If you are wanting your crews to improve their quality out in the field, watch this video.
The question is, how can I get my techs and my crews to up their quality level?
I’ve heard different versions of this question many times. At the end of the day it all comes down to training. But, it’s also about communication. What I believe you want to be doing, is going over with your crews and your techs every single morning, any new notes that you’ve put on their route sheets or their mobiles.
I personally like the concept of standing out at the gate, at the yard, or however you operate, and as your crews leave your facility, I would assume if you’re a bigger company they’re staggered, you’re going over very quickly with any changes to the schedule. Anything that’s changed. Anything you need to tell them about, or your manager, or somebody’s doing this, and then they’re pointing out notes. Notes such as, “This client was unhappy about this last time.” “This client asked if you could please do this.” This client said, “While you’re there, could you please check on this?” You can do this very quick.
If you’ve done it right in your software system or from your software system on your printed route sheets or work orders, you can have this highlighted or notated, and you just run through it very quickly. This is a communication thing. You’ve got to literally talk to each of your techs, your teams, your crews about this. Just make sure it’s crystal clear. It only take a few extra minutes, but it results in a higher level of quality, what would be a better level of customer service, fewer redo’s, fewer call backs. It just saves money and it builds your reputation so that all of your marketing works so much better.
Then on top of that, I would highly recommend pictures. If there’s a problem, if there’s a complaint, or if there’s an accident, something safety related, there’s pictures taken of everything. Then those pictures are talked about. Depending on the software system you’re using, you can have that picture attached to a job so it shows up on the mobile. If you’re using mobiles or if they’re using paper, you could print out those pictures. Who cares if it costs you a little bit of extra money to print in color, because it’s worth so much more to you in terms of being great. Terms of doing a really good job with high quality and excellent customer service because again, that makes all of your marketing work so much better. It earns you so many referrals. A little bit of money spent on paper and ink to produce a much higher level of service, has so many major benefits in term of revenue and profits down stream. Print that stuff out stand out there and talk to them about it.
Meet them in the field. Show up at the job unexpected and point things out. Show up unexpected and walk the property with the team. Show up unexpected and show them how to do a better job performing whatever the service is. Show up unexpected with a tech and say, “Hey, last week when you diagnosed whatever brown spot and it wasn’t, it was actually grubs, here’s what you look for,” and you go through that stuff with the team.
It requires lots of training. Lots of in person communication. Lots of in field communication. Lots of showing up at the job site and getting your hands dirty and showing the team, “Here’s how we do it,” and setting that example. Then showing them best practices. Watching what they’re doing, analyzing and saying, “Hey, have you tried this? Hey, have you considered this? Maybe you can do it this way and you’ll save yourself some time and you’ll get home earlier. Maybe if you do it this way, the three times you had to go back to other jobs last week, could have been eliminated because you could have got it right the first time.”
You’re thinking through the actions that are happening with the team and you’re think of ways to take steps out of the process or add steps to the process to either improve and make them even better or to subtract, meaning take away things that are negative that they’re doing that again will make your quality, your customer service, and everything else so much better.
In the end, make your team a lot happier because they’re getting home faster, they’re not pissed that you just had them go back to a property again. All of these things go together, work together to build a really great company and to get your teams, your techs and your crews to do what it is that you want them to do.
By popular demand, here is a list of the most recent books I have read…
One of the more popular questions that I get via email and then for those that I work with or know, I get a lot of questions about, “Hey what have you read lately that’s good?” “What have you listened to that’s good?” I thought I’d do a video on what I have read this, let’s just say, the last 60 days. What I did is I went back and I looked at the audio books and the books that I’ve bought in the last 60 days and I’m going to show you every book I bought and I’ll give you my quick commentary on it and then try to get through this pretty quick. I get this question more than any other question so I thought this might make for an interesting video so that’s what I’ve decided to do today.
The first book that, and I’ll put them in order that I bought them. I doubt that there’s any relevance to that so this book has .. I’ve read both of his other books by Ryan Holiday. This book is good. I like it. I think it’s a book worth reading. I made it about 30 percent of the way through and I got distracted and decided to move on to another book. I haven’t finished this one yet. I will get back to it some day but thus far it’s a good book, I just, for what ever reason, can’t get excited about picking it up and continuing.
This book right here I listened to on audio book. Of all the books I’m about to show you this is probably my second or third favorite. It’s in the top 3. Really good book. I finished this, of course, because it was so good and in the first couple chapters it was a little intimidating I feel like. I actually listened to this one on audio book. I had to slow it down. I was like, “Man this is going to be a hard read to get through this one. I really have to think.” Then I was able to speed it back up after a while. I felt like after I got through the first 2 chapters it became easier. I really liked this book a lot. Great book.
