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Landscape Contractor Experience

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  • #16
    I have hired staff from community colleges that teach heavy equipment courses, not one was worth a dam, couldn`t read a grade if their life depended on it and screwed up on several drains, not sure what they teach, give me three or four days with someone that know nothing but wants to learn and I will give you the best excavator or loader operator going, it took a month to get everyone trained but they all know their stuff well.

    We ran three tree crews this summer with three industrial chippers I bought it took a few days to show them the ropes then I moved on, I started this company in April mainly for the fun of it and a chance to work with my son who goes to university, it will gross around 400,000 this year and I pill push it over a million next and then probably sell and do something else. I have done this with 5 other companies, it`s simple.
    Yeah ... I noticed the same thing. Worked with someone who had a Masters and headed a college hort program. They were just trying to get some field work in. The person was not even sure how to use a shovel.

    It can be bad from both ends sometimes. Folks can have a lot of college and not have the experience. Then there are the guys off the street, or with just a year experience and they are not worth a damn to run a landscape business.

    It basically takes at least 5 years to really understand soil, trees, diseases and growth. Anyone who thinks it can be done with less does not know what they are talking about.

    There is a wide gap between workers for landscape contracting, and the actual owner manager who has to oversee. The one option is an owner who hires someone who has mastered the trade. Like in Oregon. That's why we have two licenses here. A business license. And an individual license which requires a test. The business license is not issued unless someone in the company has the individual license.

    One out of ten people pass all the Oregon landscape exams first time through.

    For this thread, the opening post really sets the groundwork for the goals:

    Alright, well for starters, I run part landscaping service as of right now, go to school full-time, and work elsewhere part-time. I am a very busy man but I hope next summer to go full time with the business. Atleast for the summer. One major goal is to really kick it in the a** and start getting some contractor experience such the goes beyond mowing grass and cleaning gardens. I am talking about ponds, outdoor kitchens, retaining walls, and so on. Right now I am reading landscape construction books when I am not studying for horticulture degree stuff. Do you guys think it is good to get some experience under a contractor or just keep reading and 'attempt' to do it for the first time at someone's property? It is just really hard trying to find the niche experience along with all the other stuff that comes with it. My wife wants me to work with contractor to gather some experience, but if I am doing my own thing next summer, why should I spend my time making someone else rich?
    They have a long term goal that is multi-faceted and will involve reams of agronomy, horticulture, some arboriculture and some masonry and construction.

    And it seems that they are on the right path.

    Staying on the right path probably involves stepping up responsibility in components or steps, and allowing 5 to 7 years until the whole operation is in full gear offering all phases.
    Last edited by mdvaden; 10-04-2009, 05:59 PM.
    M. D. Vaden -


    • #17
      Nice work! What would you like to do next?
      That is two years down the road, I need to continue to build this company, I will add even bigger gear next year, find at least two more product offerings, it will probably be sold in 2011.

      I am currently researching wood pellet manufacturing as there is major demand, a lot of mills around here, start up will be about 5 million so I dunno....will think of something, I generally do
      Halifax, Nova Scotia


      • #18
        I am currently researching wood pellet manufacturing as there is major demand, a lot of mills around here, start up will be about 5 million so I dunno....will think of something, I generally do
        I think I can remember a little while back on here a discussion on this topic and how much they would be in demand.
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