On this episode, Tom sits down with Phil Sarros of Sarros Landscaping and Dirt Monkey University, to talk about what, why, and how putting systems or processes into place is important for any business. Starting off in 2002, Phil started his company as a cleaning business for pools and apartments. That job allowed Phil to save enough money to start his landscaping business. His landscaping business grew extremely fast, so he had to figure out how to create and implement successful systems to keep his business running smoothly.
Many systems are important throughout any contracting business, but if you can only focus on just one, Phil thinks that having a bookkeeping system is the most important. You need to have a solid plan (system) in place for keeping track of the money coming into your business and where the outgoing money is being spent. You need a bookkeeping “dashboard” that will give you all the information on how to make the best decisions for your business.
For contractors Phil also suggesting the “Job Jacket” system, which is having a folder with all the critical documents that you’ll need for that job. Everything your crew could need will be in there: material list, special instructions, signed contract from the client, work permits. A copy of the client invoice and their method of payment once the job is completed. After the job that whole folder comes back to the office to be filed with the other completed jobs. This makes it very easy to review with your crew where each project could use improvement and where things went well. It also allows for you to easily track the bookkeeping aspect of each job with what was spent where and how much overall came in.
When implementing a new process, if you don’t truly make it a priority to follow up with your staff after it’s in place, then they aren’t going to work. Take one system at a time, set it up and let it run for a couple of weeks. Constantly be getting feedback from your staff and be available to answer any questions they have. Be there to carry them through working out the kinks during a new process introduction and then next one will go even that much smoother. But you can’t introduce a bunch of new processes all at once, because that will absolutely fail. Focus on implementing one new process at a time until it’s running smoothly with your team
You can also include your staff in the process building task. Decide which process you want to change and in a meeting talk about it with your staff and ask how they think the perfect process for that particular part of the business would look. Giving your staff the time to voice what their ideas are on what a perfect process would look like also gives them all a feeling of ownership of that process, which makes transitions easier. Their input is valuable because they see things on the job daily that you might not notice.
Another benefit of having a good process in place is that it’s so much easier to see where things maybe didn’t go well on a job. If you have a job didn’t do as well it’s much easier to pinpoint exactly where something went wrong if you have clear standards for your processes across the board. But you have to be committed to seeing these processes through, otherwise it’s not going to work. Don’t give up right when you’re about to turn the corner to do something extremely successful for yourself. Keep going forward and be honest with yourself when you feel you want to stop.
Recommended reading 212: The Extra Degree - Extraordinary Results Begin With One Small Change