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College advice?

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by FinerCutslawnCare, Feb 4, 2008.

  1. mrusk

    mrusk LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,260

    Take stright business and accounting classes. You do not need to know everything about plants, turf, hort, etc. You need to run a business. Its far easier to hire people who know about plants then to find someone to wrong your business.
  2. MarcSmith

    MarcSmith LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 7,157

    I have had bosses who know zero about landscape. and while they know how to run a business, Just trying to get them to understand the simplye things was a pita.

    It is kinda of like Dan Snyder,owner of the redskins, where he's been trying for years now to buy his way into a superbowl ring.

    you need to know about your business and what it does to be really effective.

    So while hiring people who know about the business is good and smart, you as the owner still need to know as much as you can. Your employees will look to you for direction. And if you can't provide that direction, then you are just treading water.

    C. MOORE LAWNS LawnSite Member
    Messages: 42

    I agree with the reply above. If you don't know much about your business such as all your plants, grasses, fertilizers,chemicals, pest control, etc. then how in the world are you going to run your business soley on just knowing the business side? I'd much rather be telling my employers what to do rather than them telling me how to do it if I did not know all of the above. Doing internships will also help you see and get the business side down of landscaping especially if you get to know the boss (es) well. That's what I plan on doing....getting my degree in landscape design, interning throughout semesters, then getting an actual job as a landscape designer, see how that company does it, then part out on my own again and have a ton more knowledge about it than I know now and take that and put it towards my own business.
  4. FinerCutslawnCare

    FinerCutslawnCare LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,386

    Well, I have already taken all the business classes offered at my school(about 5 classes) and also all of the accounting classes...I agree it will be hard taken classes and trying to run a bizz at the same time but at the same time am not going to just up and quit. I think it is a good idea to keep small but get my work known...and also if i did a job shadow for one of the 2 biggest companies in iowa that would also be a way for me to learn and also kinda get a little sneak peak!:laugh::rolleyes:
  5. columbia

    columbia LawnSite Member
    Messages: 76

    Take a business law class.You'll be glad you did. You will learn a lot about contracts. And I mean a ton. There are so many assumptions about contract law that aren't true and many that people don't know. For instance, everyone on here is worried about getting a written contract when if you give someone a quote and they accept they also accept the terms at which your company operates. Meaning in a court of law your verbal contract will be equal to a written one based on whatever ideals your company followed at the time. laws differ by state obviously but being educated about the laws helps you not get screwed by your clientel...
  6. Whitey4

    Whitey4 LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,448

    You don't need to waste time on business classes. You can hire an accountant. There are books and other resources that will teach you what you need to know about management, organizational structure, business plans, how to apply for business loans... all that stuff can be self taught. If you get big, a contract lawyer can guide you.

    Concentrate on the technical side. That is what is marketable, the knowledge of botany. From there you can go the landscape design route, golf courses, greenhouses, arboretums, farming, wineries, working for a university cooperative extension, research for anything from biotech and seeds to all kinds of research jobs, consulting, state parks.... that list goes on and on.

    If there is one thing I've learned in my 53 years, it's that the strongest form of leadership is expert leadership. When you are more knowledgable than anyone else in an organization, people listen, and follow. Even if you are a jerk.... expert leadership can overcome a lot of other failings. (not insinuating that you are a jerk, of course!)

    Any Tom Dick or Harry can run a business, if they do some self education, but how can a manager run an organization when he doesn't understand the product or service and the competition? He is usually considered to be a counter productive idiot that gets in the way.

    That's my 2 cents, and best of luck to you!
  7. AGLA

    AGLA LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,776

    The problem with posting such a question is that you will almost invariably get responses from people who believe that the way they do things is best. The more self taught someone is, the more they cling to that notion. The earlier someone started their business in their career, the more they cling to that notion.

    Think about this. If you go to school, you will learn a great variety of things from a number of different perspectives. You will be forced to study things that you don't want to either because you don't think they are necessary or you just don't like doing them. Amoungst some of the hoops you have to jump through, you will find very important and useful things that you would not have and find things that you thought would be great to be not so great. When you are done, you will still go out and go through the school of hard knocks and have actual experience as well - school does not replace experience, it supplements it. Anyone who has had a lot of experience would not benefit less had they had some education along with it.

    The schooling helps you recognize things and helps you process what you learn from your experience much faster and better.

    School is the first thing that many landscapers try to bypass because they don't think they need it. The second thing they try to bypass is experience working for others. Not just one job for one company, but to work for a few different companies to see the different ways of doing things. Most companies do some stuff well and others not so well. Seeing those things will help you a lot.

    One thing you have to understand is that once you are in business you are on an island. Other landscapers are not going to run on over and show you better ways of doing things or better ways to manage, or anything else. Your experience moving forward is only that which you can get from trial and error. The more of those things you can observe on someone else's dime the better. The more of those things that your employer has gone through and explained to you to keep you on track working for him, the less likely you will make the same mistakes.

    You get a later start going the school and experience route, but you can easily make up for lost time.
  8. MarcSmith

    MarcSmith LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 7,157


    well stated....books don't make you smart, but they help. Experience is not everything, but it helps. put the education coupled with experience. Its a tough package to beat.

    if someone has a 4 year college education and 4 years experience. I'll hire them over someone with 8 years or more years experience every day. I'd even consider 4 years of education over 4 years of experience.
  9. AceFinish

    AceFinish LawnSite Member
    Messages: 98

    Ok good you have exprinece and I believe that that is the best teacher but if you don't understand the concepts of buisness then you are going to have problems those books and stuff you buy in the store do not even compare to the things that you learn in a college level buisness class.
  10. AceFinish

    AceFinish LawnSite Member
    Messages: 98

    Ok he wants to be a landscaper he needs those class nothing @#$%%%^ me off more than a boss who does not what he is talking about and tries to tell me what to do. Yah take the buisness classes but don't tell him not to take hort classes that is just dumb use your head.

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