Tuesday, 20 February 2018

Posting The Right Content On Social Media

When it comes to what you post — that’s where a lot of folks go wrong. As Diller mentioned, landscape contractors often just re-post content they see from a fellow industry professional who they respect. But that isn’t doing anything to help your business.

“You can’t post the same content that another landscaper is posting and then expect to be viewed as remarkable,” Diller says. “If companies want to be seen as remarkable — as different from everyone else out there — then they have to do something different.”

Diller says that comes in the form of posting original content that is also valuable to the reader. Value is the key piece.

“With Facebook you can now ‘like’ someone’s brand but hide their content,” Diller explains. “If you’re constantly filling up their newsfeed with content that they don’t deem valuable, they’re going to hide you. That makes it even more important to only post content that people are going to care about. Any time you go to make a post, you should ask yourself: ‘Why does this matter to our followers?’ If you can’t answer that, you shouldn’t post it. The posts you’re making cannot just be valuable to you.”

Where a lot of companies fail with social media is when they make their posts too “salesy.” Diller says when companies use social media to try to sell to customers, rather than engage with them, they are likely to get tuned out.

That’s not to say they will fire you as a service provider, but you’ll miss out on opportunities to engage with them on the more personal level that social media offers.

Diller goes on to quote Donald Miller, CEO of StoryBrand, a company that helps businesses clarify their messages, who says, “companies are notorious for marketing to external problems, but customers truly buy because of internal problems.”

“Instead of selling programs and services, you better be marketing a solution that makes your customers become the hero in their own story,” Diller adds. “They won’t buy your lawn care program, but they will buy a yard that neighbors envy and that wasn’t a hassle for them to get. That’s a brand people will be less apt to hide in their newsfeed.”

Phelps says she approaches social media with a lot of empathy, trying to always think about what posts might offer their customers some helpful advice. For instance, last year, the team frequently encountered cicada killer wasps in the field, which are large and scary-looking wasps. Knowing the team was seeing them frequently, Phelps figured homeowners might be, too, so they did some research.

“We found out that for as scary as they look, they really don’t bother humans unless provoked in some way,” Phelps says. “We shared what we found with our followers on Facebook.”

Baisley also uses social media to post helpful content. In fact, he even posts downloadable e-guides, tip sheets and short videos. Some of this content even shows folks how to do work themselves.

“We provide a ton of DIY content,” Baisley says. “That might sound counterintuitive, but we’re positioning ourselves as the experts. And, at the end of the day, people have busy lives and often hire a professional. They appreciate you for showing them how to do it — how to solve problems — but they usually end up wanting you to do it for them.”

Staying away from salesy posts is also important to Level Green. Mayberry says he would never post sales content on Facebook.

“I never use it like a sales tool as that would go against our company’s values,” Mayberry says. “We are constantly touting the fact that communication with customers is one of our biggest selling points; that we are frequently in touch with them and get to know them on a more personal level. If we then tried to go sell through social media, we would be completely losing that personal connection we believe sets us apart.”

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Proposed New York Law Could Raise Labor Costs

Proposed New York Law Could Raise Labor Costs

I recently became aware of pending legislation in the state of New York that, on its face, seems egregious in nature as it targets snow contractors and landscape contractors — unfairly, in my humble opinion. As it already stands, it is becoming harder and harder for snow and ice management contractors to squeeze out a viable profit. Now the powers-that-be in the state of New York are going to make it even harder by making companies pay for employees not to work.

The legislative change would revise the call-in pay requirements of the Minimum Wage Order for Miscellaneous Industries and Occupations (12 NYCRR Part 142 at §§ 142-2.3 & 3.3). Included in these revisions would be some specifics for being called-in for work. An employee who by request or permission of the employer reports for work on any shift shall be paid for at least four hours of call-in pay.

An employee who by request or permission of the employer reports to work for any shift for hours that have not been scheduled at least 14 days in advance of the shift shall be paid an additional two hours of call-in pay. An employee whose shift is cancelled within 72 hours of the scheduled start of such shift shall be paid for at least four hours of call-in pay. An employee who by request or permission of the employer is required to be in contact with the employer within 72 hours of start of the shift to confirm whether to report to work shall be paid for at least four hours of call-in pay.

