Category Archives for "Landscaping Equipment"

6 Reasons Why Hiring Summer Help is a Bonus for Your Landscaping Business

hire summer help

Seasonal businesses that rely on the whims of the weather need to do whatever they can to be successful in a short period of time. As such, landscaping businesses typically have the summer and a few weeks in the spring and fall to generate most of their revenue for the year.

If your landscaping company isn’t going above and beyond to get as much business as possible in this limited time, you’re missing out. To take your organization to the next level of success, you’ve got to expand your operation and do everything possible to grow your customer base. To do this, you’ll need to aggressively hire more workers this summer.

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Here are 6 reasons why hiring extra summer help can boost your landscaping business for the rest of the year.

1. Keep Up With Increased Demand

On average, a property owner needs to cut their grass during the spring and summer months about once per week. As such, there is an increased demand for lawn care and landscaping services during this time.

Landscaping businesses can take advantage of having a team of temporary seasonal workers to lend a hand during these busy weeks. You’ll need additional employees to cover all your clients’ mowing and groundskeeping demands, such as planting flowers, trimming trees, and keeping a healthy garden.

2. Do More Than the Competition

With a dedicated staff of many, you can do more than your competition. In the summer months, the number of small landscaping businesses and entrepreneurs increases due to the variety of opportunities for work. It’s essential to differentiate yourself and have your team stand above the competitors.

If you have a larger staff of employees, future customers may take your company more seriously when they begin evaluating potential landscaping contractors to do business with. Customers will see your business as a leader in the industry with more expertise and the most capabilities for their home exterior projects.   

Having more people on your team can also help your company get to a location right away, exactly when services are needed, instead of a few days later. This way, you’re able to come back for additional services or give a quote for a large-scale project. There’s nothing more frustrating than having to turn away customers due to staffing issues or not enough coverage.

3. Satisfy Your Regular, Year-Round Customers

Businesses that focus on landscaping must consider their regular customers that are on a year-round maintenance schedule. With an expanded temporary staff on your payroll, you can keep these important customers satisfied without sacrificing new business opportunities.

Additionally, having more staff members allows you to set the schedule far in advance and send the same, consistent teams so there are no hiccups in service. All this helps you stay on track without missing opportunities to put together quotes for new clients.

Your regular customers will appreciate the increased capabilities you can offer them with more talent on your team. Some companies don’t realize the value of their existing customers, so it’s essential to treat these important clients right and meet their needs. Losing regular customers could have a detrimental impact on your ability to be profitable.

4. Expand the Types of Services You Offer

A larger staff of summer employees can help you offer new landscaping services and provide more opportunities for you to compete for bigger projects, such as corporate landscaping accounts. While residential projects are most often the “bread and butter” of many smaller landscaping businesses, winning corporate clients will help you bring in more revenue and firmly establish you as a trusted source in your community.  

If you’ve been hoping to expand your service menu and offer more options to your clients, having a larger team can help you get started. Your seasonal staff can specialize in additional services such as deck and patio care, mulching, storm clean-up, retaining walls, lawn seeding, sodding, irrigation, and draining.

5. Spend More Time on Business Growth

With any company that has a limited number of employees, the business owner is often deep in the trenches working just as hard on providing services as other workers. You can take advantage of your larger staff over the summer by spending more time actually running your business.

Instead of working in the field, put more effort into things like marketing and promotions to help grow your company or work on more effective ways of managing your business accounting. Moreover, you might be doing yourself more of a favor if you stay behind the scenes and address customer relations issues, such as complaints or payment problems, to keep your client base happy and your income flowing.

6. Make Enough Money for the Entire Calendar Year

The biggest reason you should consider bringing on more people for the summer is to help increase your profit potential. Hiring seasonal employees can help improve your bottom line with a much lower cost to you over time than employing other permanent workers. Seasonal workers are often young people who demand lower starting wages as they take time off from school or are working their way up the career ladder.

You can also generate enough cash flow and profit to help float your business for the rest of the year, especially during the fall and winter months. There are many business models that rely on a limited amount of time to earn most of their profit. It’s vital to make the most you can of the busy season so you’re able to generate enough cash to maintain a healthy and successful business.

Some employees may prove to be so valuable that you‘ll want to hire them on a permanent basis. Their summer work may end up being an audition of sorts for a larger role within your organization. Bringing in seasonal workers could allow you to improve your ability to find the best people to work for you.

 

Running a successful seasonal business takes some planning and strategic decisions that will help you make the most of your short busy season. For landscaping companies, it’s essential to hire extra summer staff to make your dreams of success a reality.

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John Deere through the Years

john deere history

For almost 200 years, John Deere has been creating some of the most powerful and original agricultural equipment in the world. It is one of the world’s most well-known brands, boasts a sterling reputation among its peers, and currently has 103 offices across more than 30 countries.

