Use of College Degree's

Discussion in 'Business Operations' started by LandFakers, May 20, 2013.

  1. LandFakers

    LandFakers LawnSite Fanatic
    from CT
    Posts: 6,229

    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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  2. Armsden&Son

    Armsden&Son LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,358

    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
     
  3. LandFakers

    LandFakers LawnSite Fanatic
    from CT
    Posts: 6,229

    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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  4. Grant11

    Grant11 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 301

    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
     
  5. Armsden&Son

    Armsden&Son LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,358

    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?
     
  6. wbw

    wbw LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,515

    What does your son want?

    A degree will give him options and instant credibility.
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  7. zturncutter

    zturncutter LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,308

    Would agree with the options part, instant credibility not so much.
     
  8. GVL LLC

    GVL LLC LawnSite Member
    Posts: 154

    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
     
  9. Landscape Poet

    Landscape Poet LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,638

    My thoughts are this. Horticultural degrees etc are useful...but Business Mgmt is something he can use for example in the business if he still loves it when he gets out of school and use for someone else if he does not still want to do your line of work.
    There is a reason that many start ups occur in this industry every year......there are also many reason that most of them fail. Some of them could of avoided failure if there was a solid business background to support them, often starting out with a business plan.
    I think having a in depth knowledge of business is under rated in this field. Many of the day to day things he can learn in the field with you maybe while working his way through school and come out of college with the knowledge of both?
     
  10. Armsden&Son

    Armsden&Son LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,358

    Hey there GVL..... Not sure if you read my post but my mentor/old boss also went to Stockbridge.... Now, I know for a fact that he learned a ton of useful stuff and his schooling gave him a basic overlay of not only turf management but also landscape contracting as well. I am sure you have gotten or kept some clients by showing them your reciept(diploma) but YOU GUYS ARE MISSING THE OP'S ORIGINAL POINT.... He asked if a degree was absolutely necessary... Believe me, I am in no way shape or form discouraging people from education but out of ALL of the succesfull companies in your area, how many owners do you think have a "turf management" degree? Can a degree help you understand the industry better? Yes..... Can a degree make your website look a little more slick? Yes.... Will a degree give you an advantage over the competition? Maybe... Is a degree an absolute free pass to a successful company? No..... And lastly, is having a degree an absolute nesessity for running a successful business? Absolutely not.... There are waaaaaay too many very long standing and succesful companies out there with men and women at the helms who have no degrees whatsoever. Will I maybe go back to school to add a Turf Management degree to my Political Science degree? Yes, I love to learn....
     

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