Hiring your first office assistant is a nail-biting experience.
You are about to pay someone who will never produce billable work.
You will never charge for their time.
Yet, if you want to scale your lawn care or landscaping business, you MUST hire the right employees. It feels risky, and many business owners put it off:
- “I can’t afford an Office Assistant.”
- “I’m better at answering calls than anyone else ever could be.”
- “I can do it myself if I just work harder.”
This post will show you why all of these concerns are ass-backwards – and how to hire the best Office Assistants.
Problem: “I can’t afford to hire an Office Assistant.”
Response: “It costs more to do the work yourself.”
Let’s shift our perspective and consider life without an office assistant.
You do all the office work.
Or, you can pay someone else $14 an hour to do all the office work, freeing you up to work on bigger things:
- Selling more work
- Growing your client base
- Building processes for future growth
So, is your time worth more than $14 an hour?
Concern: “I’m better at answering calls than anyone else ever could be.”
Response: “True Leaders must delegate time-consuming tasks.”
Anyone can answer the phone.
Only you can run your business.
You’re an entrepreneur. You build things, you sell things, you organize the big picture.
Answering the phone, basic accounting, and menial office tasks distract you from the important work you could be doing.
You probably didn’t start your own landscaping business so you could sit behind a desk and answer a phone all day.
Hiring an office assistant frees you from these tasks so you can spend that time growing your business.
Concern: “I can do it myself if I just work harder.”
Response: “Leave your pride behind and work smarter.”
Make sure your efforts are well directed. There’s no point to digging a ditch with a spoon when you can just rent a backhoe.
Many one-person start-ups adopt the term “Solopreneur” out of pride.
They see only the short-term value of running a business on their own. They let instant gratification get in the way of long-term success.
Yes, you can make more money doing everything yourself… at first. But five years down the line – when you are burned out from doing all the work on your own and your business hasn’t grown an inch – it’s really going to hurt.
Do what you’re meant to do: sell, plan, grow.
A true business owner builds a business by delegating work to others.
Hiring the Best Office Assistant for Your Lawn Care or Landscaping Company
What do you need your office assistant to do?
Answer calls? Keep track of tasks? Schedule and book jobs?
These are the qualities you want to look for:
- Friendly and personable, especially on the phone.
- Tech-Savvy. Must be able to learn your scheduling software
How to Find Your Next Office Assistant
Many lawn care companies hire stay-at-home moms who want to work part-time.
The easiest way to find them is to tell friends and family you’re looking for some part-time help around your office.
Remember: the best employees tend to come from the best people. If someone you respect refers someone, they will probably make a great hire. But if your questionable cousin wants you to hire his questionable friend, you might want to pass.
Craigslist is another option if you can’t get a recommendation from someone you know.
I recommend not putting your phone number in the ad and only letting people email you through Craigslist. This will allow you to filter through responses and choose whom to call.
If you want more hiring advice, check out our Complete Guide for Hiring in the Lawn Care and Landscaping industry.
One Easy Way to Vet Applications
Look at the email you received.
Does it look like something you would want a client to receive?
The way they email isn’t going to improve once they have a job. Make sure (from this one instance) that they can communicate professionally.
You can grill them on their phone skills later.
Managing Your First Office Assistant
We recommend using a strategy popular in the SCRUM management system. There are three daily questions that you can have your assistant answer, either in person or via email:
- What did you get done today?
- What do you need help with?
- What do you need to get done tomorrow?
These three questions sum up what the employee is doing, struggling with, and planning to do.
Pull the Trigger
Business owners who insist on managing every detail of the business become a bottleneck to its future success.
You could be holding up your own success. Get out of the way.
Clear out the bottleneck so that you can focus on the areas where your talents lie and where you can be the most valuable. It’s a stressful decision, but once the pieces fall into place, you won’t regret it.
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Cody is a copywriter with Service Autopilot. He was writing before he could read, dictating stories to his mom. Of late, he distills business principles and practices learned from his ever-increasing trove of books and his year with SA Support into digestible blog posts designed to provide maximum value to service industry business owners.