Lawn Forums Busier Because Lawn Guys Need More Help

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by mdvaden, Nov 24, 2006.

  1. mdvaden

    mdvaden LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,946

    To others:

    Please note the "Maybe" in the opening post, which denotes what was written is not an absolute: and open for discussion.

  2. dwc

    dwc LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 645

    when I was referring to this being a LCO forum, I was referring to the COMMERCIAL MOWING & MAINTENANCE - MOWING, TRIMMING, MAINTENANCE & MORE > Commercial Lawn Mowing part of LS.
    There is a design and build with a commercial landscaping forum also, which sounds like it may fit your aspect of business a little better.

    My point is you knew this was going to get the pro's in the commercial lawn mowing forum to be angered.

    I did overlook the "oregon" part.....if I were to say maybe the LA's in Oklahoma have wasted 4+ years of their life in college, and posted this in the Commercial landscaping forum, it would not be received well, whether I put Oklahoma or not.

    I wonder if you would have been praised and applauded for the post if the direction of your recent posts would have been different?

    Are you seeing a lot of problems in Oregon with unskilled people destroying landscapes or something?
  3. mdvaden

    mdvaden LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,946

    Well, it's good and it's bad.

    First - let me say yes. Much landscape damage, and homeowners don't always know it's happening. Soil compaction, chemical damage to plants from herbicides, butchered plants from pruning. Much of the deterioration occurs over time, between 1, 2 or more services that people alternate between. Hard to pin-it on one outfit for compensation. But many services don't understand what they are working on, how to ID grass, monitor fertilizer rates, and so on.

    The separation between good and bad is spreading farther apart. It's almost like there is no middle ground. For starters, north Oregon by Portland has several good colleges with practical teachers. The average age of students in the landscape program - 1980s -was about 30 - they were there because they liked horticulture. They were there because they liked lawn care, or they like nursery work, or they liked tree work. The main thing - they liked "horticulture". About 99% of the students were caucasian English speaking students who could understand the instruction, and communicated well to understand customer needs. Actually, that's almost the nature of the non-students; just lawn and landscape workers in the field.

    Since 1980, Oregon - or Portland's - population has doubled. But the enrollment in the college programs has remained about the same. That's not a good sign. Now, the lawn trade and landscaper trade is about 60% Hispanic, with the greater problem being communication. Not prepared to understand the classes in college, few landscape books available in Spanish, and very limited ability to communicate with customers. The number one complaint I heard from citizens in north Oregon who hired lawn services or landscapers, was that they couldn't talk to the workers.

    The influx of labor from south of Oregon, has caused the income in lawn and landscape care to barely rise. This doesn't mean that there are not good lawn services, it's just that most of the more qualified ones happen to be landscape contractors. And then there's a few isolated good lawn services that do just that - lawn care.

    The landscape professionals here are getting undermined by cheap labor in the lawn care section, so many of them are making a big push to get their landscape contractors license because that install activity is monitored, controllable and enforcible. And regardless of race, if someone is going to be a landscaper in Oregon, they are going to have to study their a$$ off to pass the tests. Only 1 in 10 people pass the tests first time through. So that hurdle enables a safe haven to practice some form of horticulture without being undermined.

    I just moved to south Oregon, and it's different here. There are more whites than hispanics doing lawn care here, but the wages in many other jobs are less in Medford, so it funnels more people to do lawn care because they are not getting undermined on business income as bad.

    So this state is split up.There's the LAWN service predominant companies. About 10% would be well qualified and NOT be a landscape contrator. The other 90% are either just passing their time to make a buck, or are near-non-English speaking services where the workers work hard, but have very limited knowledge to actually preserve landscapes. And the deal with that 90%, is that they are not just doing lawns. They are getting their hands on shrubs and small trees, turning half the stuff into meatballs because they don't know how to direct plant growth.


    Is Landscape contractors. The bulk have passed the state tests. I'm guessing it's 50/50 - half do installation only and the other half do installs and lawn care. The Tree Care niche is the only green laborious trade in Oregon that hasn't taken a hit. Cheap labor hasn't even dented it. It's the one trade where "horticulture" is on the rise. I'm not sure how clearly that explains our environment here, but hopefully that gives some idea. In the last 25 years, the art and interest in "horticulture" has been on the decline among the larger portion of the Lawn-Only segment business services.

    And its not so much a decline, as it is an increase of people coming in with little interest for horticulture. And there are lawn service with great enthusiasm for knowing plants, trees and soils. It's just that a large percentage of these, happen to be licenced landscape contractor services. All I remember, is that 20 years ago, men and women here, could start in business doing lawns and "gardening" and make decent money without having to hire one or two crews.

    That's all changed in 20 years - and 15 years really. Now the men and women lean toward the path of the landscape exam and license, and then a small handfull will start a lawn service, but need several employees to start making a living. It's almost become like where the arborist trade and landscape licensees is like the inside of a fortress for protection, and outside the walls is this labor pool low-bidding against each other. And the walls have been getting thicker and taller as more people move up and start working for minimal money.

