August 2018 VOL. 40, NO. 6
Injury no excuse for entrepreneurs It is a virtue, but frugality can cost money Rob Kennaleyâ€™s legal mentorship
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AUGUST 2018 VOL. 40, NO. 6
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FEATURES 6 Snow: There’s an app for that
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Uber-style interfaces help some operators with customer acquisition and collections.
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14 Snow pros vs. Halifax
Contractors fine-tune systems to fight eastern Canada’s unique winter challenges.
BY JORDAN WHITEHOUSE
B.C. show delivers productivity, education and fun.
COLUMNS 22 Road to success
Tired or hurt, entrepreneurs carry on — it’s who we are.
BY ROD McDONALD
26 Management solutions
How economizing on pennies can cost thousands in lost revenues.
BY MARK BRADLEY
42 Mentor moment
Lawyer Rob Kennaley reflects on a career dedicated to promoting contractors’ success.
DEPARTMENTS GREEN PENCIL 4 INDUSTRY NEWS 28 CNLA NEWS 34 SNOW PRODUCTS 36 ADVERTISERS 40 CLASSIFIEDS 40 COMING EVENTS 40
AUGUST 2018 | LANDSCAPE TRADES |
greenpencil Cannabis, reefer, weed, pot, marijuana …
Elephant in the room There is broad agreement,
By Lee Ann Knudsen
both within and outside the industry, that marijuana use is common among Canadian landscaping and horticulture workers. With nationwide legalization scheduled for Oct. 17, plenty of business owners are wondering if staying in business will become even more challenging — and asking questions that have no answers:
What if my employee causes an accident, hurting somebody or worse, and evidence points to cannabis? I hear the active ingredient lingers for months; when will the law define cannabis impairment? Will legal cannabis make it even tougher for landscaping to project a professional image? I spoke with several contractors about their hopes and fears related to pot, guaranteeing anonymity since the issue is so sensitive. One contractor had heard of problems in other companies, but is not worried, trusts his staff, and believes those who indulge in recreational drugs or alcohol during the weekend do not let it interfere with work. Current policies in place on drugs and alcohol will cover me, believes another contractor. His rules are firm, employees are required to acknowledge them, and infraction is grounds for immediate dismissal. He noted that when Prohibition ended, predictions called for massive and universal public drunkenness — which did not happen. However, this business owner did say his general manager has concerns. “Four years ago, we had a session on this in the shop,” said another contractor. “We stressed that every employee is responsible to report unsafe conditions.” Conditions including drug impairment, which could result in somebody getting hurt or killed. “We raised visibility, and got some problems corrected. We said, ‘You are the eyes out there. If you see it, you own it.’” This contractor was professional about acknowl-
4 | AUGUST 2018 | LANDSCAPE TRADES
edging responsibility for accommodating medical marijuana use, but clear that such an employee is “unsuitable for 95 per cent of the work we do. I have been around the block.” He was also aware that his company might have exposure through sub-trades. The company is waiting for things to settle a bit before deciding whether changes to current drug and alcohol policies are needed. He noted his current policy worked fine, when needed to fire an employee who decided to pack weed in his lunch. So while nobody seemed to be in a panic, marijuana is asserting itself everywhere these days, just like a smoke cloud. Statistics Canada released some survey results in May that provide hard numbers to paint a sobering picture. You can find the piece on statcan.gc.ca, “Association between the frequency of cannabis use and selected social indicators.” When broken out by type of work or occupation, the very highest rate of cannabis use occurred among the employment group “Trades, transport and equipment operators and related.” Of survey participants in this group, 5.3 per cent reported using cannabis at least two to six times a week. This is not only the highest rate among employment groups, it is even higher than “No occupation.” The survey goes on to show association between cannabis use and physical or mental health disability. While Canadians in general have a high level of trust in police and the justice system, frequent cannabis use is associated with lower confidence in those institutions. Frequent cannabis users are also more likely to report they have been victims of violent crime. From a contractor’s perspective, threats are in the air from the elephant in the room — legalized cannabis. It feels like yet another burden for business owners who sincerely believe horticulture promotes health, beauty and nature. Nobody knows how legalized cannabis will affect your ability to keep responsible staff, LT or to protect your company.
