You will always have growing pains and we endured a lot of those this year. Everything from paper trails to some stupid quality concerns. We grew too quick and it took a few months to get our arms around all of it. I just went over numbers with my maintenance manager this morning and we are doing almost 4 times as much maintenance this year. Profit was not as high but we've got a big working customer base now to fine tune and regroup on where we're losing money and missing opportunities. It won't all be fixed this winter, nor next, but we're going to continue improving.
Next year we will be going to a 4 day work week. This limits overtime and makes us hero's when it comes to customer service because we will have better availability. This will also reduce equipment usage by 20%+, cut down on maintenance/fuel and get us more life out of our equipment/tools.
I'm also getting away from "this crew" is cutting, "this crew" is mulching, "this crew" is doing bed maintenance, "this crew" is pruning etc etc. We have too many different people on the same property and its stupid. We are reducing workloads on the crews and making the foreman also be mini account managers. We will assign them properties, they will know every service and they will be responsible for everything that takes place on that property. We often double up crews on mulching jobs, plantings etc but the foreman that is responsible for the property will be present when work is being performed and that foreman will be designated the "boss" to anyone else, including other foreman.
With that I have another idea.......I am going to attach 4 weeks pay at 40hrs per week in the winter as an incentive to the foremen. This will be used to fill weeks that are slow to give them a more steady income in the off season. Any hours left on March 1st and I'll cut them a check. This is a big concern for guys in our industry but this will be an incentive. I cannot force anyone to pay for damages to anything, but I can reduce an incentive. The catch is anytime damages or quality concerns arise that are deemed legit, that money will be taken from the incentive. The foreman's helper can also reduce the incentive if he causes damages or quality concerns. This will then have the foreman managing the work that his help is doing. All of the details have yet to be ironed out but I like the idea.
I'm typing this in a rush so hopefully it makes sense.