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Many of us are having record years for sales, but we’re also struggling to hire the team members to complete the work. I’m not one to complain about excellent sales numbers, but this situation creates planning challenges. You have to be looking ahead. You don’t want to be slammed now, but find out the well has run dry by August.

(Photo: malerapaso / E+ / Getty Images)

(Photo: malerapaso / E+ / Getty Images)

That’s why it’s so important to carefully match your sales backlog to your production capacity. Here are a few strategies we use at Grunder Landscaping Co. 

1. Do the math on hours

After building your production schedule in your industry-specific software, pull a report that shows how many hours your operation has booked over the next few months. Determine how many billable hours each team member produces per week and subtract the total from what you already have scheduled to determine how much work you need to sell going forward. This simple method will help you forecast your available labor and sales capacity. Now you know how much more work you need to sell or how many more team members and overtime hours you’ll need to complete the work already sold.

2. Look for creative ways to get more done

There are only so many hours in the day. Use the resources you have, both people and equipment, efficiently. Consider the strategic use of overtime, which doesn’t require you to put more trucks on the road or hire more people. When used wisely, overtime can help you get more work done in less time. Or, consider different crew sizes than you typically use. We use “super crews” of six-plus team members and multiple trucks on one property to get a one-crew/three-day job done in one day. This tactic compresses the number of scheduled days needed to complete projects and reduces wait times for clients. It’s a trick we use when we need to catch up on work due to weather or when we have a client that needs something done by a certain day.

3. Keep an eye on your key metrics 

It should go without saying, but I’ll say it anyway: Monitor revenue and gross profit daily to make sure you are where you need to be. Matching your sales backlog to your production capacity is important, but you can’t forget about overhead and expenses as you go. If you’re not selling at the right margins or you’re making costly mistakes once the job is in production, it’s easy for your team to feel busy but miss profitability metrics. Don’t get so busy that you lose sight of this.

Matching your sales to your production capacity is both an art and a science. You can use the concrete data from your software and get creative to solve any challenges. For many companies, this means finding ways to get more work done in fewer hours. It’s possible: at GLC we’ve managed to increase what we pay our team without raising prices for reoccurring work in the past three years, just by gaining efficiency. 

Keep your chin up!

And you can learn about more strategies the Grunder Landscaping Co. team uses at an upcoming GLC Field Trip.

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Marty Grunder

About the Author:

Marty Grunder is president and CEO of Grunder Landscaping Co. and The Grow Group, based in Dayton, Ohio.

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