Turf Magazine - September, 2012
Keeping It Green: When We Share We All Get Better
The landscaping/lawn service industry is a sharing industry. There are no secrets to success in this business. Just follow the example of folks that have built and run successful companies. If you're not a direct competitor, chances are many of them will tell you exactly how they're doing it. It's that simple. Dan Foley, who founded and built a successful Boston-area landscape company that he eventually sold to Brickman, once described the process as conducting your R&D i.e. rob and duplicate.
In that light, I'm sharing some great information to help you to improve your companies. Let's start with a short recent posting from Mike Rorie, who also built a successful landscape company (the largest in Ohio at one point) that he eventually sold to the Brickman Group.
Under the heading of "4 Ways to Determine If You Are Over-Diversified," Rorie shares these thoughts:
Audit your invoicing - Know exactly what you have billed for. You should know how many, what size and what kind of thresholds you have if you do this. For example, you will know how many invoices under $500, $1,000, $10,000, etc.
Audit your customers - Look at what each customer brings to your company each year. Evaluate the cost to provide them service to determine if you should service someone: How far away from the office are they? How demanding are they? How do you bill them.
Audit your revenue - Determine where your revenue comes from. If you have several profit centers, you need to know which one is in first, second and third place. If you are losing money by participating in one segment of the business, you are probably too diverse and you should eliminate it.
Audit your fleet - If you have too many profit centers, you will have too much equipment. If you decide to take on a job that requires you to bush hog a field, and you have to buy a bush hog to do the work, is it worth it to take on the job?
I "borrowed" this information from the Greenmark senior manager's Linkedin site. Check it out by going to http://linkd.in/Q8VAyN.
Of a more seasonal nature, you may find the information that David Groleau shared on the Austin Outdoor blog earlier this month to be useful. His "3 Landscape Tips for September" include suggestions that apply to landscape pros in just about every part of the country.
Prepare your turf for the winter by applying preemergent herbicides before winter weeds even begin to develop, he advises. Don't wait until the ground freezes or you'll risk polluting groundwater and local waters, he advises.
Also, September is an excellent time to seed lawns or replace sod, writes Groleau. Warm weather, relatively long days and moderate temperatures provide great growing conditions for young turfgrass. Don't forget to water to get turfgrass established before frost arrives.
Check out the Austin Outdoor blog, which has other great ideas on it, by visiting http://bit.ly/OTTWRS.
If you have information that you feel is valuable and would like to share with our 70,000-plus subscribers, please let me know. We'll pass it along. Sharing makes us all better.
Broadleaf Herbicide Trials at The OSU Turfgrass Field Day
So much is happening in the green industry these days that we're expanding the amount and quality of information to you digitally. Click on the links to the valuable "online only" information we've prepared for you this month. Also, for cutting-edge discussions on green industry contractor issues and equipment, join thousands of other contractors and grounds pros on , the green industry's premiere Lawn Care & Landscaping Business Forum.
More Great Information Online
Researchers at The Ohio State University share what they're seeing with the newest weed-control products. This is excellent information for anybody tasked with keeping their clients' turfgrass weed-free and attractive. Click on http://bit.ly/NMhOfe
Drought Slows But Can't Stop Growth
Most Texas landscape professionals got hit by the double-whammy this season: one of the worst droughts to hit the state since it was an independent republic and weeks of incredible heat, day after day of 100-plus-degree temperatures. In spite of it all, they survived and some even managed to grow, reports writer Carol Brzozowski. Click on http://bit.ly/TXidZ3.
Conversion Mowers Added to Propane Incentive Program
The Propane Education & Research Council (PERC) has expanded its popular Propane Mower Incentive Program, which offers a $1,000 incentive for the purchase of qualified new propane-fueled mowers, to include a $500 incentive for qualified mowers that have been converted to run on propane. Click on http://bit.ly/OZ3r5K.
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