How to Hire the Best Receptionist for Your Landscaping or Gardening Business

Sean Lund-Brown

In the business of landscaping, having someone to field calls and messages can make it a lot easier for your business to grow and succeed. After all, if you’re out there in the field, working on landscaping jobs and taking care of lawns, you probably don’t have a lot of time to answer the phone—and if you do, it’s not going to sound very professional when you’re trying to talk over the sound of outdoor power equipment. 

A lot of small landscaping and gardening companies start out without the means for these types of resources. At first, that may be okay. Having your spouse take calls and messages or waiting until you’re in between jobs or home for the day to return them, might be effective enough. However, as you grow and your business evolves, you’re going to want to make sure that your communications and customer service evolve with it. 

One of the best things that any business can do is to hire a receptionist. Of course, you have to make sure that you get the right person for the job. In this guide, we’ll cover everything that you need to know about hiring a landscaping receptionist, whether you want to add someone to your payroll or you choose to outsource the service (we’ll talk about the pros and cons of that, too). 

If you don’t have someone acting as the face of your business, you’re losing big points for professionalism. Today’s customers demand instant answers and immediate support. You can’t always be there to offer it, so you have to have the solutions in place to do so. That’s where a receptionist comes in handy, and namely the right receptionist for the job.

Keep reading to learn about what a receptionist can add, what they’ll cost, and how to find the right one for your landscaping and gardening business. And at the end, find out how the dedicated agents at Smith.ai can deliver 24/7 virtual receptionist solutions that will deliver what you need a fraction of a receptionist’s salary. 

Speaking of which, let’s start with that—the cost of hiring a receptionist for your business. 


The cost of adding a receptionist

Everyone wants to know how much it’s going to cost to hire a receptionist. The short answer is that there’s not just a single price tag here—you’re making an investment and depending on the way you choose to go about it, you could spend differently. For the average in-house (payroll) receptionist, the U.S. going rate is $10 to $14 per hour. Then, of course, you’ll also have to factor in benefits and other costs. 

Currently, a business spends an average of $4K just to recruit, hire, and train a single employee. For some, that’s an easy investment to make. For others, it might just be too much. That’s where it can come in handy to know your options and be aware of the choice of outsourcing. Of course, contracting or hiring a third-party service is about more than the money, but you certainly get a lot more than you might from an hourly employee. 

Ultimately, you have to decide what’s going to be best. Instead of spending $30-$40K on an employee for your business, outsourcing for a fraction of that could provide much better solutions for your team. Take the time to think about the rest of the factors involved, though, so you’re not choosing based on cost alone. 


Should you hire in-house or outsource?

Speaking of outsourcing, let’s talk about the great debate between the two options. There are factors that every business will have to consider for itself, but there are some guidelines that can help point you in the right direction. If you’re thinking about outsourcing, consider things like:

  • Can you afford to pay an in-house receptionist, or do you even need that much assistance? Some companies find themselves in a position where they need some professional help in the admin and reception areas, but they can’t afford or don’t have the need for an employee that’s part of their payroll. If you’re on a limited budget or you just don’t have that big of a need, outsourcing could be the way to go. 
  • Are you looking to get more talent for your money? A third-party receptionist service or outsourced contractor could provide a lot more value than an in-house employee because they can give you more services at a lower cost. Plus, you’re not paying overhead and other expenses, and you’re not limited on talent based on who’s available within your area. You can find better receptionist solutions, thanks to the Internet, when you go virtual. 
  • What kind of services do you want or need? If you just need a basic receptionist, hiring someone on your staff could do the trick. However, if you want dynamic solutions from a team of professionals that can act as the face of your brand, that’s where outsourcing can come in handy. Again, you’ll find more services and solutions for a lower price, and you’ll get a lot more than you would from just one new employee. 
  • Do you have the time and resources to manage an employee and delegate tasks on a day-to-day basis? If not, it might be better to outsource to a third-party service that can manage it all for you. If you hire a self-starter or someone who can take control, you might also be able to free up the time with an in-house addition, but it’s usually better to outsource to get it out of your hair completely. 

There are several different factors that you can add to this list when you’re trying to decide on the best way to proceed for your landscaping or gardening business. However, these general points should help you get a better direction in your own search for a receptionist. 


What can a receptionist offer?

Of course, this is another big question that companies have. What can a receptionist do? Everyone knows they can answer phones and take messages, but do you really know just how much a receptionist or service can help your business? You can rely on them for just about any office, admin, or customer service-related needs you have, as well as all types of communications and correspondence. 

