The Accordion Effect

Posted by Joseph Barnes on Jun 14, 2018 12:00:00 AM

It's one of the most common questions we’re asked when we start working with new clients.

How many people will you send out to our property at each landscape service visit?

If the previous landscaper had a 4-person crew servicing the site, and your landscape didn’t look the way you wanted it to, it’s logical to assume that throwing more people at the problem is the answer, right?

Not always. Here’s why:

Commercial landscape management is a seasonal business. There are things to be done in your landscape every month of the year, but in the spring and summer, the total number of hours spent at each property increases exponentially. That’s why at this time of year, all landscape companies are at our peak employee counts. At Yellowstone Landscape, for example, we grow by about 800 employees across all our branches at the peak of the summer.

Further complicating things, our work schedule is almost completely dependent upon the weather and the natural environment. Add in periods of drought, heavy rainfall, storms, pests and diseases in turf, trees, and plants, and the summer can seem to last forever. But if you’re a client of a commercial landscape management company, you still have every right to expect your landscape to be cared for and kept looking its best, no matter what challenges Mother Nature throws at us.

The quality of the landscape is a direct result of the organization, efficiency, and skill of the Landscape Professionals that you see working on your property. Not the sheer number of people you see working on a landscape crew.

We’ve seen it time and time again. Our crews start servicing a new property. The first couple of landscape service visits take a full, 8-hour day for a 4-person crew. But by the end of the second month, the same crew completes the job much, much faster than they did in the beginning. Their performance improves, not because they start cutting corners or stop being as careful as they were in the beginning. They get faster as they get more familiar with the landscape. When we schedule our crews to consistently service the same sites, week after week, productivity and quality improve naturally.

Another common misconception is that the crew that handles the mowing and detailing are the only members of our team that play a role in your commercial landscape management service program. In a comprehensive, professionally managed landscape service plan, your site will also be inspected by a superintendent or Account Manager on a weekly basis. They’ll also send out specially licensed and trained technicians to evaluate your irrigation system, and other specialists to apply nutrients, pest controls, and disease management products. Add in regular spot inspections by our local branch leaders and you may have twice as many people involved in the success of your landscape than you thought you had.

The number of staff may be a convenient measure of the value of the services you receive from your landscape service provider, but in most cases, more isn’t better. More is just more.

Real quality in commercial landscape management is driven by experienced and well-coordinated Landscape Professionals. Your landscape management plan will expand and contract the number of staff as needed (like an accordion), always seeking to achieve the best possible appearance for your property.

Special thanks to Jon from our Tampa location for the accordion analogy. It’s a really helpful way to think about how we staff our service teams across the seasons.

Cover Image Credit: Pixabay

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Joseph Barnes

About The Author

Joseph Barnes

Joseph Barnes has served as Marketing Manager of Yellowstone Landscape since 2013. He writes on a variety of topics related to the commercial landscaping industry.