The son of a tailor, Deere first made a name for himself after becoming a blacksmith at 17. He later moved his family to Moline, Illinois in hopes of making a better life. It was in Moline that he developed his first machine… and the rest is history.

But what lies behind the success of the man and his succeeding products? Let’s examine how John Deere’s machines have changed through the years and how they’ve managed to always stay ahead of the curve.

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19th-20th Century

John Deere’s first product was his legendary plow. In fact, most of the products manufactured during the 19th century were plows and other similar implements for farming. The company’s first ridable farming vehicle developed during this timeframe was the Hawkeye Riding Cultivator.

Just after the turn of the century, the company started concentrating on its tractor business due to rising competition. Some of the notable Deere tractors manufactured during this time were:

The Waterloo Boy

In 1918, John Deere bought the maker of Waterloo Boy tractors. The tractor soon became the company’s basic and defining product.

john deere waterloo boy

John Deere Waterloo Boo courtesy of H. Zell

Model D

In 1923, Deere launched the Model “D.” The first 2-cylinder Waterloo-built tractor to bear the John Deere name, it was a success from its start and would stay in the product line for 30 years.

John Deere Model D

John Deere Model D courtesy of Artiez at the English language Wikipedia

Model “A” and Model “B”

Despite the Depression, the company emphasised product development. The Model “A” Tractor entered production. A similar but smaller Model “B” followed in 1935. These became the most popular tractors in the company’s history, remaining in the product line until 1952.

John Deere Model A

John Deere Model A courtesy of John Schanlaub

The “New Generation of Power”

In 1960, a new line of tractor models, known as the “New Generation of Power,” stole the show at Deere Day in Dallas. The launch was considered the most important change of the company’s products in 42 years. Some 6,000 people attended the sales meeting, including nearly all U.S. and Canadian industry dealers.

What made the new models special was the transformation from the traditional John Deere 2-cylinder machines to 4- and 6-cylinder tractors. They were much faster, more powerful, easier to use, and more comfortable. They also provided better visibility and seat suspension for operators.

John Deere New Generation of Power

John Deere New Generation of Power courtesy of Dual Freq

5000, 6000, and 7000 Series

In 1993, new 5000, 6000, and 7000 Series Tractors drove up market shares in North America and Europe. Competing among 20 contenders in Germany, Deere moved from third to first place in tractor sales. Sales of lawn and garden equipment topped $1 billion for the first time.

John Deere 5000 series

John Deere 5000 Series courtesy of Marie T

21st Century

After experiencing tremendous success in the late 1800s and throughout the 1900s, John Deere boldly ventured into other sectors.

The New Forestry Leader

In 2000, John Deere acquired the Timberjack Group from the Metso Corporation (formerly Rauma-Repola), a world-leading producer of forestry equipment. The purchase also included a separate company, Waratah, which produces a forestry harvester head that is capable of handling large and heavily-limbed trees.

This acquisition was a major step in the company’s vision to become the worldwide leader in the forestry business. It allowed the company to achieve cost savings in product design, manufacturing, and supply management; improve efficiencies; and enhance customer support capabilities. In 2005, Timberjack Oy was renamed John Deere Forestry Oy and trademarked as part of John Deere.  

John Deere forestry harvester

John Deere forestry harvester courtesy of Kaibab National Forest

A New Cotton Innovation

Cotton was the secret sauce to the burgeoning U.S. economy for decades. This staple commodity has been the reason for the creation of innovative cotton picking technologies and and techniques that make the industry what it is today.

Before the 1930s, cotton harvesting was done entirely by hand. In the late 1930s, Texas-born John Rust built the first “harvesting locomotive.” Though his machine was too expensive and unreliable, his idea ignited others to redesign a new, improved version. The cotton harvester entered a different phase in the 1950s, which gave birth to a machine that is closer to what we see today.

In 1980, John Deere introduced the first cotton picker that offered non-stop harvesting and higher quality cotton, reducing the need for additional equipment in the field.

Fast forward to the present day, John Deere’s harvesting machines are seen as the pinnacle of innovation, enabling almost zero manual labor to harvest cotton. This allows the company to maintain its #1 position in the industry.

john deere cotton harvester

John Deere cotton harvester courtesy of By David Nance, USDA ARS

Integrated Customer Solutions

Deere’s Intelligent Solutions Group adopted the “agile scrum methodology” – a popular work style and development process in the information technology field. This process consists of scores of “scrum” teams, or small groups, that focus intensively on collaborating and working on short-term projects in order to foster rapid innovation.

One of the major internal changes made by the company was the replacement of cubicles with rectangular tables in a benching layout that allows for instant interaction and communication between team members. This results in increased productivity and collaboration, which in turn allows the company to develop new, more effective technologies and solutions while decreasing their expenses.

With technological solutions that collect, transfer, store, and analyze data, John Deere can serve its customers to a greater degree by enabling workers to better address customer challenges.

Apart from heavy agricultural machinery, John Deere offers a wide range of products including riding mowers, utility vehicles, snow removal equipment, and all sorts of home workshop products.

