There are more than 90,000 landscape maintenance, snow and construction businesses in the US and Canada. Less than 10 percent ever grow larger than $1,000,000 in annual revenue. There’s no crime in that, as there is no requirement to be “bigger.” Many contractors like to operate smaller “lifestyle” businesses that provide them a good living.
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But for those who desire to grow – and grow beyond $3,000,000 in annual revenue (and there more than 10,000 of you out there), the challenge is not so much delivering services, as it is building an organization with an operating system that delivers your services and does it efficiently. Think McDonalds – not whether you buy or like their burgers – but the repeatable systems and processes they invest in to maximize the efforts of their people. That's how they became successful!
Or, if you prefer a sports analogy, think of Lombardi and the Packers. Lombardi’s teams were not complicated or fancy. They ran less than a dozen unique plays. Yet, they ran them efficiently all the time. This simple system provided the opportunity for the Packers to make decisions during the game “to make a play.”
This system gave rise to the idea - “run to daylight.” The goal wasn't to run off-tackle, but to use the off-tackle playbook scheme and then adapt to the defense by – running to daylight. If everyone did the job as designed – there would be a hole and yardage to be gained.
The Two-Part System
It’s the system, dude - as we say here in Southern California. The system provides the platform for growth and profits. Yes, you need good people, but good people plugged into a good system, become great performers.
Every system has two primary components ... and Lombardi and McDonalds used both.
Playbook (simple and consistent methods)
Reporting (numbers to drive accountability)
When you consider that building a great football team or burger joint is not so different from building a great contracting company. .. and in a contracting business,
- The playbook is integrated business management software – it is the standard operating system creating repeatable and simple procedures... managing the way people prospect, estimate, sell, on-board, service, upsell, renew, plan, schedule, purchase, route, track labor, invoice and collect money, and...
- reporting using this same business management software provides the metrics on sales, profits, job cost, accounts receivable, operations, purchases, payments, service delivery, forecasts and customer performance.
So how will software help your landscaping business? By combining – the playbook and reporting you will require when you achieve $2,000,000 in annual revenue. Is $2,000,000 the magic number when a contractor needs software to grow? Based on my experience in 25 years of business consulting … yes.
Building the Lombardi and McDonalds Way
Building an organization requires procedure and reports; knowing whether you are winning, doing the right things, doing enough of them and achieving your goals. Reports drive accountability. Accountability drives thinking. Thinking, combined with simple processes, drives initiative.
That’s why McDonalds knows exactly how many burgers it’s sold since 1940. It was brilliant marketing to put the exact number on their signs through the years and eventually “lose count” when it got to billions and billions. There is still a report somewhere in the company with the exact burger data ... count on it.
This is also why Lombardi kept it simple, drilled the plays and monitored the results. Because, as he said, “Once the game started, I was useless – my job was done. It was up to the team.”
Can the reports be obtained without integrated business management software? Yes and no – but mainly, no. I’d like to think that after 25 years of industry consulting and benchmarking, I have figured out some of these procedures and reports and I'd like to share them with you.