There is no doubt that recruiting dependable team members is a mission-critical part of operating a successful landscape business. Everywhere we go, we hear landscapers talking about the challenge of finding good people. And you’re not alone – we hear it from our friends in other trades as well.
Let’s face it … you’re not really in the landscape business, you’re in the people business. If you have great people, and treat them well, then you will be able to serve your customers well, build a strong reputation, and grow the business that you desire to build. Without good people, then you will struggle year after year with the same issues of recruitment, retention, and stability.
We recently heard a great quote that we’d like to share that pertains to every business. Richard Branson knows a thing or two about building successful businesses.
Let’s take a look at some tips and resources on how to recruit for your landscape business from two of our leading trade magazines:
“Employee Recruiting Strategies for Today’s Landscaping Companies”
From Green Industry Pros
The labor problem is not unlike another challenge landscapers face: the weather. It’s not going to go away, and you can’t control it. But you can do your best to manage it.
One good way to manage the labor problem is to put a year-long, multi-faceted employee recruitment strategy into place. Too many contractors wait until they desperately need to fill a hole on their team, drop an ad in a local newspaper for a week, and then wonder why they don’t draw any decent candidates.
Here are four important things to keep in mind when devising an employee recruitment strategy for your company:
- Recruit all year long, to some degree, using certain “soft” tactics continually while adding other “hard” tactics when you’re specifically looking to hire
- Understand that all positions in your company are not the same and, thus, may require different recruitment tactics
- Use a variety of recruitment tools, many of which won’t cost much
- You have to sell YOUR company – the prospective applicant is a prospective client in this regard
Underutilized employee recruitment tactics
- Help Wanted Signs
- Business Cards
- Your Website
- Host a job fair
- FREE PR
- Local Schools
“Rules on recruiting”
From Lawn & Landscape
The article suggests two books, “Who” by George Smart and Randy Street, and “Good to Great” by Jim Collins. As the cover of “Who” states, “Knowing what to do is not the major challenge faced by executives – finding who to do it is!”
You and your company’s reputation can be two of the best recruiting tools that you have. Top-notch people and companies attract top-notch talent.
How do top-rated high school athletes decide where to go to college? It usually boils down to the reputation of the coach and/or the college. Work at being a great coach and building a great company.
Use incentives with your own employees to recruit other team members.
External Recruiting Ideas:
- Websites such as Craigslist, Angie’s List and Monster.com can be excellent resources for advertising your staffing needs.
- Industry trade journals and regional publications
- Trade associations
- Industry suppliers and vendors
- Trade schools and high schools
- College internship programs
- Fund a college scholarship
- and more …
Here’s an approach we’ve taken in our own company:
This approach has been very beneficial to us in the hiring process, and I believe can work in the landscape industry as well.
- Stop taking resumes
- Set up a short form on your website to gather some initial information from the potential applicant. See if they can follow specific instructions, and find out a little more about them and how they would solve problems. See what they are proud of and passionate about.
- Take a short video (easily done on your smart phone or tablet) to introduce yourself, your company, and a little bit about the job you are looking to fill. Be specific in terms of the types of things you are looking for in the right candidate. This gives the potential applicant a great feel for who you are as a company and whether the job is a good fit for them.
- Advertising that you are hiring on your website, social media, and craigslist.
- If you recruit in the Hispanic community, you could also have a version in Spanish.
Here is an example of a recent video that we used for one of our open positions at Third River Marketing (our parent company). As you can see, it provides some insight into our personality and culture so that the prospective applicant can get a good feel for who we are and if they’d like to work with us. It resulted in a bunch of great candidates who specifically referred to the video as something that stood out to them, and most importantly we got a great team member out of it.
Recruiting, retaining, and rewarding a good team is definitely key to building a successful landscape industry business. Building a strong reputation depends on it.
We plan on sharing additional insights and tools in the near future on the topic of recruiting for your landscaping business. If you have specific ways that have helped you build your team, we’d love to hear about them below.