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What do Landscapers Do in the Winter?

By Verizon ConnectNovember 11, 2020

How to weather the changing seasons with GPS fleet tracking technology

The fall and winter months remain an active time for the landscaping industry. Residential and commercial customers alike often use these months to plan ahead for spring planting and prep soil and plants for the winter. In mild climates, fall and winter are often still ideal for planting. And, for many landscaping companies, operations don't stop when the snow begins to fall. Many landscapers switch from lawn service to snow removal services in order to maintain profitability during the winter months.

Making these seasonal shifts through the fall and winter requires landscapers to be nimble in order to adapt to shifting customer needs—and quickly changing weather. Not to mention, they may need to address rising insurance premiums and operational risks not present during the spring and summer months.

GPS fleet tracking tools can help landscapers can gain better visibility, and accountability, into each job and the travel, expenses, driver safety, and vehicle maintenance associated with it. Regardless of season, landscapers can also use technology to help control fuel and other costs while using analytics to improve response time and customer service.

Keeping track of drivers, trucks and schedules is critical

According to the National Association of Landscape Professionals (NALP), 60% of landscaping companies are seeing revenues exceed pre-COVID expectations, and 62% of lawn care companies and 53% of landscape maintenance firms report that they’ve exceeded revenue projections. Moreover, 300,000 landscaping jobs are currently vacant—opening up a huge window of opportunity for landscapers to capitalize on the growing trend of home improvement and differentiated consumer spending.1

To keep up with high demand and complete end-of-season jobs or fill backorders, landscapers need to keep a close eye on where trucks are—and how they’re maintained. And as the fall and winter months bring about treacherous weather conditions, being able to alert drivers to potential hazards and reroute them quickly, as well as notify customers of delays, is critical.

GPS fleet tracking technology provides near real-time insight into the exact location of trucks at all times and improves dispatch, routing and visibility. Simplified digital scheduling also ensures jobs are done on schedule and on time, as well as estimate better ETAs and receive notifications if jobs are delayed.

“The more you can remove human intervention, the less chance of error,” said Bobby White, owner, Maple Hill Lawn & Garden. “Once we started using digital software for keeping account of our client base and for scheduling, we didn’t have to rely on memory to track commercial and residential client jobs. Unlike some of our competitors, we arrive on time because there's a computer somewhere with a calendar that has scheduled it to make sure it happens. We live and die by the schedule, and now we don't have lag time. We show up when we say we're going to show up.”

Find out how Maple Hill Lawn & Garden was able to reduce costs and improve customer satisfaction with fleet tracking technology.

Simple improvements in day-to-day productivity can translate to meaningful gains for your business. Download this free ebook to know more.

Don't lose out on winter opportunities 

Taking even one vehicle out of service can come at a steep price to a landscaping company’s overall productivity and its bottom line. Likewise, ignoring routine maintenance or needed repairs can also lead to larger issues down the road; and these issues become even more of a headache if drivers are stranded during inclement winter weather.

GPS vehicle tracking and engine diagnostic solutions make it simple and easy to ensure your fleet vehicles get the regular maintenance they need to stay in premium condition and deliver the performance your business counts on. These solutions allow for the ability to proactively schedule preventative maintenance, receive automated alerts about potential problems, instantly access vital data and monitor driver behavior that may lead to maintenance issues.

Reduce the burden of wintertime services

For landscaping companies that transform into snow removal operations during winter months, GPS fleet tracking technology is a useful tool to prove that snow removal service was provided and help address any general work management issues.

GPS tracking enables companies to view and store historical data about vehicles, drivers and services. This allows organizations to amass a permanent record of work completed, work orders requested, and proof of service information (like photos and accurate time stamps). In the event of a weather-related liability claim, this would go a long way toward supporting a company’s account of how, when and where work was done.

For Maple Hill Lawn & Garden, wintertime is especially important as it relates to customer service and service delivery. With the help of Reveal from Verizon Connect, Maple Hill has been able to address customer service concerns and ensure snow removal jobs are cost-effective.

“When it comes to snow removal service, the customer has often already been quoted a fixed price. We must monitor hours to make sure it’s taking as long as we quoted or going over. Our word that a job is getting done isn't sufficient. Our GPS tracking now shows when and which vehicle was on site. That’s important because if you’re billing an hourly rate for your vehicle to be in motion, you must document its time. There is also winter work that is billed per visit, not per hour, making productivity crucial,” said White.

The fall and winter seasons are a time of transition for landscaping companies, and definitely not idle months. With the help of GPS fleet tracking technology, landscapers can pivot easily and make the most of this time and be even better prepared for the busy spring and summer seasons.

 Sources:

1 https://blog.landscapeprofessionals.org/mid-year-check-up-lawn-and-landscape-companies-report-on-their-revenue-for-2020/


Verizon Connect

Verizon Connect Staff represents a team of professionals passionate about everything telematics. Get to hear about the latest trends, product features and industry best practices from the desk of Verizon Connect Staff.


Tags: Field management, Public works

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