Trying to figure out how becoming landscape industry-certified can positively impact your bottom line?
That may be tough to quantify. But more commercial and government accounts demand certified landscape industry professionals take care of their properties, so becoming certified can be a competitive advantage for a landscape professional, which can win you the job over the next guy. And that’s revenue that may not have been possible otherwise.
But that’s not the only reason landscape industry professionals become certified. More and more landscape professionals are recognizing the advantages of becoming landscape industry-certified.
Here are four reasons lawn care and landscape contractors attain and retain their industry certifications.
1. Certification Can Help You Win More Work
Eric Wewerka used to dismiss the importance of certification programs. “I could never understand why I needed it or what I would learn,” says Wewerka, owner of Wewerka Construction Management.
That was until a large job he was bidding required he be a landscape industry-certified manager as part of the request for proposal.
He scrambled to prepare and started taking the seven tests required to attain certification. He passed his first, but failed his second twice. The client would not give him more time and he lost the chance to win the job.
Wewerka slowed down and studied, and then finally passed all of the tests. He hopes to bid on that job again next year. He adds, “And, this time, I’ll be ready.”
2. Certification Can Expand Career Opportunities
Allana Miller has 15 years of landscaping experience—the majority of it outdoors. But when Dennis’ 7 Dees was looking to expand its interiorscape division, she jumped at the chance to learn more about the green industry that happens indoors.
Owner David Snodgrass encouraged her to get certified. She set a goal for taking the test in five months and got to work studying what she needed to learn. She passed.
Now the other technicians on her team set a goal for the end of the year to obtain their certifications.
“Yes, they’ll get a pay raise if they pass,” Miller says, “but it’s really more about loving what they do and taking pride in the great things we are accomplishing as a team.”
3. Certification Gives the Client Confidence in your Abilities
Becoming certified shows clients that your company “is at the top of its profession,” Wewerka says.
“Having this certification instills another layer of confidence with the client,” Miller says. “Our goal is to be able to say that our entire interiorscape team is certified. I have every confidence that we can do it.”
And even if a client doesn’t require certification, similar to Wewerka’sexperience, “It should raise a question mark in the client’s mind when comparing different landscape companies,” Wewerka says. “If two companies are close on experience and close on price, the one that is certified shows more value because of that extra level of expertise.”
4. Certification Can Help You Build a Better Business
Certification preparation also has the extra perk of improving the way a company operates.
For instance, in preparing for the exams, Wewerka learned how to improve various areas of his business. “What this process really did was reaffirm what I knew I needed to be doing to continue moving my business forward,” he explains. “The human resources (HR) exam was really helpful. Even though I had knowledge of basic HR concepts, it wasn’t a big area of concentration for our business.
“Now we’ve updated all of our safety training programs and continue to build on them,” he adds. “You need good training and safety systems in place as you’re growing. Preparing for this landscape industry-certified manager exam directed me to a lot of valuable resources to help put those core pieces in place to build my systems.”
Are You Certified?
Becoming landscape industry-certified can provide landscape professionals with valuable learning opportunities. The process also ensures you continue your industry education, and give the public that extra assurance that the work being done on their properties is being performed by knowledgeable and reliable professionals.
For more information on the National Association of Landscape Professionals’ (NALP’s) certification programs, please visit www.landscapeprofessionals.org/nalp/certification/landscape-certification-programs.aspx.