Most lawn care operators got into the business because they enjoy being outside and providing green, weed-free lawns to their customers as opposed to sitting behind a desk crunching numbers. But, as the business grows, the best operators have incorporated the right balance of data analysis into their management so they can track their progress. This right balance of data analysis is often found through focusing on a set of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) in the business.
The Benefits of Using KPIs
Not every number or piece of data is a KPI. KPIs are the most important metrics – the ones that signify the progress made (or not made) on the achievement of your strategic and operational goals. But what is considered a KPI in a business may change throughout the year, particularly in a seasonal business like lawn care. A metric like “new customers sold” would be considered a hugely important KPI in the spring, but it may just be another number on a spreadsheet in the fall.
When lawn care operators do commit to utilizing KPIs in their business, one of two separate issues usually arises; either: 1) they can’t figure out where to start and what data to track, or 2) they over-commit to managing only by the data and end up getting lost in a sea of numbers and metrics.
A benefit of participation in an organization with other franchise owners is that the relevant KPIs for each region of the country in the various seasons of the year have been established and you can learn from the experience of other owners. Spring-Green has built the tools to help you manage these KPIs so your time isn’t wasted gathering data and calculating. Instead, those KPIs are always updated and accessible at a click of the mouse.
3 KPIs To Look For
So, as summer begins, what are the metrics (the KPIs) that you should be watching in your business for the next few months?
1) Production Left To Do
Spring is a crazy time of year and the weather often wreaks havoc on our best laid plans. Lawn care software today will not just generate reports showing how much production has been completed, but how much production is “on the books” and left to be done. You can use the data from that report to create “point in time” metrics that you can save and use for goal setting and comparisons in future years.
For example, let’s say you put together a plan at the beginning of the year to grow by 10% and your spring sales season has put you on track for that 10% growth, but the weather has held up production and at the end of spring your production completed is behind last year. You look at your “point in time” comparison and see that you have 25% more production “on the books” to complete than at the same time last year in order to hit your 10% growth goal. In this example, the KPI shows that you will need to re-project your production goals for the rest of the year and ratchet up production. If the re-projected goals show that the production load will be too much for your current resources to handle, then you could proactively make a timely decision to add more manpower and/or equipment to get the work done.
2) Sales Dollars From Additional Services
After a hectic spring, many operators want to put their head down for the rest of the year and just get the work done. By doing so, are they walking by opportunities to sell additional services that will increase their profit, and, even more importantly, benefit their customers’ lawns and help create a loyal, long-term customer?
Track the dollars sold in beneficial, additional services and compare it to your “point in time” goal or past performance. A successful summer sales season can lead to a pleasant, profitable surprise at the end of the year.
3) Production Skipped
Summer is the time of year that lawn care customers are most likely to skip the occasional service. We know by skipping a service, their lawn will be negatively affected, as will our bottom line. Track the amount of work that is being skipped on a regular basis and compare it to your “point in time” goal and past performance. If you’re skipping more work than is reasonable, use that opportunity for an extra training session on “saving” skips with your field and office staff.
Utilizing KPIs in your lawn care business can often be the difference between building a good company and a great company. You will have to find the right balance of data in your business – you can’t spend all day behind a desk crunching numbers that aren’t relevant to the ultimate success of your business. The use of KPIs should help you greatly when making important strategic and operational decisions.