View Full Version : Question about education...

04-20-2006, 01:00 PM
Hey everybody!

I have been lurking on these forums for some months now, contemplating the idea of getting into the lawn care business. Talking to dealers, crunching numbers, putting out feelers to see if it would go, etc. One positive thing is that the fellow we bought this house from had a good business going...until he started drinking and doing drugs and lost everything he had...but, I am getting off track.

My question is, aside from the general mechanics of cutting, trimming, edging, etc. how would you think it best to educate yourself about the other aspects of this business? Such as grass types and preferences, fertilizer, best ways to care for the grass, etc. Just pick it up as you go along? Which I personally think would be the wrong answer, but that's just me...:) To do some independent reading by getting some books on the subject? To take some classes about the topics?

Basically, barring having the ability to take the time to learn it all from someone else, how did you learn what you know?

04-20-2006, 04:23 PM
Obviously, I cant speak from experience but I can tell you what my plan is. My local technical college offers several landscape and horticulture classes - ranging in price from $99 to $149 each. They offer several certificate programs (Landscape Design, Landscape Maintenance, Nursery/Garden Center) - each certificate program requires certain classes but they all require a course called 'Making Your Business Profitable' geared towards landscape/horticulture businesses. I will be taking as many classes as I can squeeze into my schedule.

They offer the following classes this spring/summer:
Advanced Landscape Design
Annuals and Perennials
Basic Arboriculture
Basic Greenhouse Management
Basic Lawn Care
Beginning Landscape Design
Beginning Nursery Production
Intermediate Landscape Design
Landscape Construction
Landscape Graphics
Maintenance of Shrubs & Trees
Making Your Business Profitable
Pests of Landscape Plants
Plant Growth and Development
Plant Propagation
Soil Management
Woody Plants, Shrubs & Trees

You could see if a community/technical college in your area offers something similar - and try 'formal' education in addition to learning on the job...

04-20-2006, 04:50 PM
Thanks for the reply! I was looking into what the local community college offered last night. Unfortunately, there isn't much in the way of landscaping...they have a horticulture certificate program, but to me it looks like it is more geared towards a nursery-type business. There was only, I think, one "landscaping" class (maybe two), and one that dealt specifically with grass. There also, I think, was one on pests and fertilizer. But, I was just wondering if most people in this business find it necessary, or even better, to actually go sit in a class to learn these things, or if they, as I mentioned before, pick up a few books, read and then apply the reading during their work.

04-21-2006, 04:59 PM
Noone has any thoughts on the matter? Come on, now...I KNOW there are some pretty smart fellas, and ladies, on this board...you mean to tell me you just sprang from the womb knowing what to do and how to do it??? lol Just kidding on that. But, seriously, I would think that the knowledge of what you are working with is a pretty dawggone important piece...you can have all the equipment and the best business plan in the world, and it isn't going to make a lick of difference if you kill the customer's yard...

04-21-2006, 05:08 PM
The book "Turfgrass Management and Science" will give you all the info you need. Try Amazon. It is a school textbook.

04-21-2006, 05:16 PM
I think that the tech school would be a good option, as far as how the business runs, I would try and find a job working for someone else that has a good reputation and does quality work. I think that experience is the best way to learn, even if you only work for someone for 2 or 3 months you will be better off when you start on your own. SEARCH feature on lawnsite is a great tool as well. Type in everything you want to learn about and it is probably on the site several time. Good luck to you.

J&R Landscaping
04-21-2006, 10:21 PM
Those class listed early sound very interesting! Night courses like that would be a good idea if you are busy during the day or are not a student. Welcome to Lawn Site!

04-22-2006, 12:32 AM
Personally I would get a job working for someone else. I didn't know a damn thing about landscaping when I first started besides how to water a plant and how to mow, and even that was wrong :hammerhead: Every day I learn new things and it hasn't costed me a dime other than gasoline. Starting a company of any size is a big investment and big risk - maybe a formal education isn't your thing nor is it mine, though I do believe that the learning process should be never ending. Cheers to you, good luck!

04-22-2006, 03:45 AM
Whoops...I just realized I left a word out in my previous post...I mean to say "noone else has..." and instead I said "noone has anything to say". Kind of makes me look like a jerk and totally overlooking E&M's suggestion. Sorry about that!

04-22-2006, 03:22 PM
I understood what you meant when you asked for other opinions....

J&R - the classes I listed are only offered in the evenings (they start at 6 PM), they are considered continuing education/personal interest classes and are intended for working adults; they last anywhere from 2-8 weeks and meet 1 or 2 nights a week for 2-3 hours. They carry CEU credits and count for certification tho... Almost ALL of them offer hands-on training as part of the class and the courses are taught by leaders in the industry who are recognized as experts in the field. Luckily, our state has a good horticulture/agriculture background and courses like this are offered a lot because they are always in demand.