What’s Next?

There’s a reason why John Deere has been called one of the most admired companies worldwide and has ranked as one of the 100 best global brands by a leading business-consulting firm. Its constant desire to innovate, improve, expand, and meet customer demand ranks it among the most respectable businesses in history.

John Deere will continue to expand its product line and bring new solutions to customers all over the world. What’s more, it will continue implementing cutting-edge technology while keeping a close eye on the traditions that defined it since its humble beginnings.

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6 Community Partnerships That Will Strengthen Your Landscaping Business

landscaping community

Landscaping and lawn care are services that take place behind the scenes in every garden and patch of grass, but are often glanced over and taken for granted. Schools, churches, parks, country clubs, community centers, businesses, and even government buildings all rely on local landscapers to keep their properties looking well-maintained and attractive.

Thanks to this widespread need for lawn care and landscaping services, there are plenty of opportunities for landscapers to form community partnerships and grow their businesses. From donating your time and services to a local charity organization to partnering with a neighborhood or homeowners association, community partnerships allow landscapers to share their work with their communities and develop trust with potential clients.  

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If you’re the owner of a landscaping or lawn care service, consider pursuing one of these 6 community partnership ideas to boost your local brand recognition and strengthen your business.

1. Environmental Conservation Centers

Landscaping does more than make front lawns look inviting; it can also play an important role in environmental health. Properly landscaped lawns can reduce runoff and soil erosion, and promote biodiversity.

Environmentally-conscious landscapers can plan their services strategically so as to minimize water usage and to conserve natural resources. They can also seek out the least toxic solutions to pest problems and use environmentally-friendly fertilizers and insecticides to reduce damage to the natural ecosystem.

For these reasons, many conservation centers and environmental protection organizations are interested in building alliances with local landscapers. They may provide support, tools, and education for green landscaping, and acknowledge your business as an ally to their cause. This can go a long way with today’s increasingly aware consumers.

2. Chambers of Commerce

Most local chambers of commerce are eager to support locally owned businesses in their communities. After all, supporting the economic health of their community is the primary reason why chambers of commerce exist. The level of support may vary, but they generally offer networking opportunities and educational classes, including free tools and resources for expanding your business. They may also assist with referrals or list your landscaping business as a recommended service on their site.

Best of all, there’s a good chance that the other businesses who have partnered with your local chamber of commerce will have landscaping needs of their own, creating an easy networking and growth opportunity.

3. Homeowners Associations

Local HOAs have a lot on their plates when it comes to ensuring their neighborhoods stay within community guidelines and continue looking clean-cut and perfectly polished. For HOA leaders, partnering with a reputable landscaper they can trust to get the job done right each and every time can be invaluable.

What makes this type of partnership so successful is that it’s a win-win for both parties: the homeowner’s association will have a reliable go-to expert for keeping their neighborhood in tip-top shape, and you’ll have a steady stream of work and income. Some landscapers are even able to focus their entire business model around supplying lawn care services for HOAs.

4. Home and Garden Shows

Local and regional home and garden shows attract hundreds – and even thousands – of attendees who are interested in learning about the latest remodeling and landscaping trends. In many cases, they’re also eager to learn about the companies who can help them bring their dream projects to life.

Search for home and garden shows in your area and reach out to them to learn about the ways local businesses can get involved. You may be able to set up a booth and invite attendees to learn about your services or sponsor a portion of the event and be recognized for your contribution. You might even be able to teach a workshop and show off your expertise, such as

caring for certain types of flowers or getting rid of pesky native weeds. Any of these suggestions would help you develop trust and brand recognition among the community.

5. Nonprofits and Charities

Donating landscaping services to nursing homes, women’s and children’s shelters, community centers, and other programs that aid the local community is a fantastic way to give back and show that your business values and appreciates your local area. It’s easier than you think to get started – simply offer your lawn care services pro bono to a charity, nonprofit, or other organization that you’d like to support.

For example, you could offer to build a small meditation garden at a shelter for women, to spruce up the front lawn of a local nonprofit office, or to build a butterfly garden at a nursing home. Not only will passerby get a glimpse of your talent, but they’ll also take note of your compassion (which consumers greatly appreciate in a local business).

6. Schools

Keeping in line with the theme of “giving back,” consider partnering up with a local school to donate your time, supplies, and landscaping expertise to a campus beautification project. Lead eager students, teachers, and other school volunteers in a mission to plant more trees, create an herb garden, or plant a bed of flowers using school colors. You’ll teach students the value of hard work and community service by leading as an example, and can also educate them about botany and the environment.

Not only will your good deed spread through word-of-mouth to the teachers and parents of the students you work with (opening countless doors for local landscaping opportunities), but the entire school network and community will appreciate your efforts. You can give back to your community and show off your quality work in a single partnership.

