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The Top Things Landscape Professionals Look for the First Time They See a Landscape

The professional landscapers at U.S. Lawns notice more than meets the eye when they first visit a property. Not only do they pay attention to the condition of customers’ landscape, they make a note of the irrigation system, the soil, typical visitors to the property, and much more. Their expertise helps them develop a plan of action to improve the landscape and simplify its care. Here’s a quick look at a few factors our teams scope out when they visit a property for the first time.

The Health of the Grass and Other Plants

Our landscape professionals regularly evaluate the health of the planst on every property we serve. Initially, we assess plants by looking for signs of wilting and less than vibrant color. These may indicate problems like lack of nutrition, hydration, or aeration. Thankfully, our experts can devise custom solutions to all of these problems – we’re experts when it comes to getting plants back into tip-top shape.

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Ornamental Tree Care

There are many varieties of ornamental trees that have unique care requirements. When cared for properly, they can greatly beautify a commercial landscape. If the property has ornamental trees, we’ll examine them to ensure they’re thriving. We’ll also come up with a plan to prune them to maximize their health going forward.

Proper ornamental tree care can benefit your property greatly throughout the year, but many of our customers especially appreciate our services in the fall and winter. Our expert pruning has the potential to reduce leaf fall and the likelihood of broken branches.

Many commercial property owners would love to integrate ornamental trees into their landscape but aren’t sure where to start. If your property does not have ornamental trees, U.S. Lawns landscape professionals can build them into your long-term plan and educate you on the best options for your region.

Planning for Your Goals

We know that budget is an important consideration for our customers, so we work hard to save them money at every opportunity. That’s why a customer’s budget is also taken into consideration in our initial visits. Your goals and your budget will play a major role as we decide how to move forward with your landscape maintenance

One way our landscape professionals help our customers to stick to their budget is by planning well in advance to help them achieve their desired results and keep their property looking great for many seasons to come. We help them work towards long-term goals (such as hardscape improvements, new irrigation systems, or a healthier lawn) while providing them with the regular services we need. This planning helps ensure they get the most out of the plants and materials they invest in, and that they’re always prepared for next steps. Best of all, partnership with U.S. Lawns helps customers ensure they’re signed up for services that usually require advance notice, like seasonal plants and snow and ice maintenance.

Want to learn more about how we evaluate client needs? Contact the U.S. Lawns landscape professionals today!

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Beauty and Safety: How These Go Hand-in-Hand with Your Commercial Landscape

Keeping homeowners happy can be a tough job, especially when it comes to their lawns and landscapes. They are relying on you to keep their properties looking consistent and using quality grounds care services that accommodate all their needs. Keeping a landscape beautiful and safe may seem like a balancing act, but with commercial landscaping services, they go hand-in-hand. Learn more about the different commercial landscaping services that could be available to your homeowners association (HOA) and their benefits for your common areas and homeowners’ landscapes alike. Continue reading

Crossfit Champs Cross-Train for Service and Success

Crossfit Champs Cross-Train for Service and Success

When Bryan Smith of Myrtle Beach, S.C., first joined U.S. Lawns, he had plenty of questions for his neighbor, Steven Keys of Columbia.

“What do we do during the winter?” Smith wondered.

Keys answered, without missing a beat: “We make money.”

This conversation set the tone for Smith’s tenure at U.S. Lawns—and helped him grow Myrtle Beach into the successful business it is today. As a franchisee in South Carolina who neighbors a few of Keys’ territories, Smith says the two men have developed a unique business partnership and personal friendship.

“I know I have to bring my A game with Steve,” he says. “I can’t expand (into new markets in South Carolina), because the wagons are surrounded,” Smith joked. “So instead, my plan is to focus on net profit within my territory. That’s where I can win.”

People who don’t know Smith and Keys may be surprised by their friendship. It’s close-knit, but highly competitive. They share leads and customers across South Carolina, with Keys exceling in apartments and Smith specializing in HOAs. And they also share regular hunting trips, dinners with their families—and a free-flowing exchange of ideas. Their dialogue is honest, according to Smith, and “sometimes looks like we’re about to brawl.”

Last year, the two friends decided to begin Crossfit training. Just last month, they participated together in their first team competition—placing sixth in their division. With the right balance of competition and camaraderie, the South Carolina franchisees say Crossfit is ideal cross-training for small business ownership.

“Crossfit is all about building confidence,” Smith says. “When you’re confident, you can sell better. No one wants to tell you no. And your customers feel more confident in you, too.”

But it’s the teamwork of Crossfit that Smith and Keys value the most. Just as in business, beating the competition has meant working together, and playing to each other’s strengths. It’s a spirit of unity that’s found throughout the Carolinas, they say; and one they strongly believe benefits everyone.

“It’s all about having each other’s back. I want you to succeed, because then everybody wins,” reasons Smith.

But when asked who benefits the most, he’s quick to point out that it’s not anyone at U.S. Lawns, but the customer. Cooperation leads directly to Customer Satisfaction, and to 100% Client Retention across the U.S. Lawns system.

