Software company lends a hand to contractors in need of funding

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Lawn care service truck (Photo: Gingko Landscape Management)
Lawn care service truck (Photo: Gingko Landscape Management)
More funds The LMN Lend application took Budrow five minutes, and he had the amount in four days. (Photo: Gingko Landscape Management)

These are booming times in the lawn care and landscape industry. The only thing slowing some companies down might be their own success, along with a lack of available capital to make the necessary moves to grow the business.

Landscape Management Network (LMN) is a business management software company for the lawn care and landscape industry. The core of the company has been online tools like payroll reporting, scheduling and credit card processing, but in working with its clients, the company heard a common complaint: Many banks considered the green industry an industry to avoid.

“Obviously, our product is strong on helping customers budget,” says Mark Bradley, CEO for LMN. “What became very apparent is many banks aren’t interested in dealing with landscape companies, especially seasonal ones. We looked a little closer and saw a product to create.”

The resulting product was LMN Lend, which became a reality in October 2021. Bradley says the company wants to help the industry grow with an easier path to get equipment, seasonal cash flow, inventory loans and accounts receivable loans. According to the company, LMN Lend has received more than 200 applications since going live and has helped secure more than $2 million in funding to contractors so far.

Hot market

“Landscapers have a lot of demand right now,” says Joel Schaubel, senior vice president of lending for LMN. Schaubel comes to LMN from the heavy equipment industry, where he worked in distribution. Schaubel recalls a phone call he got from a customer in South Carolina who needed an influx of $100,000 to keep up with the demand he was experiencing and preparing for this upcoming season.

“He needed to add a loaded truck and a crew,” Schaubel says. “He knew the return on investment. We were able to provide him with a lot more than he came in for, and at the end of the day, he’s going to grow his business and bring that (work) backlog in tighter.”

Buying ahead to save

Chris Budrow is the owner of Ginkgo Landscape Management, Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada. His company provides landscape maintenance to commercial clients with multiple locations.

His company, like many, wanted to expand its storage facilities to purchase material when the price is best and store it on-site. That motivated him to try LMN Lend.

“It’s impossible for us to get topsoil in April and then again in November and December, so I thought, why don’t we get the money so we can build a space, have access and then extend our own season,” Budrow says. “If I get the soil in June, it’s $220. The same load in November is $380 … it just makes sense (to store it). I’d gladly pay 10 to 15 percent (in interest) or more for something that’s going to make my business make 50 percent more.”

“It’s funny, you think about needing financing in times of recession. The truth is, with things booming the way they have been, contractors are growing at a breakneck pace,” Bradley says. “Often, these companies are growing faster than their cash flow. We see 30,000 startups a year in the landscape space, and a lot of companies come to us for advice. Lending happens to be a natural evolution of LMN. Once you build a budget, you realize you need some money to expand with equipment.”

Schaubel adds a lot of it comes down to knowing the industry and trust.

“We hear from our customers that the trust component is what they like best,” he says. “We’re not going to look at you funny if you say you’re doing Christmas lights. We’re not just about loaning money; we are about the success of the landscape industry.”

Photo: Seth Jones

Seth Jones

Seth Jones is is editor-in-chief of Landscape Management, Golfdom and Athletic Turf magazines. A graduate of Kansas University’s William Allen White School of Journalism and Mass Communications, Seth was voted best columnist in the industry in 2014 and 2018 by the Turf & Ornamental Communicators Association. He has more than 23 years of experience in the golf and turf industries and has traveled the world seeking great stories.

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