Use of College Degree's

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

  1. LandFakers

    LandFakers LawnSite Fanatic
    from CT
    Messages: 6,309

    Now not to be snarky or throw around any hate, but are you sure that telling people that you went to school for this sort of thing has gotten you jobs? I mean people are usually very simple, and for what he wants to do at this point its rather simple aswell. Cut the grass and make it look good. Now if he came and told me that he wanted to learn all about horticulture and how to diagnose different soil conditions in order to set up both irrigation and fertilizer needs than thats another story, in which I feel schooling would be 100% necessary.

    Thank you Armden&Son for pointing out what I/he feels he wants out of this business. Now can it develope into a different business as he ages and possibly goes in another direction? of course that is possible, but even then you can stilll go to college and get schooled up on such things, or even just go into the field and learn it just like you learn how to cut grass. Learn from somebody else and then go do it.

    After reading all the info on what the program offers it really is things that are either worthless for his current goals, or can be learned through weekend classes. Maybe im not understanding it correctly but it truly is based for golf and sports fields, both of which he would not be working on.
  2. GVL LLC

    GVL LLC LawnSite Member
    Messages: 154

    I know for a fact that some people have chosen my company due to my education. I have a couple school teachers and I know that the education sealed the deal for them. Mind you, I dont cut grass 7 days a week. my company provides many services and mowing is a small piece of the pie. If I solely were mowing all day every day I definately wouldnt have went to college for it. I didnt learn a single thing about mowing or turfgrass in college. I had the choice of a turfgrass class or arborist class and chose the arborist class. I knew very little about plant material before I went to college and took a class in which I learned all about over 200 different species of plants. I went to school because I wanted to be a landscaper who also does lawn maintenance.

    If your son is just going to run a mowing crew then I dont think it would be in his best interest to go to college for anything other then business, if he goes for anything.
  3. LandFakers

    LandFakers LawnSite Fanatic
    from CT
    Messages: 6,309

    Oh I see. It seems like he would like to do 4 days of cutting and then 2 days of either hardscaping, tree work, or mulching during the spring. If I was in your situation I would have went to school aswell. Those arent things that can be self taught, nor can be screwed up without conseqences usually meaning loss of money and customers.
  4. GVL LLC

    GVL LLC LawnSite Member
    Messages: 154

    If that's what he wants to do, then id definately encourage him to take business courses or just work since he will already be good at mowing, mulching is pretty self explanatory and is another skill that is acquired via practice in the field and most tree work is acquired via working in the field after he learns all the proper safety precautions that are associated with tree work.
  5. bah1491

    bah1491 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 137

    Having the title "horticulturist" has significantly helped my business with sales.

    My degree in horticulture had a very strong focus on business and employee management. It was still a degree in horticulture, not business. If he's not sure it's what he wants to do for "LIFE" then go for a general business degree which can be applied to many occupations. If he truly believes he wants to own and manage a landscape firm, then go for the horticulture / turf grass programs. Look at other schools, not just the nearest one to home, or the most convenient one. Many schools have different variations of horticulture degrees. OSU had landscape horticulture programs with specialties in landscape management, landscape construction, landscape design, and turf management.
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  6. TCW

    TCW LawnSite Member
    Messages: 35

    Think a little more long term- even though college doesn't teach you how to mow or build a retaining wall, there is still a wealth of valuable information he can learn, in both business matters and from a scientific standpoint. 10 years down the road, is he still going to be mowing? Or will he make the jump to managing, whether that be in his company or another company? Just because you can't see a direct benefit right off the bat doesn't mean you should dismiss the idea. What if in 5 years he decides to explore other options? A degree in Turf opens up opportunities in fertilizer companies, seed companies, sales, or other related industries. If he has the desire to advance his education, why handcuff him because it doesn't have immediate, tangible benefits?

    I'm getting my Master in Horticulture and Turf Management from Texas Tech right now. I got my undergrad in Accounting and am eligible to sit for the CPA exam if I wanted to. Now do any classes I'm taking right now help me sit on a mower or run a weedeater? Not one bit. But my undergrad gave me knowledge of how I can utilize depreciation to reduce my taxes, learn from other companies trial and error on how best to manage processes, and the list goes on.

    He will also gain a more in depth knowledge of why we do things in our industry. How do micronutrients in the soil interact with different textures and how does that affect the way plants adsorb them? What characteristics of a plant's physiology make certain herbicides more effective than others? It will never be a bad thing to have more knowledge and understanding of what you are mowing.

    Honestly, we need more educated professionals in the industry, and if he is college age right now, this is the perfect opportunity to gain life experience and mature while gaining valuable knowledge to make him a better landscape professional.
  7. Kelly's Landscaping

    Kelly's Landscaping LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,724

    Degree in Turf Management what would I use it for? Well for running a lawncare company I would say not much of anything. But if I had one I wouldn't be wasting my time running a lawncare company either. No a degree like that could get you in a high end golf course or running the grounds dept of a collage or running the fields for a pro sports team. All of which can be 6 figure jobs and thus well worth getting the degree for.
  8. Doin_It

    Doin_It LawnSite Member
    Messages: 36

    So is my story way different then I took Turf-grass back in the day, almost 30 years ago, worked on several different golf courses, made it to Super on a small course, then realized that I might be able to make a better living owing boom trucks. Quit the industry, bought a boom truck, built it up to half dozen trucks, then sold it due to health reasons. (took my money and bought a small commercial rental building)

    My budgeting classes, accounting, sure were useful during that time. After sitting around for 18 or so months I figured I needed to get back to work, What else...............landscaping. Built it up to 150 residentials along the way, with about 2000 sprays, no construction that's to hard on the back. One day I figured I didn't like resi's or spraying any more so sold them to 2 different people and got into commercial and now just do commercial work with about 70 properties.

    All that to say, education is always useful. The classes outside of the turf/design/irrigation, etc etc are always good. I love to sit for hours and crunch numbers from classes taken years ago, applies to anything I do, and helps in what ever I put my hand to.

    So you see I traveled a different road, but today I'm happy to say I'm sure glad I took Turf grass, it gave me a great start. That basis has helped me build several business. So just do what you love.
  9. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    I've noticed that the 'educated' crowd on the forum have a hardtime using common sense in looking at the soil for common issues in the turfgrass... throughout my life and all the different jobs, including the Service, I see college educated people unable to deal with simple ideas, possibly becuz they overthink everything to the point of 'paralysis by analysis'...

    Is it necessary to know the difference between 'hyphae' and 'mycelium' to determine if over irrigation caused compaction which caused Red Thread???
    I don't think so... :)

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