Are you familiar with the 100 days of hell? If you’re a landscaper in the Midwest or on the East Coast, you are all too familiar with it. It’s when nearly 50% of a landscape maintenance contract is completed in 33% of the year.
Not to mention this all starts when cash flow is low and slow, your labor pool is constantly turning over and you’re potentially running all of the ‘seasonal’ services you offer simultaneously.
Green Industry Veteran Gary Kuykendall on the 100 Days of Hell
I sat down with green industry veteran Gary Kuykendall. Kuykendall is the former Vice President of GroundMasters, Inc., a Cincinnati, Ohio-based company. He has over 30 years of green industry experience- and 3,000 days of hell under his belt. Here’s what Gary has to share:
It’s the beginning of the ‘busy’ season for most and the tail end of the snow season for many, so a landscape contractor can have a lot going on during this time. At GroundMasters, we were getting ready for all of our spring and summer services, all the while supporting the snow and ice management segment of the business.
Plus, in our market, March/April is the rainy season. Every day is subject to a change of plans and the grass is growing so fast and lush you can hear it. Couple these factors with long days out in the field and you’ll begin to understand how the ‘100 Days of Hell’ was coined.
What services was GroundMasters performing during the 100 days of hell?
We separated our services into 33 line items. If it was snowing in March, we were most likely performing 25 of the 33 items. If not, then we were up and running on 24 of the 33.
We were starting turf applications, tree and shrub applications, preparing for floral install, pruning, spring cleanup and the first mow of the season- AND we might be plowing snow on top of all this too. We were also starting up irrigation systems, and conducting maintenance and repairs on them as well.
What were different segments of the business focusing on- sales, operations and management?
Sales people are maintaining close contact with clients for awareness and scheduling information. They’re also selling more work during this time frame.
The labor pool is working long days, six or seven days a week. There is constant labor churn, and as a result, more experienced employees are charged with training the rookie replacements.
The management team is overseeing all of the above at the same pace. They’re tasked with maintaining morale and replacing the churning laborers.
Any advice for landscapers during the 100 Days of Hell?
Be prepared to re-focus your workforce so they’re productive on rain days and they can adapt and be at their best when it’s not raining. Have a plan and make it known so everyone is as productive as they can be regardless of the weather.
What is your green industry company doing during the 100 days of hell? Share it with us in the comments section of this post.