As the owner of a lawn care or landscaping business, it can be tough to push your brand and grow your clientele in a successful, sustainable way. But by seeking out community partnerships, you can strengthen your business and provide a real benefit to your partners, too.

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The Science Behind Lawn Care: What’s Feeding Your Business?

seasonal lawn care

The secret to thick, lush, green grass isn’t as simple as installing a sprinkler system in the front yard – it’s a science, and therefore a bit more complicated.

What’s the point of understanding the science behind lawn care? There are several benefits that come from cultivating a healthy yard of grass. Here are just a few things it can do:

  • Reduce temperatures and cool the air
  • Effectively absorb noise and rainfall
  • Create oxygen
  • Prevent runoff and erosion
  • Help clean and remove pollutants from the air
  • Positively affect moods
  • Provide a safe place for outdoor activities and sports

Front, back, and side yards should all be treated equally, literally and metaphorically. This requires a bit of “get-to-know-you” type of research. What is the surrounding environment like? What is the lawn’s current state of health? Where is the most sunlight and where is the shade?

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Having some familiarity with a lawn is a key step in developing a suitable care routine. In order to do that, you have to start with exploring the science behind your customers’ yards.

Seeding and Aeration

Aeration is a process that mechanically removes plugs of soil and deposits them on top of the soil surface. As these cores break down, the surrounding soil – now relieved of compaction and newly oxygenated – will fill in the holes.

This is when it’s most beneficial to overseed the lawn with the most desirable blends of turf grass. For example, newer varieties of seed tend to have a higher resistance to disease and are better able to survive drought.

There are several stressors that can negatively impact the ability of turf grass to fill in naturally and thicken. Low fertility combined with summer stresses, diseases, and compaction can create many bare areas, large and small. The overseeding process thickens the lawn by placing new seed, and ultimately new grass plants, into these bare areas.

Fertilizing

Because most lawn seed is a mixture of several different types of grass, it is best to fertilize in both spring and fall; however, all lawns need fertilizer in early spring when the grass begins to grow. The type of grass, fertilizer used, and the climate should dictate the fertilization schedule for the rest of the season. Be sure to identify these factors before selecting a fertilizer.

Here are the basic types of fertilizer that can be used:

1. Slow-release: This fertilizer doesn’t need to be used as often, but is typically more expensive.

2. Fast-release: You’ll yield quick results with a fast-release fertilizer, but they need to be applied in smaller amounts and more frequently. Be careful not to burn your lawn with this method. Using too much fast-release fertilizer allows for an extended period of direct contact with the grass.

3. Weed and Feed: Be sure to identify any weeds before using a weed and feed product. Also make sure that same weed is listed on the product label.

4. Organic Materials (such as compost and manure): Because the essential nutrients aren’t as concentrated in these types of materials, a larger amount must be used. Dry or compost manure before applying it to the lawn. Be aware that some manures, particularly horse manure, may contain weed seeds.

5. Liquid Fertilizers: These aren’t recommended because they are difficult to apply evenly and require frequent applications.

Water the lawn a few days before fertilizing to ensure the grass isn’t suffering from drought stress. Make sure the grass blades are completely dry to avoid any burning. Always be sure to fill the spreader on a driveway or over cement in order to sweep up spills easily.

Seasonal Care

Just as with our wardrobes, lawn care needs to change with the seasons in order to maintain a healthy turf year-round.

Early Spring (February – April)

Lawns wake up hungry in the spring. Feeding them strengthens roots before the heavy growing season begins. A good rule of thumb is to always feed the lawn around the first time it needs to be mowed.

Late Spring (April – June)

Lunchtime! Grass is busy in the spring and is using up stored energy, which is why it’s important to supply it with plenty of feed. Also keep in mind that certain types of weeds are actively growing, too. By using a combination weed & feed, you can kill two birds with one stone.

Summer (June – August)

Summer is often a rough time for grass. Stressors such as the heat, drought, foot traffic, and insects can deteriorate lawns quickly. In order to strengthen and protect them during this time, grassy areas should be fed over the summer months as they grow steadily from spring to fall.

Fall (September – November)

With fall comes ideal growing conditions. Cool nights, warm days, plenty of rainfall, and morning dew is a lawn’s paradise. The grass is ready to grow again and will need to replenish the nutrients lost during summer damage. Some experts say fall is the single-most important lawn feeding of the year, right before the winter napping months. This will strengthen roots and increase nitrogen storage for an early spring green-up and a healthier lawn next year.

Insects and Disease

Like any plant, lawns can encounter a variety of problems. Chewing insects, such as grasshoppers, may attack grass blades; burrowing critters, like gophers, may munch through grass roots and cause green tops to die. While it’s not too difficult to spot dying patches of a lawn, it’s often a challenge to detect exactly what is causing the problem and how best to

treat it.

A yard overridden with volcano-like mounds of soil and raised ridges running through the grass is suffering from none other than pesky moles. Moles tunnel through lawns to feast on insects, worms, and grubs, and are commonly found in overwatered lawns. The most effective way to rid a lawn of moles is by using a specific trap to catch the animal.

