- It would divert resources away from customer service to hiring, training and replacing.
- It would reduce the quality of our service and result in the loss of customers and good will.
- It would reduce our operational efficiency and negatively affect our profitability
- Our worker safety would all suffer as large numbers of inexperienced or barely experienced people would be present on each crew.
- Turnover at the 200% rate that we experienced before using the H-2B program would require that we hire and train two or three new workers every single week during a 36-week season; recruiting and hiring over 100 people just to maintain 28 positions.
- Since workers often leave without notice, we would be constantly short-handed.
Friday, December 23, 2011
The H-2B seasonal guest worker program creates and protects jobs for professional and skilled American workers
Thursday, December 22, 2011
By "value" we don't simply mean trees' contribution to the ecosystem or the fact that they beautify landscapes. Rather, we mean trees' true dollar value.
In mid-2010, the graduate student, Alejandro Chiriboga, recorded tree attributes such as trunk circumference and leaf condition among more than 3,000 of Wooster's city-owned trees. Using Forest Service software, he then totaled the dollar value of the environmental services trees provide, including reducing pollution and carbon in the atmosphere.
Chiriboga's research concluded that, annually, the trees generate $270,153 in community services, including aesthetic benefits, energy conservation, stormwater control and carbon and air pollution reduction. Chiriboga's study found that most of Wooster's street trees are young and healthy, which means they will contribute environmentally--and therefore economically--to the city well into the future.
Things in nature have always seemed priceless. So this study raises an interesting question: Can you really put a dollar amount on them? Apparently, you can. The question now is, will this experiment stop at trees? Or will it extend to lawns, shrubs and plants on the landscape?
Will mowing a lawn be deemed a loss in dollars? Will planting a flower bed boost the value of a landscape? It's hard to say. But at the very least, the OSU study has given us something new and interesting to ponder.
Thursday, December 15, 2011
|While writing this blog entry, Newhard is definitely "out." Here's his photo |
of a sunset while enjoying a meal with his family while vacationing in Maui.
Monday, December 12, 2011
"The Occupy Toronto movement trashed one of Toronto's inner city Parks. When the City issued a plea for financial support to help restore the park, one of our members came up with the idea that we as an industry should just restore the park ourselves. One email and two days of hard but very satisfying work later, 150 volunteers aerated the entire park, spread 1 inch of topsoil and sodded all 3 acres. It was an amazing experience. Everything was donated."
|The park following the day of volunteer work.|
|Here's what the park looked like following |
the Occupy Toronto protesters vacated the site.
Apparently about $60,000 in product and services was donated by members of Landscape Ontario. It's yet another example of the extraordinary people we have in our industry.
There are a couple of videos about the work at St. James Park. In one, someone put a stop-motion camera in place and with the addition of a background track ("Flight of the Bumblebees" if I'm not mistaken) created this highly entertaining YouTube video.
The good deed also got coverage from a Toronto television station. See that here.
Tuesday, December 06, 2011
Friday, December 02, 2011
It seems R&S Landscaping decided to help celebrate one of the company's long-time customer's 70th birthday by giving her a holiday lighting package. "The Hoefler family is one of our first customers so we're excited to be able to offer them the gift of this complimentary service," said Robert Schucker, president, R&S Landscaping in the Glen Rock Gatzette, part of the New Jersey Media Group. Read the full story here.
You simply can't buy that kind of good will coverage. And the grateful recipient is quoted in the article saying she makes sure every one of her neighbors knows who is responsible for the beautiful display. What is it they say about word-of-mouth referrals?
We don't know if R&S has received any direct new business from the publicity, and we're not suggesting you go out and provide free services every year, but when the right opportunity comes along, it might be worth the investment.
Thursday, December 01, 2011
A few weeks back we heard about the incident of a family that was busted by a Safeway security guard when they forgot to pay for a sandwich their famished daughter ate while they were shopping. Read the details of that incident here. Well, Safeway is at it again.
