6 Ways to Manage Your Landscaping Crew With Ease & Efficiency

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You’ve got the best go-to-market plan. You also have highly competent sales reps, account managers, and state-of-the-art equipment. But at the heart of your business, it’s your landscaping crew that turns all these plans into reality.

Managing a landscape crew is more than just delegating tasks. It’s about understanding the nitty-gritty of day-to-day landscaping operations, recognizing the hard work your team puts in under the sun, and ensuring they have the tools they need to be their best. It’s about tracking their progress not just for the sake of numbers but to genuinely help them grow and excel in their roles.

And you need your crew to deliver time & again. One-time business is not good enough. You need a brilliant crew delivering on time—so you can get regular, repeat customers over and over. 

Recruiting the right people and tackling the labor shortage has been a perennial challenge in the landscaping industry. So, despite having the right team, effectively managing them and building them into a force of nature takes time.

Before we figure out the blueprint for creating the most efficient landscaping crew, let’s have a look at why this should be an important point of focus for your company. 

Table of Contents:

Why is Crew Management Important?

Smaller companies starting off with crews of 10-20 people have scaled into big million-dollar businesses, while others with more resources have struggled. The difference? Effective landscaping crew management.

Is your crew working on the right jobs and clocking in the necessary hours? Are clients being served well without any complaints? 

Whether it’s a lawn care crew size of five or a larger team, the same principles apply: ensuring your crew is working on the right jobs, clocking in necessary hours, and keeping clients happy.

Your crew hard at work
Your crew hard at work

The Secret Sauce for Maximum Efficiency 

Let’s get straight to it! The key here is to create efficient systems for your crew. By building better systems, you can create operational efficiencies that will pay for themselves not just now, but long into the future.

Be it time management, equipment operations, scheduling, estimating, purchasing, or inventories, create a separate system for each. In each area, set benchmarks and define a path to achieve them. Then, guide your crew on how to get there. This will involve answering questions like:

  1. Did your crew hit the numbers for the week?
  2. Were there any client complaints?
  3. Did the crew finish the work in the allotted time?
  4. Did they engage in overtime?

Keep track of this data either on your own or by using landscaping business management software that is integrated with your landscaping crew tracking app. Because landscaping crew tracking apps play a crucial role in monitoring progress and ensuring tasks are completed within the set timelines.

Let’s have a look at a few ways landscaping software can help your business. 

Hiring the Right Crew

The approach to hiring the right crew is looking for workers who can become the best leaders in the future. But how do you pick the right people from the beginning?

Finding individuals who would make good crew leaders or foremen is a major challenge.

You want people who not only excel in their current roles but also show potential for leadership. You need a team of like-minded people who mesh well together.

And these are the traits you should look for when hiring for a landscape crew person:

  1. Excellent and well-versed in equipment operation
  2. Someone who cares more about operational efficiency
  3. Great work-ethic
  4. A growth-mindset
  5. Someone who leads by example

Besides, always be on the lookout for good talent. Constant recruiting helps in finding the best talent, suitable for varying crew landscaping needs across seasons. 

A happy team

To do that, you need a proper hiring process. This means recording the best practices into a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for hiring. The approach will remain the same, but you can adapt the SOP according to the needs of any particular season. 

Time Management is the Key

Here are three things you should keep in mind.

  1. Less is more
  2. Reducing downtime
  3. Scheduling regular one-on-one meetings

Less is more

Sometimes one crew is better than two! If a job requires six hours with a three-person crew, then do it. Don’t be afraid to take a small-team approach. Larger teams on small work sites can lead to mistakes. Sites requiring more work can have a four-membered crew or bigger.

The point is to cut down on unproductive channels. That also means more accountability.

Reducing downtime

Another important aspect is to reduce the downtime, especially the time spent traveling. This can be accomplished easily by organizing your crew based on geography.

Routing will help you schedule services based on location. Optimize landscaping dispatch routes for different crews and reduce their driving time. Focusing on just one area on a particular day will also help create predictability for your crew. 

Scheduling quick one-on-one meetings

In the early stages of a landscaping maintenance company, most of the things are on pen and paper. It’s crucial to set up a routine to help your crew do their jobs efficiently. 

Supervisors should use meetings to meet with the people who report to them. Meetings are also an opportunity to connect with workers and get to know what’s going on.

You can follow a 3-quick-meetings approach. For example, a 9 am – 2 pm – 6 pm pattern for your internal meetings with the crew leader.

The timings can differ, but it’s important to have a system in place. Each meeting can last for 10-15 meetings instead of having a long one at the end of the day. Your crew leaders should also follow the same approach with their squads. 

The morning meeting can be for checking in and setting a schedule for the day. In the afternoon meeting, you can review goals and make sure your crew is on track, and the final meeting in the evening can record the work completed for the day. 

At the end of the day, check if your crew has hit their goals and set the agenda for the next day. Recognize hard work and give constructive criticism. Use these meetings to coach and develop them as future leaders.

