Whining about TG/CL

Discussion in 'Pesticide & Herbicide Application' started by vegomatic40, Mar 18, 2002.

  1. vegomatic40

    vegomatic40 LawnSite Senior Member
    from 6
    Messages: 406

    First of all, let me preface this thread by sayng that yes, I am a former employee of TG/CL. I worked many years as both a spray tech. and manager for this company. I dare say that no one within this forum has more right to have feelings of ill-will towards this corp. than I do. I know every sleazy,sordid and downright incompetent method that this place employs frontwards,backwards up and down, through and through. In 1992 when the first rumblings that Chemlawn would be purchased from Ecolab by a little upstart co. in Memphis, we all knew that big changes were on the horizon. Please remember, it is no accident that Trugreen retained the rights to Chemlawn and continued to use the logo until recently. Chemlawn was a privately owned co. until 1987 I believe (correct me if I'm wrong here) when purchased by Ecolab. Ecolab had the good sense to leave most of the management, employees and methodology largely intact but payed far too much for the business and while the business was certainly turning out a profit it could not continue "feeding the gator" and soon started courting a buyer. Many companies including BFI. Waste Man. inc. even Pepsico looked at this money maker as a potential gold mine. Suddenly Trugreen, with its aggressive marketing, poor service and scummy tactics entered the picture and purchased the company at a point of extreme vulnerability for just over a "song." TG could not believe their luck! A multi-million dollar co. snatched up with dedicated employees, proven methods, great management (which the immediately started to prune away) 2 large research and developement facilities (got one of those guys?) but a supposedly antiquated marketing philosophy. It wasn't long before they employees began to get the idea and started drfiting away. While the corp. was turning record profits and huge growth it also had cancels running out of their collective ears. I personally remember my first branch mananger at Chemlawn, irate and pounding his fist about a 12% cancel rate during a meeting. At this point , a manager with that rate would be the corporations "golden boy" and would be hailed as a inovator. While it is probably splitting hairs, please do not refer to them as TG/CL any longer. They have little resemblance to the industry leader that Chemlawn was. Most of you owe your existence to one or both. Without them, would this industry even be alive? How much influence do you think that you hold over state and federal lawmakers regarding pesticide usage? How many of you "feed" off their cancels ? How many of your customers would even know that such a industry even existed without their marketing practices? If Chemlawn was still around, how many of you could even hope to sniff some of their customers? Very few I think. To close, don't try to compete with price. They'll beat you almost every time. Most of their sales reps have neither the time or the inclination to actually measure a property so more than a little guess work goes on in that department. Find a niche, what can you do better? Service? Services they don't provide? Better results? Do something different that puts you at the top. Don't hate them because you have to compete. This is America. Built on competition. Get in there and compete! In other words.."If you can't cut the mustard, don't pick up the knife."
    PS Ask your local Lesco rep if he knows who their biggest client is? You know, the one that is a multi-million dollar account.
  2. Garry

    Garry LawnSite Member
    Messages: 184

    Well, well, well.......................I'm sure you feel better getting that off your chest.

    I do not owe that company anything. They have done more to ruin the reputation of this field than all the "low ballers" combined. I'm growing very tired of explaining why my agronomic practices differ so much from this "Industry leader".

    Especially when the truthful answer is........................I care more about application timing, and soil condition than my financial bottom line.......(and belive me, my income is important)

    In landscape care, it's not how many new accounts you get, but rather, how many of your accounts you keep.

    What good is a 45% sales closing ratio if you're only filling in the holes left by last years cancels.

    Yes, I too am an ex-employee (from the early 80's)....................However, I saw this wolf in sheeps clothing almost from day one.
  3. Ric

    Ric LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,968


    Thank you for the back ground info. I have often posted that in theory TG/CL had a excellence program however does not follow through. The TG/CL two hose gun is a head of its time and will some day be an industry standard for I.P.M. Their marketing program or business model is lose 4 and pick up 5 etc.

    We as small business owner can thank TG/CL for the public awareness they have created. We also can learn from their marketing and pest management theory. No not the way they practice pest management.

    It is also interesting that you say, ask Lesco about their biggest customer. Boy is that a great set up for me to slam Lesco.

