Top 10 Stories of 2021 - The Edge from the National Association of Landscape Professionals

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Top 10 Stories of 2021

2021 was another profitable year for many in the industry but it has also brought priorities into focus such as creating a positive company culture and how to stay ahead of the curve. As the last few days of December remain, take a look at the top 10 most popular stories for 2021 for a snapshot of the year.  

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: Martin Landscape Trains to Retain Employees

Martin Landscape, based in Port Royal, South Carolina, currently brings in $7 million a year in revenue and has a second branch location. Owner Wade Martin says his goal is for each branch to bring in $5 to $7 million each a year as they’re working to be a $15 to $20 million company.

Growth has been steady for Martin Landscape and he credits this to being very selective as to who they work for and being involved with the company’s day-to-day operations.

9) How I Do It: Maintaining Employee Motivation

It’s natural for your employees to sometimes lose motivation, but it is your job as the company leader to step up and provide the right morale boost for your team.

“It is our responsibility as leaders/coaches/managers to be aware of how our employees are feeling and intervene when we can to lift them up,” says Peter Novak, president and CEO of Serpico Landscaping, Inc., based in Hayward, California. “It can be as simple as just a thank you or a kind word in recognition for their work that can make a difference.”

8) What Newsom’s New Law Means for the Landscape Industry

On Oct. 9, California’s governor Gavin Newsom signed a new law that orders state regulators to ban the sale of new gas-powered equipment using small off-road engines (SORE), which includes all lawn and landscape equipment, pressure washers and generators, in 2024.

The primary issue with the impending regulation is the failure to acknowledge the differences between commercial and residential uses and take into account the fact that commercial zero-emission equipment is currently not yet comparable to gas-powered SORE because of significantly higher costs, lack of infrastructure and more.

7) Team Building: Creating a Good Place to Work

When you can keep your solid employees, you are better able to grow rather than constantly having to replace your staff to maintain your current size. One major aspect of retention is having a workplace where people want to stay.

There are many competitions locally and nationally where businesses are recognized for being a “Top Workplace” or a “Best Place to Work” but what truly makes a workplace great and how do you create it at your own company? 

6) Level Up: Maldonado Nursery & Landscaping, Inc. Isn’t Slowing Down

Maldonado Nursery & Landscaping, Inc. is one of the largest privately-owned Hispanic businesses in the United States. But this San Antonio, Texas, company wasn’t always so large. Owner Jerry Maldonado and his father and brothers had to work second jobs to pay off the raw land where the company was originally located.

Maldonado credits not fearing any challenge, always striving to improve their services, expanding their service offerings, and moving into new markets, as the main keys to their growth.

5) How Supply Chain Issues Are Impacting Lawn and Landscape Industry

Every industry has been affected by supply chain struggles in one way or another recently and the landscape industry is no exception. Landscape professionals and landscape supply companies have experienced issues with raw material and plant shortages, delays with receiving trucks and equipment and cost increases across the board.

A perfect storm of different factors has caused shortages to abound. Learn how others are adapting and overcoming this challenge and their predictions for the near future.

4) Business Smarts: Should You Have a 4-Day Workweek?

With the labor market becoming increasingly tight, lawn care and landscape company owners have to consider a number of ways to differentiate themselves. One option is to offer the perk of 3-day weekends by working on a 4-day, 10-hour workweek.

Landscape companies that have opted to go this route have reported their staff is better rested, more efficient and their net income has not been negatively affected. Check out some of the considerations to keep in mind when deciding if this is the right fit for your company.

3) Business Smarts: The Pros and Cons of a 4-Day Workweek

Various industries have been considering and implementing a 4/10 schedule as a way to provide more flexibility to their employees. With many landscape companies often already working 10 hours a day, or close to it, making this change can be beneficial in a number of ways.

“For the employee, the biggest pro was the 3-day weekends,” says Bill Gardocki, former owner of Interstate Landscape, based in Londonderry, New Hampshire. “For some employees, it allowed them to pick up a part-time job if they wanted. Some decided to take their children out of daycare on Fridays, which saved them daycare costs and gave them more time with their children. The 4-day week gave the employees a mental and physical break from their job. For us as the employer, it basically eliminated overtime and the costs associated with overtime. We asked employees to make any personal appointments on Fridays so as not to affect the workweek. That turned out to be a huge benefit.”

2) Landscapes of the Month: Supporting a Community’s Commitment to Sustainability

Since 2005, Babcock Ranch, located in Punta Gorda, Florida, has been committed to building a one-of-a-kind community with a focus on sustainability and innovation.

The community is located on over 17,000 acres of nature preserves. The developer wanted to reduce the environmental impact by protecting important ecological site features like wetlands and forests. A 440-acre field of solar panels powers the community. They brought on The Davey Tree Expert Company in 2016 to help care for their entrance when they were still developing the roadways. Since then Davey’s work caring for the community earned them a Gold Award in the 2020 Awards of Excellence.

1) New NIOSH Study Shows Increase in Serious Injuries in the Landscape Industry

A recent study based on workers’ compensation data from Ohio and other states identified common factors leading to injuries and illnesses in the landscaping services industry. While the total number of injuries in the industry has fallen since 2001, the percent of serious injuries has increased from 16 percent to 21 percent from 2001 to 2017.

“Landscapers should ensure that they have identified and prioritized workplace hazards; establish and enforce safety policies and procedures within a written safety and health management program; conduct and document safety and health training that mitigates hazards; and consistently update their written program to deal with newly emerging hazards and risks,” says Sam Steel, NALP’s safety adviser.

Do you want to have a story you want to share? Contact Jill Odom to be considered for a future article.

Jill Odom

Jill Odom is the senior content manager for NALP.