How and Why Flat Rate Pricing is Right for Irrigation Businesses

Posted on Tue, Jul 26, 2016

 

The concept of flat rate pricing has been around for centuries. The idea is simple - I do a certain job for you, you pay me a set amount for the job. The exchange isn’t dependant upon the material that I use, nor does it matter how long it takes to perform the job. Flat rate pricing, while simple in concept, can result in sizable profits.

 

Though flat rate pricing has been around for hundreds of years, irrigation businesses are just starting to see its benefits. It can save you headaches with customers, since you no longer need to explain why a certain job took X amount of time to perform and why you had to use Y parts. You simply bill them for the type of job you’re working on.

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Tags: irrigation business

5 Free Marketing Tactics for Your Lawn Maintenance Business

Posted on Thu, Jul 21, 2016

As a lawn maintenance business, you need to be generating new leads regularly. Aside from keeping your current customers happy with the services you provide, you need to be able to create business. Most lawn maintenance businesses won’t have a large marketing budget or even a budget set aside for marketing at all.

 

While you might feel that this could hinder your business, there are the tools and means to get your marketing engine revving and turning up new customers regularly. Here are five free tools and tactics that you should be using to boost your marketing immediately.

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Tags: lawn maintenance business

Your Field Service Business Website Needs a Blog

Posted on Tue, Jul 19, 2016

Each year that we perform our benchmark report surveys for the green industry and the snow industry, we see that hundreds of field service professionals are seeing the benefits of having an updated website that is tailored for their location and their expertise. In years past, we saw a much greater number of businesses that didn’t even have a website. More and more businesses are having sites built or even doing it on their own with platforms such as Squarespace.

 

If you’ve done much research on the requirements for a local business website that sells, you’ll likely have seen the term Search Engine Optimization. SEO is the practice of creating the best web presence possible through optimizing for multiple components, including keywords on a topic, on your website. As a smaller and local business, it can be kind of daunting to attempt to compete with large corporations with huge budgets. But there are ways that even the smallest field service businesses can rank higher and win against the giants.

 

Blogging, when done right, can pay huge dividends. As a business that serves a smaller geographic area, there is an advantage that you hold over large corporations. You know your clients’ issues, the area and the work that you provide. In other words - you are the expert in your field. And the best part about blogging is that the only thing it costs you is your time. Here are a few of the reasons you need to start (seriously) blogging for your field service business.

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Tags: field service business

Why You Need Software to Help Estimate Lawn Maintenance Work

Posted on Thu, Jul 14, 2016

Making a good margin on your maintenance work is vital to the success of a lawn maintenance business. If you’re consistently underbidding projects, you’re losing money on the work that you and your crews are performing. And on the other hand, if you’re overbidding work, you’re company is going to price itself out of jobs.


It can be difficult to get an accurate estimate for your work every time. If you mainly work with residential clients, customer’s yards can vary vastly, even if they have a similar square footage of property to mow and maintain. Trees, landscape, walkways, fences, pools and ponds can all complicate things. If you’re working with commercial properties, property managers will likely receive multiple quotes for the work that needs to be performed, so you need to be competitive with your pricing while still ensuring that you can turn a profit.


There are green industry professionals that are able to create an estimate for work seemingly off the top of their heads. They might feel comfortable seeing a property, know their costs well enough and can estimate the total man-hours that would go into the job. That method isn’t always an option and it becomes increasingly difficult when there are obstacles throughout a property and even things such as hills can add difficulty to the work, all reducing the bottom line. Estimating your lawn maintenance work accurately is one of the main components of operating a profitable business. And with the help of technology, you can make sure that you’re creating the most accurate estimates that yield a larger bottom line. Here are three reasons why lawn maintenance businesses need software to assist with estimating.

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Tags: lawn care business, lawn maintenance business

Three Lessons from the 2016 Snow Industry Benchmark Report

Posted on Tue, Jul 12, 2016

For the past four years, we at HindSite Software have been conducting a comprehensive, 50+ question survey of snow removal businesses. We parse the results and release them in the Snow Industry Benchmark Report, a nearly 50 page document with 40+ charts and graphs based on the survey results. It’s a data junkie’s dream.


Though there are a number of insights in the report that can help snow removal businesses improve and grow, they can get buried in the report. As a result, we’ve isolated 10 of the key findings and will present those in a webinar scheduled from 1 to 2 p.m. Central on Tuesday, July 19.


As a sneak preview, here are three of our key findings. Click here to register for the webinar and learn all 10.

