I’d like to share with you a different way to think about installing mulch and flowers, aeration and services of that type that have to occur during a specific time of year.
So what normally happens is: Ms. Smith calls in and says, “Hey, can I get some flowers?” “Sure.” So you go to the vendor, and you order the flowers based on the colors she wants, you put them on the truck, the crew installs them in; Mr. Jones calls in, “Hey. Can I get some flowers?” “Sure”. You repeat that, and you repeat, repeat, repeat. It’s highly inefficient. I’m going to stick with the example of flowers, but this applies to mulch, aeration, all types of services, so don’t get caught up in the flower example if it doesn’t apply to you.
So, in Texas where I’m at, most often we’re going to do two flower installs a year for really high-end clients, high-end commercial. You might do three, so we might have petunias at the very early part of the season, and then we have our spring flowers, and then we have our fall flowers. Most clients are just doing spring and fall, so you kind of get the idea. We do a lot of flowers. You do a lot of flowers, just imagine this example. You have exactly what I described; all these clients are calling in. You’ll have a few clients that all happen to come in on the same day, so you batch them together, and then some more will come in a few days, and more will come in a few weeks.
What if, instead, you put your marketing hat on, and you say, “Okay, who are all the clients that bought flowers from me last year?” Let’s go out and see if they want flowers again this year. While we’re at it, let’s find out, do they want different colors? Will they let us pick their colors? Is there anything they want to tell us that we need to know about the installation? Anything that they want to change from last year? And then, of the remaining clients in our database that we’ve never sold flowers to, why don’t we upsell them? Why don’t we teach them why they might want flowers and try to sell them flowers?
So we collect all the clients in advance of flower season, near flower season, but just in advance of it. We collect all of the clients, sort of on a waiting list that want flowers, the type of flowers they want, how many flowers they need; all of that. We batch it all together, and we stage it. We put together one or more crews, and that’s all they do. Flower installs. We stage all the flowers to potentially be dropped off at certain areas or in front of the client’s properties, and the crews roll through and install all the flowers.
What if you did it with mulch? You had all your mulch come in advance. You use your marketing skills to presale all the mulch clients, past mulch clients, new clients that might want mulch. You figure out exactly how many cubic feet you need, you pre-order it, you buy it in bulk, and then you stage, and that’s all the crews do. Like for example, if you use bags of mulch, you have someone that goes through and literally just drops all the mulch at all the properties; then you have an installation crew come in behind them, and that’s all they do, is install. You could have two trucks dropping mulch with one crew coming through and installing. You can figure out what the best, most efficient way to do it is, but the batching concept is what matters.
What it does, is it saves you a ton of money and makes those services much more profitable. It creates a tremendous amount of efficiency for you; you get it done faster. You sort of finish it out, and you’re finished. Where this comes from is using your marketing skills, and so that’s the idea that I want to share with you, is: How can you think about all those types of services that just … Are they worth it? They’re sort of draining, they take up a lot of time because it’s one-sies, two-sies here and there, you’re doing the work. It’s just a mess.
But if you batched it all together and had a system and you bought it in bulk, and it was all prearranged and thought out, it could suddenly become quite profitable, but you’ve got to plan in advance. On your marketing calendar, you’ve got to say, “Okay, this is when we’ve got to start marketing to clients that have bought it in the past. This is when we need to start claiming marketing, and here’s what we’ll say to clients that have never bought.” We’ll take those orders, we might have to go out and look at a few properties. We might have to have some phone conversations to nail down colors and varieties, and things of that sort. But then, on this date, whatever that date is in your market, let’s call it April 12th.
On April 12th, we’re going to go. All the flowers are going to be pre-ordered, all the mulch is pre-ordered.
Everything is pre-ordered, the delivery starts and our crews start installing. Then when they’re done with all those clients, we’re done. You can even offer, maybe, a little bit discounted rate to get your clients to sign up in advance, and a higher rate if they call in after or order flowers outside of that window of time when you’ve batched them all together. It’s on you to figure out what the best strategy is for your company, but is there a type of thinking there around the batching and around the marketing to presale everything so that you can batch?
I hope you’ll invest in that concept, because it’ll make you more money. Good luck.