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Not Like License Method? Listen to the Pro!

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by mdvaden, May 2, 2003.

  1. mdvaden

    mdvaden LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,946

    The other thread on licensing prompted me to write this.

    In case you did not read that post, I am a board member for the Oregon Landscape Contractors Board.

    Honestly, I just about quit after only serving 6 months of my first 3 year term. The reason I decided to hang in there, was because its possible to accomplish change by remaining.

    What I want to dwell on here is something from the past:

    Before I was on the board, before I was a licensed landscaper - about 10, 15 years ago - I was dead set against licensing. Heck, I knew what I was doing, and I was well trained.

    ( I support reasonable licensing and testing now, at least IN OREGON, because of the MIGRANT labor that came HERE unprepared, presenting themselves as credible services for care of valuable landscaping - end of parenthesis )

    Continuing in the past - this is the part some of you will enjoy - I and one other tree service "took on" the Oregon Construction Contractors Board and the Oregon Arborists Association.

    The history is that those 2 groups had already started legislation that put all tree care services in Oregon under the jurisdiction of the Construction Contractors Board. When I found out about this, there was another bill in the works for the Arborists to have an Arborist Board within the construction board.

    My main "beef" was that I did not think I should have to get that license for small and medium pruning, nor have to carry the amount of insurance they were requesting. But as I read the proposed legislation, I saw that there were "land-mines" like saying that "testing would have to occur at least once per year". Well, that statement also can be interpreted as "TESTING CAN BE GIVEN ONLY ONCE PER YEAR". See the danger?

    What if you are well established in business, with big yellow page advertising contracts. And suppose you fail the test, and have to wait a full year to retake. Legally, you can't earn income, so where do you get money to pay for your leased vehicles? Your ads? Your rent? Your bread and butter?

    When I approached the construction board with these concerns, they, and the arborist association (represented by their lobbyist) stated that gardeners like me were people that grubbed in the mud on their hands and knees (implied we were unskilled workers not worth listening too).

    So --- I got together with another tree service owner, my friend. Together, we got the phone book, and called, and called a bunch of other tree services that share similar concerns. Within about 40 days, there were about 60 of us getting together to meet in the Portland, Oregon area. In fact, by that point, some of the others shared in and took over some of the leg-work, so that me and my buddy would not get burned out.

    So the 60 of us worked together. Basically, we all ended up going to a hearing together, dressed nice in slacks or suits, shaved and teeth brushed, and had a couple of prepared spokesmen, at a hearing before seven state representatives.

    The representatives voted 7 to 0 that the legislation was not in the publics best interest, but was a business control thing. So the Construction Contractors Board and their partner the Oregon Arborists Association got blown out of the water - severely. And the arborists - the big companies - were out about $10,000 that they invested in this.

    One of the great rewards, was to see the Chair of the representatives commitee, tell the President of the local International Society of Arboriculture to "please sit down" and "quit speaking". In other words, they barely politely told him to sit down and shut up.

    My friend pointed out that the arborist president was so mad when I rehearsed the chain of events to the representatives, that he boiled with anger in his seat like "a volcano ready to erupt".

    So the reason I brought all this up: any of you can change the entire course of events in your industry, even if you are an "unknown", a "little guy". There is strength in numbers, and as long as what you are doing is not for personal gain, you can actually accomplish feats.

    And a great lesson I learned is that the state government leaders really will listen - amazingly, but they will. In the situation I was involved in, I never would have imagined so great a success. A 7 to 0 vote!
  2. gusbuster

    gusbuster LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,926

    I can see why they wanted to create a separate designated license for an aborist, it's called MONEY!.

    I do agree with you that in numbers, you can change things, but what good is changing things when the original intent of a law is not enforced or can't be enforced due to overloaded under funded state enforcement agencies. Even the C.L.A.C. can't afford the tv, radio ads advising, educating residents that they should check to see if a person is licensed. In over 30 years in this trade, i've only been asked 3 times for a city business license, maybe a dozen times by prospective clients if I was a c-27 contractor. It's all about the human nature of getting the best bargain for the job. Unfortunately, not the quality of the job.

  3. Doc Pete

    Doc Pete LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,469

    Well............ and I may have said this (and others, too) before. rules are only as good as those "enforcing them". Heck, in New Jersey, as soon as you use a truck to make to "make Money", you need commercial plates, a tax ID, and your name on your truck. It would be so easy for the local cops to hand out tickets by the dozen, BUT..... they just don't give a darn. Also, every other trailer I see either has no brake lights or no blinker lights. Again, easy money for the local cops, but they just could care less............

  4. gusbuster

    gusbuster LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,926

    Ca. solved that problem many years ago. Any P\u sold in this state has to get commercial plates, whether it's personal or trade related purchase. But put a camper on it, well then it becomes a rv vehicle.


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