Sneak Peek: NALP Leaders Forum in St. Thomas


Leaders Forum is always in a great location, but this year we may have outdone ourselves! We can’t wait to bring everyone to this year’s Leaders Forum in St. Thomas, January 12-14.

NALP CEO Sabeena Hickman, and Joan Haller, NALP director of events and education, just got back from a quick planning trip and their photos say it all.

Here are some things they were loving on their scouting trip:

Great excursions: There are a number of excursions in the works to take with your peers, your team, and your family. Possible excursions to the nearby island of St. John’s, a kayaking eco-tour and much more.

Amazing hotel: The Frenchman’s Reef & Morningstar Marriott Beach Resort is an a knock-out! Make your hotel reservations early – choose the field that says “attendee.” Book by Monday Dec. 12. to get the discounted rate.  Last year our conference hotel sold out.


Fantastic entertainment venues: We can’t wait to throw parties and receptions at the fantastic outdoor spots on the cliffs facing the sunset.


Island hopping: There is plenty of island hopping withing short distances, including quick 1/2 day trips to St. John’s and to the British Virgin Islands. There is even a ferry at the hotel to take you to shopping and restaurants in downtown St. Thomas. Remember, if you do island hop to the BVI’s, you will need a passport (unless of course you are British!)


That’s it for the sneak peek! We’ll be unveiling the education line-up soon.  If you are an up-and-comer or an established landscape or lawn care contractor, this is the don’t-miss-event of the year! Check out more information about Leaders Forum.

Posted in Industry Events, Industry News | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

USCIS Issues H-2B Guidance

As the result of a recent request from NALP, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services department (USCIS) issued the following recommendations for landscape professionals and other employers regarding requests for returning workers for 2017.

H-2B Employers Should Continue to Identify “Returning Workers” in Petitions for FY 2017.
USCIS urges prospective H-2B employers seeking to hire potential “returning workers” with employment start dates in fiscal year (FY) 2017 to continue to identify these workers and provide the H-2B Returning Worker Certification. Continue reading

Posted in Industry News, Legislation & Regulation | Tagged , | Leave a comment

NALP Member News – Week of September 19


Pictured in photo: Andy Miller, Dean Snodgrass, Terry Ciecko, David Snodgrass, Dani Powell

Dennis 7 Dees Raises $88,000 for Charity in Golf Tournament

Dennis’ 7 Dees, of Portland, Oregon, held its 7th annual Charity Golf Tournament, benefiting Human Solutions, on September 15. The event benefits homeless children and their families.  Proceeds from this year’s event totaled more than $88,000 – bringing the seven-year total to an amazing $500,000. Continue reading

Posted in Industry News | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

NALP Member News – Week of Sept 12


(Photo: The Landscape Center’s ribbon was cut by Lieutenant Governor Tate Reeves. Left: Jeff Peterman, Michael Hatcher, Tate Reeves, Kelly Ogden)

Michael Hatcher & Associates, Inc. of Memphis, Tennessee, opened its new 22-acre headquarters in Olive Branch, Mississippi on Thursday, Sept. 8, with more than 100 people in attendance for the a ribbon cutting ceremony, featuring Lieutenant Governor Tate Reeves, and a tour of the new 10,000 square foot facility, display libraries and 144-seat conference room.

“Our new Landscape Center is about positioning our company as a leader in the landscaping industry,” said Michael Hatcher, Chief Executive Officer of Michael Hatcher & Associates, Inc. “It’s about setting us apart in our market and educating our community in the process.”

If you are an NALP member with major company news to share, please send it

Posted in Industry News | Leave a comment

What Do all Great Design Build Landscape Companies Have?


Design/build landscape business management was the focus during the NALP Field Trip with Marty Grunder at Mariani Landscape, in August. Here are a few things we learned that all great design build companies have in common – they:

  1. Have a vision, a dream and share it with their people. Not having a vision is like going on an excellent vacation without a map.
  2. Have excellent leadership. Great leaders lead by example. They are enthusiastic and communicate well. Your team won’t like surprises. Keep them engaged and foster an environment of information sharing. Great leaders also have integrity. Even small acts of dishonesty can be very harmful. Slow down for a moment and think about the type of person you would like to work for, and be that kind of leader.
  3. Know their numbers. Great leaders know their costs. Your team needs good information to do a good job. Keep score.
  4. Are focused on quality. They are completely focused on quality in all that they do. Great companies use the best materials, put together the best teams, provide the best service, and emphasize safety.
  5. Value their team. Company owners never achieve success by going alone. They get people to support their core values and treat them as part of their team. Your team includes your employees, vendors, subcontractors, and your community. Your team is comprised of virtually anyone who can help or hurt your company.
  6. Have a process for everything. Systems enable ordinary people to do extraordinary things. McDonalds and UPS have great systems. So do firefighters, who have systems that help them save lives. How many Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) do you have?
  7. Have a sense of urgency. Owners and managers are not satisfied with the status quo. Read The High Speed Company by Jason Jennings, and find out how important change is to success.
  8. Win awards. Award plaques do more than fill wall space. They are a testimonial to your work and commitment to excellence. Awards are great marketing tools and help recognize employees for their efforts.
  9. Have their share of characters. Great design/build companies have a mix of personalities, many of whom who see things a little differently than most. Their perspective can offer an alternative, an option that otherwise would go unnoticed.
  10. Do a little more. Great companies zig instead of zag. By doing more or doing things a little differently, they set themselves apart from competition.   

