There are some services landscapers should outsource because running a business takes up a lot of your time. Factor in the size and success of your landscaping business and twenty-four hours doesn’t add up to a wide enough window to get everything done.
Over time, these incomplete tasks will pile up and leave your brain in an anxious frenzy. While others limit the potential growth of your business.
It’s important to remember you are only one person. You can only do so much before you become overwhelmed and stressed out taking on everything by yourself.
On the other hand, you’re right; the business won’t run itself, so what do you do? You seek out help.
Help could come in the form of hiring on location staff, but then that will mean you need office space.
Office space breaks down to more money out of your pocket. Can you afford it?
One of the fastest growing solutions to this problem is hiring a Virtual Assistant.
Below, I’ll walk you through 10 jobs you can outsource to a Virtual Assistant, freeing up more of your time to focus on the revenue making aspects of your landscaping business.
Hiring more help can also boost the success and productivity of your landscaping business.
Who is a Virtual Assistant?
A virtual assistant is a freelancer who assists entrepreneurs and busy professionals by providing services remotely. These services range from administrative duties to more specialized creative, technical and support functions.
VAs work remotely, providing their own equipment and office space. They are paid either per project or on an hourly basis. Most importantly, they receive payment only for jobs done.
Benefits of outsourcing some of your workload
1. Reduced cost of operation
- Cut down costs associated with renting a large office space, paying for utilities, and providing furnishing and equipment.
- Cut down human resource expenses as you get support for your business on an as-needed basis or based on your budget.
2. Frees up your time
- You can delegate everyday duties or tasks that would require you to be proficient in skills you have to spend time learning yourself.
- You can make better use of your day focusing on the revenue-driven aspects of your landscaping business.
- Having more time at your disposal means you can concentrate on other aspects of your life outside of work (family, friends, your health, a hobby you never have enough time to enjoy).
3. Keep up with trends and technology
- Hiring a VA who specializes in areas like social media and marketing will give you the edge you need to remain competitive. It is their job to stay abreast of all the developments in their chosen niche and translate them to aid in your success.
4. Enhance productivity for you and your business
- With the added support, you can deliver better results to your client in a shorter amount of time.
- A VA can keep your business organized and running smoothly, taking some of the burdens from you.
- You will be able to provide information to your clients faster with the extra help.
5. You can scale your business with less risk if you are uncertain about hiring permanent employees.
10 services landscapers should outsource to VAs
1. Newsletter / Email Marketing
- Newsletter design and content creation
- Email automation
Email marketing is not just for bloggers. As a landscaping professional you also offer services, products and expertise your clients are interested in hearing about. It’s a quick and straightforward way of building brand awareness, strengthening customer relations and increasing sales.
Example of how you can use your newsletter
DIY Email Gardening Series/Courses
Before you think it, no, this is not counterproductive. There are some gardening tasks your clients can do themselves and others they have to leave up to you.
You can send out an email tutorial series for example on recycling plastic bottles and pallets to create a flower display to spruce up a backyard. Or building a garden planter out of an old ladder. Fun tidbits your clients can enjoy in their spare time.
These are not hands on or paid services you offer, but you are sharing your expertise. If you happen to sell any of the tools or parts needed for a DIY series you create, all the better. With the series, you can show your clients how the products you provide can benefit them.
With a virtual assistant, your work gets cut in half. You provide the material, and your assistant sets up the emails to send the information out to your clients. Having an opt-in on your website for subscribers (who are not yet customers) to get in on the action could lead to them seeking you for paid services.
2. Social Media Management
- Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook, Youtube
- Facebook group for ‘green thumbs’
- Pinterest to advertise blog posts
- Instagram to create a pictorial resume for your business
- Twitter for daily tips along with advertising various services, blog posts, etc.
- Hootsuite, Buffer, Tailwind, Edgar for scheduling and automating generic posts
Did any of that just make your head spin? Social media is a prime avenue for advertising, reaching new client streams and staying connected with your customers.
Every day a new strategy comes into play, and unless social media is your focus, you’re likely to miss out.
Hiring a VA who specializes in social media management and marketing is an asset. Again, you provide the materials and whatever instructions you might deem necessary and leave the rest to your VA.
3. Website design and management
- Landing page design and development
A business without a website, even a small one, is one being left behind in this digital age. You don’t need a fancy website costing thousands of dollars, but you do need an online presence. Especially if you intend to set up a mailing list to send out your awesome DIY series.
Unless you have the time to sit down and learn the ins and outs of website building, design and management, you’ll need a VA with the expertise.
A website makes your business accessible right around the clock to your customers and clients interested in your products and services. You can even set up a virtual calendar for first-time clients to set up appointments for consultations whether in person or by phone.
4. Ad creation and management
- Facebook Ads
- Google Ads
- Instagram Ads
Ad creation and management, as you may have noticed, ties into social media management. In some cases, your social media VA will have some proficiency in graphics design. I would suggest hiring VAs proficient in graphic designing for your social media management and website creation posts. This way you don’t have to worry about getting a third person just to do your graphics.
Uniformity across your entire online platform is essential. Providing a means through which both VAs can communicate would be ideal.
