Top 10 Stories of 2022 - The Edge from the National Association of Landscape Professionals

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Top 10 Stories of 2022

We are closing out the year with a look back at our top 10 stories of 2022. If you missed any of these popular stories that offer tips, insights, and feature profiles, now is the time to check them out!

10) Team Building: The Benefits of Conducting Exit Interviews

Ideally, you never want your employees to submit a resignation. However, if you aren’t taking the time to conduct exit interviews, you can miss out on critical information that can prevent others from leaving.

“For us, that exit interview is critical for our development,” says Daniel Garcia-Enriquez, a recruiter and human resources generalist for Mullin, based in St. Rose, Louisiana. “We want to hear everyone’s voice, want to hear everyone’s feedback, what we can improve on, and give the offboarding employee the opportunity to voice any opinion they might have. In some cases, it’s actually an opportunity for us to try and retain that employee.”

9) Effective Stormwater Management: Installing Bioswales

There are many facets to sustainable landscape practices; one aspect is effective stormwater management. If left unmanaged, stormwater runoff can result in flooding around a property and runoff picking up contaminants that ultimately negatively impact a receiving body of water. One method of stormwater management is the installation of bioswales on a property.

“Bioswales are another piece we can offer to help our clients be better stewards of the environment they pay us to maintain,” says John Backert, account manager for The Klausing Group, based in Lexington, Kentucky. “We want to sell more than just traditional landscaping; we want to offer solutions.”

8) Business Smarts: Practices to Improve Job Estimate Accuracy

If you’re tired of breaking even or even losing on jobs frequently, it may be time to review your current estimating practices. Like some other landscape contractors, you might not even have a formal estimating system.

“I would suggest to all those companies, big and small, that think they don’t have time to establish a process for estimating that they should think second about that,” says David Arnold, managing partner at Two Twelve Advisors, LLC. “Ultimately, it’s the ability to be consistent and stop losing on jobs. We can consistently be profitable on jobs.”

7) How I Do It: Cultivating a Successful Company Culture

In 2017, Ideal Landscape Group, based in St. Louis, Missouri, really started putting effort into cultivating their company culture. Their efforts to create a better culture paid off as this year, they were named one of the 2022 Top Workplaces in St. Louis by The St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Of the 2,500 companies invited to participate, 183 companies made the list, and Ideal was in the top 50 at number 44. They were only one of two landscaping companies that made the list. Learn how Ideal Landscape Group refined and maintains their company culture.

6) Business Smarts: How Landscape Companies Are Preparing for Potential Recession

While no one can know for sure what will happen with the economy over the next few years, landscape companies are not resting on their laurels. Despite having some of the best years of business recently, many are taking the necessary precautions to ensure their companies can weather the potential recession.

J.T. Price, CEO of Landscape Workshop, stresses you shouldn’t make business decisions based on a specific moment in time, like switching to electric equipment just because gas is expensive right now. Instead, determine if the changes make sense for your business and consider what will happen in the next three to five years.

5) Business Smarts: How to Build an Accurate Estimating System

When you lack a mathematical process for your project estimating, you can end up losing significantly on your jobs. While you can get away with guesstimating, this isn’t ideal for ensuring the long-term success of your lawn care or landscape company.

“They base their estimating on the experiences they’ve had or the gut,” says Tony Bass, founder of Tony Bass Consulting. “‘I think the job is going to take this amount of time based on the last job that I did that was similar to this job.’ But accurate estimating begins and always begins with the principle called production rate-based estimating. Production rate-based estimating begins with a very clear understanding of the measurements of the job site.”

4) Level Up: Natural Concerns, Inc. Focuses on Growing Their People, Not Their Revenue

Roland Harvey founded Natural Concerns, Inc., based in Sparks Glencoe, Maryland, in 1989 with the desire to provide quality landscaping services utilizing a natural approach. Currently, Natural Concerns has an annual revenue of $6 million. They don’t have an ideal company size, but they are trying to have over 100 people on staff.

The company feels that when people are given the opportunity to learn, they can appreciate the value of work, become self-reliant, accept personal responsibility and contribute to Natural Concerns and society as a whole.

3) Lawn and Landscape Companies Adjust to Rapidly Rising Gas Prices

As if labor challenges and supply chain issues weren’t enough, the recent increase in gas prices is another topic keeping lawn and landscape company owners up at night as they try to adjust to this newest complication.

The highest recorded average price for regular unleaded gas was hit in March 2022 at $4.33, according to AAA. Read how different companies have handled these increased fuel costs.

2) Mariani Landscape Expands National Footprint with Family of Companies

Mariani Landscape, based in Lake Bluff, Illinois, has experienced record growth over the last 18 months. This was driven by the company’s decision in December 2020 to become the best residential landscape company in the world with their “family of family companies.” To date, Mariani has acquired seven family-owned residential landscape companies. Each of these companies will maintain their brands and leadership teams.

“We offer premier, residential landscape firms an incredible opportunity,” says Bryan Christiansen, CEO of Mariani. “We provide owners with the ability to secure the future of their company, improve employee benefits, expand career opportunities, and offer a tremendous amount of shared resources. For anyone interested in joining us in building the best residential landscape company in the world, we would love to have a conversation.”

1) Inflation Reduction Act Features Tax Credit for Commercial Grade Electric Lawn Mowers

The Inflation Reduction Act was signed by President Biden on Aug. 16, 2022, and this new law includes a tax credit for electric vehicles. Within the definition, large commercial grade lawn mowers are included.

The tax credit is 30 percent per vehicle/lawn mower, with a max of $7,500 per vehicle/lawn mower. The credit is available for sales made beginning Jan. 1, 2023, and the credit sunsets in 2032.

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.