This time, at store in Northwest Washington, a girl was threatened with arrest and forced to sign a paper acknowledging she is no longer welcome in Safeway stores for eating some apricots and then putting the bag back on the shelf. That might seem a reasonable solution if not for the fact that the hardened criminal in this case only 4 years old and hadn't yet learned to read or write.
The company has apologized and relieved the security guard of his duties, and the store's divisional president offered to take the girl around the story (including a visit to the bakery) to show her the grocery store is not a scary place. While the hire ups were quick to react and ultimately did the right thing (read about the story here) it shows that common sense isn't as common as we might like.
I'm not sure how you teach common sense or instill it in your employees, but if those on the front lines of your business don't have it, you could be in trouble. These incidents certainly aren't going to close the food chain's doors, but it's not really doing them any favors. I can only imagine if my kids were still that young, I'd hesitate to walk through those doors. And that can't be the kind of feeling any business wants to provide its customers.
Wednesday, November 23, 2011
|VP of Sales Pat Roberts helped free the mower |
from the bog-like conditions in which it was mired.
That all changed one morning for one of our fearless executives. Pat Roberts, our VP of Sales, was waiting for his morning train (which was late as usual) when he heard the strained roar of an engine and the mumblings of a very frustrated landscaper. It seems the eager city contractor found himself stuck in some mud after an all-night rain. Pat watched for a moment as the worker valiantly tried to free himself from the slimy morass. Pat knew what he had to do.
Pat assessed the situation, and without any thought to his own safety leapt into action. With Pat's help, the contractor was able to free the machine from the muck's gooey clutches, and left our fearless hero with a little dirt under his fingernails, on his shoes, pants and shirt.
Somewhere out there is a contractor who breathes a little easier (and so can we all) knowing there are people like Pat willing to risk a pair of freshly polished Bruno Magli's to help his fellow man. (Really, I have no idea what brand of shoe Pat wears). But the city of Shaker Heights, OH owes Pat a debt of gratitude and at least a shine.
Friday, November 18, 2011
Like many companies, their conference contains the ubiquitous large table and matching chairs. Only in this case, one of the chairs was a little different.
This seat was upholstered with a different fabric and had a sign hanging over it that read: "Reserved for our customer's point of view."
A lot of companies talk about staying customer-centric, but clearly Kichler is shining a light on the concept. Of course just having a chair with a sign doesn't mean the company automatically focuses on customers. That still takes conscious effort and persistence, but I suspect having that visual cue serves as a regular reminder to at least try to think about issues from the customer perspective.
And maybe that's why Kichler is able to report record breaking sales in 2011.
Tuesday, November 15, 2011
Sitting less than a mile from one of the Great Lakes (Erie) it's sometimes hard to remember there are places in the world — places in this country — where water is much more scarce. Professional landscapers are stewards of the environment. There's no question our industry plays a huge role in the protecting this most precious resource.
The folks at Rain Bird understand that, too. That's why Landscape Management and our sister publication Golfdom supported Rain Bird's Intelligent Use of Water film competition earlier this year and we plan to do the same with a new program, the Intelligent Use of Water Awards.
Rain Bird will award a total of more than $50,000 to projects that "uses water efficiently, promotes green spaces and is an example of sustainability." Individual projects can earn $1,500, $5,000 or $10,000. Simply put the contest is open to, "anyone with a water conservation project in need of funding."
Entrants submit their projects to the contest website where the public votes on the projects it thinks are most important. As of this writing their are only six projects available to vote on, but since the contest just started, we don't think there will be so few projects to consider in the near future. You can vote on projects or submit your own here. Voting ends March 15, 2012.
According to the contest website: "Once a project is submitted it is made available for public voting, meaning anyone can anonymously cast their vote for their favorite project. All projects can be anonymously voted on by visitors (one vote a day per project, per individual user), and the projects with the most votes in each funding category will be awarded a combined $51,000 in grants to be used towards the completion of their winning project. Winners will be announced on World Water Day – March 22, 2011."
We'll do our best to check in on the contest during the next several months. So check back here periodically for updates. Let us know if you've entered the competition. We'd love to hear about the water project you think is worthy of some prize money.
