Landscaping, tree care, and lawn care are seasonal jobs. while that’s what some people love about the industry, it can also lead to stressful times once winter rolls around. One way to combat the winter slump is to augment your business by adding snow removal services.
Snow removal services such as snow shoveling, snow blowing, and even snow plowing can be lucrative in the green service industry, especially in areas that receive regular snowfall. However, it can also be more complex to manage since it comes with decreased predictability.
Adding Snow Removal to Your Landscaping Business: 6 Tips
Below are 6 tips for adding snow removal to your landscaping business while saving time, money, and helping things go more smoothly.
1 – Prepare Your Client List EARLY
Different equipment is needed for snow removal based on your client type and job size—for instance, residential homes may only need a snow shovel or a snowblower while apartment complexes or commercial buildings may require plow blades for ATVs or trucks, tailgate salt spreaders, and more.
Before rushing out to spend hundreds of dollars on snow removal equipment, reach out to your existing client base. Let them know you’re adding snow removal to your landscaping company and ask if they’d like to get on the service list. This can help you determine the type of equipment you need (while decreasing your investment risk).
If done properly, you’ll have a list of clients signed up for this service before the first flake of snow ever falls. This preorder strategy can give you a good idea of what you need in terms of equipment and labor once the season starts.
2 – Schedule Strategically
One of the most difficult parts of adding snow removal to your landscaping business is the urgency with which people would like their snow removed. Not only do some cities enact fines for snow not removed within a certain timeframe, but most clients wish for snow to be removed ASAP so they can get safely in or out of the driveway or have sidewalks clear for family or visitors. This is especially true for commercial businesses that face lawsuits if an accident occurs due to snow not being removed promptly.
Because of this, it’s more important than ever to schedule as strategically as possible. Minimize drive time by scheduling your teams geographically to complete jobs in a single area at the same time.
3 – Establish a Snowstorm Triage
Because you can’t always predict snowfall, you should have an action plan in place for when snow does fall. Once snow hits, you don’t want to be wasting time organizing crews or prioritizing clients. You should have service orders in place and ready to go live once snow removal is needed.
4 – Determine How to Handle Multi-Day Snowfalls
Sometimes you find yourself in a week where the snow doesn’t let up long enough for lasting snow removal. Plan ahead of time how you are going to handle shoveling during active snowfall and be sure to communicate those plans to your clients ahead of time.
All-day snowfall or multi-day snowfall is the time when you’re most likely to get the largest number of complaints. Customers (especially seasonal customers) will expect a clear driveway or sidewalk even though it’s going to likely be covered in snow again soon. Once you determine how to handle all-day or multi-day snowfalls, set expectations with your customers. If you’ll shovel once in the early a.m. before they leave for work and once in the late afternoon before they arrive from work, tell them so. If you save shoveling for the afternoon or late afternoons on snowfall days, let them know to expect a snowy driveway in the morning but that it will be free of snow and ice when they return home from work.
5 – Automate Your Billing System
Nothing is worse than shoveling hours of snow and then having to spend as much time tracking down clients for payment. Make sure you have client payment information on file and that you submit the invoice for payment as soon as a job is complete. Waiting too long to bill for a job for paid-by-the-job projects can make billing confusing and complicated (especially during active snowfall).
6 – Track Your Inventory
Just like lawn care or landscaping, it’s important to track your costs when adding snow removal to your landscaping business. You want to make sure the service is lucrative, which means you need to have a solid idea of how much each job costs and your profit margins. This means having a system for tracking employee time and efficiency, equipment such as snow blowers or plow blades, and materials such as ice salt or sand.
Arborgold Can Help
Do you need a way to more easily bid, schedule, track, and bill your snow removal projects? Arborgold can help streamline your office processes while saving you time and money. Learn how by taking a tour today.