Commercial property managers don’t have it easy. They’re typically juggling multiple properties, various contractors and other concerns—often on an ever-shrinking budget. The last thing they want to worry about is their landscape company doing what they said they would do in their contract.
For homeowners, it’s a similar story on a smaller scale. They want to enjoy their yard, not follow up on quality concerns.
What if you could erase these worries for your customers? You could not only improve client retention but also increase your enhancement revenue.
One way to accomplish this feat is by implementing a site analysis process. Site audits allow your landscape company to be the proactive partner clients are looking for and ramp up enhancement revenue at the same time.
What is a landscape site audit?
A landscape site audit is a process that evaluates, scores, and documents the conditions of a property and communicates that information to the client. It entails taking notes and pictures of the good stuff you see on the property and documenting the bad stuff.
Site audits are usually conducted by account managers or operations managers. They may be specific to a given service line, such as irrigation or turf care, or they can be broad in scope, addressing the whole property, including mowing, tree and shrub care, irrigation, turf care, and other details.
Historically, landscape professionals have conducted site audits on paper, walking around clients’ properties with a company form on a clipboard. They may have taken photos, printed them out, and delivered hard copies to their clients. This process has evolved in many companies, thanks to online forms, PDFs, and digital photos. Landscape business management software programs now have built-in modules for site audits. The beauty of the latter option is they can be done on mobile devices and seamlessly incorporated into the company’s workflow.
A good site audit rates landscaping components on a numbered scale to maintain objectivity and consistency. For example, a site audit could use a 1–10 scale and should have categories specific to your clients’ property types.
The benefits of site audits.
The benefits of conducting landscape site analyses are twofold. One benefit is so you, as a company, can understand how well you’re maintaining the properties. Are you doing everything you’re supposed to, satisfying the contract, and living up to your own standards? Some companies may even use reports generated from site audit data to evaluate companywide quality or crew leader performance.
The other benefit is external. It prompts managers to visit clients’ properties, identifying areas of possible concern for clients, which are also potential enhancement sales. It gets your people out on the property, walking around, taking pictures, and seeing things like a patch of dead grass that needs irrigation repairs or a dead tree that needs to be replaced. From there you can talk to your clients about proposing those needs as enhancements.
The key is to ensure that site audits are part of your company’s workflow, so you can promptly fix problems and efficiently capitalize on enhancement opportunities.
In Aspire, for example, account managers can turn site audit results into “issues,” which have a mechanism for follow-up. For example, an account manager spotting a weedy landscape bed could give it a poor score, take a picture, and turn it into an internal “issue” for the production team to fix. He or she can also communicate the “issue” to the clients to let them know it’s been identified and is being addressed.
Likewise, a photo can be used as the basis for an “opportunity,” or a bid. Going back to that dead tree, with a couple of clicks, an Aspire user can pull in notes and photos and create an estimate to send to the client with those pictures attached.
How to set site audit expectations.
When it comes to instituting a process for site audits, I recommend setting frequency goals for account managers and tracking them. For example:
- A accounts get biweekly site audits;
- B accounts get monthly site audits; and
- C accounts get quarterly or annual site audits.
You need a system to guarantee you’re getting these done. One way to do that is to set up a key performance indicator in your business management software related to site audit completions and track them.
Otherwise, you’re sitting back and waiting for the clients to call you with their problems. The problem is clients—especially commercial property managers—often aren’t aware of their problems because they aren’t out walking their properties as frequently as you and your team.
Your chances of hitting your sales goals are far less likely if you’re waiting for customers as opposed to getting out there and proactively pointing out that the problems are problems. “Be proactive” has been the catchphrase in the industry for last 10 to 15 years, and this is the No. 1 way to do it.
At Aspire, we understand that when you’re running a landscape company, it’s important to have the right tools for the job. That’s why we’ve developed an all-in-one, cloud-based solution with the functionality you need to keep your entire business running smoothly—and profitably. If you’re ready to take your company to the next level, contact us today!
Need help finding the right business management software? Download this helpful buyer’s guide to learn everything you need to know before selecting a solution, from initial research to final decision.
For other tips for achieving consistent and sustainable growth, read our article, "5 Simple Strategies to Grow Your Landscaping Business."
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