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LCOs share why they’re big fans of early order programs

October 3, 2022 -  By
Both Brummel and Taussig fondly recall games at Kauffman Stadium, home of the Kansas City Royals. (Photo: LM Staff)

Both Brummel and Taussig fondly recall games at Kauffman Stadium, home of the Kansas City Royals. (Photo: LM Staff)

As the calendar turns to September, lawn care operators (LCOs) ready their rosters for 2023 thanks to early order programs (EOPs). While EOPs can be a challenge for some LCOs to commit to — whether it’s hesitancy to plan that far ahead, lack of space to store products or general reluctance — we spoke to a few LCOs who see the advantages early order programs provide to their operations.

Nick Brummel, CEO of Brummel Lawn and Landscape in Blue Springs, Mo., and Derek Taussig, landscape designer for Taussig Landscape in Manhattan, Kan., share how EOPs keep their operations in the game.

Brummel is relatively new to EOPs. This year will be his second season enrolling his full-service, primarily commercial business in them. Following last year’s supply chain issues, he said he took a close look at the offerings. Brummel says while some EOPs require upfront payment, the terms are easy to plan around with cash flow.

“Now, we’ll never look back,” he says. “It makes it so much easier to know what your costs are.”

MVP of the EOP

For Brummel, the MVP of the 2023 EOPs is Roundup. When he saw prices increasing for the herbicide, he knew he had to secure the best price possible. Early ordering from his distributor made that a reality.

“We got it for a third of the cost it is right now,” he says. “We’ve saved ourselves a fortune. For us right now, that’s been our big home run.”

Fertilizers, a three-way herbicide, preemergent herbicide and seed are also in Brummel’s EOP lineup.

“Everything that we know that we’re going to use in quarter one or quarter two is kind of the stuff we’ve been bringing in,” he says.

Taussig orders LESCO products through SiteOne for his full-service, primarily residential business. He takes EOPs deep with fertilizers, seed, preemergent herbicides and insecticides.

“To be able to have my program together for the whole season and I don’t have to go get anymore is a big game-changer,” he says.

With 250 lawn care customers, Taussig says it’s critical to lock in those prices now as fertilizer costs continue to increase. He said it’s nice not to worry that his products could be unavailable in season and he might not be able to deliver the program he sold to his customers.

For Taussig, having extra storage helped him get ahead in the count when it comes to EOPs. He recently opened a new shop that gave him extra room to take on more products earlier than needed. He also added additional storage.

“I bought two shipping containers,” he says. “And I’m able to put a whole bunch of product in the shipping containers, close the doors, lock it up, it’s secure, it’s dry, you don’t have to worry about it.”

In the books

Both Taussig and Brummel say they plan to participate in early order programs again this year to secure the best prices and terms as early as they can. They say the prices offered through early order programs and the financial terms help them plan better for next year.

“We’re looking at the added benefits of the price, so we didn’t have that curveball of (a price increase) get thrown at us,” Brummel says.

As LCOs prepare for EOPs, Brummel says it’s important to read up on trends and monitor what’s going on in the market.

“Listen to the market reports and read the trade magazines and see what’s coming down the pipeline,” he says. “We’re looking to buy Dimension super early, just because they’re giving great incentives to do it.”

Taussig says this year, the bill for an EOP hit after he bought a truck which caught him a little bit off guard. But he’s learned his lesson and still sees the value EOPs bring to his business.

“We’ll do a bigger EOP,” he says. “The terms on those are all different, some of them are pay in advance and you get a better cash deal. So, I will try to pay in advance for more things.”

This article is tagged with , , and posted in 0922, Featured, From the Magazine
Christina Herrick

About the Author:

Christina Herrick is the editor of Landscape Management magazine. Known for her immersive approach to travel from coast to coast in her previous stint as senior editor of American Fruit Grower Magazine, she uses social media (Twitter/Instagram @EditorHerrick) to share her experiences on the road with her audience. Herrick has a degree in journalism from Ohio Northern University. She can be reached at cherrick@northcoastmedia.net.

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