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UBER does snow BY SCOTT BARBER
Ben Zlotnick, Aden Earthworks, is challenging tradition with the Eden App.
Size the property. Schedule the job. Input credit card information. In three steps, homeowners get a price and timeline for their winter or summer landscape maintenance work. Tech companies connecting consumers to contractors or businesses are springing up across the country and in a wide range of 6 | AUGUST 2018 | LANDSCAPE TRADES
industries. Proponents make the case that in some ways, landscaping services are an ideal fit for the Uber business model.
Ben Zlotnick is the owner of Aden Earthworks, a full-service landscape company that has been in business in the Greater Toronto Area for 15 years. Zlotnick launched Eden App in 2016 with the goal of making it easy for consumers to find good contractors, while at the same time, providing value to contractors.
“With Yardly contractors are able to pick and choose jobs that make sense geographically, allowing them to save time and money.”
AUGUST 2018 | LANDSCAPE TRADES |
The value for landscape contractors is in lead generation, and perhaps more importantly, not having to worry about chasing clients for payment. The platform takes care of “all of the admin,” says Zlotnick, including automated payment services. “I’ve been a member of Landscape Ontario for close to 15 years with my landscape business, and I looked at opportunities as far as how can I continue to grow that business and at the same time, work with other contractors,” Zlotnick says. “Some of the issues we come across in our industry, and within the trades in general, are cashflow challenges and administrative headaches. By building Terry Song (left), co-founder and CEO of Yardly, and out Eden, we looked to solve those chalSheldon Zhang (right), co-founder and president of Yardly. lenges.” Eden can be accessed through a free An“Customers put in their address, and based on the property size droid or Google app, or through a web browser. Contractors use a separate app that allows them to view and select jobs based on a first- they choose, the app automatically gives them an average price they come, first-serve basis. Eden also has a system to connect customers should be offering, then it’s left up to them to decide if the price sounds fair, ” Klingbeil says. “They can choose to bid a lesser amount looking for regularly scheduled maintenance with contractors. if the work isn’t urgent, or if they want to ensure the job gets done as Sheldon Zhang runs Yardly, a similar web-based platform cur- soon as possible, they can choose to bid a higher amount.” rently operating in Edmonton, Calgary and Winnipeg. Launched in Contractors select jobs on a first-come, first-serve basis, Klingbeil 2015, Yardly is also designed for one-off snow and grass services, or says, and customers are incentivized to select fair pricing because if regularly scheduled maintenance. they bid too low, their job won’t be picked up. “This is a day and age where you can call an Uber to your house Available in Calgary, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Red Deer, Regina, in three minutes and you can get food delivered in half an hour,” Lethbridge and Saskatoon, Klingbeil says Mowsnowpros is primarily Zhang says. “Lawn or snow services are just as simple, but custom- aimed at customers looking for one-off snow plow or grass cutting ers are having to call a bunch of contractors, and then wait a couple service. of days to get a quote back, then they would pay with a cheque. It’s outdated.” The traditional business model doesn’t always serve contractors, either, Zhang argues. “Contractors spend time and money finding customers, and most of the time, those customers are going to be spread out across the city,” Zhang says. “There’s a lot of driving in between jobs, where a contractor spends money on fuel and time. The driving time can be even worse during a winter storm.” With Yardly, Zhang says, contractors are able to pick and choose Eden, on the other hand, is set up to connect customers with a jobs that make sense geographically, allowing them to save time and wider range of services, including landscape construction projects money. like patios, water features, decks and fences. Aiden Klingbeil launched Mowsnowpros in 2016 in Calgary. Eden sets itself apart in terms of pricing. The pricing model looks The platform functions similarly to Eden and Yardly, except custom- the same to the customer, who receives a quote on the app or web ers have more leeway when it comes to pricing. browser by inputting the size of his driveway or yard. For construc-
“ With the Mowsnowpros platform, the app gives customers a price based on the size of their property and how soon they want the job done, then custom ers decide if the price sounds fair. ”
Mowsnowpros’ platform functions similarly to Eden and Yardly, but offers customers more leeway when it comes to pricing.