When it comes to identifying what’s chomping the lawn, don’t be afraid to rely on clues. With Japanese beetles, for instance, the beetles may be seen physically on the grass. Most likely, they’re laying eggs in the soil and not really feasting on turf. Keep an eye out for other small hints that might alert you to the culprits.

 

The best defense against pests is maintaining a healthy lawn, which requires constant care and attention. A spread of healthy, thick grass provides far more benefits than just curb appeal. By routinely watering, feeding, protecting, and manicuring your clients’ lawns, they also get a few things in return: clean, cooler air; a safe outdoor space; and a beautiful sight of green.

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Be An Office Pro: 6 Tricks to Keep Your Landscaping Business Expertly Organized

business organization

Organization is a major key in running an efficient business and avoiding future headaches. For landscaping businesses, there is often an ebb and flow of scheduled work due to weather changes. Colder temperatures means workloads may fluctuate temporarily. This is why being organized should be a priority.

Organization is not just a pillar of running a successful business; it goes hand-in-hand with professionalism. Operating an organized business encourages client and financial growth. You need to be organized in order to keep your business open, to keep your current clients happy, and to attract new ones. Not to mention, who needs the stress that disorganization brings?

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Here, we’ve compiled 6 essential tips for managing your business – and organizing every aspect of it – to help you become an office organizational expert.

1. Schedule your clients digitally.

Commit everything to a digital calendar to keep track of your clients’ needs. Give each client a time slot. Include their name, contact information, and who will provide the service from your team. There’s no such thing as too many details here. In fact, the more, the better. If a client likes their service done a specific way, add those tidbits into the calendar slot, too.

Taking the time to choose the right digital calendar for your business is equally important. Of course, there’s the run-of-the-mill options like Google Calendar and the MS Outlook calendar. Look into other digital calendar alternatives, such as Teamup which allows for group sharing.

2. Streamline your invoicing process.

Evaluate your current invoicing process. Does it work seamlessly or could it use slight tweaks and improvements? Invoicing for your business should be standardized. Make sure the process is clear and that everyone on your team (who needs to) understands it. Create a standard invoice sheet if one hasn’t been created already.

If you’re still using a paper invoice system, consider switching to digital invoicing. Paper invoices can easily get lost and are subject to illegible handwriting. Quickbooks is a great program for keeping accounting information all in one place and includes electronic invoicing options. If the cost of Quickbooks is beyond what you’re currently able or willing to invest, opt for a program like Viewpost. Sending and receiving invoices as well as invoice tracking are free via the Viewpost website.  

3. Strategize a system for smooth team communication.

Most of us can recall a time when we were involved in an endless game of telephone. Likewise, you’ve probably lost count of how many times you’ve fallen victim to a “reply all” email that copied too many people on what could have been a simple, one-to-one response. Prevent frustration by reducing these unnecessary group communication failures.

If your team is digitally inclined, use a group messaging platform like Slack to manage quick quips that could eliminate never-ending email chains. Slack can be used on desktops or installed as an app on Android or iPhone. Slack will allow users to search for specific terms to find past communication threads, tag important parts of conversations, and alert individuals within a group chat. It’s the texting of the future.

4. Be meticulous with tax information and paperwork.

Keeping tax information organized and paying close attention to detail could save time and money once April 15 rolls around. Keeping itemized receipts for all your business expenses can be helpful, as is keeping a running tally of expenses you expect to be written off. Try to pass along all necessary documents for tax filing to your business accountant or bookkeeper quarterly.

5. Back up your records.

Ever had a day when everything technological went wrong? Your trusted computer that usually runs fast is acting wonky and keeps restarting. The Internet goes out in your service area for hours. All of a sudden, all the digital records you had are obsolete and inaccessible.

There’s not enough that can be said about using offsite backup systems. If you’re unable to access your records from your office or business computers, many offsite backup platforms will allow you to access your documents from a smartphone. Free options like Google Drive have handy applications that show you your documents and will even let you make edits to them. Search out other cloud-based backup options that will give you emergency and offsite access to your CRM system or other important files. It’s not safe to keep stuff in one place – back it up and save yourself a headache later.

6. Review, review, review.

When in doubt, review. Double check everything. Get a second set of eyes to look over things. Reviewing is the last piece of the puzzle to keeping your business running smoothly and the glue that holds it all together.

Despite what processes may be in place, they are null and void without proper review – both for mistakes and for evaluation of whether the existing ones are effective. By reviewing your current systems, you may find a method that formerly worked is no longer sufficient. From there, you can begin troubleshooting and tinkering with how to get back on track.

Internal system reviews should be ongoing. They shouldn’t be neglected until things are “out of control” or disorganized. Instead, use these reviews to consistently take a look at where you can improve to make your business stronger behind the scenes.

