Survive Landscaping's March Madness

12 Management Tips to Help Landscapers to Survive “March Madness”

A Guest Post By Gary Kuykendall, Former Vice President of GroundMasters, Inc.

While the season is wrapping up for most college basketball teams, March marks the beginning of the season for landscapers across the country. Before all the craziness begins, take the time to set yourself up for success and advancement with these 12 tips.

12 Tips to Help Managers Get the Most out of this Season

  1. Know Your Numbers. Understand how many hours are required for each service line (required= numbers from last years jobs + estimated hours for new work).
  2. Make Your Numbers Visible.  Post these hours on a board in your production room (post them by service line and function). Display them in columns with headers and update them at the end of each day.

    Spring cleanup estimated vs actuals

    Keep Track of Your Hours as the Season Progresses

  3. Inspect what you expect. You’ve discussed expectations with your production staff inside your shop, so now it’s time to get out in the field to ensure you’re delivering the expectations you sold your client. Do this for every service line item. Set the expectation early on.
  4. Stay ahead of crews. Visit job sites one to two days before the crew is scheduled to arrive so any changes or shortcuts can be addressed beforehand.
  5. Assume NOTHING. Don’t leave anything up for interpretation. Provide site diagrams with simple directives for every crew (these can help with language barriers too). Review the diagrams with each crew leader every day before they leave the building.
  6. Discuss Daily. At the end of the day, review completed work and discuss tomorrow’s plan.
  7. Watch the weather. Observe the weather forecast every day for awareness of upcoming conditions and plan accordingly.
  8. Listen first. Seek understanding when an issue arises, then respond accordingly.
  9. Don’t keep any bad apples. Pay close attention to employee morale. Part ways with those who don’t add to it.
  10. Who’s on deck? Pay attention to your recruitment process and ‘new hire’ prospects pool.
  11. Keep the customers informed. This is just like staying ahead of the crews. Know what’s going on at your sites and communicate issues to your customers. Awareness eliminates wonder and doubt- for both parties.
  12. Under promise and over deliver…make sure any and all sales people are clear on this.

Don’t Let Your Numbers Get Away From You

If you follow these guidelines, you’ll be more inclined to have a successful season. Sure, some days might get away from you, but the important thing is not to let these concepts go completely. At the end of the day, you can’t fix or control what you don’t track. If you stay on top of your numbers you will be able to adjust until you improve.


Gary Kuykendall has been involved in the landscape industry for 30 years. As the Vice President of GroundMasters, Inc., Gary participated in every role at a landscape company, from production to sales to management- and everything in between.

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