Let’s face it: the landscaping trade has a bit of an image problem. Despite awkward attempts by Coca-Cola to “sex-up” the industry (see the 2013 Diet Coke advert for reference) popular opinion still holds that landscaping isn’t a career for young, innovative go-getters.
And while the view of landscapers as notebook flipping tech-phobics is probably unfair, it is also worth exploring why this perception is still so prevalent.
The green industry has been around for a long time – far longer than computers or the internet. For most of that time, we landscapers have depended on manual tools to plan and execute designs. Many of the world’s most magnificent outdoor spaces were conceived using nothing more than a notepad, measuring tape, and, of course, a healthy dose of blood, sweat, and tears. These reliable old instruments are at the core of the green industry and represent years of hard work and training for its workforce.
So where’s the problem?
While there will probably never come a day when landscapers ditch their pencils and paper completely, it’s important to remember that in order to attract young people to the industry, we must also move with the times. The ability to manage our surroundings has never been more relevant, yet year on year, the number of youngsters entering the industry is declining. Something is being lost in translation, resulting in an industry-wide recruitment crisis.
Struggling to Recruit Young Talent?
You’re not alone. Hiring is one of the biggest challenges faced by landscaping businesses today, due in no small part to a dwindling number of young people interested in studying the trade when they leave high school.
If you want to understand why the industry is losing the interest of youngsters, then take a look at how it is portrayed. If your website is packed full of photos and videos of your team in the field taking manual notes and measurements, then you may be looking at the problem.
The young people we so desperately need to join forces with are used to an entirely different world to the one most of us grew up in. Many of them haven’t known a world without the internet, and while this might sound like a negative thing, it’s worth remembering all the incredible things technology has allowed us to do.
Technology is an intrinsic part of everyday life for these kids, and the efficiency it affords them is not something most are willing to give up. If your business relies solely on pen and paper methods then, chances are, you’re going to have a hard time convincing young talent to jump aboard.
Tobias Bell, Senior Sales Executive at Landone Takeoff, believes that this disconnect is one of the key reasons that landscaping companies are struggling to recruit from the younger generation.
He said, “If you’re having trouble attracting young talent, it could be because your company seems outdated. Young people see people out in the field with a pen, paper, and measuring wheel and they don’t see themselves doing that. They want to be using the rich well of technology they experience every day as part of their job.”
If this feels like a bitter pill to swallow, then don’t panic. Introducing new technology to your landscaping business does not mean abandoning everything you know in favor of an autonomous robot task-force.
The best technology works alongside your tried and tested methods, helping to streamline and simplify the sticky parts. Technology and tradition can co-exist and, when used right, can help redefine the limits of what your workforce can achieve.
If your phone only leaves your pocket when you’re making a call, then you’re missing a golden opportunity to incorporate technology into your everyday. Smartphones are a gold mine of useful, easy to use tools that not only fit into one clever slab of metal and glass, but that keep your data and files safe while you’re not using them.
Next time you are gathering small measurements on-site, try using iPhone’s Measure app rather than a traditional tape or wheel measure. Not only is the tool incredibly accurate, but it’s also user-friendly, making it a good entry-level option for landscapers.
Use Technology Designed for Landscapers
When deciding which programs and softwares could benefit your business, it is worth considering who the technology was designed for. To facilitate a smooth transition, you need software that works intuitively with your specific landscaping needs.
LandOne Takeoff and other takeoff softwares offer real-time pictures of properties, providing more accurate layouts than blueprints or even satellite imagery. And because the photos are processed by the same program, the measurement and drawing tools are more efficient, more accurate, and faster than pencil and paper drawings.
Our software can be used for estimating, presenting plans to clients, and assigning work to laborers and landscaping crews, all the while tracking accurate costs of materials. It is also designed to be used in real-world conditions and allows for odd shapes, last-minute adjustments, and designs that fall outside of the norm.
Shout About It
If you want to hire young new talent then there’s no point in being modest about your innovative new working practices.
While it’s true we live in an increasingly digital world, virtual connections are no match for the face-to-face variety. Look out for opportunities to share your new technology with your target audience, be it local careers fairs, visiting schools and colleges, or organizing an open day for interested youngsters in your area.
And if you do feel like tapping into the digital market, try uploading photos and videos of your team using their new high-tech tools. Not only will this send a message to potential clients, but it might just be the push a prospective team-member needs to send in a resume.
Try Landone Takeoff for Free
Here at Landone, we are confident that our Takeoff software is the best in the world. So confident, in fact, that we’d like to offer you a free trial. Experience first hand the game-changing power of drone and satellite imagery, and try out the dozens of tools and mechanisms designed to make your job easier. No contracts, no commitments, no strings attached.
Related Read: Why the Landscape Industry is Going Paperless and You Should Too