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4 steps for onboarding landscape maintenance clients

December 16, 2015 -  By

Image: iStock / filrom

So they finally said yes, and you have a new landscape maintenance client. You or your salesperson probably spent hours, days or even years cultivating the relationship to finally get the opportunity to bid, and you finally won the job. Congratulations!

What now? Well, what you do next will either set you up for a successful long-term relationship or guarantee an inevitable failure. Once the contract is signed, the process of transferring that hard-earned relationship and all associated sales promises begins. It doesn’t seem complicated and it really isn’t; unfortunately, most companies don’t do a very good job at it.

The handoff

The best way to ensure successful client onboarding is to develop an intentional, step-by-step process for the handoff. Consider the analogy of passing the baton in a relay race. In serious competitions, the race can be won or lost in the passing of the baton from one runner to the next. Championship teams understand the importance of the handoff, and they practice it until they get it right.

So let’s look at the ingredients of a successful sales handoff:

I. The job package. At the time of closing, the salesperson needs to prepare a full package of information. This package holds a set of deliverables that   allows accounting to set up the client in the system for accurate billing and for operations to be able to deliver on the sales promises and produce the work profitably. Job packages include:

  • Client contact information;
  • The estimate with budgeted hours by month and year;
  • The proposal–the document the client signed;
  • The scope of work–what we are actually doing for the contract;
  • Signature Scope–unique items specific to the client or property; and
  • Site map of the property with key areas labeled.

II. Pre-job set-up meeting (sales and operations). Meet with client and team to walk the site. Review internal and external expectations. Review scope of work with the salesperson, account manager and field operations team. This is a great time for the company owners to be involved if they have not met the client.

III. “First 30” checklist, created by account manager and production team. In the first 30 days, complete the following tasks:

  • Photo document the site.
  • Complete a comprehensive quality assessment.
  • Add production details to site maps.
  • Create path-of-motion production maps for crew training and efficiency.
  • Create irrigation component maps.
  • Create an enhancement idea book, which includes rough photos and budget ideas for future upselling opportunities.

IV. Site visits and quality audits (done by the account manager on an ongoing basis). Visit site with a specific agenda to grade the quality of our work and look for opportunities and issues. Prepare a punch list for production team and proactive communication for client.

IV. Follow-up with 30-, 60-, 90-day check-ins. The salesperson and/or owner will review progress, communication and administration of contract. Meet with the client to ensure all initial promises and scope items are being met.

Don’t leave client satisfaction to chance. Getting off on the right foot is essential.

With a well-documented and disciplined onboarding process and a smooth handoff, you can set yourself up for successful long-term relationships. It’s simple; it’s just not easy.

Don’t miss the Account Manager Master’s Series, being held by Envisor Consulting and in four cities across the country this winter. Landscape Management is the media sponsor of the seminars.

Image: iStock / filrom

About the Author:

Thomas, founder of Envisor Consulting, has owned three of Atlanta’s most successful landscape companies. He is the COO of The Greenery and principal of Envisor Consulting. Reach him at

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