Lawn Care Forum prompts peer, supplier networking

The 2013 Lawn Care Forum was held at Reunion Resort in Orlando, Fla., Nov. 13-15, 2013. Photo: Landscape Management.

Bill Leuenberger may have best summed up the takeaway of the Landscape Management 2013 Lawn Care Forum when he said, “It’s amazing, when you talk to your peers, the things you can find out about.”

Leuenberger, soil and turf management department manager at Chalet in North Chicago, Ill., was one of 34 lawn care professionals who gathered at Reunion Resort in Orlando, Fla., Nov. 13-15 for the conference.

The event kicked off with an informal welcome reception. Other networking opportunities continued with golfing, ziplining and an ATV tour.

Next, attendees engaged with forum sponsors in one-on-one supplier meetings—with Dow AgroSciences, FMC Professional Solutions, Holganix, John Deere Landscapes, PermaGreen Supreme and Quali-Pro.

Education sessions also were held and hosted by guest speakers:

  • Shaun Kanary, director of marketing for Weed Pro in Sheffield Village, Ohio, who presented “3 Tips for Dominating Online Marketing;”
  • Ron Edmonds, of The Principium Group in Cordova, Tenn., who offered “What You Should Do Now to Plan Your Exit;” and
  • Karen Reardon, vice president of public affairs for RISE in Washington, D.C., who gave a grassroots briefing.

Anthony Williams, CGS, CGM, director of ground for Stone Mountain Golf Club by Marriott in Stone Mountain, Ga., delivered the event’s keynote speech. He discussed setting and achieving Green Industry goals, referencing personal accomplishments for sustainability programs he put in place for golf courses and hotels.

Nicole Wise of Holganix participates in the ziplining activity. Photo: Landscape Management.

Add-on services panel

With lawn care professionals from nearly every region in the U.S., as well as Canada, the forum came full circle when a three-person panel spoke on the topic of add-on services in their lawn care companies, sharing differing business techniques to put specialty services in place.

Gary LaScalea, owner of GroGreen in Plano, Texas, disclosed details about pest control services—he calls his six-year-old add-on a “pest preventive program.”

“It’s a lot of that work that lawn care technicians are able to do at the same time as doing regular tree and shrub treatment at the house,” LaScalea said, and added GroGreen treats the outside perimeter of houses around the foundation with broad-spectrum insecticides via quarterly applications.

Leuenberger talked about Chalet’s specialty application program for removing bentgrass from bluegrass lawns, which it calls its Tenacity program. Since beginning the program two years ago, Chalet has added the service to 100 accounts.

“It’s pretty labor intensive,” he said. Chalet applies three applications of Tenacity within a six-week period and also slit seeds the lawns.

Rob Palmer, CEO of Weed Pro, gave a by-the-numbers explanation of his company’s success with its add-on services.

From July to August, it sold about $372,000 in special jobs through customer request or “nurturing campaigns,” whereby technicians notify customers about concerns with their property then the sales team follows up with an email about a service to fix it.

Attendees have a one-on-one supplier meeting with Quali-Pro. Photo: Landscape Management.
Attendees have a one-on-one supplier meeting with Quali-Pro. Photo: Landscape Management.

For example, the company sold 2,186 aerations through this process, Palmer said, and 526 of those customers also bought $82,000 worth of seed jobs.

A clear focus, Palmer said, is most important in managing specialty services.

“Don’t let some of those projects distract you from your core mission or what you’re really trying to do economically” he said.  “Stay with what you do best and focus on that. Learn from it and take opportunities.”

Interested in attending or sponsoring the 2014 LM Lawn Care Forum? Contact Publisher Bill Roddy at broddy@northcoastmedia.net for sponsorship details or Editor Marisa Palmieri at mpalmieri@northcoastmedia.net for content and attendance details.

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