This is going to be a huge hardship for weather-dependent companies. Depending on interpretation, if there is the threat of snow, and you put your staff on alert that they may have to go to work if/when it snows, you get to pay them four hours whether it snows or not. Or, if a landscape contractor has to send people home after reporting for work because a thunderstorm pops up and no landscape (or tree care or lawn care) work can be performed, you get to pay the employees for four hours work even if they do nothing.

In discussions with snow and ice contractors based in New York, their fears include:

  • Having to pay an additional two hours of call-in pay for unscheduled shifts. Snow contractors depend on the weather to work. They often have no advance notice of when it will snow and how to schedule work.
  • Paying for four hours if a shift is cancelled due to no snow. Again, they are at the mercy of the weather.
  • On-call pay: Having to pay for four hours of pay per day just for being on-call? This industry depends on calling in their team members when it snows. They are concerned with the burden and/or passing on the costs if they have to pay every person for being on-call all winter long.
  • This ruling is to take effect in the middle of this snow season. With no advance notice, snow management contractors will be unable to alter pricing to pass on the inevitable increase in costs to do business since signed contracts are already in place.

Additionally, just how does a snow and ice management company pass this expense off to their customers? I can just imagine sending an invoice to X-Mart for a half plowing even though no snow fell. How do you think THAT will go over?

I tend to wonder what genius came up with this new employee benefit. I’ve spoken to several snow and ice management contractors in New York state, and not a one of them found these new rules to be business friendly. However, I suppose that’s not unexpected given the state of affairs in New York.

Visit PlowSite.com for more forums on equipment, business management and technical information. Join the conversation in the largest community of snow and ice business professionals.

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Monday, 19 February 2018

Finding Opportunities For Profitable Spring Cleanup Services

A Fresh Start

For Stephen Carr Property Services, the spring cleanup work involves a lot of raking and blowing, dethatching the lawn and removing burlap that was protecting small trees and shrubs. “There’s a lot of picking things up and tidying things up,” says Carr.

Carr began offering a spring cleanup service in the very early days of his company’s operation, after discovering that it was usually necessary to do some cleanup work to a yard before the first mowing of the season. So, Carr decided the add-on service might as well be something the company can charge for in addition to the lawn mowing package.

“We charge a set price for mowing, and then we quote them a separate price for spring [and fall] cleanups,” he explains.

O’Neil Enterprises, a full-service lawn and landscape firm in Clifton Park, New York, also offers spring cleanups as a standalone service. “Spring cleanups are something we’ve always done — we try to be a one-stop shop for everything,” says owner Mike O’Neil. “Some companies include spring cleanup as part of a package, but I never do. For us, every service is separate — lawn care is one thing, fertilization is another, etc. We don’t package anything.” This approach helps him to avoid having to offer discounts, and he’s found it more profitable.

It also makes sense to treat it as a standalone service because O’Neil Enterprises is made up of different divisions with dedicated crews providing different services. The company has its landscaping crew, rather than its lawn mowing crew, handle spring cleanup work, which again makes sense because the cleanup includes not only debris removal, but also landscape-related work like plant trimmings and bed treatments (including mulch and edging).

“It’s the same type of work as landscaping, just from a maintenance aspect rather than an install aspect,” says O’Neil. That crew usually focuses on spring cleanups during all of April and the first week of May. “Then, the rest of May through June we’re doing a combination of cleanups and new landscape [installation] work,” he adds.

Even in June the cleanups are a priority because it needs to be done to get the mowing crews out on properties and get the landscaping crew ready to switch gears to focus solely on more profitable landscape/hardscape jobs. O’Neil says that nearly every customer for which the company provides weekly lawn care does sign on for spring cleanup.

Pricing plans

When he first started offering spring cleanups, Carr used somewhat standardized pricing for the service, but he says he’s found that in order to make sure the work is profitable, each property needs to be carefully evaluated before quoting clients a price.

“It depends on things like how many leaves there are, whether there are acorns everywhere, how much winter debris there is on the lawn. So, our cleanups vary in price,” he states. “If I get a call and they say, ‘Hi, Stephen, I have a house on XYZ Avenue and I need a price for a spring cleanup,’ I can’t sit at my desk and throw some numbers at them or work on averages. I need to go to the property and walk around to see what’s involved before I can give someone an accurate price.”

Before

O’Neil agrees that an on-site inspection is necessary before pricing a spring cleanup job. “To be honest, the client who calls and is looking for a price over the phone, that’s not who we’re looking for,” he explains.

