Lawncare pro: Adam Linnemann

June 10, 2012 -  By
Adam N. Linnemann

Adam N. Linnemann

Starting your business as a teenager does have a few perks. Adam Linnemann, president of Linnemann Lawn Care & Landscaping started with a push mower, riding lawn mower and wagon. “I love talking with my clients and at the time when I started, most of them were elderly,” Linnemann recalls. “I would spend sometimes 30-45 minutes with them after I cut their lawn just socializing and enjoying a cold soda. If I was lucky, they would sometimes bake desserts.” Linnemann might not have that kind of time to spend with customers, now, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t focused on making their experience better.

How has the industry changed during your time working in it? The competition has really increased. There are a lot of fly-by-night companies out now, guys trying to make an extra buck on the side or after hours from their full time jobs. The technology has changed a lot as well. Equipment is way more efficient and advanced. We used to use paper time cards, we are now using Exaktime PocketClocks for attendance. Back in 1994 when I started, I could buy gasoline for under $1.

Why did you start your board of directors? I stared my board to get an insight from an outsiders view. We have a technology person, a commercial banker, and a green industry equipment supplier on our board. One benefit that my board has provided is suggestions on offering a different selling tactic. They recommended, “menu selling.” Basically offering different lawn maintenance packages in tiers. The higher the tier, the more of a discount the customer will receive. We also offer a 5% discount if the client pre-pays for the entire season.

What challenges do you see in the lawn care segment of the industry this year? In general, it’s been hard to find good qualified help. It’s also been difficult to retain our in the field team members (laborers). Other issues we are facing is that the mild winter hurt our sales goal for the year, insects are bad and out in full force and crabgrass and other weeds have germinated 4-6 weeks earlier this year.

How are you addressing those challenges? The winter we could not control. We have two available pesticide applicators this year to tackle the accounts if the weather dictates immediate action and to also help meet and exceed our client’s expectations.

How has the economy affected your business, and how are you dealing with it? To be honest, we have had record years in sales in the down economy time. It hasn’t affected us much at all, and by being mostly a maintenance company this has helped a lot. I would have been scared if I strictly did landscape installs. We do a 70% maintenance, 30% install mix.

What’s the best part of your job? The best part of my job is meeting new people and networking. I am a member of the Chamber of Commerce and president-elect of the Columbia, IL Rotary Club. Providing service to my community and globally is fun and gives me a great feeling. It’s also nice to know that I can pretty much go on vacation at any given time or take the afternoon off, due to our processes and procedures we have in place. It has taken 18 years of hard work and sweat to get to this point but has been well worth it.

Please tell me about the most significant moment in your business career. There are two things: No. 1, our first business acquisition. We bought out a lawn fertilization and weed control company that had almost 400 clients. It taught me to stick to my grass roots in marketing and customer communication. No. 2, being asked to speak at (Turf & Ornamental Communicators Association) TOCA conference was amazing. This was my first speaking event, and it was an awesome feeling and pleasure to be asked to participate. For me, it was a milestone that I hope continues to come around again in the very near future.La

At a Glance

Name: Adam N. Linnemann

Title: President, entrepreneur, Rotarian, dad and husband

Company: Linnemann Lawn Care & Landscaping Inc.

Year founded: 1994

Years in the industry: 18

Industry Involvement: Landscape & Nursery Association of Greater St. Louis

Hobbies: Part-Time Police Offer and Vacationing in Mexico

Family: Sahra Linnemann (Wife) and sons Nash and Wynn

 

This article is tagged with , , , , and posted in 0612

About the Author:

Jacobs is a former editor-in-chief of Landscape Management.

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