    And lastly, I had no idea the thread would anger folks. As I said earlier, people don't seem to understand the nature of the post. Since it's not a put-down, and posted for ideas and input, why would I expect anger?
  4. Jnamo

    Jnamo LawnSite Member
    Messages: 90

    Then why don’t you do what any other highly educated pedagogical genius such as yourself would do?

    You are obviously bored…

    You obviously have some incomplete feelings about yourself…

    Sitting on the couch and whipping the contestants on Jeopardy just isn’t enough for you?

    I wish I had the free time to divulge what little brainpower I have to such an unimportant waste of time thing to think about.

    Why not use all of your Mr. Spock attributes and start a college for guys that cut grass?

    The fact that I am typing this gives way too much validity to your self-loathing, tediously immature thoughts. Get a hobby my friend. :usflag:
  5. mdvaden

    mdvaden LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,946

    That sounds foolish and makes no sense. I don't sit around. In fact, I currently have an article online qualifying arborists for CEUs for recertification. Up to 2 years ago, I absorbed a $4000 loss in income per year to serve on the landscape board as a service to the public an industry - as it's a non-paying service. Whereas no tree care classes are available in the local college, I have put together course outlines and am teaching those. Whereas no college program for LAWN or LANDSCAPE exists in southern Oregon, I am volunteering time every month to help the college follow through on a Grant.

    So my work is dispersed all through the day to benefit the profession, workers, education, often past midnight.

    I already have a hobby of hiking, but have turned my website hobby into an income generator, where the site itself brings in 5 times what I put out for it. And that's not referring to the work it brings in.

    This is my second start of business, and in a new area - having just passed the one year mark here.

    You are in Fantasy Land. So with you grossly innacurate advice, I'd suggest that you sit back and put on your seat belt. You know...

    Keep posting away.

    Your reply was like TurfLord that started a thread this week. He went way out into left field.

    A couple of days ago, I started a thread about biolubricants, and TurfLord comes on in to the thread and accuses me of a "stupid" question, then got himself shot down by other people in the thread. Because TurfLord tried to make decisions with his emotions, starting with mis-reading the thread I started. But he got his fingers slammed in the door. Both in another topic, but also by the other people who did understand what I wrote. Not everybody mis-read the topic.

    Now you come in here bringing up your imaginations about me - whom you are not around - with bizarre ideas. I don't have incomplete feelings about myself... YOU, have incomplete feelings about myself.

    Once again, your advice is bizarre: absolutely bizarre.
  6. walker/redmax

    walker/redmax LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 366

    Stop trying to talk your way out of this. You insulted allot of people with your arrogant post. You act like we are all crazy because we called you on it. I've got an idea, how about you move to a different country and make an insulting statement about how much smarter you are than them because your American. See how well that goes over.:waving:
  7. mdvaden

    mdvaden LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,946

    Walker Redmax...

    Let me put it this way.

    Let me assume that I made a mistake, or was trying to arrogantly put people down. (Hey many people are liking this part right !! - anyway)....

    So assume it was an intended put-down...

    So arrogant, or not arrogant, you would profit better to plainly say that you felt like you were on the receiving end of statements that made you feel put-down.

    Beyond that, you don't know how thick the ice is.

    Anybody can be right if they honestly say how they feel. But people fall through often, when they try and guesstimate what other people mean.

    So thank-you for your concern.

    (Was this the only topic of mine in 3 years that you felt was arrogant?)
  8. dwc

    dwc LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 645

    I feel your last reply to my post was directed the way it should have been in the beginning. I think many reading the Mowing forum could relate to what you described there.

    It seems to me where the whole problem lies with the green industry is the people referred to as "scrubs" are ruining this business. As you may have noticed from reading posts on here, many have the idea they will become the Wal-Mart of lawn care. Since our society has been programmed (greatly thanks to WM) that the lowest price is the only thing that matters, these people get the work! The sad thing is in order to stay afloat, real legit LCO's who care and have a knowledge of the green industry, must compete with the "scrubs" to get the work. Now anyone knows, including WM, that with a lower price always comes a cut of service somewhere.
    One difference I see with WM compared to green industry is WM sales a product which does not require expertise in the same way caring for grass, trees, shrubs, etc demands. Anyone can swipe the toothpaste past the scanner and throw it in the bag. Not everyone can look at a lawn, tree etc and tell the customer this is what they think is wrong.
    Take the car market for example. A Kia and a Mercedes will both get you from point A to point B. Which one has taken the time to not only build a name that quality is associated with, but is more well built to stand up to many years of service?
    This is one illustration I have looked at with my business plan to see that not everyone is going to hire my company even though I may have more knowledge than another competitor, simply because that is just not the way all people think.

    TURFLORD LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 834

    The psyco-babble is getting deep in here.;) and my hands feel just fine. I think my work here is almost done.

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