O’Neil says that while spring cleanups aren’t as profitable as concrete work or installing a new landscape or hardscape, they do represent a profitable part of his overall business. They’re certainly more profitable than a service like fertilization, and they’re more profitable even than lawn mowing, he says. “And mulch is the most profitable part of cleanup work,” he adds. Because mulch is included in O’Neil Enterprises’ spring cleanups, one important part of his work when quoting is to measure beds to determine how much mulch is needed. The company buys mulch in bulk and charges customers $100 per yard installed. It also is able to purchase plants from a nursery at a 20 percent discount, so if a customer wants any new plants installed as part of the spring cleanup, there’s a profit for the company on those.

After: O’Neil Enterprises’ spring cleanup services include initial trimming of plants, bed edging, mulch installation and the option to purchase new plants.

Stephen Carr Property Services also has found spring cleanup services to be financially beneficial. “I would say it’s a profitable part of our business,” says Carr. It’s a service that’s become an important part of his company’s overall bottom line.

Sales success

O’Neil says fall is the best time to sell spring cleanup services. “Whenever we do a fall cleanup — say a new client calls us and says they want leaves picked up — we always present them with their options for spring cleanup and a rough scale of price because there will be market changes in things like mulch,” he explains.

O’Neil notes that he’s the only company who is talking to them about spring cleanups at that time of the year. “In the spring, there are 10 companies talking to them about it,” he says. “If I can sell it to them and say they’ll be the priority in the spring, it shows that they’re important to us.”

Since he’s already there in person because of other work, O’Neil has found that meeting in person makes a huge difference when it comes to closing sales.

Selling spring cleanup in the fall also gives O’Neil a better idea of what staffing levels he’ll need come spring.

“It lets me know whether I might need to have some members of my concrete crew go join up with the landscape crew, so that I don’t have to wait until the end of May to have my concrete employees come on,” he says, noting that the concrete crew normally doesn’t start working in April. “I know this all months in advance, and I can tell them months in advance, too.”

Carr estimates that only about 10 percent of his spring cleanup work is done for clients who he doesn’t already provide lawn care services for.

“We usually only do that if they are neighbors of clients or we provide snowplowing services for them or we have some other connection to them,” he notes. “Otherwise, we need to take care of our regular customers first and then we can take care of additional people if we have the time.”

Carr says that doing a good job on a spring cleanup can be a way to make a good first impression and get your foot in the door with a new customer, who might later request some other lawn or landscape service. “Any service you do, if you provide a good service, you’re going to have an opportunity to do more business with that customer,” he says.

Cleanup challenges

Carr points out that spring cleanup work is very labor-intensive. Aside from running a dethatcher [his company uses a Walker mower with a JRCO dethatcher on the front], most of the work has to be done by hand and there aren’t many shortcuts.

Rakes are a go-to tool for spring cleanups, and even the other equipment that’s used that is powered — blowers and power brooms — is still handheld. So there’s not much about the work that can be automated, and this needs to be factored into the price, as well. “There are a lot of man-hours involved in both spring and fall cleanups,” he states. “Good things take time, and you need to make sure you take the time to do a good job.”

Labor is a challenge for many companies in this industry. “I think pretty much everyone will say that, at least in this area,” says Carr. Because spring cleanup work is often the first work done to kick off the lawn and landscape season, it’s especially important to line up employees well in advance to be able to work early in the season.

“And you need to have time to train new employees,” Carr adds. That’s especially important because spring cleanups all have to happen in a relatively short window of time.

And there are environmental challenges to spring cleanup work, Carr notes. “We have late snowstorms, so that can be an issue, and then that snow melts, so there’s a lot of moisture in the ground — everything is wet. So, you have to let things firm up a little bit before you go out there, especially with equipment.”

In Maine, the work usually begins at the end of March and runs through April. “By May, you’d better be mowing lawns,” he says. “We can still do some cleanups in May, but we try to have 95 percent of them done by then.”

Stephen Carr Property Services doesn’t include mulch as part of its spring cleanup services, so it also needs time to begin putting down mulch for customers in May. Spring, after all, only lasts so long.

