High Performance: Where’s the mulch?

July 13, 2015 -  By
Mulch Image: / Lilla Frerichs

Image: / Lilla Frerichs

Recently, I’ve been noticing the abundance of nice properties without fresh mulch installed yet. These same properties are typically mulched in the early spring, but this year there seems to be a delay.

Of course, there could be any number of explanations. All I know is the mulch is missing, the property looks bad and you can assume that someone somewhere has some explaining to do. Did the property manager sit on the mulch quote until last week? Did the account manager forget to include mulch in the seasonal agreement? Was mulch removed intentionally to save money? Where’s the mulch?

In many situations, the mulch delay is caused by a labor shortage. The account manager quoted the mulch. The property manager approved the mulch. There just isn’t enough labor available to get the mulch down in a reasonable time period, even with mulch blowers. The mulch is sitting in the yard, waiting to be installed. The problem is it’s now July. Savvy customers will begin asking for discounts since the season is halfway over, and disappointment may linger all the way into renewal season.

Scarcity inspires innovation. There are many reasons why the labor pool is shrinking as a percentage of the workforce, beyond the control of any single company. Realizing this fact, proactive contractors are taking intentional steps to become a magnet for talent. They know the competition for talent is fierce and that the only way they’ll attract the best people is to roll up their sleeves and tackle this dilemma head on.

For snow operators, the question this winter may be, “Where’s the plow?” For now, I’m just looking for some mulch.

Now go forth.


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Phil Harwood headshot

About the Author:

Harwood is a Managing Partner with GrowTheBench and Pro-Motion Consulting. Reach him at He is a Landscape Industry Certified Manager, NALP Trailblazer, NALP Consultant, and Certified Snow Professional. Harwood holds a BA in Marketing and Executive MBA with Honors from Michigan State University.

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