Profit Power: 10 landscape business lessons for surviving and thriving in crisis

April 21, 2020 -  By
Photo: marchmeena29/iStock/Getty Images Plus

Photo: marchmeena29/iStock/Getty Images Plus

This pandemic and recession has caught most lawn, irrigation and landscape firms by surprise.

You are working as hard as you possibly can to make sure you don’t lose too much ground. Everyone has had to change up their leadership style in order to cope.

Will this be a new normal for you? Or will will you revert back after this is over?

Here are 10 profitable lessons to be learned from this crisis, that will help you come out of this stronger than ever.

1. Employees want ongoing communication (direction, facts, plans, reassurance) in good times and bad. The communication you are hopefully giving them now is what they want all the time. Make this the new normal.

2. There are three kinds of marketing to focus on now. Client relations, lead generation that’s proven and community relations. Right now, the most important marketing is the way you communicate with your clients (frequent, client focused, positive.) It will have the biggest impact on your company’s reputation and revenue. But don’t ignore how the community sees your company; everyone is home watching, so only give them good things to see.

3. Owners must delegate the day to day. Those that do not can’t safely steer the ship in turbulent waters and thus can’t maximize growth in stable waters. Are you steering the ship? Or in the bowels paddling an oar? Find the new normal, and stick with it.

4. Positive operating cash flow will drive your growth. It’s not just profit that should be your focus. Give cash the respect it deserves. Treat the good times with the same scrutiny as now, and you will thrive. Don’t follow your accountant’s suggestion to minimize tax by overinvesting in equipment and depleting funds. Make money, save cash and build a war chest!

5. Bad news happens all the time. Don’t react to it, simply plan on it. More bad news will be coming this summer. Stay focused on your growth plan, your team and your clients, and you can grow through this and all different economies.

6. Ask your people to do what’s needed. Use this pandemic to make all the changes you have been dreaming of making in your business. Ask your people to step up now. And keep asking them when this is all over.

7. Diversify, diversify, diversify. Don’t rely on just one client type, one service or one profit center. Build a business with diversity, and you will overcome most hiccups. Ideally, a company with four distinct services has the stability of car with four wheels. Even if you are doing great with one service (as some of you are), consider adding a new one now.

8. Don’t let the “meh” decisions slide just because you were making money. We call that being lazy. Make the tough decisions in good times, make them now and keep making them as the economy improves.

9. Economic predictions are difficult to make with precision, but no matter how bad things get, they will always get better. Build your business to grow in both economies, and be prepared for the upswing! It’s coming; it will begin as the news gets worse. So in some ways, bad news is good news. Be ready for it.

10. What’s your legacy? It’s based on how you upheld your company values in difficult times. You are not remembered just for all the great things you do, rather for how you reacted and responded when disaster struck or when specific individuals are in hard times.

Join me on Thursday, April 23 at 2 p.m. EST for a free webinar on “Surviving and Thriving in The Crisis,” and learn how to implement these lessons in your business.

To register, click here.

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Jeffrey Scott

About the Author:

Jeffrey Scott, MBA, author, specializes in growth and profit maximization in the Green Industry. His expertise is rooted in his personal success, growing his own company into a $10 million enterprise. Now, he facilitates the Leader’s Edge peer group for landscape business owners—members achieve a 27 percent profit increase in their first year. To learn more visit

1 Comment on "Profit Power: 10 landscape business lessons for surviving and thriving in crisis"

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  1. Great article. I appreciate the practical advice, especially the point about how “bad news happens all the time”- it helps to ground yourself like that when you get stressed! It’s just a reality of business. We just started a new lawn care company in Beaverton, Oregon, and it’s crazy to get started during this uncertain time, so I appreciate articles and advice from experts. Reading about lawn care or landscaping isn’t always the most exciting thing, so I appreciate that you have made it interesting and helpful. Looking forward to reading more of your work.