Key Landscape Certification Points to Share with Customers and Colleagues

Landscape Certification consumer brochure coverIf you’re Landscape Industry Certified, letting customers know what that means and why it’s important is as easy as keeping these talking points at the ready. Review the following key landscape certification points, commit them to memory and make sure to proudly state that you are certified in your profession as a landscape or lawn care expert.

Take pride in your certification achievement! These talking points are conveniently located in the certification toolkit.

Being Landscape Industry Certified demonstrates that I am… Continue reading

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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

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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

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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

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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.

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Web Marketing for Landscape Companies: Q & A With Brian Kraff, Market Hardware

Top 5 burning questions on website marketing for the landscape industry - A Q&A with Brian Kraff

NALP recently had a chance to pick the brain of Brian Kraff, the co-founder of Market Hardware, a provider of small business website marketing products and services that cater specifically to the landscape industry. We asked him our top 5 burning web marketing questions.

Bring your questions to his session at LANDSCAPES 2016 in Louisville this October, where he will speak about Web Marketing in 2017, Four Keys to Unlocking Maximum Profitability. Continue reading

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NALP Field Trip with Marty Grunder is a Sell-Out Success

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It has been a little while since NALP has done facility tours and education in different locations around the country, but at your request it is back and better than ever!

This week, we traveled to Chicago to team up with industry powerhouse Marty Grunder for 2-days of networking, education and an in-depth facility tour and case study of Mariani Landscape, the largest private landscape contractor in the county. The event was so popular, in fact, that it was sold out!

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If you missed the NALP Field Trip with Marty Grunder, don’t worry, you can see Marty at LANDSCAPES 2016; also plans are in the works for more NALP regional education in Atlanta and Dallas this winter.

Thanks to the sponsors of the NALP Field Trip with Marty Grunder: Bartlett Tree Experts, Gravely, and John Deere.

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5 Actions That Help Neutralize Price Concerns


What to do when your competition low balls you and you are feeling pressure to lower your prices?  Don’t panic says LandOpt President and CEO Tim Smith.

The following are five actions Smith recommends to help neutralize price concerns: Continue reading

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H-2B Filing Tips


At this point in the year, many landscaping businesses need to focus on preparing and submitting prevailing wage determinations which will ultimately be used to support the processing of H-2B applications for the upcoming 2017 Spring season.  The Department of Labor recently conducted a public webinar on filing tips that will help to ensure timely processing.  Here are their top 3 tips:

Do not wait!  File your prevailing wage request as soon as possible.  The validity period for obtaining a prevailing wage determination using the Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) Wage Survey will be good through June 30, 2017, so there is no reason to delay requesting a prevailing wage determination.  Even if you desire to use an employer-provided wage survey, it is a good practice to go ahead and request a wage determination for your job using the OES wage survey.  There is no guarantee that the employer-provided survey will be approved; play it safe and get the OES wage determination.

Be consistent in describing your job!  You should describe the job duties, in detail, to be performed by any worker filling the job opportunity. Specify the field(s) and/or product(s) involved, any equipment to be used, and pertinent working conditions. The duties provided must be consistent with and specific enough to be classified under a relevant job category as described in the O*Net publication. The O*NET task statements contained in the Landscaping/Groundskeeping position description provide a good framework.

Watch out for combination of duties!  For example, if a landscape contractor wants workers to also perform supervisory duties which are not contained within the scope of a basic landscape laborer job, then please be aware that the NPWC will consider this a combination of occupations and the prevailing wage rate associated with the most appropriate O*NET code performing First-Line Supervisory duties will be taken into account when issuing the wage determination.

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NALP Member News – Week of August 15

KLL 1388 Team 2016

Kingstowne Lawn & Landscape Purchases a 13.5 Acre Facility Outside Washington D.C.

When Kingstowne Lawn & Landscape owner Krisjan Berzins decided his growing company needed more space, he was ready to buy instead of lease space. A lot of planning and a little luck went into the search for a hard-to-come-by commercial property inside the beltway in the Washington D.C. metro region. He finally scooped up the 13.5 acre property and put a lot of work into its make-over. Berzins learned a lot through the process which we’ll share in an upcoming issue of the Landscape Professional Magazine.

Jeff Korhan Launches Landscape Digital Institute

Jeff Korhan, NALP consultant member and industry speaker, author and digital marketing expert, has launched the Landscape Digital Institute, an online digital marketing training community for green industry professionals.

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





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