Tips for cultivating lawn care techs

January 28, 2014 -  By

As winter lingers in parts of the U.S.—and will remain to for the coming weeks—some lawn care company owners are in prime positions to make headway on the spring season.

A safe starting point is considering ways to cultivate your staff of lawn care technicians.

Landscape Management called on Grant Birchfield, who was dubbed Ohio Lawn Care Applicator of the Year by the Ohio Lawn Care Association, for some gentle pointers to pass on to lawn care technicians to better their performance and, in turn, your company’s service.

Educate yourself, the customer

A lawn care technician at Centerville, Ohio-based Ziehler Lawn and Tree Care, Birchfield is in charge of training all new technicians for the company. With the responsibility of educating new hires on the company’s application practices, Birchfield also puts an emphasis on educating customers.

Keeping customer in the loop on what you’re doing to their lawn, Birchfield said, will deepen the trustworthiness of your relationship with them.

Whether face-to-face or in writing, Birchfield said, “Educate them to where they know what’s going on with their lawn just as much as you do.”

He adds it’s important to continue educating yourself to better inform the customer. Without a degree in his trade, Birchfield said he values and seeks opportunities to learn through offerings from the Professional Landcare Network (PLANET), researching industry news and trends online and networking with other professionals. (Birchfield’s go-to mentor, he said, is his father who has more than 30 years of industry experience from working in management at TruGreen.)

Dwell on the little joys of the job

“Because it’s a monotonous job—you do the same thing everyday—the challenge is making it exciting and fun for yourself,” Birchfield said. “For me that’s building relationships with customers.”

Customer relations, he added, is the most joyful part of his job because of the satisfaction of turning an unhappy customer into a smiling one and getting to meet a range of people he wouldn’t otherwise.

“I actually like dealing with someone who’s upset. It’s a personal mission for me to turn them around,” Birchfield said, and added, “I get to meet all sorts of people from all aspects of life.”

“Take pride in the work”

For many lawn care companies, technician positions are entry-level. Birchfield said it’s for that reason technicians should be the utmost mindful of their performance—because a consistently good performance could warrant recognition in the form of a raise or even a promotion.

Remind technicians to focus on that big picture when doing small tasks, he said, and not to “cut corners” during applications because they wouldn’t do that to their own lawns.

“What I try to get across to every technician is to take pride in the work they do and try to treat everyone’s lawn as if it were their own,” Birchfield said. “That can take you a long way.”

About the Author:

Former Associate Editor Sarah Pfledderer is a West Coast-based contributing editor for Landscape Management.

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