5 Questions: John Mohns

June 15, 2022 -  By
Photo courtesy of John Mohns

Graphic: LM Staff

John Mohns

President, Benchmark Landscape, Poway, Calif.

1. Tell me about Benchmark Landscape and how you made your way into the industry.

We’re a commercial landscape contractor servicing San Diego County out of three branches. We’ve been in business for 38 years. Our company mission and vision are to operate professionally, provide high-level service and workmanship and be a great employer. We have 40 employees who have been here over 20 years, and we have 15 employees who have been here over 30 years. Growing up, I mowed lawns, raked leaves and pulled weeds in the neighborhood. I went to college and studied horticulture. I fell in love with the landscape contracting course path. I wanted that to be my career. I worked with a couple contractors the first five or six years; then, I started Benchmark with a partner. I can say today that I’m one of the lucky ones who has a career that I love.

2. Tell me about yourself. Do you have a family?  

I’m married. We’re celebrating our 40th anniversary early next year. We’ve got one daughter; she’s 32 and lives up in San Francisco. We’re a small family. I grew up in Los Angeles and my wife grew up in the Bay area. We met in college at San Luis Obispo — that’s our favorite getaway. We’ve been in San Diego for over 40 years. I like to go to the Eastern Sierras here in California. I’m learning how to fly fish, and I have a Harley-Davidson — I like to get out on a road trip a few times a year with friends.

3. Congratulations on making the LM150 list! What does being on the list mean to you?  

I guess No. 1, it’s rewarding to be on the LM150 list. In anything in life, there’s a little competitiveness. When you look at an organization that you’re a big part of, that you’ve grown from nothing … there’s a lot to be proud of. You’re not going to be on this list if you’re not successful and strong. I’m proud that we have such a good team that we’ve been able to build something that is professional, strong and successful. It’s amazing, and it’s amazing to look at the list and see so many companies are doing the same thing … and some of them are so much bigger. It’s an incredible industry.

4. What trends are you seeing with your customers in the San Diego area?

Inflation and cost management come to the top. Our customers are willing to pay a little bit more. They understand what’s going on with the economy. But I don’t think anybody wants to pay for what inflation is really doing to us. It’s a balance. We get a little relief from our clients. We just have to be more efficient and productive as a company. We also have to be more understanding right now that our margins are going to be challenged. It’s more competitive today than it was yesterday.

5. You have two 35-year employees retiring soon. How does that make you feel? 

It’s amazing to think that someone has committed their career to this organization, an organization that I’m fortunate to lead. Any business owner has taken a lot of risks to build a business. But you don’t do it by yourself. To be able to keep a team together — not everybody, some people come and go — but you have a nucleus that becomes like a family.  

This article is tagged with , , and posted in Five Questions, From the Magazine, June 2022
Seth Jones

About the Author:

Seth Jones, a graduate of Kansas University’s William Allen White School of Journalism and Mass Communications, was voted best columnist in the industry in 2014 and 2018 by the Turf & Ornamental Communicators Association. Seth has more than 23 years of experience in the golf and turf industries and has traveled the world seeking great stories. He is editor-in-chief of Landscape Management, Golfdom and Athletic Turf magazines. Jones can be reached at sjones@northcoastmedia.net.

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