Thursday, November 03, 2011
Do you think it would be too brazen of me to call the piano tuner and ask him to stop at Winn Dixie and bring me a small carton of 2% milk on his way over here? I would pay him back:
2 people like this.
Jane LOL Go for it.
Ben Not at all! How about some "tune-a-fish" too?
Tim Um. Yes?
Diane Ha ha ha ha ha, so funny! But seriously, how well do you know him? This might start a trend with service people!
Joe You'd have to leave him a" note"
Diane Badaboom - cchh! Ladies and gentlemen, Joe and Ben will be here all week!
Jayne hahahahahahahah!!!! hahahahahaahahah!!
Mary Go for it. I'll bet you have a 50-50 chance of getting the milk! Make sure you have some cookies to give him while he is there!
My question is: How would you feel if one of your regular customers called the office and asked the crew to pick up an item or two on the way to the job (assuming there was a store along the way)? Is this something you'd consider a reasonable request for a good customer? Is it something you'd be willing to do once or on rare occasions?
What have you done to go that extra mile for a customer? Feel free to leave your comments below or send them to me at: email@example.com.
Monday, October 31, 2011
|Joe Auteri, owner of Joseph Auteri Hardscape Consulting|
took home a new iPad 2 courtesy of LM by posting the
low score in a 3-way, five-hole shoot out.
Contestants earned their scores by playing three holes of Wii Golf on the beginner setting. Scores ranged from 2 under (three contestants earned that score sending them to a playoff) to 9 over (much closer to how I play in real life).
The three finalists played a five-hole contest on the expert setting. The winner was Joe Auteri, owner of Joseph Auteri Hardscape Consulting located in Rohnert Park, CA. Joe took home the iPad 2, which was "the highlight of the trip," he said.
Of course, maybe after he reads the October issue, he'll change his mind and declare that the highlight of his trip, right? No, I didn't think so. But it is a darn good issue if we do say so ourselves. If you like, you can check out the digital version of the issue here.
|The calm before the storm. A shot down |
an empty aisle shortly before the show opens.
|STIHL's lumberjack competition always |
brings out a crowd —even if it was a bit chilly.
- First the economy. There was a lot of talk about the recession and how to best deal with it.
- Second, social media. It's finding new ways to make its way into our lives and businesses.
- Third, technology. Machines are becoming ever more sophisticated. They're improving our efficiency and productivity, driving our businesses to greater profitability.
Friday, October 21, 2011
There's always a mix of excitement and dread before the big Green Industry show. Excitement because it's an opportunity to see some old friends and touch base with new ones (and perhaps raise a glass or two in their honor).
It's an opportunity to see the latest products that make our lives easier and help us do our jobs better. There are myriad educational opportunities (many of LM's columnists are presenting at the educational portion of the show). You can download the full list of conference's events including the educational programs in PDF format here here.
In addition, there's always some time to eat a few good meals and maybe, just maybe, visit one of Louisville's interesting attractions (Louisville Slugger Museum, Muhammad Ali Museum, Fourth Street Live, etc.)
The dread comes because it usually means long nights, early days and lots and lots of walking. My advice to new attendees is where comfortable shoes. But even with that, it's a good tired, because you come away feeling like you've done and learned a great deal.
This is a big show with more than 17,000 participants expected arriving from more than 20 countries. They and the more than 750 exhibits will fill the 425,700 sq. ft. exhibit hall and the 19-acre outdoor demo area. In other words it's big. GIE+EXPO always seems to be growing, last year incorporating the Hardscape North America show. There are press conferences and demonstrations of all sorts throughout the show.
Feel free to stop by Landscape Management's booth #3018 if you get a free moment. Let us know what you think of the magazine, suggest a story idea or just to say hello. Of course, you might have to leave a card. There's a pretty good chance we'll be out on the show floor wearing out that pair of comfortable shoes.
Wednesday, October 19, 2011
The company has been using Sprint/Nextel for about 10 years. Most of the units are direct connect and a small number of them have phone service. The company also uses the Nextel GPS in the units to track technicians. The question is primarily one of cost. Should the company continue with the Sprint/Nextel approach or use another method.
