Creating Systems for a Successful Landscape Lighting Business

Creating Systems for a Successful Landscape Lighting Business

By Mike Gambino

Owning a business that builds amazing Garden and Landscape lighting projects is a livelihood that many would love to have. Using your own two hands to artistically place Lamps and fixtures to create drama and atmosphere after sundown that make our customers weep with joy is not a bad business to be in. Before long, your company will have built a reputation for great work, and a successful business will have sprung up around you. A successful business brings with it demands for sales, marketing, billing, payroll, scheduling, managing employees, splitting time between the field and the office, customer relations and also having a personal family life. Things start to become overwhelming.

Stop Building Landscape Lighting projects!

To me at least, It sounds crazy for a business owner to stop building projects just when the business of building Garden and landscape lighting projects is really starting to thrive. Conventional business wisdom will advise this. However I can say it is not for me and I continue to be out in the field every day, selling, designing, building and maintaining landscape lighting systems day after day , week after week, year after year. Here’s why it is advised that all landscape lighting business owners should put down the shovel, step away from the transformers, stop building lighting projects and start building their businesses.

Convention business wisdom states- One of the least profitable and most expensive job positions that the owner of a outdoor lighting business can fill is the lead foreman or head service technician on a landscape lighting construction project. Every shovel the owner fills with dirt, every fixture the owner places, every transformer the owner load balances, and every light source the owner changes represent missed opportunities for sales, job creation and business growth. When the business owner performs these tasks, money is left on the table, leaving one less job available for a prospective employee. Everyone involved with the business suffers.

However there is an argument to be made against this-“No one can do it like I do it!” “The customers want ME!” These are common thoughts shared by business owners, but they represent a dilemma that traps many owners in the field, keeping them away from the things that that are said will prevent them from truly making their businesses successful, their employees well paid and their customers even happier. It is a mindset that owners like me have conflict with and have learned to overcome.

Building Business with Systems

I have proven that there can be exceptions to conventional business wisdoms that the business owner interested in growing his or her business needs to stop building projects and start building the business.

I am a living proof of how the business owner can be on the job everyday and still build an enviable business operation. A major step toward building business is to create systems for that business and that is precisely what I have done. Creating systems is difficult and time consuming, but well worth the effort. Systems empower our employees to function just like me.

Developed systems could make issues go away forever by establishing a written set of company standards and procedures.

What’s a System?

A system is essentially a written process according to our standards and specifications that can be followed to accomplish specific functions within the business. In other words, systems establish the company standards and specify how to things get done… in writing!

A collection of systems can be considered a company handbook or a guide about how to do things specifically as you want them done for your company. How nice would it be to have a handbook that describes exactly how you want things done? Systems need to be very detailed — the more detail provided, the better the end result will be for the business owner, the employees and the customers. All parties involved benefit from systems when applied to a business model. Without systems, business owners are just winging it… and winging it is not a sustainable business practice.

Systems are applied to all parts of the business. No matter what process, there’s a system for that. Systems can be equally effective in field operations and office procedures, not to mention sales, marketing and communications. Just about anything can be systemized, from how a fixture should be cleaned and polished to how the phone should be answered.

The most successful businesses utilize systems. We are all familiar with the McDonald’s hamburger empire. I are not talking about trying to create a major corporation here as Gambino Landscape Lighting is and always will be a small boutique “mom and pop” shop that prides itself in quality products and personally service. It’s clear that businesses that utilize systems will be more successful. In the landscape and garden lighting business, there’s always a time to improvise and react, but it’s certainly no way to run a business.

Benefits to Systemizing

There are numerous benefits to written systems. Systems eliminate guesswork and reduce the learning curve, allowing our employees to plug in to our business more easily and train more quickly. Projects will have more predictable outcomes. Systems make the hiring process clearer, in addition to knowing whom to fire and when.

Employees thrive when systems are in place, often exuding more confidence, better organization skills and more accountability for their actions. Turnover is lower in systemized businesses, and employee retention is higher. Scheduling becomes more streamlined. Forecasting for business becomes more accurate. Everything becomes more organized. Free time even starts to show up here and there when systems are in place, making that elusive thing called  having a personal family life finally possible.

Customers can benefit, too. Life is made easier for our customers when our business is systemized. They notice and appreciate our systemized daily procedures in the efficiency it brings to our business operation these are the hallmarks for the services of a company that appears to have its act together.

All the benefits make our business more profitable, employees of a systemized business tend to make more money, too. A systemized business is also more attractive to potential buyers.

Established systems will add both tangible and intangible value to our business. Systems do take time to create, but they are powerful and worth every moment you invest in creating them. Systems force the business owner to look at the business in a much more effective way than the day-to-day winging of whatever happens to come our way. Systemizing allows the business owner to plan ahead for the company and make it happen.

Admittedly we are constantly adjusting, tweaking and improving on established systems and update as needed with changing times. No company can remain relevant without doing so as time goes on.

This landscape lighting blog is published by Mike Gambino of Gambino landscape lighting inc. all rights reserved. Mike is a professional landscape lighting system designer/ builder and has been designing, installing and maintaining landscape lighting systems for more than 27 years. Mike resides in the Los Angeles area with his wife and 2 sons. To visit his website go to . To inquire about hiring Mike please click here .

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