Marty Grunder: Analyzing old predictions and making new ones

Columns - Industry Voices

Every month, our columnists give their take on a common topic. Last month they tackled social media in the green industry. This month they revisit some predictions they made earlier this year, and make some new ones for the rest of 2011.

June 16, 2011

Marty Grunder

At the start of the year, I made five predictions. So, how am I doing?

1. Homeowners will spend money on backyard projects that enable them to spend more time with their families.
The early returns at Grunder Landscaping Co., and at the countless landscaping companies I work with, demonstrate that I am correct with the fact homeowners are spending money on their backyards so they can spend time with their families. The majority of landscapers I have talked with have a healthy backlog and their clients realize they can’t sell their homes right now and want to fix it up and enjoy it. I think this will continue for the next two years, so work on your offerings here and market them often and well.

2. Someone will come forward with software that enables the landscaper to run all parts of their business efficiently and profitably.
In the first six months, I have not seen any progress on a piece of software that will help us landscapers from stem to stern. Hopefully, my dream will become reality this year. I am looking for a piece of software that handles everything. So, I might be in trouble with this prediction.

3. People who want to work in the green industry will continue to be very tough to find.
Well, sadly, I am dead on with this one. We are finding people, but finding experienced people, who are passionate about landscaping, is becoming very, very tough. They’re not there, or at least we aren’t finding enough of them. We’ve tried Craigslist, the paper, our website, networking, finder’s fees and the like, and are still struggling. I hate to sound like a grumpy, old man, but I’m not sure young people today like to get dirty and work outside. This is going to continue to be a challenge for all of us. We all need to work on having companies that people want to work at, and we need to brainstorm with companies in all industries to come up with some new ideas.

4. Those companies who listen to their customers will continue to win and be paid a fair price to have the work done.
I hear all the time from landscapers about the company that came in and low balled them and “took” the job. Is there some truth to this? Sure there is. But you also cannot convince me that there aren’t also a lot of clients and potential clients who won’t pay to have the job done right. When you lose a job to another company, it can be because the winning company has a better relationship than you did. Just don’t assume it’s always because of price. And when you lose a job, stick with it, don’t give up. Thank them for the opportunity and make it easy for them to call you the next time. Listen to your clients; if you do, your business will do just fine. I am right on this prediction and I will always be right on it.

5. Every leader at every green industry company in America will do better if they think positively.
A positive attitude improves your chances for success. If you don’t have one, you’d better get one and get one quickly. People want to do business with positive, can-do people. People at your company want to work with positive, can-do people too.

Overall, I think we have a lot to be excited about. For now, I think we can say things are better, and we need to continue to work on all the things we can control. I believe this year will be the best we’ve seen in two years. Time will tell.


Marty Grunder is a speaker, consultant and author; he owns Grunder Landscaping Co. See; mail