Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by creative concepts, Feb 18, 2002.

  1. creative concepts

    creative concepts LawnSite Member
    Messages: 69

    I have been pondering over this for some time now and figured I would get others opinions on the matter.

    How come a company needs to be a licensed electrician, plumber, contractor or builder but yet you do not need to be licensed to be a landscaper? I know you can get a license to be a landscape contractor and I currently have one but why is it not manditory? It is manditory to have a license to be a lawn care company (i.e. fert. weed control, etc..) but why not the industry as a whole? There are so many hack jobs companies out there that do not pay for insurance, taxes, workmans comp or try to expand on their knowledge. I will not even get into the maintenance end of this.

    I think if we (the landscape industry) stood up and spoke our minds to the legislation and our associations (ALCA, NJLCA, PLCA etc..) we can change this and make it manditory to be licensed which would weed out A LOT of the scrubs and hackjobs.

    This is just my thoughts on the subject and would love to know what others think. Maybe in some states it is manditory but in NJ it is not.

    Creative Concepts Landscape Design & Management
  2. Richard Martin

    Richard Martin LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,699

    In Maryland it is required for a company or person to get a Maryland Home Improvement Commision license if you are doing actual landscaping. That would be installing sidewalks, retaining walls, grading etc. If all you are doing is installing plants or cutting grass then no special license is required. Most of the really small landscapers (1 to 5 man companies) around me don't bother with the license. The state only raises a fuss about the license if someone calls them to complain.
  3. creative concepts

    creative concepts LawnSite Member
    Messages: 69

    That is what I don't understand and probably never will. If you are an electrician it doesn't matter if you are wiring a whole house or putting in just one light switch, It is mandatory to have a license. Same with a plumber, if it is a large job or just fixing a leaky faucet they still need a license. With most of these fields, you also need to do a few years of apprentice work before you can even think about applying for a license. Why shouldn't the landscape industry be the same? We are still working on the homeowner's property.

    I apologize for my anger, but this topic really bothers me and I feel something needs to be done

    Creative Concepts Landscape Design & Management
  4. 2 man crew

    2 man crew LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 403

    I agree 100%. It would make it a little harder for some of the guys to get into the business and lowball. It would also raise the standard and our reputation as a whole. It would be nice if every one in the green industry had to be licensed. One problem would be enforcement. It would be very easy to enforce licensing on the commercial side. I think it would be hard to check all the guys doing only residential. And that is where 50% of the priority needs to placed.

    If your really serious about getting things changed you could Wright up a letter and mailing addresses. Post it on this web site and guys like me would copy it, sign it and send it. I don't know if this would work. Just a thought.
  5. creative concepts

    creative concepts LawnSite Member
    Messages: 69

    I agree that it would be difficult to montior and enforce the residential side, but in the same aspect the EPA and DEP had no problem finding and stoping me last season to check my credentials(sp?). I don't want to deter(sp?) new comers from entering the field but I feel they need to gain some experience first to learn the aspects of the industry and then they can try to go out on their own.

    I am extremely serious about following through with it and that is a good idea about writing a letter and posting it. I just have to get the address and contacts that the letter needs to go to.

    Thanks for the input. For awhile there I thought I was the only one who felt like this.

    Creative Concepts Landscape Design & Management
  6. 1grnlwn

    1grnlwn LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,261

    Back in the 20s the trades were tired of scrubs and started Unions. They put forth a set of requirements and rules. If you did not abide by these rules you were beat up or even killed. Mob rules mentality. (no pun intended) Don't think that would fly today, so we should stop crying about scrubs and concentrate on our business. Electricians don't need license in all situations. Depends on the municipality of job. You do need license to own electrical company, but not to work for company.

    I think licensing is tied to public safety. Electrical contractor can burn down the block. Plumber can back siphon sewage into the towns water hole. Fert guy can kill all the fish in the creek. Of course unions are very supportive of these practices because it restricts entry. And saves bats.

    Yes they are annoying
    yes they need to make a living too
    no I don't think you will ever convince politicians you need a license to mow grass and plant trees.

    Local associations might work, but I think the guys that are doing the best would laugh and you would definitely need ALL of them to make it fly.

  7. If you don't do $6,000 in business you don't have to collect sales tax. I call it the "scrub" exemption.
    It just means to me that the average scrub will be 6% cheaper than my prices.

  8. creative concepts

    creative concepts LawnSite Member
    Messages: 69


    I am not worried about the competition from the scrubs because the quality of work that my company does. But I feel that with a license it will protect both the industry and the homeowner. I can't tell you how many phone calls I receive to do a repair job on walls that have failed, water features that do not work properly or at all, etc... With some kind of license structure in place it would eliminate a lot of the construction work being done by unqualified people. I know it is part of my job to educate the homeowner, but it would also eliminate the sterotypical response of "all landscaper's are the same, they just want to rip people off." It does not happen very often and I overcome it with my responses, but it would be nice to not have to.

    Like I said earlier in this reply, I am not concerned with competing with the scrubs, it would just be nice to have some kind of standard in place that would be come the norm for all to achieve.

    Creative Concepts Landscape Design & Management
  9. Randy Scott

    Randy Scott LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,915

    Enforcement, enforcement, enforcement. They just don't have the resources to enforce this and when push comes to shove, voters are not going to want to spend extra in taxes to have it taken care of. I commend you on your efforts, but I think you are fighting a loosing battle.
    I know, you're going to tell me "with that attitude, that's why nothing will get done about it". You are right to an extent, but I don't have the time or energy to fight for it. I would rather beat them at their own game and focus my attention on my business. It's hard enough to have enough time to devote to that in a day. The cream always rises to the top anyways.
    I did bodywork/painting for 13 years, and everybody and their brother did "side jobs" at home. This surely cut into that industry also. Thus affecting me, but if you think I, or someone else could stop this, yeah right. It's just too out of control. With all the new laws that surfaced about equipment changes and procedures of painting cars, product specifications, how shops take precauitions to practice new laws and steps correctly, do you know who enforces them? The DNR. Wait, not new people employed at the DNR, but the same guys that check your fricken' fishing and hunting license. They implemented new laws and regulations but never took on more personnel to monitor these situations. What a joke.
    And if you think that every guy doing plumbing or electrical work is licensed, you're fooling yourself.
    That's the society that we have created in America. What's the fastest, easiest way to make a buck. People are ignorant to the fact of what really makes this world turn. The same people that don't obey tax laws, registrations, licensing, are the same POS that will ***** about our economy and how the country is run. They just don't get it. They just don't get it!
    All I try to do is be the best I can, do things right, and hope it all pays off in the end.
    I don't know if this is the right attitude or not, but it's the one I have, and as it has been said before, everyone has their own opinion. Good luck with whatever you do.:)
  10. Twotoros

    Twotoros LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 494

    In Wa. state landscapers are required to have a contractors license. The # must be published with any advertising and be on the biz cards. The state will go after the unlicensed unlike in lawn maintenance where the state could care less. If I was to put in a retaining wall on a bust street I could expect to be turned in by a licensed contractor. As it should be. I wish the maint. biz was so regulated.

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