Brian Horn, editor,
Lawn & Landscape

I enjoy hearing from companies of all sizes. But the bigger companies in the industry always have an interesting perspective because they are usually in many locations, can provide insight on many different markets and have to deal with more variables. We checked in with a handful of Top 100 company executives about a number of topics on page 42, and below are some highlights.

• In California, a ban on gas-powered equipment will go into effect in 2024, forcing companies to seriously look at battery-powered equipment. What starts out west sometimes finds its way to different parts of the country. Chris Angelo, president and CEO of Stay Green in California, said he is getting even more familiar with battery-powered equipment. While I don’t expect everyone to accept the change with open arms, it would be wise to at least investigate and be open to a new idea.

• Weed Man is allowing full remote work for some of their employees, and the company’s CEO Jennifer Lemcke says it will help recruiting and retention of employees. It’s no secret that finding and retaining quality employees is difficult in this industry. While you may not be able to allow all of your workers — or even most of your workers — to work remotely, can you think of other ways to provide a flexible schedule?

• Even large companies are feeling the pain of inflation and supply chain issues. Chris Malham, president of SiteWorks in Arizona, relies on “BNE.” That stands for “Bad News Early” so if he knows something is going to be more expensive than originally thought, he tells customers right away. You can’t control what something is going to cost, but you can control how and when customers hear about it.

• “It’s easy to get overconfident when business is good, and you are growing. Our goal is to make sure our revenue grows faster than our overhead,” says McHale Landscape principal Kevin McHale. Growing too fast is something that can hurt companies of all sizes. If you feel like you don’t have your daily, weekly and monthly tasks under control, or you are taking on too much work, it may be time to hit the brakes, at least temporarily.

• Larry Ryan, founder of Ryan Lawn & Tree, is a strong proponent of open-book management. You can’t be afraid to show profits and losses to employees, he says. The handful of companies I’ve spoken to who practice open-book management say employees are more surprised at how much it costs to run a business and aren’t as focused on how much money is being made.

You may not want to be one of the biggest companies in your location, let alone one of the biggest in the country. Regardless, these bullet points may help you achieve one of the goals you have set for your own business.