Top 10 Stories of 2020 - The Edge from the National Association of Landscape Professionals

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Top 10 Stories of 2020

To say that 2020 has been an interesting year is an understatement. However, through it all the industry has found ways to thrive despite the challenges. As the year winds down, let’s take a look at the top 10 most popular stories for 2020. Based on analytics, these are the stories that were read the most, so if you missed any of these, check them out!

10) Level Up: Green Lawn Fertilizing Heads into Third Consecutive Year of Rapid Growth

A new series we launched this year, the Level Up series shares the strategies that help landscape and lawn care companies get to the next level. This particular feature covered Green Lawn Fertilizing, based in West Chester, Pennsylvania, and its periods of rapid growth.

Green Lawn Fertilizing credits their growth to investing in their people, process and growth channels. The company says NALP’s Leadership Academy and Trailblazer program has helped create relationships with other industry-leading businesses, who have shared best practices.

9) Faces of the Industry: Karen Wilkinson

Karen Wilkinson is the regional vice president of the Northwest for LandCare but when she first entered the landscape industry she says it was the greatest leap of faith she could have made for her career.

“I found a passion and a great sense of fulfillment that makes each day unique,” she says. “I’ll never forget the moment I was doing a landscape audit on a retirement center we maintained. As I was approached by a husband and wife who were residents of the center, I braced myself for what I thought was going to be a list of items they deemed deficient. To my surprise, they shared what the landscape grounds meant to them, the joy it brought and how meaningful it was. They were able to clearly express the feeling the landscape gave them. That was my lightbulb moment and I was hooked!”

8) Get Organized! What a Landscape Company Org Chart Should Look Like

A landscape company org chart helps assign responsibility and accountability to your employees. It establishes a personnel framework with levels of oversight. You should write a job description for every position on the organizational chart. Your organizational chart should include job responsibilities, encourage freedom, create central control and maintain flexibility.

Having a functional organizational chart helps your people develop a career and move up as your organization matures.

7) Level Up: StayGreen Lawn Services Shares How It Became a Million-Dollar Company in Two Years

Another in the Level Up series, the feature of StayGreen Lawn Services, based in Chicopee, Massachusetts, (now rebranded to MissionGreen Services) covered how the company has only been in business since 2018 but as already reached an annual revenue of $1.3 million.

The company credits their growth to experience and leadership, effective and diverse marketing strategies and a company culture focused on exceptional service and results. Owner Mark Kelbacher says one of his crucial investments in growing the company was recruiting an experienced marketing manager who helped the company appear established during their first year through marketing.

6) Landscaper Named to U.S. News & World Report’s 2020 List of Best Jobs

College enrollment rates are dropping and are predicted to decline by 15 percent between 2025 and 2029. U.S. News & World Report released their lists of Best Jobs and Best Jobs Without a College Degree for 2020. Landscape hit the list at No. 4 best job without a college degree.

The job “is ideal for green thumbs and outdoorsy folks, and also a good calling for those who have the entrepreneurial spirit to start their own lawn care and landscaping businesses,” the magazine reports. “There is plenty of potential for advancement in this career–landscapers could move up the ranks and become supervisors.”

5) HeartLand Shares Story Behind Monumental Growth in 2019

Every year Landscape Management recognizes the top 150 landscape companies ranked by revenue. The top five companies for this year are the same as last year, but just a little bit farther down on the list at No. 14 is HeartLand, whose revenue change from 2018 to 2019 jumped up by 189 percent.

“HeartLand’s growth was powered by a combination of organic growth within our operating companies and also by adding new companies to our portfolio during 2019,” says Bill Dellecker, chief development officer of HeartLand. “We expanded from serving three metropolitan areas across the Central U.S. to seven during 2019.”

4) 6 Landscape Trends for 2020 and Beyond

Garden Media Group is seeing 2020 and beyond very clearly. Their 2020 Garden Trends Report provides a look at what consumers may demand and landscape professionals may experience in horticulture into the early 2020s.

This year’s trends should help reconnect people with nature and soil, leading to a more thoughtful approach.

3) Level Up: Hidden Creek Landscaping Inc. Says the Bigger the Better

For Hidden Creek Landscaping Inc., based in Hilliard, Ohio, their ideal company size is simply bigger. Always bigger. CEO Jason Cromley credits marketing/branding, reinvestment into equipment and better staffing as the three main elements that helped them in their growth.

 “We try to create a brand image different than other landscape companies, meaning we didn’t want to look like a landscaping company,” Cromley says.

2) 5 Coronavirus Preparedness Tips for Your Landscape Company

Early in the pandemic, we shared some simple best practices to encourage healthy habits and discourage the spread of illness.

While more is known about the disease now, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s coronavirus preparedness tips are still relevant for employers. The CDC officials based their tips on what is known about similar coronaviruses.

1) Landscape and Lawn Care Business Owners Face COVID-19 Head On

As landscape business owners face the reality of what COVID-19 could mean for their operations, many have already begun to put plans in place and face potential challenges head-on. As many believe we are still in the early stages of what this pandemic could mean for our nation — and our businesses — now is to be the time to plan ahead. We spoke to NALP members across the country to find out how they’re preparing.

Jill Odom

Jill Odom is the senior content manager for NALP.