Hiring a lawn maintenance business office manager can cut your stress in half and make room for your company to grow.
Hey CLIPPERS! Dave Tucker here to share this relatable quote from the owner of a small lawn maintenance business:
“I am a one-man lawn care management team. I take care of everything except actually getting out there to mow. It is about to kill me or give me a heart attack. Do I need help? Which direction do I go?”
Sound familiar? This plea came straight from a member of the CLIP family when he was experiencing some very common growing pains. He sensed it was time to hire an office manager, but he wasn’t sure how to make the leap.
Many business owners hit this level of desperation before thinking about hiring some help. And if you’ve never hired this type of role before, it can be overwhelming to consider.
Thankfully, the CLIP family is full of experienced lawn maintenance business owners who are generous with their wisdom. So we asked them for their best advice on hiring an office manager.
What does an office manager do?
Of course, every lawn maintenance business will count on their office manager for slightly different things. But there are a few specific tasks that most business owners eventually delegate to their office managers. This might include:
- Keeping accurate, timely records of all jobs completed.
- Chasing down payments from customers.
- Fielding phone calls, emails, and text messages from customers.
- Managing your CLIP database.
One CLIP user was particular about what his office manager had to offer:
“Where I value her services most is in the accurate and prompt recording of all jobs completed and ensuring that we get paid for those jobs. It was amazing how much lower our Bad Debt is since having someone that can stay on top of it better than I could.”
To hire the right person for your business, you need to get clear on what you’re looking for. So think carefully about what you need from an office manager.
Make a list of tasks and responsibilities you’d like to outsource to your future office manager. Then, keep your list close when you interview!
Office manager interview questions and tips.
Interviewing is more of an art than a science. If you haven’t done much interviewing, it can be tough to know what to look for.
Most office managers wear many hats. As a result, they tend to pick up extra responsibilities that don’t fall neatly into someone else’s job description. So it’s crucial to hire someone who can adapt quickly and manage many details.
We asked a few CLIP users to share their go-to interview questions for hiring an office manager. Feel free to steal this entire list!
- Tell me why you want to work here. Why are you looking to make a job change?
- Describe how you would design your ideal job.
- What would your old boss tell me about you?
- What was your first wage-earning job?
- What would your ideal day look like?
- What would a frustrating day look like?
- What is the most challenging work-related personality conflict that you’ve encountered? How did you deal with the situation?
- Describe a project or responsibility at one of your employers that you enjoyed the most. Why did you feel that way?
- Describe a project or responsibility at one of your employers that you disliked the most. Why did you feel that way?
- Describe some tasks you know how to perform in Microsoft Word and Excel.
One CLIP user takes this last question a step further: “I give a computer skills test because I’ve been burned too many times.” It’s easy to assume everyone knows their way around a computer in this day and age. But many people simply don’t know how to use even basic programs.
Many CLIP users also recommend a “listen between the lines” approach. For example, is the candidate talking about themselves too much? Do they seem to understand what you’re looking for? Can they stay on task in the moment?
One final tip on hiring a lawn maintenance business office manager.
It’s in your best interests to hire the strongest candidate you can find. However, if you’re working within a budget, you might face a tough choice. Do you push your budget by hiring a better person or settle for your second choice?
One CLIP user suggests a middle ground. “If you cannot afford a good person, hire a part-time person at twenty-five hours a week and pay them more.” In his experience, a great part-time office manager is better than a subpar full-time person.
Hiring an office manager is an exciting milestone for your lawn maintenance business. Finally, you’re bringing in enough revenue to pay for this valuable role. So, getting to this stage is something to be proud of!
Be thoughtful about the process, but don’t forget to celebrate a little.