5. Content Creation
- Blog posts
- Website content
- Technical writing
- eBook content
Content creation is another key component to your business strategy. Whether it be for blog posts or general content for your website, good content will set you apart from others in your landscaping niche.
6. Blog Manager
- Blog post
- Maintaining editorial calendar
- Responding to blog comments
- Blog traffic reporting
You could choose to hire a blogger on a per post basis and handle the uploading and scheduling of the posts yourself, or you could hire a blog manager. This virtual assistant would be responsible for running all the various aspects of your blog. From writing the posts to setting up an editorial calendar and responding to comments from readers.
If you have a website on Squarespace or WordPress, you can have a profile set up, so your blog manager has tailored access.
Your blog manager would have to be able to liaise with whoever is handling your social media accounts and newsletter. Once a post goes live, your newsletter and social media platforms are how you’ll get the word out.
7. Administrative tasks
- Appointment setting
- Customer service
- Overall client management
When it comes to administrative tasks, many business owners prefer to do the work themselves. Some aspects, however, like appointment setting, customer service, and overall client management are three tasks you can outsource on a seasonal basis.
As a landscaper, you have a peak and down season. During the spring, summer and autumn months, your call volume will be high with clients phoning in for lawn care services and trimmings. The opposite is true in winter months depending on your service area. With a VA, you can hire help on an as-needed basis.
8. Design services
- Graphic design/logo
- Video editing for YouTube tutorials
- eBook design
To ensure uniformity in your online and offline presence, you could hire a graphic designer to put together templates. These templates would cover social media, your newsletter and your website. Once your VAs receive the templates, all they would have to do is input the information, and they’re through.
9. Bookkeeping and calendar management
- Payment and invoicing
- Calendar management
- Creating/managing database and CRMs
As your landscaping business grows, bookkeeping and calendar management will play a greater role. It may be that at this point you’re able to invest in office space and on location staff, but if you’re not, outsourcing is an avenue to explore.
10. Branding and marketing
Like social media and email marketing, branding and marketing strategies evolve. The time you would spend learning about these changes, is time lost from running your landscaping business.
Hire a VA to oversee the branding and marketing of your company. Someone with the expertise and proven record of accomplishment in getting results.
These ten jobs are suggestions of tasks you can outsource. Some you may be able to cover yourself based on the size of your business and your available time. It could be you have a partner in your landscaping business, so the workload doesn’t fall on you alone. But if you find yourself overwhelmed and in need of an extra hand but you don’t have the funds to hire permanent staffing, a virtual assistant is an option available to you.
There are also agencies that offer all the above services or most in packages. For instance, you have companies who would handle your graphics, website and blog, social media posts and ads, emailing and marketing all in one package. These agencies, however, can be pricey and if you are not bringing in a certain amount of income, going this route might not be viable for you.
Where can I find a virtual assistant for my landscaping business and how much do they cost?
To find a virtual assistant for your landscaping business you can check agency sites like Virtual Assistance USA (which is accredited by the Better Business Bureau). Another option is posting your job opening on sites like Upwork, Freelancer, and Guru. There is also oDesk, eLance, Fancy Hands and The Nerdery.
Pinterest is another place you can go to find Virtual Assistants as they are there in droves, writing articles and advertising their expertise especially those offering blogging, website, graphics and social media services.
Things to keep in mind
Before you hire
Be specific in your job listing. To do this, write a list of the tasks you intend to outsource. If you have any tasks on the list you usually complete yourself, and you want it done a particular way, make a process sheet with all the steps. The best way to choose a VA to meet your needs is to determine what your needs are beforehand. Also, bear in mind your budget as you make your list.
Not all VAs are created equal. Ensure the person you are hiring is a good fit for you and your company.
On the job boards I mentioned, many businesses ask for samples, examples or portfolios. Interested applicants must send in examples of their work along with their website address, and the employer can then compare all the prospects and see who would be the best fit. Ask your applicants to provide references for further verification of their work.
Even after completing the process of choosing a VA you are happy with, start small.
Be wary of virtual assistants who offer a “do it all service” or those who do not have a specialty. It could be that they are jacks of all trades but are yet to master one. Virtual assistants who offer specialized services are smarter hires over those who can’t give you a clear idea of their niche.
Pricing varies as VAs charge by the hour of per project. Niche also determines prices as do the experience and expertise of the virtual assistant in question.
After you hire
Once you have chosen a qualified VA, there are several other matters to consider.
- You want to train your VA giving him or her an idea of your operations, processes, and policies. It’s just as you would do if you were hiring an employee onsite.
- Depending on what you hire your VA to do, you want to start small then gradually add more responsibilities. Allow them to prove themselves with each task completed and build up a basis of mutual trust.
- Give clear and precise instructions so as not to cause confusion and avoid unnecessary mistakes. Solid communication is essential in establishing a working relationship between you and your virtual assistant.
There is nothing wrong with needing help to run your landscaping business. With a virtual assistant, you can scale your business without footing a hefty bill. You also have the freedom of hiring on an as-needed basis adding to the savings you get from eliminating office space and furnishing expenditures.
The success of your business reflects in the work you put in, but you don’t have to do it all on your own. Consider hiring a virtual assistant to free up some of your time and enhance the productivity of you and your business.