One of the first things I do in the morning when I sit down at my desk is check the forums at www.Lawnsite.com. One of the threads that struck me this morning was an LCO saying that he is ridiculed by a neighborhood teacher because of what he does for a living. It seems as though he is looked down upon by the people in his neighborhood as a blue collar worker.
I guess most people don’t realize the education and experience that goes into this profession. These days, most people who enter into the lawn care industry have a college degree in a related field—you need to know more than just how to get on a tractor and mow a lawn. There are rules and regulations to stay on top of—federal and state, as well as some town ordinances—pesticide licenses, water restrictions, soil health, etc. Then, there’s the many varieties of turfgrass that are susceptible to so many diseases and insect damage. You have to know what type of grass you’re caring for, how high or low it can be mowed to stay healthy, favorable growing conditions for each variety, when to aerate, what kind of fertilizer to use—and how much—whether to sod or seed, how to get rid of weeds and so much more. Plus, you have to know how to care for the ornamentals and plants that keep a client’s landscape as aesthetically pleasing as it can be.
On top of that, you also have to know how to run a business!
Sean Adams, vice president of our online communities, did just that. He grew his lawn care business from 200 clients and six full-time employees while in college to over 600 clients and 12 full-time employees after he graduated. He believes that his education played an important role in the success of his company. He says, “Earning a degree was more than just a piece of paper—it taught me how to think big, how to focus on growing and managing a blue-collar business with a white-collar approach.”
There’s a great deal of skill and knowledge that goes into preparing and maintaining a healthy landscape and running a successful business. Make sure you let your clients-and potential clients—know what it takes to make it in this industry, and use your education to your advantage. Let everyone know the degrees and certifications you have and the licenses you hold, and use them to market yourself as a trained expert in the industry.
It’s time to let everyone know you’re not just the person who does the yard work!
Amy K. Hill