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Friday, 16 February 2018

2018 Product Roundup: Herbicides & Fertilizers

Fertilizer

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BASF
FreeHand 1.75G herbicide
FreeHand 1.75G herbicide has a new active ingredient for use in landscape ornamentals — dimethenamid-P — combined with pendimethalin. This combination makes the herbicide the perfect tool for preemergent weed control of annual grasses, susceptible sedge species and many small-seeded broadleaf weeds. Uniform coverage prior to weed germination and emergence ensures optimal weed control. Application to dry foliage is recommended.
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Bayer
Specticle
Specticle provides both preemergent and early postemergent control of crabgrass. It has maximum flexibility with a wide spring preemergent application window of eight weeks. Long residual control of goosegrass, crabgrass, doveweed and numerous annual broadleaf weeds including spotted spurge, Florida pusley and yellow wood sorrel.

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Dow AgroSciences
Defendor specialty herbicide
Defendor specialty herbicide is a postemergence product that controls dandelion, clover and other high-anxiety weeds early in the season to give you more time to focus on other aspects of your business. It is designed to perform in cold weather, so you can apply Defendor in late fall or early spring and see the same spring results. Defendor can be applied to cooland warm-season turf.
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Intelligro
CIVITAS WEEDfree BRAND Concentrate
CIVITAS WEEDfree BRAND Concentrate is the only hybrid selective herbicide with patent-pending microtechnology that is specifically formulated with less active ingredients to kill over 60 broadleaf weeds. This fast-acting formula shows visible injury only hours after application, according to the company. This low odor, reduced active ingredient formula decreases application time with a temporary white emulsion that identifies where product is sprayed.

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Koch Turf & Ornamental
UFLEXX
The UFLEXX stabilized nitrogen fertilizer is formulated to protect against all three forms of loss — leaching, denitrification and volatilization — allowing time for nitrogen (N) to move into the root zone and stay there longer. As a result, there is immediate green-up, followed by sustained turfgrass color for up to eight weeks, according to the company.
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Lebanon Turf
ProScape fertilizer
ProScape fertilizer is now offered with Acelepryn insecticide plus Dimension herbicide. It delivers dark green color while providing effective, season-long control against grubs and crabgrass. One granular application in the spring protects turf for the year.

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Nufarm
Millennium Ultra 2
Millennium Ultra 2 is a postemergence herbicide that provides weed control for broadleaf weeds, including clover, speedwell, ground ivy and Virginia buttonweed. The herbicide translocates to the roots, even getting to deep-rooted perennials. The formulation of 2,4-D, clopyralid and dicamba is said to be an effective formulation for broad-spectrum weed control, according to the company.
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PBI Gordon
Millennium Ultra 2
SpeedZone Broadleaf Herbicide for Turf is proven in trials to provide control of broadleaf weeds fast, including clover, plantain, ground ivy and spurge, according to the company. The herbicide delivers visible activity in hours, and weed death can occur within seven to 14 days. Highly selective in both warm- and cool-season turfgrasses, it is rainfast in as little as three hours.

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Syngenta
Barricade 4FL Herbicide
The Barricade 4FL Herbicide helps to control weeds before they germinate and helps to prevent them all season with a single application. All applications must be made before the targeted weeds germinate; Barricade 4FL will not control weeds after they have already emerged. More than 30 turf weeds are on the label; controlling summer annuals when applied as a preemergent in the spring and winter annuals when applied in the summer/fall.
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United Turf Alliance
ArmorTech TRIONE
ArmorTech TRIONE is an herbicide absorbed through roots, shoots and leaves and offers both preemergent and postemergent control of grassy and broadleaf weeds. It is often used during turf establishment and renovation projects to prevent or eliminate weeds and reduce competition with emerging turfgrass. It delivers both preemergent and postemergent control of crabgrass and can be used to eliminate bentgrass growing in unwanted environments.

 

 

Have a new product? Submit entries using our Product Form for Turf, Landscape Design Build and PLOW Magazines.

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Like A Boss: Having Culture Accountability

Mike Monde, Ruppert Landscape

As Ruppert Landscape, headquartered in Laytonsville, Maryland, has grown, the company has faced new challenges as a direct result of that growth. One of the biggest has been how to scale their culture and values in order to fit their expanding footprint. Tom Barry, president of the company’s landscape management division says that in their growth, Ruppert has sought out ways that they could ensure consistency across all locations — even as the team grew.

He says that part of the solution has come in the form of a brand-new company position that is a bit “out-of-the-box” in its thinking. The newly created position of “director of culture and procedures” — a promotion given to existing employee Mike Monde — aims to help the company to maintain the culture that facilitated their growth in the first place.

