Grass Passion

Some green industry pros see a business opportunity in this industry, but most see a lifestyle opportunity that's just as appealing.

Hey it's June, and that means you and your employees have been out fertilizing, mowing and planting up a storm. If you're an equipment dealer, you've been putting in some long hours of your own; demoing new equipment and tuning up your customers' existing machines. But regardless of what you've been busy doing this spring, do you still love doing it? Do your employees? Or is it simply a means to an end?

Some companies and individuals get into this industry because they see a business opportunity—such as mass retailers like Home Depot seeing opportunity in lawn equipment, or investment firms seeing opportunity in "mass landscaping" provided by the likes of BrightView or Yellowstone, for example. Most of you, on the other hand, got into this business because you see a lifestyle opportunity. That has to be true, right? Why else would you work such long, hard hours under such perennial clouds of uncertainty? This business is in your blood, and now your blood is in your business.

This issue features three companies whose owners definitely have this business in their blood. They've essentially spent their entire professional careers in it. They've owned their own companies, worked for others, and recently started new companies that—thanks to some sound strategic planning and intuitive marketing—continue to provide them with both a business and lifestyle opportunity.

One of those featured companies is an equipment dealership owned by a 20-something in North Carolina. For years our industry has watched the number of servicing equipment dealers dwindle, begging the question: Where are tomorrow's dealers going to come from, because there just aren't many young people looking to do this type of work anymore. Well, here's one who is.

On that note, organizations from both the landscaping and equipment service sides of the industry are putting efforts in motion to hopefully begin drawing more young folks in. The trick is to get to them early while they are still sophomores and juniors in high school. It's about making programs more interesting and accessible, and also making a good case to guidance counselors and parents that a career in this industry is worth pursuing. In other words, this industry presents a sound business opportunity.

But when you get down to it, young folks are going to need to see a sound lifestyle opportunity—similar to what you saw when you chose to become a landscaper or equipment dealer. You either have a passion for grass or you don't. Hopefully some of today's youth have that passion, and somebody—maybe you—just needs to help bring it out.