Up in Beaver Dam Wisconsin, K&B Tree and Lawn Care says the season starts when Mother Nature allows and not a minute before.
“Mother Nature lives to throw us curveballs,” jokes Chris Eggen, who heads up the company’s lawn care and plant health divisions. “In the upper Midwest, we always strive to start April 1. We get prepared for that ahead of time. In March, I’m already getting the products we need to have on hand. And a few months ahead of that, I’m getting organized and setting pricing.”
Eggen adds that unlike some large, national franchises, this April 1 start date is negotiable and only happens if the weather is cooperating.
“Because we aren’t a nation-wide company, we try to view each customer on an individual basis rather than just a barcode or a number,” he says. “We aren’t one of those companies who say we’re going to start on a given date no matter what happened yesterday or last week.”
This year, a foot of snow came in the weekend before the lawn care season was scheduled to start. Because the ground was still so cold, Eggen says they decided to wait for better weather.
“We have the option to pull the reins back and decide to delay our start because we want the ground temperatures to be warmer so that the first application is more readily available for the turf and be utilized rather than just putting it down because it’s April 1,” he explains.
By waiting, Eggen says the company can better meet customers’ expectations throughout the season.
“It comes down to customer satisfaction and doing things right for the lawns so there is no backlash later on,” he notes.
And when the time comes each year, K&B crews hit the ground running.
“Once we start it’s go-time,” he explains. “Usually, we have three applicatiors out besides myself, doing some of the specialty sprays and injections of stuff…The bulk of the lawn care applications are done by two people and the other two kind of bounce back and forth once we start between lawn care and landscaping.”
While the season may have started later than expected, Eggen says he’s still optimistic and expecting lots of success.
“We have to work with the weather we’re given and make the best of it,” he says. “A compressed April just makes May busier.”