    I think I saw some TG/CL fertilizer at one of the discount stores. Could I have been wrong.
  4. Meagle816

    Meagle816 LawnSite Member
    from mo
    Messages: 12

    I am also a past tgcl employee. I agree alot with Vegomatic 40. I learned alot working for them, whether agronamy or what not to do when i started on my own. In the years I worked for them, seemed to me $ was more important than service. I once heard a marketing manager say when they cancell they would be back in couple of years. (was this because they cut price or bought out other companies? ). You cannot compete with their price. Have friend that uses them, asked if i could treat his lawn? TGCL is treating 5 M for $29.00. How can you compete?Seen other prices and talk to people. Examples of $ 36.00 for 8 m and $ 29.00 for 9 m. Sorry, can't compete with that price.Told them when they are dissatisfied or tired of all the phone call to give me a call.
  5. CTLGM

    CTLGM LawnSite Member
    Messages: 11

    Vergomatic 40 sounds like he has read my mind for the past 3 years!!! Not to sound as though this is an AA meeting, but I, too am an ex-TG employee.
    However, my story started with Barefoot Grass and TG was my only true competition. Our motto was Granular vs. Liquid!!! We always won!! As a whole, I firmly believe the saying that your company and your turf program is only as good as the Tech putting it out. TG goes through techs like I go through underwear!!
    The taste that is still bitter in my mind and mouth when I hear TG is from the Landscape Management side of things. I worked in Atlanta with a 13 million dollar company as a Branch Manager. TG came in and made our happy little company its first "Purchase" in the Southeast market. Within six months, they had a collection plate that tipped the scales at over $70million in sales the previous year. The market became very DARK...... then came the confusion, the deer in headlight mentality, lack of leadership, and last but not least, the lack of respect for employees.
    I got sick of seeing people being stepped on, taken advantage of and everything else for the benefit of the BOTTOM LINE!!
    I got news for you!!! Take a look at how much turnover they have had since '98, and "Who" they lost!! Not to mention the fact that they are too big for their wallet! Why else did they sell the Design- Installation part to EII?! Rob Peter to pay Paul!! Heck they even sold their Interior to Rentokil!! Their idea to be the Biggest kid on the block only makes my new company's lunch of previously being a paper bag, to becoming a 20oz. Prime Rib!!
  6. Planter

    Planter LawnSite Member
    from Utah
    Messages: 214

    Nice information and much to think about. I appreciate the insight. My frustration comes from the marketing tactics. One of their former employees is a friend of mine. He quit after they were insistent that he sell the service to his parents. He knew he couldnÂ’t do it in good conscience, and left the company. Another is their showing up without prior approval to aerate, and then sneaking it into the charges. Can't sell a service? Well, we'll sneak it in and add it to the bill as an application. Nice tactics.

    I love it when they call to solicit. I get great enjoyment asking about their chemical and application rates. It's nice to put the phone solicitor on the spot for a change.

    They are the bottom feeders of the landscape maintenance market. They will reap what they sow. I'm just a little guy, but I don't have to sell my parents a shoddy service or sneak a service into the bill. When I go home at night I sleep well and know I didn't nail the public. I earned every dollar I took.

    The market will make the winners and the losers. Wonder where they will come out?
  7. 1grnlwn

    1grnlwn LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,261

    I'll try not to whine and I never worked there. But I did a quote today on 50000 ft yard. Customer was mad about their service and the fact that they had doubled his price. My price came to 135 then I asked what old price was. $53. $53 for 50000 ft I about died, double that and I'm still high. Told this to my turf instructor who is 2nd largest applicator in area and he explaind what a bag drop was. I just stood there with my mouth open. But that would explain some of the mysteries. Guys, bag drops? Ever do em?:rolleyes:
  8. Planter

    Planter LawnSite Member
    from Utah
    Messages: 214

    Well, I'll bite and display my ignorance. What is a "bag drop"?
  9. 1grnlwn

    1grnlwn LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,261

    As explained too me: Pull up hang bag on door with invoice and leave. Used to get quota for the day out of the way so comissions would kick in earlier in the day.
  10. ohiolawnguy

    ohiolawnguy LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 397

    hmmmm bag drop, now it makes sense. we were at a customers house doing a spring clean-up. this is one of the few customers we have who still have TG/CL fertilizing.

    anyways, i was talking to her about renovating a few areas of the the lawn, as we had discussed last fall. she still wants it done, and i explain that i dont want trugreen to put down pre-m, or anything similar. well she says,"oh they were just here friday, let me get the invoice."

    so, im looking over the invoice. says it was a granuar aplication, but not pre-m, just straight fertilizer. handwritten on the invoice is that this fertilization will help the lawn recover from stress during the winter months. im thinking ok that's all fine and dandy, but, i didn't see a single speck of granular fertilizer anywhere. on the lawn, near the beds, on the walk anywhere. hmmmm, SOUNDS LIKE A BAG DROP TO ME!!

    maybe i should confront the customer about this? would you?

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