Being green in the green industry: Going from beginner to winner

Read Time

12 minutes


Steven Tindle


Apr 24, 2023

Being green in the green industry: Going from beginner to winner

Getting your start in the landscaping industry is a journey. It’s hard navigating the nuance of daily operations, volatile time management, and delivering quality work that doesn’t miss a detail.

For many established landscaping companies, that journey started long ago, in a world where software and digital technology didn’t overlap with the world of the green industryBack then, there wasn’t much of a guidebook to forming a landscaping business, let alone one on scaling.

Those not born into the trade were forced to experience the ups and downs of a trial-by-fire path to success. 

Recruiting outside the green industry to ignite unstoppable growth

Veterans of the landscaping world can often to this story. Unfortunately, finding experienced talent to add to your team can sometimes be challenging and downright competitive.

If you’re lucky enough to connect with an experienced landscaper familiar with the nuances and struggles of the trade, chances are they’re exploring their own business venture or receiving a dozen other offers from your competitors. 

Landscape management software is no longer a luxury. It’s a necessity

 Today, technology enables landscaping organizations so that:

  1. Leaders maneuver more strategically
  2. Operational teams manage the business more effectively
  3. In-field crews complete jobs at record efficiency

Landscaping tech empowers a whole new world of future leaders with access to resources, knowledge, and real-time data to achieve success at three times the industry standard. 

Adaptability is essential for field service business owners who want to stay at the forefront of their market

While it can be strange adapting to new trends in the industry when gut instinct and experience have always reigned, you need to monitor new strategies and processes. Technology may not be changing how business is done, but it has changed the journey many growing landscapers are taking. These journeys propel career growth at a skyrocketing rate, and if you’re a growth-focused business, that’s the kind of trend you can’t afford to ignore. 

Any landscaping business interested in reaching that next growth stage needs young and developing talent fueling that growth from within. And instead of scouring the market and trying to outbid the competition on highly sought-after recruits, you could focus your efforts on internal technology to help you develop landscaping green thumbs into landscaping visionaries. 

Finding team members who maximize the benefits of your software solutions

Property Works is a property management company that tackles landscaping, janitorial site management, and general property maintenance. The variety of clients they service means they need versatile leaders who can manage various clients and property sites.

Overseeing such a diverse range of properties, each bringing in profits by the millions, sounds like a job fit for only the most experienced and knowledgeable account managers.

Property Works found the ideal leaders.

From bar hopping to industry hopping

Meet Lady Perez and Jamie LaRue, two of Property Works’ youngest and most accomplished account managers. Perez and LaRue have been with Property Works for only a few years but are now responsible for most of the company’s accounts. 

“I do a little bit of everything,” LaRue says, “I have one janitorial account, some general maintenance, and mostly landscape accounts.”

Perez describes similar responsibilities. “I do landscaping, janitorial, and general maintenance, but mostly on the janitorial side,” she says. “Janitorial is mostly contracts, and from there, (property management) like roofing, backflows, fire extinguishers—anything that keeps that buildings running. If it's moneymaking, I'm in there.”

Empowering a new generation of landscaping professionals

Together, the women manage over half the accounts of the multimillion-dollar company even though they have yet to experience a 30th birthday. With success like this, it would be easy to assume that the pair had a background in the green industry or at least another adjacent trade—but you’d be wrong.

“Lady and I worked together at a restaurant beforehand,” LaRue says of her journey to Property Works. “Then she brought me here, but I had no experience or anything else relevant.”

Perez’s work experience includes 10 years in serving and bartending. “I came into Property Works not knowing a single word,” she recalls. “I didn't know what a work ticket was. I didn't know what labor hours were, nothing. So the first time I sat back here, I was like, ‘Man, they must be talking in some foreign language or something.’” 

Translating management and service skills into the landscape and lawn care business

With their years in the food and beverage industry, the pair had experience dealing with people and managing customer relations. This aided them in the transition but made the shift no less daunting. Coming into a trades industry like landscaping and janitorial relatively early in their careers with no previous experience, the women knew they were up for some challenges and were excited about overcoming them.

“It was interesting,” LaRue says. “Initially, some of my clients were taken aback; I'm so young. But you have to prove yourself a little more, and that's it.”