While Ruppert is a large company with multiple branches, Barry says that the goal of all landscape companies is the same — regardless of size — and that’s to make sure the entire team understands your culture and values, believes in them, and works to make them their own.

“We have been fortunate enough to experience a period of extended growth and we face new challenges as a result,” Barry says. “But our focus on our team, our culture, and our values is what has gotten us to where we are and is what will carry us into the future. With this position, we are continuing our commitment in these areas and ensuring they remain a priority and never an afterthought.”

In this new role, Barry says that Monde will draw from 25-plus years of industry experience (mostly with Ruppert) and his knowledge of the company’s history and culture to incorporate core values into everyday operations.

“He will be working directly with division management and branch teams to ensure that we are investing in employee development with training and growth opportunities,” Barry says of the role’s responsibilities. “He will also instill a sense of accountability and ownership in the company and its future. He will highlight our focus on building strong customer relationships through open communication. And he will facilitate opportunities for our branch teams to give back to our community, getting them involved on a personal level with local, hands-on projects.”

With this new position, Barry says that Monde will be dedicated to keeping “the important things” at the top of mind. In other words, the company is building in some accountability so that if they veer off track, there is someone there to course correct.

“This is especially crucial as we continue to grow, to open new branches, and to bring new team members on board,” Barry adds. “The more we are able to work as a cohesive unit, with a shared vision, the better we can serve our customers.”

Our Like a Boss series highlights some common business challenges landscape professionals face and how they conquer them. Discuss your biggest business challenges on LawnSite’s Business Management forum.

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Thursday, 15 February 2018

ASLA Now Accepting Award Entries For 2018: This Week’s Industry News

Want to keep up with the latest news in lawn care and landscaping? Check back every Thursday for a quick recap of recent happenings in the green industry.

ASLA Officially Opens 2018 Call for Awards Entries
The American Society of Landscape Architects is now accepting entries for the 2018 Professional and Student Awards, the world’s most prestigious juried landscape architecture competition. Each year, the ASLA Professional Awards honor the best in landscape architecture from around the globe, while the ASLA Student Awards give us a glimpse into the future of the profession. Entry payments and submissions must be submitted online. Award recipients receive featured coverage in Landscape Architecture Magazine, the magazine of ASLA, and in many other design and construction industry and general interest media. Award recipients, their clients and advisors will be honored at the awards presentation ceremony during the ASLA Annual Meeting and EXPO in Philadelphia, October 19-22, 2018. Professional entry registrations and payments are due by February 19, 2018; submission deadline is March 5. Student entry registrations and payments are due by May 7, 2018; submission deadline is May 21.

Nufarm Receives EPA Registration for Traction Fungicide
Nufarm Americas announced it has been granted federal EPA registration for Traction fungicide based on the novel combination of FRAC 29 and FRAC 3 active ingredients, Fluazinam and Tebuconazole. Traction fungicide will provide a new management tool for disease control and resistance management in cool- and warm-season golf course turf. Traction fungicide’s unique dual actives work on-contact and systemically within the plant to provide effective broad-spectrum control of 19 turf diseases and algal scum. It has been shown to provide strong performance against major golf course disease pressure from anthracnose, dollar spot, brown patch and snow mold across field trials in various settings. To support convenience and value, Traction fungicide will be offered in a premix formula at a price aligned with many tank mixes. It can also be applied across all golf course settings, including fairways, tees and greens.

PBI-Gordon Developing New Herbicide
PBI-Gordon Corporation has developed a new non-phenoxy, “three-way” herbicide. Soon to be branded SwitchBlade, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) registration for the herbicide is pending. SwitchBlade will feature three active ingredients: halauxifen-methyl, fluroxypyr, and dicamba. Testing has shown that, when combined, these active ingredients will provide professional lawn care operators, golf course superintendents, and sod and sports turf managers with extended post-emergence control of 34 broadleaf weeds — including clover, dandelion, and plantain.

Takeuchi Appoints New VP, General Manager
Takeuchi-US has hired Jeff Stewart as vice president and general manager, effective immediately. In the newly created role at the company, Stewart will oversee parts, service, IT, facilities and non-machine related warehouse operations. Most recently, Stewart held various roles at Alimak Hek Group in Webster, Texas, including vice president. He was previously been employed in various roles with Takeuchi, spending 13 years with the organization.The company saw record sales in 2017, and there were increases in all areas of the business and business segments.

