Fall has always been a busy time of year for us and our industry. That remains a constant this year and is compounded by the many extra challenges we are facing. As the year draws to a close, it’s important that each of us understands the tasks that are before us and more importantly, how we can help finish out the year strong.
For the maintenance division, fall brings tasks such as turf renovations, following up with customers on feedback received on surveys and CSRs while trying to renew existing work and secure new work. Nearly 40 percent of enhancements are sold and produced in the last few months of the year as both warm weather and budgets wrap up. It’s also the time when the division is looking ahead to next year—planning for branch expansions, employee shifts to lead and staff those expansions, which is quickly followed by budgeting.
For the landscape division, production is in full swing. Not only is fall prime planting season, but general contractors want to ensure that any production delays that occurred earlier in the year are made up by the end of this fiscal year. Nearly 50 percent of the division’s volume of work is completed in the last third of the year, which means they are hiring to ensure they have the people power to get the work done and to staff a new satellite office in Nashville. Additionally, the division is currently working to close the gap between the $85M in backlog they have and their $115M year-end goal that will supply them with work well into 2022.
Pictured right: Both divisions are working hard to produce work during the fall planting season and as customers’ budgets come to a close.
At the corporate level, we are obviously focused on supporting both division’s plans plus some company-wide initiatives. Our fleet/facilities team is ramping up for winter recon and completing yearly assessments of our facilities to help ensure we are keeping up our standards. Our safety team is continuing to focus on accident prevention and reducing injuries, while our HR, PR and training teams are working to hire the right people for the right jobs, providing the training they need to be successful and making sure they stay with us for the long haul. Our payroll and benefits team is gearing up for benefit open enrollment, which will run for a two-week period beginning October 26th, and our accounting team remains focused on providing quality customer service to both our internal and external customers, publishing timely and accurate monthly financial statements, and preparing for our 2020 year-end audit.
So with all these tasks before us, what are some concrete ways that we all can help and contribute to keeping us on the right track?
As we head into fall, activities that were hallmarks of the season look very different—our children’s classrooms have become our kitchen tables and football games are played in empty stadiums. There are a lot of questions that linger around the economy, COVID, the election and the social challenges that exist. Things look and feel different and we’ve had to become adept at adjusting our expectations and changing our behavior. I think the best advice I’ve received is to be appropriately tuned into what’s going on in the world around us so that you can pivot and respond, but don’t let the fear and uncertainty consume you. By embracing change, we will all be better prepared to move forward once the dust settles.