Landscaping companies learned to weather the storm of 2020
Lots green industry Professionals are entering the new year with a wave of success from the 2020 pandemic.
With a whole new year ahead, many expect not only company growth, but also hope for a better public understanding of the importance of the green industry.
The set normal
Emily Lenhart Scales, an acquisition specialist at Canopy Lawn Care, Inc. in Cary, North Carolina, says the implementation is ongoing Covid-19 guidelines in her daily work, but at this point, she says, these precautionary measures have become an adjusted normal.
Currently, according to Scales, office workers are still working remotely, and they have even scaled down their office space so that staff can continue to work from home. Scales believes this could be a long-term setup for their office workers.
“I think this is our new way of life,” says Scales. “That was a decision that was made pretty early, and in June or July we decided that we wanted to stick with the platform team and office workers who work remotely.”
According to Scales, their field service team is still active and they are currently meeting in an outdoor area wearing appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) to ensure they are socially distant and safe. According to Scales, their employees have remained healthy throughout the pandemic, but some customers have dropped out of services due to the virus.
“It’s a really vulnerable time and you need to reveal information that you wouldn’t otherwise want to share with people,” says Scales. “I think we take it as carefully as possible and are as empathetic and personable as possible, both in the office and on site.”
Scales says she’s grateful her crews have been up and running all of last year, and she adds that they got through the year without downsizing.
Despite the turmoil the pandemic brought in, Thomas O’Halloran, president of TCO Landscapes in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, said they were still seeing tremendous growth and hiring new employees.
“Interestingly, 2020 was our best year yet,” says O’Halloran. “We grew more in the last year than in any other year. That’s amazing when you really look at this and see what was the determining factor. I think Covid-19 was one of the big factors and it was an election year and it’s always very different. It was a whirlwind to be honest, but it was all kind of a perfect storm. “
O’Halloran adds that the real estate market played a huge role in their record-breaking success, as much of the work they completed was on property landscaping projects that were soon up for sale.
According to O’Halloran, the company has both a maintenance and landscaping installation side. For 2020, most of the customers were new to landscape installations, and regular customers were more likely to fall into the maintenance side.
Overall, O’Halloran noted that customers were willing to pay larger sums for large installation projects, but when mowing, many chose to do it themselves.
O’Halloran says their operations are back to normal with the exception of customer communications. When O’Halloran meets with a customer to get a quote, he automatically appears on the website with a mask to make the customer more comfortable.
“Every client is different, and so many people have pandemic fatigue and are simply fed up with it,” he says. “Some wear masks while I speak to them there, others don’t. It was very interesting to see how different people’s opinions about the virus are. “
O’Halloran adds that email communications for her this year have been huge unlike before. After they were cleared to go back to work, O’Halloran sent their clients a bulk email giving them the option to continue or retire their services.
“Cross your T’s and dot your I’s and make sure your line of communication with your client is open,” says O’Halloran. “Covid or no covid, do this because that will always help you and it has been found to be very helpful, especially during a pandemic.”
According to Scales, they kept their communication methods in tune with customers. The only change is that they no longer leave door signs on projects.
Based on the sales team achieving their goals, Scales believes customers are getting back to the idea of spending money on landscaping projects. After adjusting their sales goals at the start of the pandemic, Scales is pleased to announce that they have hit 100 percent or better of their sales goals in the last two months.
“We really struggled with it during our typical growing season because the Covid-19 pandemic also increased during our growing season,” says Scales. “This species has instilled this lack of confidence in the consumer. They didn’t want to sign up for a lawn care package. They didn’t want to commit to anything because there were so many strangers. “
Check back tomorrow for Part 2 of this series, where we find out how corporate morale has changed due to the pandemic and what has taken these companies away from 2020.