Path in Orlando, Florida Paved with Porous Pave Permeable Pavement
Porous Pave, Inc. announced that 75,000 square feet of Porous Pave XL permeable pavement was installed by Permeable Coating Solutions, Inc. to complete the Westmoreland Shared Use Path in Orlando, Florida. The path extends for two miles along the east side of Westmoreland Drive, the main thoroughfare in Parramore. The Shared Use Path creates a safe walking and biking route for students to travel to and from The Academic Center for Excellence. The project required a permeable paving material because of poor drainage in the area and problems with stormwater runoff.

SiteOne Acquires East Coast Distributor
SiteOne Landscape Supply acquired Atlantic Irrigation, a distributor of irrigation, lighting, drainage and landscaping equipment. Terms of the deal have not been disclosed. Started in 1976, Atlantic has 33 locations across 13 states in the Eastern U.S. and two provinces in eastern Canada.

Webinar: Managing Rose Rosette Disease in Landscapes
Rose Rosette Disease (RRD) has been making an unwelcome appearance in landscapes across the United States. A virus carried by an eriophyid mite, this disease can affect all cultivated roses, including shrubs, hybrid teas, floribunda, grandifloras, and miniatures. Researchers and breeders are hard at work developing solutions to combat RRD. A free webinar, hosted by Star Roses and Plants and presented by a panel of RRD experts, will be Monday, February 26, 2018 at 1 p.m. EST. Attendees will learn: How to identify and confirm RRD, Best Management Practices for preventing RRD, and Treatment recommendations tailored for the landscape industry.

Aspire Releases Version 4.1
The Aspire Software Company has announced the release of Aspire Version 4.1. The new version includes the following features: equipment tracking through a mobile app, electronic client signatures, and improved email integration.

ASIC Chooses Award Recipients for 2018 Conference
The American Society of Irrigation Consultants chose several recipients for awards. All awards will be presented March 6 at the ASIC National Conference in Quebec City, Quebec, Canada. The following people received awards:

  • Brent Mecham earned the Roy Williams Memorial Award
  • Ann Runley Carroll earned the Ivy Munion Langendorff Women in Irrigation Award
  • Steve Hohl earned the Sam Tobey Lifetime Achievement Award

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Always Be Planning Your Company’s Future

Always Planning

I have spent a lot of time thinking about this new year. I have been planning, brainstorming and soul searching about just what I want my company, my future in this industry and my personal brand and legacy to be. It’s deep, I know, but that’s where I am at right now. My landscape company has been a friend and an enemy to me over the years. It has provided for me, my family and a host of other people like my employees, subcontractors and vendors. We have accounts that other companies would kill for — everything from national corporations, fast food chains, local businesses, homeowners’ associations and even government contracts. When it comes to commercial landscape maintenance, we have done it all.

We also have the headaches that go with all of that. With more than 25 employees on our roster, we have our share of call-offs, no-shows and other HR nightmares. Our maintenance routes have more than 300 stops per week, and with that comes truck and equipment breakdowns. If I have a truck breakdown on route A, a mower breakdown on route B and a few people missing from call-offs, my job just got a lot harder that day — and I have someone to take care of my operations for me! In addition, I have overhead to cover, an office staff and a nice facility to pay for. It all costs money and lots of it.

My company falls within the top 20 percent in this industry with sales over $1 million. We broke that barrier years ago, a goal I had, and I checked that box off. We have been in business almost 30 years, so we can check the box of surpassing the “most companies go out of business within the first five years” scenario. There are many other boxes I can check.

I have seen this industry change over the years, moving from primarily “mom and pop” to more professional, local companies to now having national companies in my market. On top of that, we have what I call the “Baby Brickman” companies — local companies that adopt the national companies’ philosophy of lower prices, more volume. In my opinion, this would be like a local store trying to compete with Wal-Mart on price and volume of sales instead of great service and quality products. It’s just not feasible and in the end it hurts local businesses by pushing down the industry’s already low pricing.

I am not 100 percent sure about what my company and future are going to look like, but I have a plan and a tentative roadmap for 2018. It’s going to look different — better, innovative, stronger and leaner than ever before. I have a plan for my personal life as well and will share more about that throughout the year.

What is your plan for 2018? I hope you have one.

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