 

As a business owner, you wear a number of hats. Organizing your business office practices will help you alleviate unnecessary stress and make each part of your company run like a well-oiled machine.

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4 Surprising Reasons Why You Should Invest in a Tractor

invest in a tractor

Mowing a lawn, landscaping a front yard, and undertaking farming work would undoubtedly be a pain without the power of the tractor. In fact, the introduction of the gas powered tractor in 1890 by John Froelich forever transformed farming in America. The rest is history. Since then, tractors have continuously improved the livelihoods of many people around the world.

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So, if you haven’t yet owned a tractor, here are 4 surprising reasons why you should invest in one.

1. No more crazy work hours.

We all want to spend our time and effort on the work that we love, not on tedious labor like weeding, ploughing, and tilling the soil. Leave the boring tasks to the machine and focus on what you enjoy the most.

It takes no time for a tractor to clear those annoying bushes, spread fertilizer, and maintain your beautiful lawn on a regular basis. For modern farmers, using tractors equals reduced manual labor and lengthy work days while increasing overall farm production.

2. It’s versatile.

Yes, there are a wide range of tractors out there, from utility tractors and row crop tractors to garden tractors and chicken tractors. However, newer models are designed to accomplish different purposes, ranging from gardening and small farming tasks to transporting products to a local market or raw materials to households in many developing countries.

3. It’s a money saver.

Reducing overhead costs is vital in sustaining a profitable business. A tractor is a great investment for landscapers, farmers, and other manual labor-intensive industries as it reduces a considerable amount of man hours for outdoor work while meeting a deadline. Perhaps it’s fair to say a modern tractor is more dependable than a horse.

4. It reduces operator fatigue.

Don’t get intimidated by the size of those tractors. They’re powerful, yet easy to operate. In recent years, technology has enabled many heavy equipment companies to create machines that drive themselves. Though fully driverless tractors are still at least a decade away, it’s inevitable that technology-empowered machines will be another deal breaker in the industry.

 

If you’ve been on the fence about whether or not to invest in a tractor (or maybe never considered how one might be beneficial), there’s no time like the present! Start researching different models and determine the right fit for you. With all the options out there, you’re sure to find a perfect match.

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5 Ways to Save Your Landscaping Business (And Your Clients) Money

save money landscaping business

With so much competition out there for landscaping businesses, it can be overwhelming trying to stand out as unique or more affordable without compromising quality. Daunting as the task may seem, however, searching for ways to save your business money should be a consistent goal to keep your (and your clients’) wallet happy.

Certainly, big company changes can yield cost-effective results, but they often come with a hefty upfront price tag and workload. Luckily, there are some smaller ways to save your business money that will help cut down your expenses and also make you stand out among the competition.

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1. Time Management: Minimize idle time.

It’s no secret that being fully aware of time and how it’s spent can have profound successful impacts on many aspects of life. Your landscaping business deserves the same scrutiny.

Time is money; all commuting and setup times required for a job need to be accounted for to be sure no minute is wasted. Plan out specific routes for job sites to maximize efficiency when commuting in order to minimize idle time that employees could spend working.

In addition to commuting time, see if there are small changes which can be made even before leaving for a job. Little things like organizing equipment prior to leaving the warehouse or creating a special storage space in the evening for morning jobs can make huge differences when it comes to saving time and money.

2. Maximize virtual outreach efforts.

Making full and creative use of the virtual space your company occupies can have lasting benefits on your influence and success without costing too much. Despite the physical nature of landscaping, the reality is that most people today spend a good amount of time online, and that includes your clients. If you’ve already tapped into the digital marketing sphere with your business, consider expanding your efforts. If you’re just getting started – don’t waste another minute.

Digital marketing and outreach efforts can be inexpensive and effective additions to your marketing scheme. Try using social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter to keep your existing and potential future clients in the know. Posts don’t have to be specifically related to your business to be effective; you could try sharing information about the weather or tips and tricks about gardening and home landscaping to show your customer base you care.

Instead of spending time, energy, and physical labor or resources on print ads or door-to-door marketing, make going digital your goal and it could save you (and make you more) money.

3. Make better purchasing decisions.

Landscaping businesses need to have a healthy relationship with their vendors and be knowledgeable about the market. Define the best times, brands, and products when making purchases for your business and continue to update and change this knowledge throughout the year.

Of course, buying equipment after the summer season will be cheaper than buying before the height of landscaping projects in the spring. But there are other ways to save money on your new or replacement equipment purchases. Check out some of our online auctions of used government landscaping equipment for great products going for surprisingly low prices. These products are uploaded and updated online often so you don’t have to wait around for off-season sales.

4. Be a tax expert.

Knowing the ins and outs of taxes, including write-offs, deductions, and sales taxes, is crucial to your business’s success and longevity.

Tax write-offs can sound appealing for equipment purchases, but be sure to check with your bookkeeper before you write anything off. Often, writing off equipment purchased for your business does not make you exempt from paying; it merely defers payment to a future year so be sure to check the fine print and work closely with your accountant.

