Help Wanted

Are growth and profitability important to your

Do you have all the employees you need to achieve your goals?
I challenge you to find a landscape company in theNortheast who was not short on help this past spring season. Almost every contractor purchasing or renting a Finn Bark Blower did so this year to fill a void. Not so long ago bark blower purchases were made by those looking to increase their spring workload. Today, there is simply too much work and not enough workers.

Recently, the National Association of Landscape Professionals (NALP) hosted a Workforce Summit to address the increasing help shortage in the green industry. According to NALP, more than 70,000 full time industry jobs went unfulfilled in 2018 nationwide. They claim that the lack of entry level employees is the biggest impediment to growth in the landscape industry and that this appears to be worsening. Along with these findings, NALP says that many equipment dealerships are starved for mechanics and sales people. We can attest to that.

The minimum wage in Massachusetts is $12.00/hour. There are arguments that it should be much higher. Do you hire great help for $12.00/hour? Do you hire ANY help for $12.00/hour? In my travels many of you I’ve visited have raised wages to nearly double this in some cases just to find people to shovel snow. Is there a number that will entice the younger generation to join our industry? Are they earning more than this at Walmart or McDonalds? What is the solution?

Unfortunately, there is no easy solution. For our industry to continue to grow we need people. We often sell equipment that can replace people, but you still need people to operate the equipment. With programs such as H2B getting more difficult to rely on, the green industry needs to work harder on education. Our industry associations and tech schools need to do a better job at attracting the younger generation. Upper Cape Cod Regional Tech School should serve as an example as to how this is done. Their green industry program offerings are astounding, and in my opinion, should be mirrored throughout the nation.

So what can you do right now? You have the workload and opportunity for much more but not a big enough team to complete it. Aside from adding labor saving equipment to your workforce, you should be willing and able to promote a career path to the younger generation rather than just a job. Promote steps to leadership positions. These days an effective recruiting process should include supporting a work-life balance and avoiding a sole focus on growth and profitability. The message is this: Prioritize and incentivize your current and potential employees- growth and profitability will follow.
-Chris Bacon, Sales Management