“I like the freedom of it,” Perez explains. “Being able to create your own schedule, all the incentives for growth, and just the crazy amount of knowledge that's being fed to you for free—just free schooling.”

A crash course in property management     

Property Works understood the right people could excel in this industry with the proper training. This strategy came with huge payoffs as well. If done right, they could avoid the competitive nature of recruiting in the property industry and cultivate home-grown talent from within the company.

But with such a range of properties to manage and services to provide, the founders knew getting new hires up to speed would be no easy feat.

Property Works began using Aspire for property and project management in 2016 as they expanded into the janitorial market. With most of their services provided through subcontractors and an ever-expanding catalog of services and properties, Aspire made managing and overseeing their increasing workloads easy.  

Centralized software for field service management

With Aspire functioning as a central hub for running its core business, Property Works discovered how the platform’s capabilities enabled its employees. The system consolidates and streamlines many of the operational aspects of the organization. This created a smooth onboarding process and reduced the team's daily workload. Aspire’s management software made grasping business operations much more straightforward. 

“It was a little difficult at first,” LaRue says. “But that's because I didn't have background knowledge of what I was doing. It's just a lot of vocabulary you must learn, like work tickets, work orders, purchasing, etc. But once I got the hang of the terminology, it was easy. And not to toot my horn, but now I’m confident that I'm one of the better account managers in Aspire.”

“I was lost,” Perez says, recounting a similar experience. “And it took me a couple of months to be involved with all the account managers. Aspire has helped with all that. I dove into the cool tutorial videos for a long time. One that changed my thinking when I first started working here was ‘The Hundred Thousand Dollar Account Manager’. It was a webinar about how the hundred-thousand-dollar account manager does his day-to-day. It just broke down Aspire so simply. I used to watch that video every day for weeks."

Building familiarity with all-in-one landscape business management software

Aspire sped up building familiarity with business operations for the newcomers. Not only streamlining the company's processes with detailed reporting and property-based tracking but the ins and outs of the industry at large. Aspire enabled Perez and LaRue to focus on what they were hired to do—sell a service and manage people—rather than slow them down with the burdens of day-to-day nuance. 

Dana Shaw, head of operational strategy at Property Works, described Perez’s natural ability to hit the ground running. 

“She came here with nothing more than an urge and a drive to do better and improve her current standing just as a human in the world,” he says. “She started working as an assistant and developed skill sets and experience she leveraged in her account manager role. She took on a couple of accounts and did very, very well with them. She was given larger accounts and handled them the same way.”

Shaw notes that Perez didn’t simply rest on her successes. “She started lending herself to more after-hours seminars, expos, client meet and greets, and doing more things like charter school events,” he says, “ getting in front of more clientele and building her name and reputation. Now she's probably got the largest book of work at the company.”

Maximizing every growth stage 

Bringing in great talent capable of customer relationship management and making valuable connections should be the focal point of your hiring efforts. Unfortunately, landscaping and property maintenance businesses encounter many challenges and most companies can’t afford to hire inexperienced candidates.

→ Minimum experience requirements limit your talent search and your company's ability to scale. 

Property Works understood the potential rewards of focusing on people skills rather than industry skills, and they also understood how to eliminate the potential risks. Hiring for industry-focused skills requires recruits to develop harder-to-obtain skills such as:

  • Human relations
  • Management capabilities
  • Company culture

By trusting management tools to help with the industry challenges, Property Works can entice candidates who fit perfectly within the company culture and vision. 

Choose a software option that empowers success across your organization

Speaking about her success transitioning into a landscaping job, LaRue highlighted how Aspire organized her workflows and processes.

“The organization of everything and how it all flows. Start to finish, it's there,” she says. "This job comes down to tackling so many different things all the time.”

Aspire’s organizational tools help LaRue operate with confidence. The in-depth and intuitive features break down every aspect of her routines and processes so that she can see when a project hits a roadblock. Comprehensive functionality is critical to helping Property Works reduce the margin of errors their workforce experiences as they ramp up.

“In the estimate, you put X amount of hours, it shows you what your profit or your margins should be, and then afterward you can go back and compare why you went over; maybe the guys forgot to clock in and out,” LaRue explains. “It helps you see where you may have messed up or may not.”