1. Since all of the employees have their own phones, should the company pay for the Sprint/Nextel service?
2. What are your thoughts on using the GPS (Commettracker) on the phones versus installing GPS on the vehicles themselves?
A couple of issues come to mind: Is there a problem if you're using employees' personal phones for work related purposes. Are you going to pay for all or part of their service. Are you now liable to replace the phone if something happens to it.
Is there an ethical issue of tracking employees through a personal cell phone. They're not on the clock 24 hours a day.
We'd like your feedback. How are do you handle these issues. Your insight is much appreciated. Feel free to leave a comment here or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thursday, October 06, 2011
While more people around the world will remember Jobs for his technology innovations, you'd be hard pressed to find anyone who had as wide an influence on the Green Industry as Burt Sperber.
I only had the opportunity to speak with Mr. Sperber a few times over the years, but his affable nature was clear. He was friendly and generous with his compliments. And after talking with others in the industry — those whose lives he influenced — it's not too much a stretch to say the world of landscaping would be vastly different had he not been a part of it.
Look for more on the life of Burton Sperber in the October issue of Landscape Management.
Monday, September 26, 2011
We had a little trouble identifying this little visitor in the photo above.
With a little help from our sister publication Pest Management Professional and one of the publication's contributors, Gerry Wegner, we got this description of the creepy crawly.
"This is a leaf-footed bug, Leptoglossus oppositus, looking for a way to get into the building in preparation of overwintering. It is a fall invader."
Wegner is the Technical Director, Staff Entomologist for Varment Guard Environmental Services Inc./ProGuard Commercial Pest Solutions.
So this little bug is really bumming the office out -- not so much because it's unpleasant to look at, but more because it's a harbinger of the season to come.
Friday, September 16, 2011
According to a report in the Oregon Salem-News, the landscaper noticed that a boulder was missing from a turnaround near a local IKEA store. The man then followed scrape marks the boulder had left in its wake all the way to one of Portland's interstates.
Hearing the news harkened me back to my mom's 60th birthday celebration, a National Lampoon's-like family trip to Door County, WI. My nephews were 2 years old at the time, and my mom thought it would be fun for them if we drove to Wisconsin in an RV. Why, I don't know.
When my dad and I showed up to pick up the small RV he'd reserved just outside Chicago, we found that the company had mistakenly reserved a 35-footer for us. In case you're trying to picture it, it was the size of a yacht. When we met up with the rest of my family downtown, my mom was so worried about the RV's size that she forbade anyone to drive in it.
That would have been fine, except that it's illegal to park an RV in Chicago. So my dad had to drive the RV to Wisconsin--by himself. The rest of us followed in two separate cars--my mom and I in one car and my brother and his family in the other. Every time we turned a corner, we had to wait for my dad to follow; the RV was so huge, he could never make the turn the first time.
And so it went throughout the 9-hour drive down highways and one-lane roads. Our drive began in daylight and ended at 1 a.m. And it ended with a flourish--with my dad driving the RV right over a decorative boulder at the resort's entrance.
He dragged the boulder up the long drive and across the parking lot, where the boulder became wedged so tightly beneath the RV that the camper came to a halt. I awoke at 7:30 a.m. to the sound of a jackhammer pummeling rock.
The best part about the whole thing was that my mom's car broke down the last day of our trip.
She rode in the RV with my dad on the way home. The kids rode with my brother.
Tuesday, September 13, 2011
Mothers everywhere cringed at the very thought, their minds filled with worry about broken arms, but the allure was too much. Even as adults we might encourage our children to remain earthbound, but we struggle with the thought ... because we know. We know what it's like to dangle our legs from high above, to sit with a cool breeze gently rocking us on our perch, to relax without a care.
That's why it's nice to see a celebration of those trees. The Cultural Landscape Foundation (TCLF) has put together a traveling photography exhibit — 2010 Landslide: Every Tree Tells a Story. The exhibition features 26 images of 12 different locations in the US and Puerto Rico, opens Sept. 16 at 21c Museum, Louisville, Ky., and runs through Jan. 8, 2012.