Deductions are another part of taxes that can save your business money, and there are many different and potentially surprising expenses that can be deducted from your expenditures and taxes. Trips, travel, gas… all these things and more can be eligible for exemptions or deductions, and it pays to know the specifics.

Depending on your state, there are various discrepancies concerning sales tax. Luckily, labor is never subject to taxes, but understanding which other purchases and expenses you need to pay tax on is imperative. Make sure you have an open and consistent relationship with your accountant throughout the year so tax season doesn’t set you back right before the busy landscaping season begins.

5. Weed out subcontractors.

Although the transition from various external contractors to all in-house efforts can be expensive upfront, it can have extensive money-saving benefits in the long run. Determine which external services your business is utilizing that can be switched over to your internal team with the least upfront training and sunk costs, and make it a goal to get there as soon as financially feasible.

Having your own employees working for you gives your company more face time with clients and gives you more control over performance and standards. If it’s in your budget, start with just one department and try to build it from the ground up. That might mean starting with an employee who has zero experience and investing in necessary training. Even though this may seem intimidating at first, the long-term benefits make moving towards complete internalization worthwhile.

 

Considering and implementing any number of these money-saving ideas could have lasting effects on your landscaping business. By focusing some energy on analyzing your current strategies and looking for small areas to change or improve can make your business stronger and give your finances a positive boost. In the competitive world of landscaping businesses, it’s never too late to start making little changes that you and your clients can appreciate.

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Tools and Tech: The Hottest New Landscaping Gadgets on the Market

new landscaping tools

If you find yourself stuck in the woes of dull, antiquated tools that do nothing but hold back your landscaping needs, fear not. The grass is indeed greener on the other side of the fence.

In order to advance your business or simply keep up with the high expectations that your good work has set, you need the most efficient tools to maximize potential. This may be old news, but the following list of gadgets are anything but that.

MidMount PowerVac Collection Systems for True ZeroTurnTM MidMountTM Mowers from Grasshopper Co.

Grasshopper’s PowerVacs are easily installed and feature a steel impeller that compacts anything from high-moisture leaves and grass to small sticks and hay. The efficient and productive vacuum collection system allows for side discharge and mulching in minutes without the fear of clogging.

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Keeping a well-manicured and clean lawn while using the PowerVac is no hassle. The rear-mounted collector allows for full visibility and maneuverability. This gadget cuts down on several hours of clean up work and streamlines the process of perfecting a front or back lawn.

62-Inch Landplane Attachment for Utility Vehicles from Bobcat

Bobcat Company broadens its utility vehicle attachment versatility with the new 62” landplane. This attachment allows for dual direction, site preparation, and landscaping, all while providing the option for workers to operate in both forward or reverse directions, depending on the ground level.

With the new landplane, utility vehicles can easily pulverize soil clumps; sift through soil to remove any large rocks; peel sod; aerate soil for seeding; and remove debris. Additionally, an optional fold-down scarifier can be used to help break up hard soil or turf and is easily retracted when not in use.

Avant 420 from Avant Tecno

The Avant 420 is well suited for homeowners or light professional use. This loader is easy to ride, yet powerful. The 20-horsepower unit is 2,100 lbs and 86.4 inches, front to back, with a lifting capacity of 1,200 lbs.

This mini digger is most efficient for projects where digging depth is 59” or less. The digger mounts directly on the quick-attach plate of the loader and operates through the auxiliary hydraulics control lever.

Stanley Fatmax Professional Grade Water Hose from Stanley Black & Decker

The Stanley Fatmax Professional Grade Water Hose features PolyFusion technology, which makes it lightweight and very easy to manipulate. Its resistance to scratches and scraping allows it to be used on rough surfaces.

This hose also uses an anti-kink technology which provides optimal elasticity to prevent inconvenient kinking. As a highly flexible tool, it remains pliable even in negative degree weather.

HRX 217VKA Lawnmower from Honda Power Equipment

With it’s adjustable speed and cutting positions, this fuel efficient lawn mower gets the job done. The self-propelled mower is built for medium surface areas and hilly terrain, and allows for variable speeds from 1-4 MPH.

The Honda HRX maximizes the flow of grass clippings and minimizes any clogging with its patented 4-in-1 Versamow System™. Grass is conveniently and easily removed from the high-capacity rear grass bag when full.

T595 Compact Track Loader from Bobcat

The new Bobcat compact track loader features increased horsepower and performance for pushing or digging, and eliminates the need to upgrade to a bigger machine.

With its improved operating capacity and lift force, the T595 can help increase job site productivity with its solid maneuverable functionality and by carrying more material.

At just 68 inches wide, the T595 moves smoothly through confined spaces, congested worksites, and easily travels between homes. Rubber tracks cause minimal ground disturbance for fewer repairs to lawns when a project is complete.

