When it comes to maximizing your efficiency, smart scheduling is imperative. After all, in the landscape industry, time is money. Even a little bit of lost time can be a really big deal when it comes to profitability. That lost time can quickly add up over the course of a week or month.
Here are some scheduling ideas to help you save time.
Route density and equipment optimization
You probably already know that "route density" is the key to an efficient schedule. You want to group your clients together as geographically close as possible to reduce driving time.
But route density should be about more than just location. It can also help to keep "like projects" grouped together. This includes properties that are a similar size and require the same crew size or equipment.
Using landscaping software can also help you with the optimization of your routes. Rather than figuring it all out on your own, you can enter addresses and your software can help you to create the best possible routes to maximize time.
Reconsider the order of services
While your crews are at the job site, the order of services performed can also make a difference in scheduling. That's because the more optimized your order of services, the more efficiently you'll stay moving.
Some landscapers have found that teaching crews to trim and then mow has been a more efficient order. When you trim first, you don't have to mow so close to everything as the trimming has already been completed. This should help the mowing to go faster. Ideally, you want to figure out what works best for your specific crews and the jobs you're working on.
Regardless of what you decide, having a plan is key. When crews are given a plan to follow, they tend to work more efficiently.
Obviously, any downtime that is part of your crew's day can have a negative impact on efficiency. This would include stops at the gas station for snacks or fuel up, time spent on cell phones, or unplanned stops. While some of these are inevitable, it would still benefit you to evaluate what your crews' typical downtime looks like and if there are areas you can make changes.
For instance, some landscapers have installed gas pumps at the site of their operations to ensure vehicles are fueled up and ready to go at the start of the day. This prevents gas station stops which can turn into much longer breaks. Other landscapers have told us that they've assigned fueling the vehicles to a mechanic or maintenance person who takes the vehicles at the start or end of the day.
You can also create rules around cell phone use and unplanned breaks.
Utilizing real-time data to track GPS locations will also provide insight into how crews are spending their day. Landscaping software with a mobile component should offer this feature.
Making smart decisions for scheduling success
While scheduling isn't everyone's favorite task, when you put some extra time in on the front end, you can save time and money in the long run. That ultimately ends up being a benefit to your bottom line.