How to Make Winter Work for You
During the winter months landscaping companies across the country may have a tougher time keeping busy while patiently waiting to get back out in the yard doing what they love, but not everyone is like that. We heard from Landscaping Coach and President-CEO of Grunder Landscaping Co., Marty Grunder. If anyone knows the ins and outs of the landscaping industry, it's him.
He explained that there's one huge question he gets asked every single year. "This time of year, I get asked over and over again from all the landscape pros I speak to and coach who don’t have the good fortune of working in always-warm climates. What do I do in winter?"
Grunder added, "I know where they’re coming from. Winters in Southwest Ohio, where I live and run my landscaping company, can be cold, dreary, and long. The ground is unforgivingly hard, snow is often threatening if not falling, and very few people are thinking much about their landscaping."
He said that over the years he's thought long and hard about ways he could turn a profit during the colder months. "We cleared snow. Great, but only when there’s snow. We sold gift baskets. A distraction with very little return. We sold Christmas trees. I sunk $60,000 into inventory, only to find myself left with $45,000 worth of evergreens on December 23rd and no buyers."
He went on to say he thought about laying everyone off until the spring, but realized it would be devastating in the long-run because he knows the value of a great team. "Your team is your most important asset. They greatly determine if your business succeeds or fails and you can’t build a strong, experienced, loyal one by leaving them in an off-season lurch."
So, the question remains, what should landscaping companies do during the winter? Grunder laid it all out for us. "At my landscaping company, we work our tails off for nine and a half months of the year and then we take the off season to strategize and plan. We review and fine-tune our systems, from production to administration to technological infrastructure. We perform maintenance on our equipment and replace what can longer be fixed."
And that's not all he had to mention, "We reassess our recruiting plan, measuring and documenting what works and what doesn’t and researching new ways to reach good candidates. We train and develop our team members, and we network to develop new leads, and strengthen our relationships with our existing clients." Needless to say, his team keeps busy even when there's no landscaping to do in his area.
With all the work he and his team do during downtime, the good news is that the results have shown how his strategy works.
"We have a whole system of standard operating procedures in place that’s improved our efficiency and profit margins year over year. We have some of the cleanest trucks and equipment in the business, an often overlooked selling point that enables us to stand out to prospective clients in a sea of sameness. Our team members are up-to-date on the latest advancements in the field. And we’ve set ourselves up for sales success come spring."
Lastly, Grunder explained that the key to his success is not quitting during the slower months. "We shift our marketing focus to products and services we can deliver on in the winter, from installing LED lighting systems and winter pruning, to designing and prepping outdoor spaces for spring and summer. In other words, we make winter work for us."
What will you do this year to make winter work for you? If you have ideas to help out other landscapers during the winter months, let us know on our socials!
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For more information about Marty and his services, please visit www.martygrunder.com.