This one here, The Outsiders, great reviews. I’d heard I should read it. I got really bored with it pretty fast. That doesn’t mean it’s not a good book. I think it is a good book it just wasn’t resonating with me. They’re talking about bigger companies, bigger CEOs. It just wasn’t resonating. A theme that you’re about to see of what I’m reading is I’m trying to start reading less business books. For example, that wasn’t really a business book. This is not per se a business book but it is. I guess it is but it’s not a traditional productivity, marketing type business book.
This one is a business book but as I move through the rest of the books, you’ll see that I’m trying to read stuff other than business books. I historically have predominantly just read business marketing, personal improvement, productivity type books. Every once in a great while an autobiography but really I read more business books. Now I’m trying to read more … I’ve always read dissenting opinions but now I’m trying to read a lot more dissenting opinion stuff. Things that I may or may not agree with. Different ways to think about things. I’m trying to read stuff, which I’ve also done this quite a bit in other industries, completely different kinds of businesses. I’m trying to expand what I read.
The other thing I’ve never done is read for fun. It’s always been a business type book. You’ll see that I’ve read several books here recently that have nothing to do with business. It’s a change for me and kind of interesting and I’ve enjoyed those books. Along my concept of, if the book isn’t resonating, put it down, I put this one down fairly quick. I skipped around a little bit and then I said, “Ah, it’s not for me right now” so I never finished this one.
This is one of my favorite books along with Antifragile. I really, really liked this book. Great book, Sapiens. You don’t have to agree with it all but I again recommend reading things you agree with and things you don’t agree with. This book, even if you don’t agree, is a good read in my opinion.
This is a different book. I stumbled across this one, I have no idea how. I actually enjoyed it. It’s more of a story based book by the guy that does Dilbert. I enjoyed this book. I read that one. That ones is called God’s Debris. Just to reiterate, Sapiens and Antifragile are probably the two books I read so far that are my favorite other than this one.
This one was really good and I don’t read books like this so it was called Ready Player One. I’ve recommended it now to several people that have all read it and said they really liked it. I, again, just don’t read books like this. I always read business marketing stuff and I really liked it.
That then inspired me, I’ve been trying to expand my horizons, so that inspired me to read The Martian which I finished that whole book and I really liked it. I’ve been told by some people that guys tend to like this book more than girls.
This one is one, it’s got some stuff in it that you may be a little concerned about letting your kids read it, but this is a book that you could get kids to read right here. It’s about video games. In Academy I was asked my opinion on this book. To be able to answer that I had to read it. I rather enjoyed this book. I got through it super fast. In fact, I plan to go back and read it again. It’s a really simple concept. I think it’s a book worth reading. It’s not my favorite book but a book I like and I’m going to read it again because I think there’s some good ideas in it. I’m going to take a couple of the ideas from it and implement it in my business. A lot of what I read in this book I felt like I already know, already learned, already read elsewhere. Not taking away from the book in any way. It’s a really solid book. Really solid book. I recommend it. I think you should read it.
Because I thought that book was good, I decided to read his other book which is called The Pumpkin Plan. Pretty good. I made it about 70 percent of the way through and put it down. Not because the book’s not really good. I would recommend reading this book as well just because, again, I feel like I’ve read other books that have similar concepts and were doing a lot of these things. I’ll go back and finish this book in time but I just wanted to move on because I felt like I already had heard a lot of this stuff. Again, I read a lot and I’ve been reading for some time. Not to take away from the book, I think it’s worth reading, I just chose to move on somewhere around 60 to 70 percent of the way into this book.
This book here, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, I’ve had this on my reading list for 5 years. I feel like I continually hear all these really interesting people say, “This is one of the greatest, most influential books ever.” I’m not sure how it’s influential but they really speak highly of this book and say, “If I could only have 10 books this would be one of them.” I’ve been wanting to read this book forever. It’s been on my list but I could never get excited about it so I’ve never bought it, I’ve never read it. I got it on audio book because I enjoyed Ready Player One and The Martian which were outside of what I normally listen to. My summary would be interesting book, glad I read it, but I guess that’s about all I have to say about it.
I bought this book and then I couldn’t get excited about reading it so I’ve tabled it but I’m going to get back to it soon. I think this will be a book worth reading I just can’t get excited so I haven’t read it yet.
This book, good book. Read this one. The Reasons for God and Genome. This would probably be the third book on my list. Maybe 4th because I liked Ready Player One. Really good book. Matt Ridley wrote a book called The Rational Optimist that I highly recommend. I thought it was a really good book. I know nothing on this topic. In fact a lot of things that I read I’m like, “Gosh man, I don’t think I paid attention at all in school.” There’s just so much that I don’t know outside of business stuff that I’d like to learn about, that I’m curious about. This is a topic that I’m curious about and granted when I was in school they didn’t know anything hardly compared to what we’ve learned today. I found this to be a really good book written by an author that I really like, Matt Ridley. Good book. Recommend it.
