In the Spring and Summer months our crews and trucks seem to be everywhere, but in the winter we are often asked what we do this time of year. Some people may assume that we pack up and head south for the winter but the reality is that there is much to do in the winter months.
Our company is the largest provider of Snow Removal services to Commercial and Industrial Clients in the Marion and Delaware Areas and we are on call 24/7 protecting the properties we service against snow and ice throughout the winter. A few crews will also be busy taking down Christmas Lights on the hundreds of homes and businesses that we have decorated.
I’ve always thought that in a way we are lucky that the winter provides a time for us to work ON our business rather than IN our business. What I mean by that is that “in season” we are so focused on getting projects done that we seldom have time to improve the systems and processes that help fine tune our company. In the winter, we can focus more time on those type of projects.
Running a large landscaping company takes a huge amount of planning and coordination so we typically start the winter season by reflecting on the past year. We identify our strengths, weaknesses, threats and opportunities and from there we can formulate and prioritize action plans. We believe in CANI, Constant and Never Ending Improvement, and even though we have been in business for thirty seven years we consistently think of tweaks that we can make to improve the way our company runs.
Winter is the time to prepare so that when the weather breaks in the Spring, All Systems are Go.
Our Customer Service Team is busy reviewing each client’s file and scheduling the services that we will be doing for them in the upcoming season. We set up the Scheduling in our computer system now so that when the season is here, all we need to do is to print the daily work orders and route sheets.
Our Design Team is busy working with Clients to prepare Plans for the Paver Patios and Landscape Installation projects that we will be installing this Spring and Summer.
Our Mechanics go through our trucks and equipment and make sure that each piece is ready to go for spring.
Winter is also the time that New Trucks, Mowers and other equipment is purchased to be in place for new contracts and to replace older equipment that is getting a little long in the tooth.
New customer service programs and staff training programs are developed this time of year.
Winter is also a great time for Continuing Education and Professional Development. In January, many of our Staff Members will be attending Training Classes and the Trade Show at The CENTS Show that is held annually at the Columbus Convention Center and is sponsored by OSU and the Ohio Nursery and Landscape Association. The CENTS Show provides our staff the ability to stay on top of Industry Trends and Techniques and to see the latest and greatest equipment that is available. In addition, the CENTS Show offer Recertification Credits to those of us who are Industry Certified and also conducts tests for anyone who wishes to become Certified.
Then, in March several Staff Members will be attending the Pesticide Applicator’s Recertification Conference. This is a very informative day of Seminars in which the Professors of Horticulture, Turfgrass Management and Entomology update us on insects and diseases that we may see in our clients lawn and landscape and how to treat them.
Finally, Winter is also the time of Budgeting and Planning our financial management for the upcoming season. It is no small feat to budget the full time operations for a company with seasonal revenue, which is the reason that only about 5% of landscape businesses reach their 10th anniversary.
In summary, for our Company the Winter Season isn’t really an off season; it’s just a different season with different priorities.