10 Questions to Ask Before You Terminate an Employee


NALP HR and legal advisor, Richard Lehr, Esq., of Lehr, Middlebrooks and Vreeland, shares his top suggestions of things you should think about before terminating an employee.  Lehr and his team are available to consult with NALP members as a member benefit. 

1. Did the employee know the job was at risk? Sometimes a manager will
say, “Well, he should have known.” Although it is true that an individual should
inherently know that certain actions, like theft, lead to termination, do not assume
that an employee knew the job was at risk if the issue is one that has been
progressive in nature. Notifying the employee that termination may occur unless
there is improvement is one of the most important steps to help the employer
avoid employment disputes. A termination based on attendance, attitude,
performance or behavior should not be a surprise. Continue reading

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Join the NALP-PAC Collegiate Football Challenge


Louisiana State University is Currently in First Place in the NALP-PAC Challenge!

This football season, we’re providing NALP members with an opportunity to not only advance the interests of landscape professionals but to support their school of choice with our Alumni Challenge, a head-to-head competition to see which schools’ alumni and fans can raise the most for NALP-PAC, the National Association of Landscape Professional’s Political Action Committee. Continue reading

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11 Tips for Training New Employees


Jeffrey Scott, NALP consultant member, and author and owner of his own business development consultancy, shares his top tips to get new employees off to the right start. 

1. The First Impression
You get one chance at setting the first impression with your new hire – make their first (half) day count. Do you have them do any of the following?

•Read and sign off on your policies.
•Do safety training, hands-on training or video training from your own firm or from outside sources like the National Association of Landscape Professionals (landscapeprofessionals.org).
•Review your company’s quality manual showing photos of the right and wrong way to do things.

2.  Assess New Employees in the First 3 Days
Assess your new hires before, or right after you hire them.

•During the interview process, by taking them to your shop for a hands-on interview, or putting them to work on a crew on a per diem basis and let them “show you” their skills.
•After you hire them, have the foreman assess them for competence & culture. Competence relates to the skills they possess and at what levels. Culture relates to them being a good fit for your values and company norms. Give your foremen a check list and grading system. Let him tell you in the first 3-5 days if the new hire is a keeper, and what skills he needs remedial training on. Continue reading

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What are Landscape Business Owners Grateful for this Year?

With Thanksgiving on our minds, we asked our landscape and lawn care member companies what they are grateful for this year.


“At Environmental Enhancements, Inc. we are thankful for our great employees that help provide a memorable service for our clients. The passion that they show for their work is seen in the responses we receive from their family and friends.”

-Fred Peratt, Owner, Environmental Enhancements, Inc., Sterling, VA

“An AMAZING year! We are thankful for amazing staff that really bought into our changes and goal setting. And, we have blown those goals away! We love our people!”

Erik Lowes, President, Lowes’ Landscaping & Planted in Stone Landscape Supply, Cuba, Missouri

“I’m thankful for being able to provide a quality living for our employees. I’m ecstatic when I see them pursuing a hobby or buying a home for their families. They certainly earned it, but it feels great to know that our passion makes their dream possible. And I’m thankful for employee feedback. Their feedback has helped us improve so much in the past two years and each week we have new strategies to try or new endeavors to tackle thanks to their creativity and advocacy. They are the reason we have a 4 day a week -10 hour a day schedule April thru October.”

Nikos Phelps, Owner, Utopian Landscapes, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania

“I am thankful for the fact that I come to work every day excited to be there. Sure we have tough days, but I am very fortunate that I love what I do and that helps me embrace those challenges.”

Brett Lemcke, VP, R.M. Landscapes, Hilton, New York

“I’m thankful that I decided to follow my passion which led me to choosing the landscaping industry as a career. Not only is it a blessing to be able to spend much of my time outside, it’s very gratifying to know that my employees and I have a role in enhancing our clients’ experience with the great outdoors.”

Shayne Newman, President, YardApes, New Milford, Connecticut

“I am thankful that my business allows me to show my children that people from all walks of life can provide for their families in our industry.”

Joy Diaz, Executive VP, Land Care, Inc, Las Vegas, Nevada

“I am so thankful and grateful that we are able to give back everyday…that we are given the opportunity to design and build beautiful landscapes and outdoor living environments that enhance or affect someone’s life or experience in a special, beautiful way!”

Barb Stropko, Owner/V.P.  New Desert Gallery, Inc., Tuscon, Arizona

“I am thankful to be a part of industry filled with business owners so willing to share their time and experience with others. Klausing Group would not be where it is today if it weren’t for the mentoring I’ve received from so many NALP member companies.”

Roscoe Klausing, CEO, Klausing Group, Lexington, KY


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Why Wouldn’t You Want a Mentor?