That’s everything that I read. I started this book just recently. I’m not sure if I’m going to make it through the book. I’m really curious about it because a bunch of people have recommended it that are pretty smart, running pretty interesting companies, that are big thinkers. I’ve had it for like 2 weeks and I’ve made it into chapter 2 so we’ll see what happens with this one. I want to get through it but it may happen later.
I read this book and it was pretty interesting. I don’t know where I found it. Probably some other thing that I read right now, it was okay. This book right now, this is the one that got me distracted from the Clock of the Long Now. This guy right here, Perry Marshall, actually I’ve read all his books on Google AdWords, on Facebook, his 80/20 book. I’ve been a subscriber to his newsletter and Renaissance Club or whatever it is for 5 years. I’ve spent a fair bit of money with Perry Marshall. He’s a good guy, smart guy. He’s generally a marketing business guy. Comes out of the Dan Kennedy world and this is not what he normally writes. I thought this would be an interesting book. It kind of goes along with some of the things I’ve been reading the last couple months so I’ve started reading this book now. I’ve read the last couple chapters and the first 2 or 3 chapters of it so that’s what I’m actually reading.
This one, one of the best books of all time, hands down fantastic book. I read it years ago and it came out on audible so I’ve just now started the audible, in fact, this morning. I’m going to go through this book. I’m sort of listening to this one right now and I’m reading between this book and that book. This is quite a bit, I’d say this is not the average. This is more than I normally get through in 60 days but I’ve tried to stop listening to as many podcasts and I’ve not been reading as much on the web. I don’t tend to read much on the web. I try to stay off the web as much as I can.
I haven’t really been reading hardly anything social, or anything web related. I’ve almost only been reading or listening to an audio book. I use those terms interchangeably. That’s why I’ve been able to get through more this month. My hands down favorite podcast is Tim Ferris’ podcast. Really like it. I’ve listened to every podcast he’s done except probably the last 30 to 40 days worth of podcasts because I’ve been doing more reading. That’s what my reading looks like currently. Had you seen it at the beginning of the year, it would have been almost exclusively all business books, all marketing books, all productivity type books. A little bit of change in pattern and I think I’ll keep this up for the rest of the year and probably not read that many business books for the rest of the year.
Hope that was interesting. Thanks.
Trying to figure out how you can make more money in your lawn care or landscape business?
It’s actually relatively simple to make more money but requires a lot of work. The size of your lawn care, landscape, or irrigation company, or whatever it is you own, no matter what industry you’re in, will be limited by how much you know or by how much the individuals on your team know. There’s no way around it. The only way to get yourself to a million, five million, or ten million dollars and greater, is to know what you need to know to operate at that bigger level.
What do you need to know from an employee management, from a coaching/training, from a hiring, from a marketing, from a sales standpoint, and about implementing processes and procedures? What do you have to know to get yourself to all those levels?
You’ve got to learn a certain amount to get yourself to, let’s say … let’s make up some numbers … a million dollars. Then, at a million dollars you start to have a little bit of money so that you can go hire some expertise in areas that you don’t have knowledge. The beauty of growing a bigger business is now everything’s not on your shoulders. You don’t have to know everything. In fact, it’s impossible to know everything.
Now, you start hiring expertise in areas where you may not be interested in that topic. Maybe you don’t love marketing, so you go hire an expert in marketing. They bring a whole new set of knowledge to your business. Then, as you get a little bit bigger, you hire somebody that’s an expert in finance, and you bring them in. You don’t have to know all of these things.
What you probably have to be exceptional at is learning how to manage, direct, and grow your team, how to hire, how to get bottlenecks out of your team, out of their way. But, you don’t have to know all the topics.
In the early days, you have to learn and know and study enough to get yourself to a certain level so that you have enough money to go hire the expertise that you need. Then, you have to always be smart enough to know how to manage that expertise and to know when they’re shooting straight with you or when they’re leading you down the wrong road.
The way you do this is through seminars, coaching, mentor groups and mastermind groups, and networking with the big trade organizations. You read books and buy courses. Whatever it is, there’s a lot of knowledge and information out there. Whatever it is, you can go get it and obtain and buy it and meet the people that already have it, that have already been down those roads. You and I have to do that to get ourselves to a certain level to have the money to go get the next level of expertise, to hire that expertise.
That’s the very elementary basic road map to make more money in your lawn business. Your business size, your net worth, and your take-home pay will be determined by how much you know.
