Working in the landscaping industry, you know that the process to keep not only vehicles running as they should, but equipment maintained and employees happy is an ongoing challenge. There’s a myriad of moving parts that goes into a safe and successful business.
To keep track of the many moving pieces and ensure your equipment and team are set up for success, checklists are a critical part of staying organized. Not only do they help to ensure that your equipment is where it needs to be before and after a shift, but they can also help prevent small problems from becoming large problems over time.
So what checklists should your team be implementing on a regular basis?
In this post, we’ll cover 5 helpful checklists to consider implementing as a manager or owner in landscaping.
1. Daily Driver Vehicle Inspections
When it comes to the reliability of a large fleet of dump trucks and similar vehicles, few things are as important as ensuring you have a daily driver vehicle inspection report submitted by your drivers. Even if a daily DVIR isn’t required by law, checking critical components like tire tread or trailer tires can save you tons of money in the long run.
Landscaping equipment aside, maintenance on even a small fleet of work trucks can get extremely expensive over time.
Here are a couple of simple DVIR checklist items to consider adding to your walkaround inspection process:
- Setup and spacing on cones around truck or trailer
- Vehicle parking check
- Clean dash free of paper or debris
- Cleanliness of truck inside and out
- Checking the gauge on the instrument cluster
- Checking the engine oil
- Tool box is organized
- Load securement with tie downs
- Trailer bed clean of debris
These are just a few simple checks that can be performed daily to ensure undocumented damage and other problems associated with a lack of proper vehicle inspections.
Instead of using paper for their DVIRs, Belknap Landscape started using the Whip Around app for this purpose. To see how they benefitted from this technology, check out the case study here.
2. Employee Health and Wellness
As a result of COVID-19, one practice that is especially important for your drivers and crew members in landscaping is completing employee health and wellness checks as a part of the daily inspection process. This is one of the ways the Whip Around app is making it easier for shift leaders to follow safety protocols and best practices by adding in COVID-19 cards for employees using the app.
One practice to include at a bare minimum is having temperatures taken upon arrival to work and before employees interact with other employees or customers. Other common checklist items to include in this type of checklist are:
- Do you have cold symptoms or have you been feeling extremely weak/tired lately?
- Fever or chills?
- Persistent Cough?
- Any loss of taste or smell?
- Any muscle or body aches?
While cold and virus checklists are obviously important, other checklists can be loaded in to the Whip Around app that deal with more seasonal complications related to allergies, like pollen sensitivity.
While there isn’t any one-size-fits-all approach to employee wellness, building out these types of checklists can not only help protect people, but it also can give managers more information at their disposal when managing their workforce.
3. Landscaping Equipment and Assets
When it comes to efficiency on-the-job, asset and equipment inspections play a key role in productivity. With so many assets being used on a daily basis in landscaping, keeping an accurate inventory on hand (including service histories) can also help immensely when it comes time to create maintenance budgets.
Outside of vehicle inspection forms that may be the responsibility for drivers, you may even decide to delegate the task of performing daily equipment inspections on blowers, chainsaws, weed trimmers, and other pieces of equipment to shift leaders.
Since leaving equipment behind is a common occurrence in landscaping, something as simple as performing a count on all assets used to ensure they return to your trailer can help prevent these issues from occurring.
While it may take an extra 2 minutes to scan a trailer for this equipment, it can help eliminate lost equipment over time. Here are a few items from a simple yes/no checklist to give you an idea of what you can do to ensure equipment doesn’t get left behind on jobsites:
- Lawn mowers (4)
- Weed eaters (4)
- Leaf blowers (2)
- Rakes (8)
- Shovels (8)
- Pump sprayers (5)
Creating a Preventative Maintenance Schedule
For lawn mowers, tractors, or any other piece of equipment you may have deployed, it’s also not a bad idea to set up preventative maintenance schedules based on engine hours or mileage.
By performing daily (or even periodic) inspections on this type of equipment with an inspection solution like Whip Around, you’ll never forget a routine oil change, since reminders are automatically sent based on whatever threshold you set.
This also makes it much easier to create and send work orders to your mechanic for routine maintenance tasks.
4. Proof of Service for Landscaping Tasks
If you’re like many landscaping companies that service several locations each day, proof of service may be something you will need to provide in the event of a complaint. One of the best ways to prevent these instances from occurring is to require photos be taken, which will also generate a timestamped record you can refer to.
Depending on your business, it may even make sense to require a series of photos or steps be taken to ensure your team completes important task at each location. Especially for newer team members, it may be easy to forget tasks without a list on hand, so it’s a good item to have as a reference point.
With the Whip Around app, setting up custom checklists or even documentation is easy, ensuring your crew knows what is expected of them at each location throughout the day.
5. Annual and Periodic Inspections
When it comes to planning for your new fiscal year, one of the most important inspections to complete is an annual equipment inspection. Since this will obviously be the most thorough inspection of the year, it’s a good idea to have a process for conducting it.
While it may not make sense to require time-consuming daily inspections beyond a simple count of inventory, more periodic inspections performed weekly, monthly, or semi-annually is a great idea to have peace of mind that your equipment is in good working order and safe to use.
A few of the common annual or periodic inspection items that may fall into this category are:
- Lawn mower blades
- Engine oil levels
- Tire pressure or tread
- Fluid checks
- Traffic cones, safety vests, related equipment
- Aerator inspection
One of the benefits of using technology to your advantage when it comes to more frequent inspections is that you can also use this data to help automate preventative maintenance tasks in a more proactive way.
Whether it’s viewing a simple dashboard that indicates the age of your equipment or detected faults, you can avoid downtime by retiring or servicing certain pieces of equipment before they cause major problems on-the-job.
How to Create Custom Landscaping Inspection Forms with the Whip Around App
With so many other responsibilities to think about on a daily basis, it can be hard to squeeze in time to print out or organize what exactly makes sense to inspect. With Whip Around, you can easily different types of custom forms with just a few clicks, or even start with a template.
Whether your landscaping company focuses on tree removal, lawn care and maintenance, landscaping design, or you are full-service, any custom form you can think of can be imported and available to your crew prior to beginning work each day.
Get Started Today
Instead of relying on paper forms or outdated processes that are hard to keep track of, the Whip Around app makes it simple to perform vehicle and equipment inspections with ease, in addition to simply keeping track of all of your assets in service or out of service.
To see how easy you can make inspections for your team, request a demo of Whip Around to explore the platform and mobile app, or start your free trial. Our team would be happy to share a few examples of how our app is helping other landscaping companies know what’s going on with their assets at all times.