has always been to be more than just a landscaping company. I desire to be a one stop business. I desire to offer everything that a client could possibly want or need and do so with higher quality and lower prices. It is not just about making money for me. If I can make a ton of money, but do a mediocre job then I would rather lose money and do a job that the client was not expecting at all. There is a reason why we are called PerfectEscape. I want everything to be perfect for the client and my desire is for people to be able to escape those who profess to be landscapers, but who do not know the fundamentals of the very business they profess to perform. I have seen the results of those who only "cut the grass" and have seen how they have destroyed a person's lawn because they do not understand that maintaining a lawn is more than hacking down the grass with dull blades on a riding mower. In just a few months I have seen how a lawn that was practically destroyed is revitalized and becomes greener and healthier than the turf of its surrounding neighbors. It is an amazing transformation.
The winter month do not have to be as dead as everything seems to be. It all depends on the leadership and how they allow others to step up with ideas. When the leadership stifles creativity then growth is also stifled. Remember that the things that make most businesses great in the beginning are that they start by stepping out of the mold of most companies in that business. It is only when they become fearful and start thinking about money over quality that they begin to once again fall back into the mold and become no different than all the companies they were trying to separate themselves from in the beginning. We as businessmen and women need to be just like those properties that we manage; always changing and always improving and growing. It is only then that we will be truly successful!