This Old House Host Talks About Upcoming Equip Appearance

Kevin O'Connor, host of This Old House, suggests lawn and landscaping contractors discuss material pricing changes with customers, ahead of his keynote appearance at Equip Expo.

Kevin O'Connor
Kevin O'Connor

In preparation for Equip Expo 2024, Green Industry Pros spoke with this year's keynote speaker, Kevin O'Connor, host of This Old House, about the current market, his advice for landscape contractors and much more. 

Green Industry Pros: Can you give any insight on what you’ll be discussing at Equip Expo?

O'Connor: I’ll speak about several things that hopefully challenge and inspire the audience, including ways to recruit and retain great employees and also how productivity can change and accelerate a business and make it more attractive to both business owners and employees. And, of course, there will be plenty of real world anecdotes and This Old House related stories with a few laughs as well.

Green Industry Pros: Why should contractors attend the show?

O'Connor: Great information, lots of products and demonstrations, networking and education all in one place. These shows are a collection of ideas that keep you current and connected to the people in your industry.

Green Industry Pros: What’s your advice for landscape pros when they attend Equip Expo? Do you have any examples of questions they should be asking manu facturers on the trade show floor?

O'Connor: It’s a broad and busy few days that often feel overwhelming. I find having a plan of what you want to see and who you want to meet is helpful, so long as you don’t overbook yourself. Leave time for spontaneous meetings. And, grab as many contacts as you can; there is always the opportunity to follow up with questions and requests in the weeks that follow the show.

Green Industry Pros: Do you have any other advice on how they can best build up their business?

O'Connor: Growth comes from new leads and having the people and tech to execute on those leads. So, always be on the lookout for talented team members and any tech or product that can level up your work.

Green Industry Pros: What’s your advice for contractors who may be dealing with tight budgets and inflation right now? 

O'Connor: Prices feel almost punitive right now. I think it’s important to communicate this with customers so they know why some of your services cost more today than they did a year ago. Homeowners feel this in their everyday lives, and while they may not like to hear more of this news from you, they will get it, and they can relate. Be open with them about the price pressures you’re dealing with.

Green Industry Pros: How has the home improvement industry changed over the years? How have the tools and equipment you’re using changed over the years?

O'Connor: Generally,  the industry has contracted as more people age out and fewer young folks enter the field. The shortage of workers can be felt on both sides of the equation— businesses struggle to hire and expand, and homeowners have trouble finding services. At the same time, tools and equipment continue to improve and continue to address this contraction in some ways, by adding new features and efficiencies. Think about better and more efficient batteries, higher power output, intelligent software, such as GPS guidance, and better safety such as dust collection or sound attenuation.  The shortage in labor is accelerating the demand for tools and equipment that increase output from individual workers.

Green Industry Pros: Are there any outdoor home improvement projects trending right now?

O'Connor: Outdoor living space is hot right now, particularly kitchen spaces. People want to be outdoors and thanks to new products and equipment, things like an outdoor kitchen are more obtainable than ever before. Homeowners can now have power, fire, refrigeration and lighting outside at an affordable price. And, adding outdoor “living space” is the most affordable way to add usable square footage to a property. This trend is hot, and I don’t see it slowing any time soon.