Class of '95, living in UA.
I always enjoy the non-compete discussions mostly because I can't imagine anyone spending the money to keep a guy from mowing lawns. I've been under several, very firm, non-competes and am actually looking forward to reading my girlfriend's new one. She's highly specialized and will be under a market radius non-compete. The funny thing is that, somewhat flying in the face of my own argument, the only way she could live within 70 miles of Columbus to do what she does, she would have to violate the 24 month, post-separation agreement. At what point does that tip against her ability to survive?
As you point out, quality should be the differentiator. Price shoppers will always exist, but quality and professionalism tend to prevail.
I know lawn & landscape marketing, branding, and web strategy. I'm not anonymous, I just don't self-promote.