Before You Know It

Before You Know It

Don’t lose sight of your winter prep work. ASCA Executive Director Kevin Gilbride offers five strategy points to begin building momentum for 2018-19.

August 16, 2018

I generally have a number of speaking engagements lined up in the fall and this year is no different. I’ll be at the Ohio Landscape Associations Snow & Ice Clinic next week, then off to various other similar events to talk snow. It is at these events that I have an opportunity to share my insights on snow and ice management and the bigger picture, but in return I hear a lot about what snow and ice managers are facing out there. 

Over the years, I have witnessed a lot, including where your mind should be in mid-August as it pertains to snow. With your summer businesses operating smoothly by now, your mind should be preparing for winter. Here are some thoughts on how to begin making that leap into winter that I compiled from my experiences along with feedback from contractors throughout the industry.

  • Contracts should be in the stage of being finalized. I know you will have those clients who want to wait and bring you on board Nov. 15th, but the vast majority of your work should be being finalized over the next month. 
  • You should be gearing up and making equipment purchases. In some cases, those purchases should already have been made. I have heard of six-month back orders of trucks. If you haven’t purchased them already, then delivery dates could very well be mid-winter.
  • Do you have all of the winter employees and service providers you’ll need lined-up? If not, you are behind the proverbial eight ball. Now is the time you should be training these employees for their winter tasks and sharing customer expectations with your service providers. Your mechanics should be preparing equipment for the coming season. Your managers should be finalizing their preseason inspection reports and preparing to get the job done on each property. 
  • The economy is in good shape, so this is a good time to up sell clients. However, unemployment is low. Starting today, with each day that passes it will tougher and tougher to find quality laborers. So, don’t wait. At the same time, look into solutions that would reduce labor. 
  • Salt is the number on topic I am hearing about from the industry. All throughout the Midwest and in Canada companies are scrambling already to purchase salt. If you can get what you need, then and have it delivered ASAP.