Jonathan: This question is from Andrew. The question is: I am still in high school and my parents want me to go to college when I get out. I read something you wrote about how college isn’t really important, but I have to go, so what should I go for that will help me out in the lawn care business.
So first, I want to clarify my position on college. I have probably said, and it drives my wife crazy when I say this, but I have said negative things about college. I personally think college is an outdated concept and I also think that the college system should change. I have a real problem with somebody going to college, going into a ridiculous amount of debt, and I just think there is a better way. And for that reason, I am not overly fond of college.
Now, I went to college, and actually when I went to college I always wanted to be in business for myself. I sort of did it as a backup plan. My parents did not make me go to college, and so it was something I chose to do because I thought I should just do this and it will give me more options in life and I didn’t end up needing my degree, but I have my degree and it did open some doors for me; the biggest of which was had I not gotten my degree I probably would have never ended up in the software industry because I would have never been exposed to programming because I wasn’t a person to go learn how to program on my own; I learned that in college.
So my take on college is that if you don’t go to college, it’s not an out. My opinion on the fact that you don’t need college or college is unnecessary is not in anyway to give someone a cop-out and say, okay well good I don’t have to go to college. I actually think you should do the equivalent of college whether or not it is a formal degree. I also belief that if you work for someone, like for example if you work with me or you work at my company or you work at another company like mine, you are going to learn a ton and you are going to learn a whole lot more than you would learn sitting in a classroom taught by somebody that’s never done. But, that’s even an over-generalization because there is a lot of great programs out there that will teach you.
So, for example, we hire a lot of developers at our company. Well, our developers did learn a lot in college because most of the guys we hire went to a good college that was doing a good job teaching, but even at a college you have to find the right program and the right professors and if you go to a 4-year college and you happen to get mediocre professors or it’s not that great of a program it might be a waste.
So, I think it’s on you to make sure you educate yourself with the classes that you need that are most important and I go back to things like public speaking, like writing, accounting, finance. Any of those types of classes are really important. Anything around technology, super important. Probably a foreign language such as Spanish. I think there are a lot of very important classes. The problem is that college also does not really prepare you for reality. For example, I do not think you can be a first class marketer or salesperson by taking college classes. You have to go to guys that are way more advanced that are doing are on the cutting edge. You are not going to learn Google Ad Words and SCO and things like that in college. You are not going to learn real direct response marketing techniques in college. So, rather for myself if I could do it all over again, rather than having spent all the money on college knowing what I now know I would have spent that money in different areas. Again, it is not a cop-out. I would have got more education outside of college than I probably got in college and that’s another point to make is that you are going to get more education for the rest of your life than the equivalent of just a 4-year degree. What do most people do? They go to school for 4 years. They actually go to school and party for 5 years and happen to get a degree and then that is the end of their education unless their employer makes them get more education. I think that is a horrible idea. The better idea is to get into the work world as fast as you can at a great company and learn while you are spending your college money on accounting, public speaking, marketing, sales, all of these different things.
I felt very strongly that I needed to clarify that I do not have a problem with learning and education. I think you should spend a fortune on learning and education, just spend it correctly and be prudent about how you do it but do not cut corners in that area. If you think that there is a chance of having a great career and being incredibly success whether working for someone or building your own company and you are going to do it without learning; not a chance. The smartest guys out there are avid learners, avid readers, they are learning from the best, they are finding mentors, they are eventually probably getting coaches, they are learning and they will be learning for the rest of their life. That is the only way that you will be really, really successful. I just have the opinion that it can happen outside of a college 4-year degree.
So to your question, if you are going to college to get a degree, I don’t know if I know exactly what I would get the degree in. The first two things that come to mind for me, if I was doing it all over again and I was getting a degree, I would get my degree in … and maybe this is the best way to answer it, I would get my degree in accounting and computer programming. Something computer related, specifically software programming and accounting and finance. I think personally from my perspective those are the most valuable degrees that you can get. There are plenty of others, but that’s what I would personally do. Both will help you tremendously, both give you a lot of options. The world we are moving into is all about technology and if you understand finance that is critical to your business. You can learn a lot of the skills you would learn in a business degree by reading great books. What are you not going to easily learn in books? I think it is harder to learn finance, though it can be done, it’s nice to be forced into having to actually do the work in accounting and learn it and you are probably not going to pick up a book and learn how to program or learn computers, so put yourself in a position where you are forced to do that. Think about it from that perspective, what are the most valuable skills of an executive in a company or an owner of a company and make sure you put yourself in a position to be forced to learn and practice those skills, writing, public speaking, programming, finance and accounting. Anything around that, you will do very well.