Author Rod Dickens talked with Michael Becker an NALP Trailblazer Peer Mentor, and his mentee Casey Hurd about their mentoring experience. Now is the time to sign up for a mentor in 2017. 

Trailblazer Michael Becker, Landscape Industry Certified, is offering something special for his new mentee, Casey Hurd, Greenscapes Land Care in Still Pond, Maryland. The owner of Estate Gardeners in Elkhorn, Nebraska, is sharing more than 30 years of industry experience.

“After being in business 23 years and in the industry more than 30 years I can appreciate the need for another perspective,” said Becker, whose favorite question to ask mentees is “what keeps you awake at night?”

Casey’s answer is one that is universal throughout the industry, added Becker, how to find people to grow your business. Continue reading

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How Will the Election Affect Industry Advocacy Efforts?


Laurie Flannigan, of DCLRS, NALP’s government relations firm, boils down the potential impact of the election on our advocacy efforts on behalf of the industry. 

As you are most certainly aware, as a result of the Nov. 8 election, Donald Trump will be America’s 45th President and Republicans have retained control of both the House and Senate. Republicans will also continue to hold the majority of governorships across the country. Republicans hold 33 governorships and the party will have control of all branches of state government in at least 25 states.

Below are a few points to note in relation to NALP’s advocacy efforts: Continue reading

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Five Social Trends for Landscape Professionals to Watch In 2017


Daniel Levine, trends guru, executive director of The Avant-Guide Institute, and featured speaker at the upcoming NALP Leaders Forum, offers some insight into trends you can capitalize on in 2017. 

To understand what’s trending, and why, landscape professionals need to look outside of their own industry to see what’s exciting their customers. That’s because trends are not specific to any one industry. They reflect needs and desires that your customers want answered in all parts of their lives, including the clothes they wear, the cars they buy, and the landscaping decisions they make. It’s about lifestyle: how they see themselves, and how they want to be perceived by others.

“In short, trends are the grand forces that motivate people to purchase products and services as well as make all kinds of lifestyle decisions. Unlike fads, which can be shallow and temporary, here are five trends we are tracking for 2017 that can be successfully harnessed by landscape businesses to win customers and increase sales.”

  1. The Rise of “Meaningfulness”

Political and economic  uncertainties of 2016 will continue into the next year, causing people to re-assess what is really important to them. The answer will be things like self-improvement, personal growth, physical and mental health, making soulful connections and being socially responsible. In short, “meaningful experiences” that endure, without regard to the ups and downs of bank balances. Landscape businesses can benefit from this trend by marketing their services as a means to achieve stable personal environments that foster “togetherness” “friendships” “calm” and “happiness”. Continue reading

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The Benefits of Mentoring are a Two-way Street

Willamette Landscape’s Matt Triplett, Landscape Industry Certified, has mentored a half dozen or more landscape professionals during his tenure as an NALP Trailblazer. His most recent mentee, Tim Buiten,  of Tim’s Complete Landscape Management in Kent, WA, recently spent two days at Willamette’s facility in Tualatin, OR.

“Tim spent eight hours touring our place and talking with staff members and then another day in our office where we shared policies, procedures, and even our employee handbook among other operational details,” noted Triplett. “Later, we welcomed Tim as part of our team at this year’s LANDSCAPES, introducing him to industry veterans, attending seminars, and walking the trade show.”

Triplett plans to visit Buiten’s company in December and has also invited his mentee, whose company is located a few hour’s drive away, to attend this year’s Northwest Landscape Expo with his team. Continue reading

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Year–End Review Tips for Landscape and Lawn Care Companies


NALP consultant member, Monica Muir of Muir & Associates, LLC, provides some good guidance about how to conduct a year-end review.

While the year’s not over yet, you probably have a somewhat good idea of your year-end numbers.  As you look back over your year, take the time to list what worked – and what didn’t. Here are a few recommendations to help you review 2016 so you can plan for 2017: Continue reading

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DOL Posts Overtime Rule Preparation Resources

On October 17, 2016, the Department of Labor Wage & Hour Division (DOL) in partnership with the Small Business Office of Advocacy presented a webinar entitled, “Preparing for the Overtime Final Rule.” DOL provided a briefing and a Questions & Answers session regarding the agency’s final rule that makes changes to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) overtime regulations. This Final Rule is effective on December 1, 2016.

A recording of the webinar is now available at: https://www.dol.gov/WHD/overtime/final2016/webinars.htm. Or on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dn0Eo09nA0M. DOL will post a transcript of the Questions & Answers portion of the webinar soon.

DOL has created other resources to help small entities comply with this rule, such as a Small Business Compliance Guide, which can be found at: https://www.dol.gov/WHD/overtime/final2016/. DOL also has a hotline for compliance questions at: 1-866-4-USWAGE (1-866-487-9243)

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