Establishing processes to scale small businesses into landscaping enterprises

Leveraging Aspire’s tools to maintain consistency in quality and productivity is critical to how LaRue has excelled throughout her landscaping career.

“The organization throughout the entire process is huge. You can put in when you want the proposal and when you think it will start. You can write in the description. You can add pictures and send them to the client. It's a one-stop shop.”

Aspire's precision organizational capabilities bolstered LaRue’s passion for working with people and bringing detailed attention to each of her accounts. Even though she’s managing outside subcontractors and various property types, she can follow up with clients to consistently deliver personalized results.

“We can add notes to each property. If I hand that client off to someone else, it helps us keep all our contacts organized. We know who to go to for what. That helps a lot,” she says.

If you can provide the management tools for new hires to excel on the job site and in the office, you’ll receive payoffs double the worth of the investment. Aspire’s analytics and reporting make it straightforward for any account manager looking to learn about the ins and outs of profitable job costing and their performance.

→ With Aspire, managers take growth into their own hands by understanding what drives successes or holds them back.

Aspire’s reporting encourages curiosity and exploration. This was a massive draw for Lady Perez and enabled her to easily navigate her performance. 

“One of my favorite things–it’s not even my department–but I like to look at my P&L reports,” she said. “To see my gross margin is crazy high here. How did I get there? The more I play with it, the more it's helped me understand what I'm selling, how much I'm selling, and how much I make in the company. I hate math, but I love seeing those pivot reports and being able to build them and say wow, that's my snapshot for the month or the year.”

A software provider that fosters ambition for limitless growth

Perez feels Aspire fuels her drive. The platform offers insights and features that reveal new opportunities for success. If you hire employees for their ambition and passion, then the right management tool will further that drive without slowing down.

For Perez, growth is a huge motivator, and Aspire helped her throughout the journey.

“Last year, that was one of my driving forces. I would be bored and look at those pivot reports and compare myself and go, ‘Okay, why did Jonathan sell more than I did this month?’ And then I studied Jonathan's or Ron's sales and realized I screwed up by not selling pressure washing. And then I would go out that week and try to sell as much pressure washing as possible."

Aspire automates repetition. So instead of learning routines and processes, your teams can focus on excelling at what matters most–the impact areas that best contribute to your company value.

→ Only four years in, Perez dominates her field and constantly surpasses expectations. 

“Last year, I made $2.09 million for the company. I just found that number out today. That's way higher than I ever expected to make here. And I think having Aspire and visualizing those numbers helped drive that motivation. That added to how people-driven I am. It just breeds success.”

Enable employee drive and career development 

Supporting your workforce with the right tools is integral to company growth. But your technology can’t just focus on the day-to-day aspects of work. All-in-one web-based management software will help them develop toward long-term goals. Long-term support enables employees to achieve significant milestones at a much faster rate.  

Without these tools, landscaping contractors will struggle to build talent within, limiting recruitment and retention strategies and generating employee churn or mediocre performance. 

→ A comprehensive management platform is crucial to your growth.

If you find the correct drivers, the right software creates a roadmap that moves employee growth at high speeds. Without that map, your landscaping crew in the field and the office can get lost in the nuance. 

The benefits of supporting employee growth from within speak for themselves:

  1. Increased employee loyalty: If employees reap career benefits by developing on your training, they won’t risk trusting their advancement to other businesses.
  2. Boosts in customer satisfaction: Customers enjoy working with people they know, and constantly transitioning between account managers can harm that established trust.
  3. Faster ability to scale: If your company grows from within, you foster a culture of employees that support each other’s advancement so your workforce is poised for ongoing expansion, and your company can scale. 

Speaking of her own experience, LaRue describes Aspire as an integral part of her ability to ramp up so quickly in a booming business. 

“I probably couldn't do it without Aspire because there’s so much to keep track of and learn.”

Perez has similar praise for Aspire's resources. “I think the most important thing for an account manager is organizational time management, and Aspire’s efficiency saves me so much time.”

Aspire’s cloud-based landscape business software provides all the management tools your company needs to maximize employee enablement:

Want to experience software designed to help landscapers achieve growth at twice the industry rate? Schedule a landscaping business software demonstration with Aspire and see how you can take your profits to the next level.

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