It’s no surprise that many landscaping businesses (perhaps even yours) may have started out as a small lawn mowing service with just one entrepreneur who started to recruit help from friends or family members for larger jobs.
Growing your landscaping business means adding to your crew. This helps increase customer retention, enables your company to provide more services, and opens opportunities for business growth. But it’s not always as simple as going to Zip Recruiter or Indeed to post a job and expect perfect candidates.
At Arborgold Software we help landscape companies manage labor, jobs, and scheduling. So, here’s our insights on the most important job skills and requirements for landscaping employees.
Licensed and certified landscape employees
Applicants will probably need a driver’s license as a necessity. Crews are driving themselves to residential or commercial job sites, even if they’re in your company trucks. Depending on the specific job duties and responsibilities, your crew members may also need to have specific certifications or licenses. For example, some of your landscape employees may need to be certified Arborist, while others may need to be licensed pesticide applicators.
As yourself: Has the applicant participated in safety training or other credential workshops? If not, does your business have a budget to provide for additional training?
Landscaping job physical demands
In order to rake leaves, mow/weed/mulch lawns, clean gutters, shovel snow, lay sod, and many other tasks, Landscaping businesses need people who can handle a variety of different physical demands such as bending, lifting, pushing, and pulling. Your crews should know how to handle chemicals safely. Employees must be able (and are willing) to work outdoors in all types of temperatures. Certain jobs will require longer work hours to ensure the job gets done on day 1.
Landscaper’s Mechanical Knowledge and Safety
Landscaping professionals need to know how to use a variety of tools and equipment, such as lawn mowers, chainsaws, and rakes, and operate them safely. Sometimes the equipment needs a quick fix onsite. Your crews should be able to recognize when their equipment isn’t functioning properly and know how to troubleshoot the problem without needing to leave the job site. During the job interview, ask the applicant for examples of a situation where they realized something was wrong with the equipment and had to make a simple fix to keep the project on track.
For crew leads, project managers, and on-site foremen, it’s important that your employees can use job management software and time tracking mobile apps. As an example, Arborgold Software company crews use Arborgold’s mobile app to record important information about any job, including chemical usage, weather conditions, clocking in and out of jobs, etc. For example, Arborgold’s MobileCrew App for iPhone and Android can be used to create work orders, provide estimates, and look up job information. If any of your new employees need training on any of our platforms, please contact us anytime at [email protected].
There are a number of other ways that successful landscape employees can showcase their technical skills:
- Do they know how to find the correct water solution for each grassy zone on a customer’s lawn or on the grounds of a commercial account?
- Can they make good decisions when it comes to irrigation and watering of the grass and outdoor space?
- Do they understand the grass’s requirements at the initial development stage?
- What are the proper aeration methods for soil laying?
Be sure to ask your applicants about their attention to overall visual aesthetics and make sure the employee would take extra care planting flowers in beds or trimming shrubs to look uniform.
Knowledge of Plants and Trees
A good understanding of plants and trees – how they grow and how to care for them – is necessary in order to:
- Choose the right plants and trees for the climate and location so they will thrive in their environment.
- Ensure the health, vitality and longevity of the plants and trees on a customer’s property. Each plant and tree have its own specific needs in terms of planting, watering, fertilizing, and pruning.
- Identify and treat plant and tree problems. Plants and trees can be susceptible to a variety of problems, such as pests, diseases, and environmental stress.
- Create beautiful and functional landscapes that meet the needs of their clients.
Soft Skills & Problem Solving
Landscaping is a customer service business, so employees need to follow instructions, be polite and courteous when interacting with customers, be reliable and prompt, work independently and also as a team and demonstrate problem-solving skills. In fact, there are many ways to help keep your lawn care customers happy and increase customer retention.
What’s mission critical? Landscapers must be able to work in tandem with the other crew members for mowing, trimming, mulching, or installing landscaping elements including rock work.
Admittedly, some of these requirements are difficult to show on a resume, so get creative in your interviewing process. Introduce the applicant to another team member to see if the applicant looks them in the eye, smiles, and appears engaged in the conversation.
Give the applicant a scenario with a typical situation on a job site and ask how they would handle it/solve it. The answers will help you know if this applicant is right for the job or not.
Here are some examples of problem-solving scenarios that someone in the lawn care and landscaping business might be presented with.
These could be used in an interview to see how the applicant would respond.
- A customer has a dead tree in their yard. The landscaping worker will need to assess the situation and determine the best course of action. In some cases, the tree may need to be removed. In other cases, it may be possible to save the tree.
- A customer has a weed problem in their lawn. The landscaping employee will need to identify the type of weed and choose the best treatment method. In some cases, it may be necessary to use chemicals. In other cases, it may be possible to control the weeds with non-chemical methods.
- A customer wants to install a new sprinkler system. The landscaping worker will need to assess the customer’s needs and design an appropriate system. The employee will also need to install the system and ensure that it is working properly.
- A customer wants to have their yard landscaped. The landscaping employee will need to work with the customer to design a landscape that meets their needs, vision, and budget. The employee will also need to install the landscape and maintain it over time.
Hiring the right team is one of the most essential aspects to helping your landscaping business grow and thrive, in addition to partnering with the right software platform can take your business to the next level of success.