“It all goes back to the brand. If I’m communicating with my fellow franchisees, the client knows they’ll get the same experience. If I help you deliver the highest level of service, then the customer is going to be happy.”

Of course, as Smith and Keys remind us, sometimes it takes a little friendly competition to inspire and encourage one another. Next year, they’re already set to enroll in the same Crossfit challenge—only this time, they’ll be old enough to qualify for the Master’s Division.

“Steve’s glad we won’t have to compete against 23-year-olds with muscles on their eyeballs,” Smith says.

We wish them good luck.

100% Customer Satisfaction = 100% Employee Retention

100% Customer Satisfaction = 100% Employee Retention

As you know, our Brand Vision is 100% Client Retention. However, we’ve been blogging a lot about our big initiative for 2014: 100% Customer Satisfaction. You cannot have 100% Client Retention without 100% Customer Satisfaction. We talked about the importance of customer satisfaction as a low-overhead revenue generator for your business. And last week, we touched on how you can leverage your employees to reach your service goals, by discussing the all-important role of the Crew Leader.

Now, we want to examine the connection between employees and customers even further. And in doing so, we’re going to make a bold statement: 100% Customer Satisfaction = 100% Employee Retention.

If you think about it, it just makes sense. Your employees cannot deliver extraordinary customer service if they’re not happy at their jobs. We’ve said that before. If you want every customer experience to go above and beyond—if you want to be in the business of service, not grounds care—then every person who touches the customer must be part of that equation. We saw last week how the Crew Leader was actually a customer service position. What would happen if you started thinking of all your jobs as customer service positions?

For one thing, it would change the way you hire. Even a gardener needs to do more than just mow or edge. He should possess basic service skills, such as putting the client first, making sure he does the job right, responsiveness, and taking pride in his work.

In fact, everyone in your office should demonstrate these qualities. If a prospective office manager comes for an interview and doesn’t seem to care about improving communities or changing lives…that’s probably not the best service professional to hire. It doesn’t matter how organized he or she is, or how great at keeping the books. Truly caring about our clients is what sets U.S. Lawns apart. That’s service; not just business.

At this point, you might be asking, “How do I get a gardener or an office manager to care about my clients? How do I get them to see themselves in a service role?”

The answer is simple: 100% Employee Retention. In other words, it’s your job to both recruit and retain service-oriented employees at every level of your staff. Sometimes recruiting is easy; retention can be the hard part. Everybody struggles with coming to work day after day, especially physical laborers who may be toiling in the heat or humidity. So if you want happy employees who care about serving others, it’s your job to make sure their needs are taken care of.

Let’s be clear: everyone has to work. Your employees must do their jobs, and do them well. That is a principle of our Brand DNA that should never change. But we want our employees to enjoy their work—to be fulfilled by their work. And that can happen in several ways. Employee Retention is about listening to your staff when they come to you with suggestions or even complaints. It’s about making them feel part of a team, a community.

Employee Retention can be impacted positively by employee benefits, such as 401(k) and bonuses, rewards for meeting goals, a company culture that’s positive and engaging, team activities—basically, whatever helps your staff feel appreciated and compensated for going above and beyond.

But the most important part of retaining great employees is sharing your vision with them. Hang a poster of the U.S. Lawns Brand DNA in the shop, and live those Brand Values every day. Start your crews each morning by chanting our mantra: “Your Turf. Our Lawn.” Talk to your team at every level about the goal of 100% Customer Satisfaction, and maybe set up a game or reward system to help them reach it.

If 100% of your employees are satisfied with their jobs, you can begin to build a strong customer relations initiative. If even one disgruntled team member interacts with a client, it can mean the difference between keeping an account and losing it. That’s why great customer service begins internally. 100% Customer Satisfaction = 100% Employee Retention.

U.S. Lawns Franchise Growing Despite Slow Economy

U.S. Lawns Franchise Growing Despite Slow Economy

Don’t tell U.S. Lawns about the slow economy. March came in like a lion when it comes to growth. They are building a stronger brand at a fast pace, having added four new franchise locations in March, now reaching new record growth of over 260 locations nationwide.

Each franchisee’s first step is six days of New Franchise Training at the U.S. Lawns Home Office in Orlando, FL, where classroom and field training prepares them for a fast start in their local markets.

“We are happy with our pace of growth. Two of our new March franchises have converted their existing landscape businesses to a U.S. Lawns franchise, and the other two are new to the green industry. Our brand provides each of them with the tools, systems and guidance that help them achieve success more quickly than flying solo,” U.S. Lawns President Ken Hutcheson commented. “Our strong support team provides franchisees with the experts they need to thrive.”

U.S. Lawns’ newest franchisees are:

  • Tom CodayBossier, LA
  • Majdo “Mo” Ahmad & Marla ChanesChico, CA
  • Kelly CamachoCorona, CA
  • Keith ParkerGalveston, TX
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