St. Pete Beach, Fla. – Receiving timely payments can be a struggle and can seriously impact the company’s bottom line. At Real Green’s Solutions 2019 in St. Pete Beach, Florida, Andy Yavello and Matt Moskowitz of American Profit Recovery both said that utilizing a third-party collection agency can help expedite the process. However, there are limitations and important factors that play into the process.

The legalities.

The consumer financial protection bureau was designed to protect consumers. “This makes you the bad guy,” Moskowitz said. This fairly new organization set a precedent for the extent of the interest and fees you can apply to late bills. In order to legally apply fees and interest, the customer needs to have expressed consent by a signature at the time of or prior to the start of service.

Additionally, while you are able to use auto dial functions to reach late customers via their cell phones, collections agency are not permitted to.

Disputes.

When your customer disputes a bill, the collections agency has to immediately stop all activity on the account until they have documentation to prove the debt is truly owed. This document includes information showing your company was there to perform your services for the specified amount. Once that information is received, the agency can move forward with efforts to get the balance owed.

Educate the customer.

Before service starts, ensure the customer understands the extent of the work being done, what the cost will be with a breakdown of each aspect – and the key factors that will play into the success of a completed project.

Spend time up front.

The more work you do ahead of time, the less time you’ll spend digging through old statements to prove overdue balances.

Timing.

Get your statements and invoices out properly. Invoices sent out late have a higher chance of getting disputed when it comes time to collect. Also, make sure you are consistent in your billing so that clients know when to expect them.

Consider it customer service.

No one enjoys making a collections call, so Yavello suggested treating the call like an ordinary service check up. Once you follow up with the customer and ask if they were happy with their service, it’s a good time to offer to take care of their outstanding bill over the phone.

Toro sues Steel Green

The lawsuit claims Steel Green’s employees stole information from Toro to manufacture their own competitive products after Toro acquired L.T. Rich. By Brian Horn

Indianapolis –The Toro Co., filed a lawsuit against new lawn care applicator manufacturer Steel Green Manufacturing in October of last year.

The complaint centers around Toro’s acquisition of L.T. Rich, makers of the Z-Plug and Z-Spray, in March of 2018. The now-former employees of LT. Rich launched Steel Green in August of 2018.

“Given this is an ongoing litigation, there’s not much we can say at this time,” said Branden Happel, senior manager of public relations for The Toro Company, in an email.

“This is not the path we wanted to take, but we must defend and protect our intellectual property rights, trade secrets and proprietary information.”

The complaint, filed in the U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, states:

“This case concerns the Steel Green Individuals’ – each a former employee of L.T. Rich and Toro – coordinated departure from Toro and their systematic effort to harvest sensitive, confidential, proprietary, trade secret information from Toro’s information technology systems while simultaneously plotting to manufacture, distribute, and sell competitive products.

“Shortly after the acquisition and the Steel Green Individuals’ departure from Toro, the Steel Green individuals began to publicly represent their intention to manufacture and distribute products competitive to Toro’s products, contrary to their legal duties and obligations to Toro.”

Steel Green responded to the lawsuit with the following statement via email to Lawn & Landscape, claiming the founders of Steel Green were never employed by Toro.

“Toro’s allegations against Steel Green and its employees are meritless. Steel Green’s employees never signed any agreements with Toro, and they were never Toro employees. They have not misused any ‘secrets’ of Toro.

“They are using their years of experience in the industry to build a different and better machine. Steel Green and its employees are vigorously defending Toro’s lawsuit. They will continue building and selling their machines to their customers, and they look forward to their day in court.”

The complaint filed by Toro also alleges that Steel Green’s founders communicated with Toro’s clients and customers regarding a joint venture to compete with Toro, ultimately resulting in the creation of SGM.