Landslide: Every Tree Tells a Story is an exhibit that travels around the country and will be open to those visiting Louisville, KY during the GIE+EXPO. The Davey Tree Expert Co. is the presenting sponsor.
Here's what the website says about the Louisville exhibit at the 21c Museum:
Olmsted Parks and Parkways ‐Louisville, Ky.
This system consists of three flagship parks (Cherokee, Shawnee, and Iroquois) and the six parkways that connect them, all designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, Sr. and his sons. For more than three decades, the Olmsted firm shaped the city — 18 parks and 14.5 miles of boulevards in all — each designed in deference to natural topographic attributes. Today some 6,000 trees from the Olmsted design era provide the city its mature tree canopy. Photography by Bob Hower.
For more information about the exhibition, click here.
Friday, August 26, 2011
The Intelligent Use of Water™ Film Competition invites filmmakers from around the world to promote the urgent need for water conservation. Now that we've narrowed our almost 150 entries down to the final six, we need help from Green Industry professionals like you.
Vote now for your favorite film. The finalist with the most votes will earn the 2011 Green Industry Award of $6,000. For each of the first 2,000 votes received, Rain Bird will donate $1 to the Ground Water Foundation. As a thank you, the first 2,000 voters will also receive a FREE Rain Bird hat. Click here to view our six finalists and cast your ballot.
Wednesday, August 10, 2011
There are six films vying for top honors ($6,000) in The Green Industry division. Voting is taking place now and your input is welcome.
Vote for your favorite here.
Friday, August 05, 2011
An article in the Seaway (Cornwall, Ontario Canada) News newsletter highlighted a program designed to put youth (here defined as between the ages of 15 and 30) into the landscaping trade. It's a program called "Youth in Landscaping," which is part of the Canadian government's Individual Skills Enhancement program, which is all part of Service Canada.
In this case the youth spend three days a week in the field and two in the classroom learning everything from CPR and resume writing to the finer points of hardscaping.
For more on the program, read the full article here.
Monday, July 25, 2011
Even as hundreds of landscapers from around the country descended upon Arlington National Cemetery, the place seemed quiet and still.
Even as they dug, hammered, limed, aerated and cabled, the cemetery resounded with an uncanny peaceful hush, as if the cemetery itself is as resilient as those it holds once were.
Perhaps it was the row upon row of white gravestones, situated in symmetrical straight lines.
Or the grass, so well kept it’s still green in this sweltering summer.
Or the stately towering old trees that show no signs of withering.
Or the striking contrast of green and white everywhere you look.
For whatever reasons, the scene’s all very picaresque, even when you come to the shocking realization that those graves all hold the bodies of people who once were very much alive, people who made the ultimate sacrifice for our country.
The landscapers were at the cemetery as part of the Professional Landcare Networks’ (PLANET’s) day of Renewal & Remembrance, in which landscapers from across the country flock to D.C. once a year to landscape Arlington National Cemetery.
The Renewal & Remembrance effort embodies the very traits of Arlington National Cemetery itself: duty, honor and strength. Every cemetery is sacred. But there’s something about Arlington that feels just a little more powerful, a little more historic, a little more majestic than the others.
Few tears were shed. There was no laughter, either. Just reverence. For the 15th annual year, landscapers paid their respects in the best way they know how: through their work.
Wednesday, July 13, 2011
Monday, July 11, 2011
NASCAR inundates your senses from every direction. The best way to describe it is to show it through pictures and video. Thanks very much to Warren and Polly and the rest of the folks behind the GIE Expo for hosting us on Saturday! Amazing!
Thursday, July 07, 2011
Bruce Allentuck of Allentuck Landscaping recently participated in the Death Race, something that can only be described as one of the most physically and mentally challenging, events ever devised. And Bruce participated not only voluntarily, but eagerly.
Bruce details the experience in his blog here. All we can say is congrats to Bruce for undertaking such a monumental challenge.