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Old 05-20-2013, 11:00 AM
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LandFakers LandFakers is offline
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Use of College Degree's

My son is interested in possibly going to school for a degree in Turf Managment. My question is where in the industry can this be useful, or even an absolute necessity? I don't think it would be a good use of his money if he is just going to start his own company and provide the basic services. I would think it might we better to take business classes at night and build the company by day and not have to wait another 2 years of schooling for no real benefit in the business. That's my feelings but what do you all think?
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Old 05-20-2013, 12:08 PM
Armsden&Son Armsden&Son is offline
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Hey there... always enjoy your posts so I thought I would contribute..... I recently took the plunge and started my own business. I have about 15 years experience in the industry and during those 15 years I literally did it all... Everything from mowing to plantings to hardscapes to landscaping installs to topiary. The guy I worked under for those 15 years, my old Boss, my mentor..... He got a degree if turf management from the Stockbridge School at Umass Amherst.... Did that degree do anything for him or help him start and run his business? No, I don't think it did. I think he learned a lot but he started a landscaping business doing all the things mentioned above, not taking care of athletic fields or golf courses or sod farms.... There is currently no schooling that will prepare you for doing a lawn install on Monday, a small paver walkway on Tuesday, and then cutting 80 lawns from Wensday through Friday... The only thing that will prepare you for this is experience(work and life) I myself have a bachelors degree in Political Science (alot of good that did me huh?) But I can guarantee you that because of my experience in the industry, that I know more about running a landscaping/lawn care business than someone with half of my experience and a degree in Turf Management. By the way, business classes at night is a brilliant idea! Gaining business knowledge in the landscaping industry is ALOT easier than say, the restaurant industry... Why? Because you can make your company whatever you want... It can start small and be small while you learn the business basics..... It's not like somebody will be overwhelmed with P and L reports and quarterly tax filings if they only have 10 accounts..... Running a smaller landscaping/lawncare company is actually an easy and stress free way to learn more about business in general.... Just my 2 cents
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Old 05-20-2013, 12:14 PM
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LandFakers LandFakers is offline
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Thanks for the input! I think the same way as you in that he isn't managing fields or gold courses like the degree is geared towards. He has been working with me since I started my company a few years ago and I think he would have no problems starting his company after high school and take classes at night to help him gain knowledge to run a business better than I ever will. Thanks again for the input!
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Old 05-20-2013, 12:53 PM
Grant11 Grant11 is offline
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I'm currently enrolled in Turfgrass management at Cincinnati state. I've been mowing yards since I was twelve. Graduated high school with 35 regular mowing clients, an llc liscense, insurance, truck and mowing rig to handle quite a bit of grass. I was originally signed up for business at the local university- I dropped it before the day it started. I'm not passionate about business and I hate the idea of going to school for four years learning about business. Then I signed up at cincy state for tuf. I've learned more in turfgrass management than I can begin to explain to you. Turfgrass is aimed towards students trying to start and run their own business. So along with my normal classes (hort science, herbacious identification, landscape design, landscape construction etc.) I have to take accounting, business law, economics, marketing and management courses. I get out in 2 years as opposed to a 4 year business degree. I'm 19 and want to do it right while I'm still young. I would highly recommend turf management to your son
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Old 05-20-2013, 03:50 PM
Armsden&Son Armsden&Son is offline
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Hey, don't get me wrong.... I think education is a priceless thing..... And I would never suggest that a person not go to school if they had their minds set on it. However, it seems to me from LandFakers point of view, your schooling in particular would be superfluous for what he is talking about (basic services). You had 35 regular mowing accounts before you even took a single turf management class. For some people, especially 18 year old high school seniors, that is a great start. There are plenty of guys on this site that don't even have 35 steady clients. I think that LandFakers would be pleased as punch if his son had 35 accounts next year... Am I right Land Fakers?
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Old 05-20-2013, 04:40 PM
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wbw wbw is online now
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What does your son want?

A degree will give him options and instant credibility.
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Old 05-20-2013, 07:18 PM
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zturncutter zturncutter is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wbw View Post
What does your son want?

A degree will give him options and instant credibility.
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Would agree with the options part, instant credibility not so much.
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Old 05-20-2013, 08:16 PM
GVL LLC GVL LLC is offline
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I am 22 and I went to the stockbridge school at Umass Amherst and got my associates in landscape contracting and I definately would recommend a 2 year degree because it only takes two years as opposed to 4 and the fact that i went to school has landed me many accounts and shown people that im very serious about turf management/landscaping. I learned a ton but on the other hand I only had about 10 accounts going into college In these last 3.5 years of owning my landscaping business ive used many things that ive learned in college as well as telling future clients that I went to school for this so that eases peoples minds. alot of companies around me are stressing at least getting 2 years degrees in the industry for even grunt laborers so its just some food for thought. The 40,000 I spent on college will definately pay for itself and I thought it was important because if I didnt id have even more equipment and trucks in my fleet with the money I would have saved by not going. That's just my 2 cents
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Old 05-20-2013, 09:27 PM
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LandFakers LandFakers is offline
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Originally Posted by GVL LLC View Post
I am 22 and I went to the stockbridge school at Umass Amherst and got my associates in landscape contracting and I definately would recommend a 2 year degree because it only takes two years as opposed to 4 and the fact that i went to school has landed me many accounts and shown people that im very serious about turf management/landscaping. I learned a ton but on the other hand I only had about 10 accounts going into college In these last 3.5 years of owning my landscaping business ive used many things that ive learned in college as well as telling future clients that I went to school for this so that eases peoples minds. alot of companies around me are stressing at least getting 2 years degrees in the industry for even grunt laborers so its just some food for thought. The 40,000 I spent on college will definately pay for itself and I thought it was important because if I didnt id have even more equipment and trucks in my fleet with the money I would have saved by not going. That's just my 2 cents
Now not to be snarky or throw around any hate, but are you sure that telling people that you went to school for this sort of thing has gotten you jobs? I mean people are usually very simple, and for what he wants to do at this point its rather simple aswell. Cut the grass and make it look good. Now if he came and told me that he wanted to learn all about horticulture and how to diagnose different soil conditions in order to set up both irrigation and fertilizer needs than thats another story, in which I feel schooling would be 100% necessary.

Thank you Armden&Son for pointing out what I/he feels he wants out of this business. Now can it develope into a different business as he ages and possibly goes in another direction? of course that is possible, but even then you can stilll go to college and get schooled up on such things, or even just go into the field and learn it just like you learn how to cut grass. Learn from somebody else and then go do it.

After reading all the info on what the program offers it really is things that are either worthless for his current goals, or can be learned through weekend classes. Maybe im not understanding it correctly but it truly is based for golf and sports fields, both of which he would not be working on.
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Old 05-20-2013, 09:41 PM
GVL LLC GVL LLC is offline
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I know for a fact that some people have chosen my company due to my education. I have a couple school teachers and I know that the education sealed the deal for them. Mind you, I dont cut grass 7 days a week. my company provides many services and mowing is a small piece of the pie. If I solely were mowing all day every day I definately wouldnt have went to college for it. I didnt learn a single thing about mowing or turfgrass in college. I had the choice of a turfgrass class or arborist class and chose the arborist class. I knew very little about plant material before I went to college and took a class in which I learned all about over 200 different species of plants. I went to school because I wanted to be a landscaper who also does lawn maintenance.

If your son is just going to run a mowing crew then I dont think it would be in his best interest to go to college for anything other then business, if he goes for anything.
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