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Business Owners & Managers

Most Common Mistakes Made by a Landscaper

Mistakes happen. It’s a part of life, and sometimes those mistakes happen while on the landscaping job. Normally mistakes don’t put your business at risk but what does harm your business is not learning from those mistakes. It’s important to look at mistakes as an opportunity to grow. In addition some mistakes that have been made by other companies can be learned from as well. While some missteps happen on the job, some mistakes happen before anyone ever sets foot on the jobsite. Those mistakes can include:

  • Not Training Employees Adequately – Some of the things the owner may take for granted as common knowledge may not be so common to all employees. Just because you know the proper steps for burying a tree’s roots doesn’t mean your employees do. Also, make sure your employees know that wearing safety equipment isn’t an option, it is a must. Regular training sessions will ensure your employees are knowledgeable and professional about the job they are performing.

  • Not Continuing to Educate Yourself – Training your employees is good, but there is always something more to learn. New techniques, new plant knowledge, and even new business aspects are available online, at various shows and conventions as well as at local nurseries and botanical gardens. Just remember that leaders are learners; when you stop learning, you’ll stop leading.

  • Not Paying Attention To/Knowing About Your Reputation – Landscape professionals rely heavily on word of mouth to grow their businesses. In today’s society that word of mouth can extend to social media and review sites in a heartbeat. Regularly monitoring and responding with online reviews can both allow you to build a strong network and help potentially put out small fires before they become business killers. Make sure to invest in some type of uniform or T-shirt with the company’s logo on it and ensure your employees behave in a professional manner at all times. This will play a huge role in ensuring people have great reviews about your company.

  • Not Communicating Well With Clients – A large part of success will be your ability to communicate well with your clients. Research your bids and follow up in person to give that personal touch; a well done personal touch can often be what finalizes the deal.

    While these mistakes can be addressed before getting on to the job site, there are mistakes that can happen while on the job to be aware of.

  • Using Improper Planting Techniques – Plants that die soon after a job has been completed make the business look bad. Make sure proper planting techniques are utilized. A few common mistakes are placing mulch in a volcano shape around a plant base, not removing girdling roots in container plants, and not breaking up the soil into a bed where roots can expand. Proper hole preparation is also crucial. Putting a $100 tree in a $1,000 hole can produce a $1,000 tree, but putting a $1,000 tree in a $100 hole can have the adverse effect.

  • Not Creating an Attractive Design – A big mistake some companies make is using only plants that are dormant during the winter leaving clients with nothing to look at but sticks and mulch. Make sure to use different textures and evergreens, and don’t use the same plants over and over. This creates a boring effect but also creates a risk for the entire landscape should insects or disease set in.

  • Overcrowding – When plants are young they don’t seem to take up much space. It’s important to remember that in a few years’ time those plants will grow, and if too many plants or trees are planted in the same area the maintenance will be a nightmare. Some plants may even need to be pulled, and the clients who paid for those plants won’t be happy.

Keep these in mind the next time you visit a potential client and your reputation as well as the potential for repeat business will increase!