Weather has been a challenge for landscape contractors throughout the country this year. And with the continuously changing regulations, it can be an even more daunting challenge to navigate labor concerns.
While we can’t change the weather and we can only weather some labor challenges, these eight tips can help you save money to help reduce costs in the long and short term.
1. Track business spending
Before you can start cutting costs and saving money, you have to know how much money is coming in and going out.
This might sound obvious, but make sure you’re tracking all your business expenses to get an accurate account of costs. If you’re not already, start tracking and monitoring:
- All employee expenses, including wages, insurance and any benefits
- The costs of materials and services for your jobs
- All transportation expenses including gas, maintenance and insurance
- Software and business tools/subscriptions, such as billing and invoicing software and quoting tools
- Business licenses and training
Once you have an understanding of exactly what it costs to run your business, you can more easily find the areas you can reduce your spending.
2. Consider employee retention strategies
Your employees can be both your greatest asset and one of the most costly as well. In the long term, the most cost-effective strategy you can have with employees is to strive for high levels of employee satisfaction and retention. When you have happy employees, they’re more likely to stay with your company and work harder to grow the business. Read more about the importance of employee satisfaction, here.
While you’re working to maintain satisfied employees, you can also review what you’re paying employees. If you’re looking to save some money, but want to reward employees, consider a bonus program tied to actual performance and sales.
Looking for more information about managing employees? Check out these Ewing blogs:
- Adapting to Millennials in the Green Industry
- How to Become a Better Leader Through Your Employees
- 3 Ways Training and Education Can Help Improve Your Business
3. Maintain tools and equipment
In addition to taking care of your employees, another way to save money is by taking care of your tools. Tool and equipment maintenance can be a costly business expense. But if you use your tools for their intended purpose and perform regular upkeep not only will you get a longer life span out of your tools, you can also prevent injury, which would be even more costly.
Check out these Ewing blogs on tool maintenance:
- The Importance of Tool Maintenance
- Know the Difference: Similar Tools, Specific Purposes
- 5 Tips to Keep Your Tools in Top Shape
4. Sign up for reward and discount programs
Another way to save money in the short term and long term is to sign up for and utilize reward and discount programs. From manufacturer reward programs such as Hunter Preferred Program and Rain Bird Rewards to Ewing’s Cash Card account, you can earn money back or other rewards for making purchases. With Ewing’s Cash Card account, for example, you can earn 1 percent back at the end of the year when you spend $2,500. With manufacturer reward programs like Hunter Rewards you can earn points you can use for marketing tools, merchandise or cash back.
You can also take advantage of industry-specific discount programs such as the Irrigation Association membership discounts program where you can save on payroll processing, email marketing services, office supplies, fuel and more. Don’t forget about other discount programs at gas stations and convenience stores that can help save you some cash.
5. Get new insurance quotes
This is a quick tip, but it can pay off big to shop around for insurance. Take the time to research and look into all of your options. There are so many companies out there now, you’re sure to find one that fits your needs.
6. Take on higher margin jobs
If you can’t cut much off your business costs, you can always work to increase revenue by taking on higher margin jobs such as landscape lighting and paver installs.
Depending on the services you currently offer, you can also earn more by adding bolt-on services. If you do lawn care maintenance, consider adding irrigation repair and installs; if you do irrigation, add lawn care and pest control services to your repertoire so you can be your customer’s go-to business for all of their landscape needs.
7. Restructure your route/schedule
Another way to save money right now is to look at your company’s job site routes. Can you tweak your schedule at all so you cover one area at a time, versus hitting job sites on opposite ends of town?
Taking a look at your work schedule can help you save time and, in turn, save money.
8. Use time-saving products
Finally, take advantage of products that will help save you money like smart controllers and slow release fertilizers for example.
Smart controllers are a great option for saving time—especially those you can manage the system from your mobile phone. Wi-Fi controllers can also be enabled to help you discover problems in the irrigation system from the palm of your hand without needing to rush over to a site to find out what’s wrong.
Slow release fertilizers can save you time and money on labor because you the nutrients enter the soil at a slower rate allowing you to go back to the site less frequently. For more information on slow-release fertilizers and if they are right for you, read this Ewing blog.
How are you saving money in your business? Share your tips in the comments below. If you’re looking for more tips on growing your business, check out these Ewing blogs or stop into your local Ewing store today!