Receptionists can handle all kinds of tasks to streamline your business and free up your time:

  • Answering and routing service requests
  • Handling after-hours and emergency calls
  • Taking messages and forwarding questions regarding landscaping services or needs
  • Answering general questions about your landscaping firm
  • Creating letters, memos, correspondence, and invoices for landscaping and gardening services
  • Managing social media and other communications tools where gardening and landscaping customers may reach out online
  • Scheduling on-site estimates, jobs, client and vendor meetings, and more
  • Writing up and executing maintenance and ongoing service contracts 
  • Maintaining the office, including equipment and supplies
  • Maintaining virtual files, data, and more
  • Maintaining relationships with vendors, clients, and others 

You can even have receptionists handle things like scheduling, lead intake, and other tasks that don’t really require your dedicated attention but have been eating into your free time that should be focused on running your business. 

Essentially, there’s not much a receptionist can’t do for your business, which is what makes them such a great asset to have. When you’re trying to hire the right person for the job, here are some things to look for. 


Receptionist skills and qualifications

When you are looking to hire a receptionist, you’ve got a lot of different things to consider. The skills that they bring to the table, obviously, are going to be of the utmost importance. Their ability to work with computers, phone systems, and office filing systems will be valuable, of course, but their soft skills are where your focus should be. You’ll want most employees to have these kinds of skills, but it’s especially important for receptionists. 

Look for things like communication skills, flexibility, and a can-do attitude. When you find people who are already skilled in things like communication and who can adapt to changes quickly, you’ll be on the right track to getting the receptionist solution that your business needs. 

Make sure that you consider skills and qualities like:

  • Personable, friendly attitude
  • Adaptable and flexible
  • Customer service and conflict resolution skills
  • Relationship building skills
  • Can work in a fast-paced environment
  • Can switch gears quickly
  • Multitasking skills 
  • Office/computer skills
  • Confidence and take-charge attitude

You can have all the technical skill in the world in your professional receptionist and if they can’t deliver the right attitude and personality, that’s going to affect your business in several different ways. 

These elements should be at the top of your list. But what about experience? Well, that’s always an asset. However, in the world of landscaping and gardening, it’s not going to be a huge dealbreaker. You might get better solutions from a receptionist service that’s been around for a few decades, but then you also might find a top-notch solution or receptionist that hasn’t been around as long. 

Of course, you’ll want to make sure that they do have enough experience to handle the day-to-day operations of your business. They just don’t need to have 30 years of previous work history under their belts. 


FAQs for hiring a receptionist

To wrap up, let’s look at some frequently asked questions and answers that will help you clarify a few more things about hiring a receptionist. Every landscaper has different needs and we’ve tried to cover as much as we can here, but it’s a lot. Therefore, we’ve collected a little more information in the form of questions and answers to help you better understand your options. 

When do I hire a receptionist? 

There’s no right or wrong time, and honestly if you’re thinking about it, it’s probably high time to go ahead and hire someone. If you need help fielding calls and messages, or even if you just want to give your business a more professional image, you can do that by adding a receptionist. Then, you’ll be able to focus on the landscaping part of your business, as it should be. 

Where should I look for a receptionist?

Depending on the type of receptionist that you’re considering hiring, you have a few different options as to where to look. You can find receptionists for your business on job boards, in local classifieds, and sites like LinkedIn. You can also research third-party providers and companies that offer virtual receptionist services online by doing a Google search for them and seeing what’s out there. It depends on what you want, but you’ll have no shortage of places to look. 

Should I hire someone with landscaping experience?

There’s no real need to focus solely on those who have done landscaping in the past—the details of the industry can be taught over time. What can’t be learned are those skills we talked about earlier—personality, professional demeanor, and the ability to handle relationships and communications as needed. The receptionist experience is far more important here, so focus on that. 

What is a virtual receptionist?

A virtual receptionist is someone that works remotely and provides all the same services of an in-house receptionist, but without the physical presence. In many cases, these individuals and companies can integrate with your software and work through the cloud to keep everything streamlined and make sure that they have access to everything that they need. This can be done for a fraction of the cost of hiring someone in-house, too, which can make a big difference. 


Get more from your receptionist solutions when you partner with the team at Smith.ai

You’ve got a business to run, but that doesn’t mean that you have to do it all. Hiring a receptionist can be an asset but outsourcing to a team might offer even more value. For starters, when you partner with the dedicated agents at Smith.ai, you’ll get full-service solutions for phone calls, live website chat, SMS and Facebook message answering, and so much more. 

Let us handle the calls, chats, and other admin needs while you’re building your business and giving your clients the services they deserve. We’ll even help you create a dynamic strategy to manage all of it, regardless of your needs. 

To learn more, schedule a consultation to discuss what the 24/7 virtual receptionists at Smith.ai can do for your landscaping or gardening business. You can also reach us at hello@smith.ai or (650) 727-6484. 


Sean Lund-Brown

Sean Lund-Brown is a current Marketing Assistant for Smith.ai. A graduate from Metropolitan State University of Denver, Sean graduated with a BA in Music and an individualized degree in Teaching Vocal Pedagogy.

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