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Growing up as a typical teenager with curiosity and a streak of independence, I bought my first car the minute I got my driver’s license (actually, a week before). It was a used BMW 1600 that cost me $300. I tinkered and toiled on that car, keeping it running summer and winter—it was my pride and joy. My 1600 series was the predecessor to the BMW 2002, a car that introduced the BMW brand to millions of Americans. The tag line for this car was “the ultimate driving machine.” (It was extremely fun to drive!) Unlike all other car companies, BMW never changed its tagline.

The key to BMW’s ongoing success is their engineering. The Germans are well-known for that, and I can attest to their engineering skills as I drive my fourth BMW incarnation: a turbocharged version that jumps to 60 miles per hour in about 4 seconds. The car purrs like a well-oiled machine.

When you build a company, you must also build a well-oiled machine. Like a sports car—designed to work seamlessly at high speeds and temperatures—your employees and systems must hold together in the high intensity of spring, in the heat of summer and during the marathon-like pressure of fall work.

As you build your leadership team to run your company, you are assembling a team not only to build/perform the work, but to skillfully engineer your company to be productive.

We work in a very competitive area: contracting. And we must become increasingly productive to remain competitive and profitable. Productivity starts with the first phone call and ends with how your company follows up on complaints and warranties. It’s a chain of events called a value chain, where each link in the chain adds value to the product/service and ultimately to the consumer.

The contractors that are the most profitable are the ones who understand how to optimize the entire value chain of events; I have listed my 14 value-chain linkages for you to consider.

Jeffrey’s Ultimate Productivity Value Chain: Marketing → Qualifying → Sales Throughput → Simplified Material Palette → Errors/Omissions → Clean Hand-off → Managed Client Expectations → Matched Job Skills → Employee Engagement → Crew Size → Mechanization → Reduced Nonproperty Time → Eliminate Failure Work → Company Culture.

The very best entrepreneurs separate themselves from their mundane competitors by doing more than good quality work. They understand that to build a highly productive and sought-after company, they must assemble an awesome team and culture based on a uniquely awesome idea, just as BMW has.

For your company to last as long as BMW has, aim for achieving more than great quality and service, aim for building the “ultimate productivity machine.”

Take Action: Review my Ultimate-Productivity Value Chain with your team, and identify where you are doing great, where you are under performing and where you can make immediate jumps in productivity.

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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

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