The filing also alleges that:

  • While still employed with Toro, the Steel Green founders accessed Toro’s information technology system with intent to remove Toro’s confidential, proprietary and trade secret information;
  • While still employed with Toro, the founders used Toro’s information technology system to send to their personal email accounts emails with sensitive information and other data regarding Toro’s business, including among other things, the identities of customers, clients, distributors, and/or vendors;
  • While still employed with Toro, the founders harvested data, including sensitive product engineering and production drawings, manufacturing specifications, client information, and sales and marketing data from Toro’s information technology systems intended to be used in connection with unfairly competing against Toro; and
  • While still employed at Toro, the founders used Toro equipment to develop and design competing products.

Steel Green’s founders named in the suit are Matthew P. Smith, Michael D. Floyd, R. Scot Jones, Brent A. Mills and Craig M. Conyer. Steel Green Director of R&D, James W. Kepner, is also named in the lawsuit.

Yellowstone Landscape acquires Somerset Landscape & Maintenance

Somerset is a $30-million company based in Chandler, Arizona, and ranked No. 54 on Lawn & Landscape’s Top 100 list. By Brian Horn

BUNNELL, Fla. – Yellowstone Landscape has acquired Somerset Landscape & Maintenance, a $30-million company based in Chandler, Arizona. Yellowstone ranked No. 8 on Lawn & Landscape’s Top 100 list last year with a 2017 revenue of $174 million, while Somerset was No. 54 with $32.8 million. The acquisition was done in August.

Tim Portland, CEO of Yellowstone, said there were three key reasons why Yellowstone made the acquisition: They see potential in the Dallas/Fort Worth, Phoenix and Las Vegas markets; they highly regard Somerset’s CEO Brian Lemmerman, who will continue with the company; and they have an understanding of where Yellowstone wants to invest in resources.

Last summer, Yellowstone also acquired Leaderscape, which is located in Palm Beach, Florida, and employs 100 people.

“Yellowstone will continue to engage with like-minded companies that would make for mutually beneficial partnerships, both within our existing geographic footprint, and in targeted markets where we do not currently operate,” Portland said.

New Products

Corteva Dimension specialty herbicide

The pitch: This specialty herbicide offers season-long crabgrass control.

  • The herbicide provides effective control of crabgrass and more than 45 other grassy and broadleaf weeds.
  • Designed to reduce hand-weeding, Dimension lowers labor costs in landscape and nursery settings.
  • The specialty herbicide offers a longer application window.

For more information: Corteva.us

Greene County Fertilizer CARBON-X

The pitch: CARBON-X is an enhanced efficiency carbon fertilizer launched in January and enhanced with N-Ext RGS.

  • The CARBON-X carbon-based fertility product is homogenized with multiple macronutrient and micronurtrient inputs and infused with the Greene County Fertilizer N-Ext RGS.
  • It supplies what soils need to become a healthy, sustainable, functional micro-environment to produce highly functioning turfgrass.
  • CARBON-X provides increased macronutrient efficiency, root-mass development, improved soil carbon levels and bio-availability of soil-locked nutrients.

For more information: GreeneCountyFert.com

Manuscript Herbicide

The pitch: Manuscript herbicide can be used in residential and commercial warm-season lawns to control crabgrass, dallisgrass and other grassy weeds.

  • Selective herbicide with advanced form of ACCase mode of action works on tough mixed grasses.
  • Built-in safener speeds metabolism of pinoxaden in desirable turf and improves performance.
  • Turf quickly fills in voids left behind.

For more information: GreenCastOnline.com

Quali-Pro Negate 37WG

The pitch: Negate 37WG is a post-emergence herbicide for control of annual bluegrass (POA) and weeds in bermudagrass and zoysiagrass turf.

  • It’s now labeled for use in residential turf, as well as commercial and industrial lawns.
  • Synergistic combination of Rimsulfuron and Metsulfuron provide control of grassy and broadleaf weeds.
  • This wettable granule formulation has a low use rate, with one bottle (1.5 oz) treating 1 acre.

For more information: Quali-pro.com

For more lawn care products, visit the WEB EXTRAS section on our website.