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High Performance: Leverage the spring walk-through

April 11, 2016 -  By

One of the most important property visits is the initial one in the spring. If performed effectively, the spring walk-through will yield enormous benefits in terms of quality, efficiency and enhancement sales.

The initial spring walk-through serves multiple purposes. First, it’s an opportunity to identify areas to address with crews–maintenance, enhancement and construction crews, depending on the job—in order to help crews be more organized, efficient and quality-minded. Second, it’s a chance to scout for concerns to bring to the client’s attention—pest damage, plant disease, drainage issues or anything else pertinent to the client. Third, it’s a great time to make notes, take photos and make quick sketches of enhancement opportunities. Finally, it’s also helpful to begin thinking about items that may not be recommended—or even possible—to be addressed in the current year, but that may be added to the landscape budget for a future year.

To optimize the spring walk-through, I recommend you train your team to “look up, look down,” which means exactly what you would think it means. Looking up results in seeing opportunities that otherwise would be missed. What would you see if you looked up? Dead trees, unsafe trees, crowns that need thinning, trees and shrubs rubbing on buildings, trees growing into utility lines and broken branches ready to fall are some of the things you might see. Look up and see the potential.

Similarly, looking down also results in opportunities. What would you see if you looked down? You may see all sorts of turf issues, drainage problems, soil compaction and more. Look down and see the opportunities.

Looking up and looking down is all about awareness. It requires taking the time, getting out of the truck, being observant, knowing what to look for and diligently capturing information. In addition, it means even more work back at the office to process the information collected, create work orders, send emails, prepare crew notes, etc. Thankfully, many great software programs expedite this process. Regardless, it all begins with a good, comprehensive property walk-through.

Spring is here. Don’t forget to look up, look down.

Now go forth.

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Phil Harwood

About the Author:

Harwood is a Managing Partner with GrowTheBench and Pro-Motion Consulting. Reach him at He is a Landscape Industry Certified Manager, NALP Trailblazer, NALP Consultant, and Certified Snow Professional. Harwood holds a BA in Marketing and Executive MBA with Honors from Michigan State University.

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