As a business owner, you live and breathe your landscaping company. Chances are you put serious hours in at the office, and even more at the shop, on customer’s site, and in leadership meetings. In the US, the average CEO spends a whopping 62.5 hours per week at work – and that’s not even counting all the extra admin that happens when you get home.
So often we cut short our vacation and travel time because we’re worried about losing operational control. This “in-office” mentality has become such a big part of our work culture that it’s easy to forget one important fact: with the right systems in place, your company can run smoothly wherever you are in the world.
The COVID-19 pandemic has proved just how accessible – and beneficial – the remote approach can be. Not only does this way of working give you greater flexibility, but also increases productivity, reduces overheads, and strengthens communications.
The tools at your disposal have never been more efficient, and every day new, streamlined systems join the remote market. With this in mind, we have compiled a list of the key things to consider before making the move to remote work.
Go Virtual with a Cloud-Based Software
Cloud computing allows you to store, share, and access everything to do with your business, wherever you are. This means that instead of storing databases, files, software, analytics, and emails on your computer, you can put these things into “internet storage”, allowing the same access no matter what device you or your employees are using. Instead of having to attach files to emails, employees can simply add them to the cloud, and they’ll be available to anyone you decide to give access to.
Using cloud-based software has the added bonus of quick data recovery. Power outage? You’re covered. Stolen laptop? Your files are safe. Dropped your phone in the toilet? Your data isn’t lost (but you should probably stop checking your emails in the bathroom!)
A few of our favorite cloud-based services are G-Suite, Trello, and of course LandOne Takeoff.
Activate a Google Voice Number
Google Voice is a cloud-based phone system, which lets you use the same number across multiple devices. With the software, you can make and receive phone calls, send text messages, and forward calls from one number to another, using whatever device you have in hand. All you need to use Google Voice is a speaker and a microphone.
One of our favorite features is the app’s voicemail transcription feature, which literally transcribes messages into text and forwards them to your email inbox. You can also personalize each employee’s voicemail greeting!
If you’re aiming to work remotely, you want to be sure that you’re not the only person who can take a phone call from a client. Being able to delegate this phone number, without giving up your entire cell phone is a huge game-changer for vacations.
Google Voice is reasonably priced, at around $20/per month for a standard plan, making it a more affordable option than a phone answering company – which leads us neatly onto our next point…
Employ a Phone Answering Company
If you don’t have someone to delegate your number to, phone answering companies may be a solution. Phone answering companies employ phone operators to screen incoming calls, to take messages and relay them to employees, and to provide a “front office” service, on your company’s behalf.
Most phone answering companies fall into one of three categories: automated answering services, live answering service, or call centers.
Automated services direct the caller to the person they need, without the need for a live operator. Because no live humans are involved, this tends to be the cheapest option of the three.
Live answering and call centers both use real human operators, with the key difference being the size of the operation. Whereas call centers normally employ hundreds of agents, live answering services tend to rely on the same individual to handle all incoming calls, so your callers always come through to the same person.
One of our clients strongly recommends a service called Ruby Receptionists.
Connect via Video
As well as utilizing video calling tools, business owners looking to run their company remotely should consider investing in a video recording app like Loom.
This simple program allows you to simultaneously record your camera, microphone, and desktop, making it easy to guide colleagues through specific tasks. Many businesses use the app to conduct virtual training because it allows you to display both your screen content and webcam.
If you’re planning on traveling, utilize Loom to record the simple tasks you do on a daily basis so that you can delegate them to an admin. Even better, have your admin record their results and send them to you each day/week that you’re gone!
The user interface is blissfully simple, bypassing the need to play around with computer settings to make your computer camera work. This makes it ideal for the slightly less tech-savvy among us.
We are able to utilize all the features we need within the free platform. However, the business version of the app is available for $10 per month, which includes premium features like custom branding and the ability to draw over the top of your video.
Find Technology that works for the Landscape Industry
There’s a common misconception in the landscaping industry that because our work is performed outdoors, most tasks can’t be done from home.
The truth is, there is a slate of innovative new tools that allow businesses to be location-flexible. We can use cutting-edge technology to simplify processes, as well as improve efficiency and accuracy.
LandOne Takeoff allows users to get takeoff information on any site from the comfort of their office (or home) using PDF plans or overhead imagery. Because site plans are stored in the cloud, they can be viewed by anyone, from anywhere, allowing you greater freedom to roam, without compromising on business.
Take it for a free 14-day test run today!