Columbus, Oh. -- The Ohio Nursery and Landscape Association Board of Directors and Staff announce the rollout of CENTS University, a fresh new approach to educating the green industry at the CENTS Marketplace convention each January.
ONLA President David Richards states, “CENTS University represents the vision of ONLA to provide world-class education about the business and green issues of greatest importance, and to deliver it with unparalleled excellence, effi ciency and cost-effectiveness.
CENTS University will reach out not only with continuing education, new research and business-critical information, but with the passion and devotion that make what this industry does so much more than a livelihood.”
After its successful 2014 Show, the ONLA Board of Directors and Staff immediately began plans to enhance the quality of its education program, while making the process more efficient and cost-effective for participants. Education will continue to be available to exhibitors, just as in previous years.
+ CENTS attendees will access world-class continuing education from the nation’s best colleges and universities and green industry professionals as well as nontraditional experts, speakers, authors, business professionals and peers who offer a unique and pertinent viewpoint
+ Coverage of topics that attendees and exhibitors - such as landscape, nursery, turf, arborist, garden center, and others - see as critically important
+ More cost-effective educational opportunities at CENTS
+ Streamlined, tech-friendly registration and payment operations
Kevin Thompson, ONLA Executive Director adds, “CENTS University marks the next World-Class Education for the Green Industry Managed by The Ohio Nursery & Landscape Association generation of empowering professionals through meaningful learning. As those whose business depends on the success of the green industry, we are fortunate to have a community of supporters that is dedicated and driven. And our mission is to grow that community. With CENTS University, we are offering a world-class green and business education program worthy of the CENTS name. We continue to be motivated to make CENTS Marketplace of even higher value to exhibitors and attendees, making CENTS the one convention they can’t afford to miss.”
The CENTS Marketplace Convention will take place at the Greater Columbus Convention Center in Columbus, Ohio January 7-9, 2015.
RALEIGH, N.C. – Lewey Landscaping & LawnCare, a Triangle-based, full-service landscaping and lawn care company, has announced that co-owner Kim Lewey has been named a 2013 Urban Rebound Raleigh-Durham Awardee by Count Me In for Women’s Economic Independence. Count Me In is the leading national nonprofit provider of resources, business education and community support for women entrepreneurs. This year, the organization named 33 business owners as Urban Rebound awardees.
Urban Rebound Raleigh-Durham, made possible with generous support from Sam’s Club giving Program, is a business growth initiative for women entrepreneurs, designed to assist in sustainable growth and efforts to spur local economies through job growth. Urban Rebound aims to help women-owned businesses across the country grow their revenue numbers with support through the Count Me In Business Accelerator Program, which translates into $50 million in new economic activity and 400 to 600 new jobs each year.
Urban Rebound Awardees each receive a place in Count Me In’s renowned nine-month Business Accelerator program, which provides intensive business coaching and education designed to help participating businesses grow their revenues by at least 30% and create new jobs within 18 to 36 months. Awardees will participate in this program running from February through October 2014. They will also receive a one-year legislative membership with Women Impacting Public Policy (WIPP). In addition, the Top three Awardees each receive Jump Start Prizes, a $1000 cash award to use in their businesses.
A full list of the 2013 Urban Rebound Raleigh-Durham Awardees is available at http://www.countmein.org/awardees/URRD.
- If you don’t begin to develop team leaders, you will be stuck doing work you should trust your employees to do. While completing these tasks will satisfy you now, your company will suffer in the future. “We need to stop looking at things in the short term and look at them in the long term,” he said.
- When you have a vision, mission and core values that employees genuinely understand and use as a guide when on the job, then “You’re going to be able to focus on things to get you to the next level,” Caruso said.
- Lead by example. It’s fine to talk about your core values and how much you believe in them, but you better model your behavior after them if you want employee buy-in, Grunder said. “People see better than they hear,” he said.
- Integrity. You have to tell the truth when leading a company. Otherwise no one will believe you have the integrity needed to lead.
- Be enthusiastic. You don’t need to come in to work every day and do a dance, but you have to show you have a genuine interest in helping others. “Enthusiasm is about how we work, and about how fast you get back to a client or employee,” he said.
- Communicate. Grunder has signs posted at his company that say “no surprises.” “That’s our mantra for good communication,” he said.
- Do a little bit more. You are at the top of your company, so when employees see you doing more, they will follow your example. “Engagement comes from the top, not from the bottom,” he said.
In our latest Grow the Market research project, we asked property managers across the country what they thought of landscapers, why they hire you and why they fire you. Turns out communication, quality work and reliable account managers are some of the best defenses against low bids and shorter contracts. Use these data to help you better understand your customers and prepare for the coming season. – Chuck Bowen
Who we talked to
We surveyed 248 commercial property managers, building owners and other folks to see what they think of landscapers. Everyone who answered our questions is in charge of hiring the landscaper at their buildings. All told, we received responses from 43 states.
Why they hire you
Far and away, quality of work and staying on budget are the most important things to the average property manager when it comes to hiring a landscaper. For as much talk as we hear about low bids and the cutthroat nature of the commercial world, price comes in tied for fifth on the list of top reasons. This jives with what we’ve been hearing in the last few years – that many contracts went to low-bid companies during the recession, but property managers got what they paid for when it came to quality of work. After a year or two of shoddy craftsmanship, property managers came back to the more expensive – but more reliable – contractors.
Coming in a distant second, with 19 percent, is a high level of customer service. This suggests that even if you can’t come in at or under budget, or the quality of work isn’t up to snuff, you can still win the business if you’re up front and communicate well about the status of your jobs. Green services and certifications come in dead last, with just 2 percent of property managers choosing those as the top reasons to hire a company.
Again, we see that almost two-thirds of property managers say the most important thing about their landscaping is how it looks. Keeping the landscape a low-cost item on the budget is a distant third place, with just 9 percent of respondents choosing price. About one in five say the most important factor is simply not having to worry about it.
Why they fire you
Almost three-quarters of respondents cited problems with services or improperly completed jobs as the most common reason they fired a landscape contractor. In second place was poor customer service or bad treatment by an account manager, which highlights the importance not just of quality work, but of putting the right person in charge of handling each customer. High prices came in near the bottom of the list, with just 4 percent of property managers saying it was why they often changed landscapers.
When asked what a landscaper could do to instil confidence in their company, more than half of respondents said excellent communication. Everything else – multiple service offerings, being local, a long tenure in the market – pales in comparison, with those responses just barely breaking into double-digits.
Let’s talk about money
Most of our survey respondents – 60 percent – spend more than $20,000 a year on their entire landscape, and almost half of them say that budget has increased since 2011. Of those property managers who have increased their landscaping budgets, about half say they’ve bumped up less than 10 percent. About four in ten say they’ve increased spending by 10-19 percent.
Just 11 percent of respondents say their budgets have decreased in the last three years, and most of them say that drop has been less than 10 percent. About a third of them say they’ve slimmed their landscape budget by between 10 and 19 percent.
When we asked about the next two years, half of the respondents said they plan on increasing their landscape budgets. Another 45 percent said they would keep their spending about the same. Just 7 percent said they would be spending less by 2016.
A sharper sales pitch
We asked our respondents to tell us how much they agreed with the following statements as a way to judge what was truly important to them when it comes to their decision of hiring landscapers. These numbers indicate the percentage of property managers who said they agreed or strongly agreed with each statement. Use these as a way to hone your sales messages.