8-Inch Cordless Pole Saw from GreenWorks

This cordless saw provides up to 160 watts of power with a 14-inch cutting capacity. The 8-inch steel bar and chain feature a chain tensioning system: oil is automatically applied to the bar and chain to ensure durability, extending the life of the chain.

The 3-piece aluminum shaft can be extended from 5’ to 8’ for different cutting heights. A comfortable grip handle allows the elbow to rest to help keep control while in use.

 

Whether you are new to landscaping, a seasoned pro or a business owner, upgrading to the hottest tools is the first step towards getting the great results you hope to see. When considering whether or not to make upgrades, think about the safety implications of using older tools as well as any potential problems that may arise and delay an important project.

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5 Fool-Proof Ways to Market Your Landscaping Business

market landscaping business

Summer’s in full swing, and that means BBQs, pool parties, and backyard camping “trips.” But before any of that can happen, people want their lawns looking the best. Businesses all over town are trying to make sure their building has an inviting, professionally-maintained appearance.

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Like any seasonal company, you’re probably eager to get out there and market your business, but maybe you’re unsure of where to start and how to spend your budget most effectively. Luckily, we’ve got some simple and budget-friendly solutions to fit your marketing puzzle.

1. Get Digital

It should go without saying that having an online presence is huge for any business, new or established. Social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram will help not only reach out to your prospective customers, but once they are satisfied with your fantastic service, they can easily share your business’s page, photos of your work, and their positive experience with their friends and family.

Be sure to include your logo on your social media pages to give your business increased recognition. Additionally, customer review sites like Yelp, Angie’s List, or other community discussion boards can act as free, honest marketing. People may doubt flashy commercials on TV, but they feel much safer buying a product or service that has unbiased, 3rd-party reviews written and commented on by the community.

Encourage your customers to visit these sites and express their opinions – good or bad. If there are any negative reviews, treat them sincerely and respectfully to show that you’re earnestly interested in fixing issues for your clients.

2. Hit the Trade Shows

One of the biggest challenges of marketing a landscaping business is getting your name out all over town. At trade shows, you have the convenience of prospective clients coming right to you. Investing in a booth at a local home and garden show is a smart choice for getting the highest possible return on your marketing budget.

It’s important that you distinguish your business from the many others that are also presenting their projects. Include models or picture displays that show any special tools or machinery you use that other similar businesses may not offer. You can also display photos of jobs you have completed in the past to give examples of your work. “Before and after” photos are great for showing the effect your business had after a landscaping job.

Prepare some type of easy giveaway to pass out at your booth. Print up flyers with customer feedback, online ratings, and any local awards or recognition your business may have received. Consider offering a special discount for new customers that book a job after visiting your booth at the trade show. Be sure to include a discount “code” or referral reminder on your printed media.

3. Ask for Referrals

If people are willing to trust strangers’ opinions online, they’ll be even more interested in your business if they hear about it from a close friend or family member that was pleased with your service.

Don’t be bashful about asking for referrals. Make sure your customers know that you value referrals and are always looking for more. Consider offering special referral discounts to loyal clients who bring in additional business for you.

To simplify the process, it’s a good idea to have special cards handy for customers to pass along. After you’ve completed a project, leave a few referral cards with your client and ask them to tell their friends around town.

4. Survey Your Clients

Having an online presence on social media sites will certainly help customers reach you, but it’s also a good idea to approach them directly to get a grasp on how they feel about your service.

Try conducting face-to-face, online (try a survey site like SurveyMonkey), or phone surveys with customers after a job has been completed. This will give you valuable information about why the client chose your service, what they were most pleased with, what they think could be improved, and if they’ll be a return customer.

Ask them to leave a short comment you could use to promote your company. Surveys can be an important part of your business model and how you address small mistakes or misunderstandings. By enthusiastically asking for feedback and quickly addressing client concerns, you can eliminate any threat of lost business through good customer service. As the saying goes, it’s cheaper to keep a customer returning than it is to find a new one.

5. Appear Professional

Though the landscaping industry is physically challenging, it’s still important to look professional. Uniforms may not be the right direction to go, especially if you’re a small, local business. Instead, ask your team to wear company-branded items of clothing. Having a branded workforce will give you a desirable, professional look and is a fantastic way to spread your logo, company name, and phone number. Encourage your team members to avoid wearing torn or ripped clothes, as these give off a less professional vibe.

Of course, make sure that work attire is weather appropriate. For summer work, arm your team with branded caps, t-shirts, or light rain jackets. If you have seasonal winter work, you can use stocking hats, heavy jackets, or gloves.

Vehicles are another great way to make sure your brand is reaching all over the city as you drive from job to job. Whenever someone drives by and sees superb landscaping, they’ll know exactly who is completing the work.

 

As the summer rages on, these simple solutions will help you efficiently market your landscaping company. Put a few (or all!) of these ideas into practice to get the best possible ROI for your marketing budget.

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