Disasters in times past

Departments - Editor’s Insight

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June 3, 2020

When Hurricane Sandy hit the East Coast in late October of 2012, a lot of landscaping companies were able to make money during the recovery efforts.

I remember writing and hearing stories about companies who were helping in clean-up efforts, along with those who already had tree removing services to perform those tasks. But what about those companies who didn’t have the equipment to continue earning revenue through recovery work or didn’t want to be involved in that line of work? Well, they had to get creative to survive.

Brian Horn, editor, Lawn & Landscape

While interviewing people for our 2020 Technology Supplement, I spoke to David Hartzell, who is the general manager and sales manager at Best Property Maintenance Services in New Jersey, where Sandy hit the hardest. They didn’t want to compete with everyone who had a chainsaw and a truck performing tree removal. They needed a service with a high profit margin where people could be trained quickly, which led them to start a mold removal and remediation service.

You can find out how this topic relates to technology by reading the story on page 4 of the supplement, which starts in the back of the magazine. I couldn’t help but see parallels to what businesses are going through during COVID-19. I understand there are some major differences in the two situations, but one common thread is the innovation to survive.

In the two weeks the company had to close because of the damage they sustained from Sandy, Hartzell and his team saw a need they could help fill and worked their tails off to get it up and running in time.

“These companies aren’t just sitting by and hoping for the best.”

Stories like this are popping up now, mostly through landscaping companies offering sanitizing services. On page 50, we write about a company that added it. In a world where everyone is working to stay away from germs, your company may have the opportunity to make the germs stay away from your customer. I’ve heard of other companies attempting to do this, and from what I can tell, the jury is still out on how well it will be received. But that’s not the point.

These companies aren’t just sitting by and hoping for the best. They are thinking of ways to use the tools (both literally and figuratively) they have to survive and possibly thrive in a time of great uncertainty.

Whether it's a pandemic, a natural disaster or a down year, the proactive companies will be the ones coming out on the other end as best as they can. – Brian Horn