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Tags: snow plowing business, snow removal business, snow removal contractors

3 Tips Green Industry Professionals Can Use to Beat The Bad Weather

Posted on Thu, Jul 07, 2016

As a Minnesotan, I have an affinity for talking weather with people. It is a time honored tradition in our regional dialogue. Minnesotans are borderline obsessive about watching and talking about how incredibly hot, cold, rainy, snowy or sunny it is outside. Maybe it is because we have such surprising extremes - we have a common saying that "if you don't like the weather, just wait fifteen minutes". Or more likely, midwesterners are just an odd group of people.


One thing that comes up consistently when speaking with people about the weather is how wrong the weather person was for that day. It isn’t uncommon for someone to bring up how the weather person “said it was going to storm all day and it turned out beautiful” or how someone “went up to the cabin because the weather report said sun the whole weekend and got poured on”. It becomes a game - The common folk vs. The weathermen/weatherwomen.


My boss was saying that when he owned his irrigation business, that he was constantly at odds with the weather report. He’d hear the weather report and try to plan his week out based on whether or not it was going to rain. Much of the time, even if it was supposed to(they’re always wrong) rain, he was able to get work in. He had a few tips that he'd use to get around any weather report.

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Tags: green indsutry

10 Leadership Blogs Every Field Service Business Owner Needs to Read

Posted on Tue, Jul 05, 2016

Field service business owners are a dedicated group of people. They work incredibly hard to grow their businesses. They have to get scrappy and save at times to make sure that they can lead their operation through tough times. They know that they have to make tough decisions in order to build something that will last. I recently saw a great quote about entrepreneurs that rings true.

 

"Entrepreneurs are the only people in the world that will work 80 hours a week, just to avoid a regular 40."


This year when we ran our annual survey of hundreds of snow industry professionals, we saw a trend that stood out to us. In the past years when we asked the question what is the one thing that you want to change in your business, we received answers like improve our marketing infrastructure, go to more educational events and trade shows, etc. But this year, more business owners said that they wanted to improve their leadership skills. It is an interesting finding.


We’ve written about leadership for field service professionals before. Here are a few of our blog posts on leadership. But we figured we would round-up some of the best leadership blogs on the internet. Here are ten blogs that you should bookmark if you want to improve your leadership skills!

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Tags: leadership

5 Things Field Service Contractors Do to Cheat Customers

Posted on Thu, Jun 30, 2016

We write a lot about how field service businesses can create an amazing experience for their customers. What businesses can do before they even make a sale to build trust with prospects and what they can do to retain those customers long term. Field service businesses need to continuously gain new customers and keep their existing customers coming back year after year.


The fact of the matter is that there are field service businesses out there that take the exact opposite route. The swindlers, the connivers, the used car salesmen of the field services industries do their best to cut corners for the sake of making an extra buck. They don’t worry about what might happen if they’re outed as a cheat and they don’t care if they receive a few negative Google or Yelp reviews. Here are five things that shady field service professionals do to cheat their customers, otherwise known as five things you should NEVER do!

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Tags: field service

5 Sun Safety Tips for Pool Services Professionals

Posted on Tue, Jun 28, 2016

I just got back from a four day, 1,600 mile long motorcycle trip to the Black Hills, South Dakota. If you’re a biker and have gotten to take a long road trip like that, you know a few important things that you should do in order to make the trip a safe and fun one. Being prepared and not taking unnecessary risks is important for you to arrive at your destination safely.


One thing that I was not entirely prepared for was the intensity of the sun. I brought enough sunscreen, tried to keep my skin covered and made sure I was drinking as much water as possible. But, as I’m writing this, I’m working from home because I’m sick. And I’m going to go ahead and blame it on a little bit too much sun.


It got me thinking, what could I have done differently and what should people that spend a majority of their time outdoors for their professions do? If you’re a pool service professional, you know that the sun can make your job difficult and potentially dangerous. Not only can UV rays cause skin cancer, intense heat can have other dangerous health risks. Here are 5 tips to that can help keep you safe in the sun. 

 

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Tags: safety, pool services

Snow Contractor Spotlight: Belknap Landscapes

Posted on Fri, Jun 24, 2016

For Andrew Morse, the general manager of the Recurring Division of Belknap Landscape in New Hampshire and the person responsible for overseeing the 30-year-old business’ snow removal work, communication is the key to serving customers. “Communication is a big deal. A lot of our clients understand that stuff’s going to happen - equipment breakdowns, employee problems, the timing of the storm - our clients understand that things are going to happen, but as long as we keep them notified everyone’s happy. A big thing with snow is communication.”

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Tags: snow plowing business, snow industry