YouTube has changed our world. Think about it: Need to fix something? Check YouTube. Need a recipe? Check YouTube. Need business advice? Check YouTube. Enter some of our favorite YouTube channels: Blake Albertson and B&B Lawncare, Stanley “Dirt Monkey” Genadek, Kurt Kalfas’ The Landscaping Employee Trap and Tom Gardocki’s The Dirt Ninja. They are all using YouTube in various ways to either promote their businesses or help other landscape company owners grow.
A new business tool.
YouTube is a major force and it has blurred the lines between business and public perception of business. To co-mingle what is happening behind the scenes with what your customers see is not for everyone. You need to make that decision for your company. Albertson is doing both by showing his lawn maintenance videos as well as behind-the-scenes footage and general discussions of what a small business goes through. The videos helped him grow his residential lawn maintenance business, he says.
Genadek shows behind-the-scenes footage, everyday issues and jobs he is working on. You get a true sense of what he deals with but also practical advice.
Kalfas is running his business and creating a YouTube business that caters to the small business community through the eyes of a landscaper.
Gardocki uses the power of time-lapse videos to show each step of how landscapes are created from start to finish to wow customers.
If you aren’t using YouTube for your business you might want to start now. This is a very visual industry, so there are lots of opportunities to showcase your work on this platform.
All you need is a smartphone and some creativity and you will be on your way.
Stanley Genadek is the 44-year-old owner of Genadek Landscaping and Excavating, a mid-size company based in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He is also the founder of Dirt Monkey University, which includes a YouTube channel with a ton of advice, musings and educational information for landscape company owners. Genadek has been in the landscape business for over 30 years, and he is passionate and admittedly obsessive. These qualities led him to take a whole year to figure out YouTube and how to use it. He has been doing a podcast since 2014, and he would go to YouTube to look for guests and that is how he got the idea to start his channel.
Genadek has a passion for what he is doing with his channel. His advice for people who want to use YouTube is to be authentic and don’t be afraid to talk about your flaws as well as your strengths. He also says that Sunday is his biggest day for YouTube, and he gets more subscribers when he releases a video on Sunday than any other day. He releases three videos per week, and he spends Monday mornings planning out his YouTube content for the week. When asked how much time he spends working on YouTube each week, he says, “too much.”
With more than 30 years in business, Genadek has a lot to share on his channel, and he does it in a real and authentic way. He can relate to what business owners go through because he has been there, done that. He started his company from the ground up, so he knows the challenges that landscape company owners go through, but he also wants to be a resource for other small businesses. His new book, “Jack of all Trades, Master of Two,” had more than 300 downloads within the first day or so of its release — pretty impressive stuff and a testament to the power of YouTube.
Blake Albertson is 19 years old and from Kansas City, Missouri. His YouTube channel, B&B Lawncare, has almost 12,000 subscribers and his promo video has more than 45,000 views. Albertson is an energetic guy who has been in business for three years. He started using YouTube to set his company apart from the competition. His video titled “The Best Lawn Care in Kansas City, Missouri” is shot with a drone. From a sales perspective, this video shows his employees working in a high-end, residential neighborhood and highlights the work they do for customers. The straight mowing lines look even better from the air than on the ground.
B&B Lawncare also uses Instagram along with YouTube. Albertson pointed out that keeping up with YouTube and Instagram sets him apart because potential customers see new content all the time and not just the same pictures on a website. Albertson also likes to create content that could help other landscape company owners with their problems. He said you have to give people a reason to watch and make sure you have quality and current content to be successful on YouTube.
Keith Kalfas, 32, is on a mission to help people starting out in their landscape businesses. When he started his landscape company, he hit a few rough patches. At the time he realized that no one was catering online to small businesses such as landscape companies. Kalfas went on to read more than 350 books on self-development, success and business. He turned things around for his landscape company and about three years ago he started his YouTube channel called “The Landscaping Employee Trap” to help small business owners build and grow their businesses. Using examples from his business he has built a pretty impressive following of more than 29,000 subscribers to his channel. He has a straight-forward approach to helping people.
Even though Kalfas owns and operates his landscape company, he keeps his YouTube channel separate and does not co-mingle it with his landscape business. He said his content is intended to help and teach other landscape companies and other small business owners about the day-to-day challenges of running a business. He offers tips and advice on how to help them become successful in their businesses.
His following has become so large that he had so many landscapers calling and emailing him at his landscape company that he had to change his work phone number and email address because his regular customers couldn’t get through.
Andy Wilson, from Kansas City, Missouri, started his landscape company three years ago as a part-time job. While he works another full-time job right now, Wilson hopes to grow his landscape company to become a full-time venture. Wilson started his landscape business after watching other YouTube channels on landscape businesses. He decided to start his own YouTube channel to show what it’s like as a start-up in this business and to show the journey of growing his business, struggles and all.
Wilson wants his channel to be relatable for other up-and-comers in the industry, and he has already grown his channel, which is only six months old, to almost 3,000 subscribers. Wilson’s personality is kind, friendly and down to earth, which comes across in his videos. He said the channel is as much about him as it is his business, and if he can show what he does and how he does it, maybe it will give inspiration to others starting out on their landscape business journey.
Tom Gardocki, who is known as The Dirt Ninja, has built quite a following on YouTube: 22,000-plus subscribers and 13.1 million-plus video views. Oh, and he makes about $600 a month just from his YouTube videos.
Gardocki started using video in 2010 and created a following by making time-lapse videos on job sites using a GoPro. Addressing a group of landscape professionals this October at a Hardscapes North America educational session, Gardocki says his videos help his father’s company, Interstate Landscape Co., spread the word about the work it takes to create beautiful hardscapes. “This isn’t really a way to get new customers but to close the sale and get people to buy into what you’re doing by showing them what you can do,” he says.
Ready to Get Started?
When starting a YouTube channel, be sure to keep these eight recommendations in mind from Tom Gardocki, The Dirt Ninja:
- Name your channel after your business, but not another name brand, or you’ll risk getting sued.
- Don’t use mainstream music that may be copyrighted. Instead, use YouTube’s free online library where you can download legal songs.
- Before using a drone to capture overhead footage (try the DJI Phantom 3+ Professional), register the device with the FAA or you’ll violate federal regulations.
- Keep plenty of storage on your computer or external hard drives to hang onto your videos. Gardocki just sold six older videos to the Discovery Channel for $100 each.
- Gardocki recommends Adobe Premier Pro for editing software, or iMovie on a Mac, but he uses GoPro Studio to compress photos into video first.
- Set your camera up in different spots on a job site, and slow down or speed up the video to vary the speed for the viewers.
- Keep videos to about four minutes max, and put all the “after” photos at the end — this will keep viewers watching to see the final product.
- Include videos on your website, not just YouTube, so people can see the type of projects your company has completed. (See examples at InterstateLandscapeNH.com.)