Unpredictable weather changes

Weather can make or break a landscaper’s day. Your crew can be working hard, but bad weather can be a major setback for any landscaping job.

Keep an eye out for extreme weather conditions like rainstorms, strong winds, lightning, and blizzards, and schedule your crew’s jobs accordingly. For example, installing a fire pit may not be ideal if it’s about to rain outside. But rain doesn’t have to stop your crew from trimming shrubs or doing other small jobs.

Open Communication Makes Everything Simpler

One thing to remember is that supervisors once started out as crew members themselves. And as a supervisor, your job is to guide and teach your crew. 

Engage with them from the beginning. Don’t shy away from giving them responsibilities, but let them know they are accountable for their actions. This way, you set a standard of excellence from the start. They won’t know everything, so don’t expect them to. You need to tell them what you want until they get the hang of it on their own. 

Ensure there are no hiccups when it comes to communication. Update them with the information that directly affects their jobs. They need to be informed right away about any schedule changes, emergency calls, any particular delays, and any specific information about the customer beforehand. 

Holding meetings, seminars, quick weekly check-ins, and one-on-one interactions are all great ways to bring your crew together.

Incentivize Your Landscape Workers Well

You’ve set the benchmarks and the standards. Your crew has set to work, but the fresh enthusiasm needs to sustain itself. 

You can start an incentive program where you reward different achievements like meeting deadlines, handling customer queries well on-site, or finishing a critical task. 

You can even hold a ‘Best Crew of the Week or Month’ contest where they win prizes. As they compete towards a common goal, it unites the team together and pushes them to perform together.

Employee incentives are a great way to keep your crews motivated. Research shows that incentives increase performance by 22%, while team incentives can increase performance by 44%. 

Incentivize your team

Access to Equipment at All Times

Having the right tools at the right time is Landscaping 101. It gets the job done much more efficiently and faster. Maintain whatever equipment you have, keep them clean, and make them available to your crew at the right time.

Landscape crew tracking software can be instrumental in monitoring and managing tool availability.

Using the Right Landscaping Crew Tracking App

You can’t go wrong in how to manage crew with a landscaping crew tracking app. Let’s look at how a crew app can transform the way you manage your ops. But first, let’s briefly look at what a crew tracking app is and why you definitely need one.

What is a Landscaping Crew Tracking App?

It’s a tool designed to streamline crew management, offering features like accurate time tracking, location verification, and biometric verification tailored to the unique needs of landscaping businesses.

Landscaping crew tracking app for better ops

Why You Definitely Need a Landscaping Crew Tracking App

  • Increased Efficiency: By automating time tracking and job assignment, you can optimize your crew’s productivity.
  • Reduced Errors and Fraud: Features like biometric verification can help prevent ghost clock-ins, ensuring you don’t lose money.
  • Better Communication: Real-time updates and data sharing enhance coordination among team members.

Key Features to Look for in a Landscaping Crew Tracking App

  • Accurate Time Tracking: To better understand profit margins and manage crew hours effectively.
  • Multilingual Interface: To cater to a diverse workforce.
Attentive Crew App multilingual interface
  • Geofence Integration: To ensure accurate location-based time logging & enhanced operational accuracy.
  • Biometric verification: To prevent ghost clock-ins for labor cost accuracy.
This is how Attentive crew app works
Biometric verification
  • Offline readiness: To ensure consistent tracking even when your landscape crew might be in areas with network connectivity issues.

Attentive Crew integrates seamlessly with Accelerate– the only end-to-end business management software built for landscapers, ensuring smooth data flow and enhanced job costing and tracking.

More Importantly, Have Fun With Your Landscaping Crew

Sounds obvious, but we often forget to enjoy the process. Your crew loves being outdoors. It’s not just activities that reinforce a culture, but also cultivate empathy for your crew and your people.

At the same time, don’t forget to take some time out and enjoy a sunny day and the greenery around you! You can even schedule some timeout with your crew so the entire team can bond with each other, rejuvenate, and return to work with a fresh mindset.

Which of these landscaping crew management tips will you try first? Let us know in the comments section below.

FAQs

How do you manage a landscaping crew?

Effective landscaping crew management involves clear task delegation, consistent communication via daily briefings & debriefings, and the use of landscaping crew tracking apps for efficiency. Key practices include setting daily goals, optimizing lawn care crew sizes, and using landscape crew tracking software to monitor progress and streamline operations.

How are employees organized in a landscaping business?

In a landscaping business, employees are organized by roles: landscape crew persons handle on-ground tasks, crew leaders oversee operations, technicians/specialists specialize in specific areas such as horticulture, irrigation, or landscape design, and managers handle landscaping management. Proper organization ensures efficient crew landscaping; meeting client needs effectively.

What does a grounds manager do in landscape?

A grounds manager in landscaping oversees overall maintenance, coordinates landscape crews, manages budgets, and ensures project quality. Their role is pivotal in landscaping management, integrating sustainable practices, and using landscaping crew tracking apps for efficient operations.

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