How does your company measure up? If you missed him in Chicago, you can see Marty Grunder at LANDSCAPES 2016 in Louisville, October 19-21, during his Town Hall Power Session, or at his sessions, How to Attain, Retain and Entertain a World Class Workforce, and How to Build Your Right Hand Man (or Woman!).


Posted in Business Advice & Stories | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

How Do People Talk About Being Landscape Industry Certified?

Customers say certifications and accreditations are one of the top things they look for when choosing a provider. If you are Landscape Industry Certified, it is important to tout your achievement and let customers and potential employers know what it means and why it is important.

Here are some of the ways that people talk about what being Landscape Industry Certified means:
Continue reading

Posted in Business Advice & Stories, Professional Development | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

H-2B  Advocacy Fight Enters Critical Stage

capitol-22546_640Prior to the August recess, the House Appropriations Committee passed its version of the fiscal 2017 Department of Homeland Appropriations bill, which would renew the H-2B returning worker exemption for another year. The Senate Appropriations Committee passed its version of the Department of Labor Appropriations bill that would extend the H-2B regulatory relief for another year and provide additional resources for H-2B processing.

While Congress is not expected to complete work on these appropriations bills before the start of the fiscal year on October 1, it is expected to pass a stop-gap spending measure called a continuing resolution that will keep the federal government running. It is essential that the continuing resolution extend the H-2B returning worker exemption beyond September 30.

To help ensure that this happens, we are calling on all NALP members to help. Here are several things that you can do: Continue reading

Posted in Legislation & Regulation | Tagged , | Leave a comment

States Continue Taking Action to Protect Pollinators

bee-1477620_640Last week, Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton announced his signing of an executive order placing some restrictions on neonicotinoid (neonics) use. The governor’s action makes Minnesota the most stringent state in the nation when it comes to neonic use. The executive order directs the Department of Agriculture to:

• Require a “verification of need” prior to the use of neonics, where appropriate;
• Review pesticide product labels and implement restrictions, as appropriate, to minimize impact on pollinator communities;
• Increase inspections and enforcement of label requirements for pesticides that are acutely toxic to pollinators;
• Develop pollinator stewardship materials for pesticides to minimize non-target exposures; and
• Continue to develop and promote best management practices designed to protect and enhance pollinator health in Minnesota.

In addition, several other agencies have been directed to take action related to pollinator protection and the governor is forming a Committee on Pollinator Protection comprised of individuals that he appoints. It is unclear whether the executive order will impact landscape professionals or other non agricultural applicators. NALP will continue to monitor the issue closely. Continue reading

Posted in Legislation & Regulation, Uncategorized | Tagged , | Leave a comment

This Secret Will Help You Run Your Business like a Fortune 500 CEO


NALP Consultant Bill Silverman let us in on the secret to running your company like the CEO of a major corporation.

Having a multi-million-dollar business is the dream of many business owners. It’s a sign that you’ve made it. It’s the point where you’ll have enough money, time, and freedom to do what you want when you want to do it. That’s the dream. The reality is often quite different.

In reality, more growth often brings more headaches, more time on the job, more stress and less free time to do what you want.

As your business grows, it becomes more complex. You have more customers, more employees and possibly more services. The management techniques that served you well when your business was smaller, don’t work as well in a complex, multimillion-dollar business. Yet, most owners don’t adjust to these new realities. Continue reading

Posted in Business Advice & Stories | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

How to Bid a Profitable Landscape Job


Do you find that too many of your design/build jobs have a low profit bar?

At the NALP Field Trip with Marty Grunder, Marty and Frank Mariani, of Mariani Landscapes in Oak Bluff, Illinois, shared some insights to help raise the bar and your bottom line:

  • Pick the right job and client. Start targeting and marketing to clients whose projects you can make money with and with whom you enjoy working. Then, have the confidence to sell to them and never, never apologize for your price. Treat them extremely well. Survey them. Ask yourself, too, will this work lead to more work?
  • Have a selling system. Make sure the person who handles your calls understands who your ideal client is and screens accordingly. Have a prospect call sheet that prompts the question: “Where did you hear about us?”
  • Learn to say no. Saying no to jobs is something most people find hard to do. Yet as companies grow, it becomes important to do just that. Saying yes to too many jobs that fall out of your company’s service offering strength can be both distracting and unprofitable.
  • Do you know your cost? An obvious question, but some projects, especially larger design build projects, have many moving parts. Great sales people can also be great train wrecks. Capture everything that goes into the job, all material and all labor and document it.
  • Team effort. Involve your entire team with the bid and follow a process with a bid sheet. Make sure to think through different scenarios and ask the question, what if??
  • Keep score. No matter how careful and detail minded you are, some jobs will get messed up. Learn from your mistakes. One important lesson many owners and managers learn is to review variances weekly. If you’re 15 percent over budget, find out why. Discuss that with your team and fix it. If you’re under by 20 percent, there may be a quality issue that needs some attention. In either case, remember that training is not an expense; it’s an investment.

Marty and Frank shared other business-building ideas with the 150-plus owners and managers who attended the NALP Field Trip with Marty Grunder. We’ll be sharing more in NALP publications.

Posted in Business Advice & Stories | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment