Larry Ginger is gearing up for a great year. The owner of American Lawn Care in Des Moines, Iowa, was out working until 9:30 p.m. recently, starting “round one” of his business services for his mostly residential customers. Those services include fertilizer and pesticide lawn applications, tree applications, aeration and seeding. He also employs 15 to 20 subcontractors to do mowing, spring and fall cleanups, sprinkler systems, tree and shrub pruning and snow removal.
After a mild winter, Ginger and his crews were champing at the bit to “get after it,” and now that an early spring has allowed them to do that, he foresees an even better year than 2015.
What business challenge keeps you up at night? Anything that causes my company to get behind schedule — adverse weather, employee tardiness or absenteeism, etc.
How do you plan on addressing that challenge in 2016? Get ahead of schedule during days of favorable weather (precipitation and high winds can shut us down). On windy days, work in “protected” areas.
On calm days, work in “unprotected” areas. On rainy days, work on equipment, clean trucks and conduct employee training.
What’s your Monday morning motivation? Monday is just another day. Our routes are planned the evening before (Sundays included). I take into account spray dates, timing of different lawn programs and the latest weather forecasts.
What are you most excited about for your business this spring? We experienced record numbers in 2015, and 2016 projections exceed those. All of our specialists are experienced, and all of our equipment is in tip-top shape. We were able to start one week earlier than normal due to favorable weather.
What’s the most valuable business advice you’ve ever received on LawnSite? The best advice from Lawnsite has come from its members and sponsors. Members provide expertise, experience and insight regarding fertilizers, pesticides and equipment. I have enjoyed making many friends there, too, many of whom I’ve visited in person. One sponsor has made an indelible difference for my business: Turfco (in particular, turfcobob, which is Bob Brophy, the company’s former director of lawn care products). Back in 2007, I posted on Lawnsite that I wished Turfco would make a ride-on spreader/ sprayer. A few days later, Bob stopped by with a “secret machine.” It looked very different than anything we had seen before. But before Bob even left our driveway, I was on the phone with Turfco trying to buy one. Turned out they weren’t for sale yet, but we finally got one the following spring (actually the first production model).
We now have four of these machines, some of which bring in as much as $185,000 per year each. Bob is now retired, but I visit him when I go to Arizona during the winter. I’m proud to know him as a friend.