Delegate!

Landscape contractors and home remodelers aren't the best delegators. There is small business plus outdoor living industry element of doing everything yourself. Thats not possible and ineffective.

How many job titles do you have? As a landscape or home remodel business owner or executive, you are probably handling: accounting and budgeting, marketing, sales efforts, recruiting and training, client management, office management, legalities, equipment/inventory purchasing, and of course - you are also likely very involved in the field. The list goes on and on. Sure, you might be less involved in all of these if you're an executive, but in the small business world, you definitely wear several hats. Add in a seasonal business, the positions that businesses in other industries would hire for, yours doesn't. It's tough - we know! Regardless of the reason, delegating work and taking off a hat or two (for at least most of the time), will in most cases, bring you more revenue than you think.

Delegating is a hard thought for those that have either been building their business for a long time with plenty of sweat equity and time - for even those in top level positions without ownership. The pride and I-can-do-it-all attitude is extremely common. Let's make something clear: delegating doesn't mean you can't do it all. The reality is, delegating is a difficult skill in this business, one that is learned over time. It's admirable and means a lot more to your business than being able to manage something like all of recruiting and training

Related: Looking to Grow Your Landscape Company - Find Good Employees?

Letting someone else handle something also doesn't mean you're not in control. Quite the opposite, it means you are in control to delegate a responsibility to someone else. It means you have trust in that employee. This breeds a powerful culture of responsible folks - that will, as a result, take responsibility of completing their delegated activities. 

A simple first step in the process of determining what and how to delegate is defining your position. Think big. As the owner, or executive, or whatever your formal or informal title is - what do you think your position's goals really are. Is it to manage every single employee and their time off? (no!). Is it to drive the company into the next up million revenue range? (maybe?). What is the big, overarching goal that your position absolutely has to do this or next year? One sentence. 

Now, make a list of categories of all the high-level responsibilities that sit in your lap. For example, do include a category of accounting, but don't include tax. Now think of the related work for each category and how much time you've spent on each one during the last 30 or so days. 

Now time to down the options for delegating. Consider which categories directly align to your position's goal (remember, think in categories, not specific activities). For example, if your goal is to generate x revenue by x, then recruiting doesn't connect to your goal. Highlight recruiting as delegation possibility. Tip: don't think of experience as a factor in deciding. Just because you've been hiring laborers for 15 years, doesn't mean you should continue to do it! 

So now you're left with categories that are possible to delegate and estimated monthly time to complete those categories. What positions do you currently have out there that you can assign the work to (after hand-off training)? Does this mean that you will have to take some work away from a person and re-assign to someone else (maybe assign to yourself if it aligns with your big goal?). 

Must read: Effective delegation includes very careful hand-off. Be extremely clear to the person acquiring the task in what you expect and your role in their new responsibility. Perhaps you share that initially, you'll meet weekly to discuss progress and then transition to monthly when you and he or she are ready. Help this person understand why they are being assigned this task. I know, in a small landscaping or remodeling business, who has time to cover all of these details - isn't that for the big companies? NO! There is a great difficulty in hiring good people in your industry. If you treat people like responsible adults who want to understand the whys and whats (if you hired the right people, they will want, regardless of whether or not they say it), your company will spend less time and money in hiring and training. These employees will also treat your company's potential and existing customers better (win-win). 

Finally, not all work has to be done by employees of your company. Think about what tools you have in place (or could put in place) that are being under-utilized. Now's the time to invest time and learn them! How about vendors out there? Since we are a marketing company, we have to be a little biased and suggest - marketing is a full-time category. What can agency do that people at your company can't and at what ROI? (this is an example category - think about what other vendors you can use - such as office management telephone lines). Another example, is contact management. Is info everywhere, leading you to have spend hours finding info on contacts that could be in one place and take 2 minutes to access? (read the related post here). How about lead generation? Can a tool help? (YES!, read more here: Contractor Websites Should Drive Leads).

For this year and/or next, you're left with only those categories and activities that will help you reach your position's goals. Now you can spend more time on them. And now, you are more likely to reach those goals. By arming your employees with more responsibility and authority (if you assign the responsibility, let them own it and allow yourself to check-in regularly) - you give them more meaning in your company, bigger investment. They will do it and deliver the return (again, if you hired the right people and delegated with patience and education).