Stop Working Below Your Pay Grade

Oct 19, 2020 | Income, Leadership

As a successful landscape business entrepreneur, you need to stop working below your pay grade. In order to grow, focus on the $200/hr and the $2,000/hr work, and start delegating the $20/hr and $50/hr work. 

There are four levels of work you need to familiarize yourself with. The first two levels are where business owners often get trapped and slow down the growth of their business, whereas the last two levels will help you significantly ramp up the scale and value of your landscape business. 

Level 1. Transactional Work

Transactional Work typically pays in the range of $15/hr to $35/hr.

Examples of Transactional Work includes general administration, billing, collections, data input, buying plants, and doing mechanic work. Surprisingly, this can also include office-based estimating and selling of simple services.

You may be good at some of these or feel like you should help out, but you are leaving money on the table by not delegating and shifting your focus. 

Level 2. Value Adding Work

Value Adding Work ranges from $35/hr to $75/hr. It’s the work that you may think you should do to keep overhead lean, but it diverts your attention from the more important Business Building Work. 

Examples include writing complex proposals, doing complex estimates, reviewing job cost reports, ordering detailed custom products, reviewing insurance proposals, etc.

While these activities are critical, and you may be very good at them, true entrepreneurs realize that building their business (the next level) adds even more value.

Level 3. Business Building Work

Business Building Work pays on the level of $100/hr to $200/hr.

This level includes developing high-value strategic relationships, setting up a budget to bolster growth and profitability, leading your strategic planning session, recruiting the highest-level people to work for you, starting up a new division, setting up incentive systems, and mentoring your highest level leaders.

These are true “working on the business” activities that are also sometimes done by Chief Operating Officers and General Managers.

Level 4. Enterprise Transforming Work

Enterprise Transforming is valued at a range of $1,000/hr to $2,000/hr, plus or minus.

This highest level includes negotiating acquisitions, buying and developing property, ensuring a systematic framework is in place to have the company run without you, educating yourself on next-level thinking, setting new positioning strategies to shift your company’s direction in the marketplace, and succession planning.

(Again, some entrepreneurs will hire a professional CEO or COO to take responsibility for some of these.)

Your challenge:

The biggest challenge is balancing your time among the four levels, but the truth is you will be more effective if you limit your role to the top two levels, while only working in the lower levels by exception. It is a process, and you must grow into it.

Take this a step further (see figure, The Four Levels of Work). 

  1. Reflect on your past couple of weeks; how many hours did you spend in each of these four levels?
  2. Set a dream for which business-building and enterprise-transforming roles you need to fulfill this fall and next year.
  3. Identify what you can delegate and to whom, to remove the lower level activities from your plate.