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Industry leaders share what business is like during COVID-19 in a Jain webinar

May 20, 2020 -  By

Jain Irrigation recently presented a webinar entitled “The State Of The Landscape Industry During COVID-19,” in which industry leaders described what business is like during COVID-19.

Richard Restuccia, vice president of water management solutions for Jain Irrigation, was joined by Chris Sabbarese, digital marketing and communications manager for Corona Tools, Jerry DeJournett, vice president of West Coast for Landscapes USA, and Shawn Connors general manager of south division for Horizon Distributors.

Business has been strong for Corona Tools. But, Sabbarese says the fortunes could have been very different for his company as it shares a name with the virus.

“We have remained busy, and it’s just been overwhelming that in the face of this pandemic, we happen to share the same name that really could have gone in two different directions,” he says.

Connors says the industry is fortunate to be deemed an essential business but “my division was impacted more by the weather” in Q1 of the year. By Q2, there was “some belt-tightening in the maintenance segment.”

Horizon Distributors keyed in on one unified voice across the company, noting “any great safety program starts with great communication.”

DeJournett says business has been different depending on the region: The East Coast has been more heavily impacted than the Midwest and West Coast in terms of business. Selling new maintenance contracts have been the issue, he says, noting many HOAs are not meeting to approve new service contracts.

“Irrigation is going out the door like it has never done before,” he says. “All of our irrigation guys are booked out weeks in some cases months.”

DeJournett says this is likely because homeowners spending more time in their yards and property. And, communication is critical during a time like this, where he says his company has put an extra emphasis on communication and service. Landscapes USA has also passed out care packages to clients that include hand sanitizer and masks with the company’s logo on it.

“Anything that we can come up with that we think would help their environment,” he says.

His crew has a packet that they take with them out in the field on service calls that has documents from the California Landscape Contractors Association that includes information about being an essential worker in case any client would have questions.

DeJournett also says the pandemic expedited his company’s transition to technology with the use of tablets, especially for the company’s irrigation techs. They use an app that provides a GPS timestamp to show that the tech was on the site, and all maintenance employees are encouraged to photograph the sites before and after. Property managers can approve the enhancements through the app in real time.

“We know the customers aren’t seeing the job, and we want to make sure they’re not having to take our word that it was completed in the manner that we proposed,” he says.

The full webinar is available to view on Jain Irrigation’s website.

Christina Herrick

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