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tion projects, the contractor visits the home to quote, just like a traditional job. The difference for Eden is that where Yardly and Mowsnowpros take a percentage of the quote (25 per cent for Yardly, Mowsnowpros did not disclose its rate), Eden charges its fee to the customer, on top of the rate the contractor selects. “If a contractor wants a price, that’s the price he is going to earn,” Zlotnick says. “I’m
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“ Eden takes care of all the overhead. All contractors need to do is a quality job with the work, and the customer will keep coming back.”
coming from 15 years of experience in the industry; I get it. I can talk the talk. The other option is where customers can sign up with us so that Eden takes care of their property every time it snows. Same thing for weekly lawn maintenance in the summer. In those cases, we pre-assign the contractor. For that contractor, it is his customer.” Zlotnick adds, “Eden takes care of all the overhead. All contractors need to do is a quality job with the work, and the customer will keep coming back.”
Joe Puglisi runs CNJ Contracting in Toronto, Ont., with six staff members and three trucks. In business for three years, CNJ
provides snow removal in the winter and interlock and carpentry builds through the summer. “We were approached by Eden in October 2018, and I was skeptical,” Puglisi says. “I get approached by a lot of different companies who want us to try out their app or their service. Most people want a percentage of whatever we quote; Eden was the first to offer the full price that is listed to customers on the app. And there was no monthly or annual fee, either. So we decided to give it a shot.” So far, the Eden platform has worked for Puglisi and CNJ Contracting. “Things were really good through the winter and now into the summer,” Puglisi
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says. “We’ve actually added a couple of staff to handle the extra work, and we plan on adding another truck for the winter just to take care of what comes in through Eden.” Puglisi says the biggest benefit is not having to chase clients for payment. “We get paid within two days unless there is an issue with the job,” Puglisi explains. “But if there is an issue, it’s brought to me first and I have the opportunity to fix it. If we chose not to fix the issue, Eden would have to deduct from our payment to have someone else address it, but that has never happened for us.” Puglisi adds, “It’s a big deal because I’m still chasing people for money from the spring on my side of the business.” Several years into the trend of Uber-style landscaping apps, the platforms are clearly working for some customers and contractors. But is there a catch? For landscape companies that are efficient with overhead and administration, and already have brand recognition or effective marketing, it may not be worth giving up any slice of revenue to a third party. Some contractors may also be wary about the impact on customer retention and wordof-mouth business when they go through a third party platform. Would a customer recommend your business to friends or neighbours? Or would she recommend the app? However, these tech advances seem to be working well for some contactors and customers. The question becomes, will these tech platforms generate enough business so that it makes sense for established landscape contractors to participate? Going forward, platforms like Eden, Yardly and Mowsnowpros may grow to fill the needs of some segments of the landscape industry, without having a big impact on traditional businesses that run efficiently, do good work and thrive through brand recognition and word-of-mouth referrals. LT 10 | AUGUST 2018 | LANDSCAPE TRADES
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Unique winter challenges inspire advanced strategies BY JORDAN WHITEHOUSE
ric O’Brien only needs one word to describe the winter of 2015 in Halifax: “brutal, brutal, brutal.” The snow contract manager has been with local landscape company Edmonds for 40 years, and never has he seen anything like it. By the end of that January, the rains began and then the temperature quickly dropped, turning every surface into a skating rink. Snow storm after snow storm followed, dumping a whopping 277.5 centimetres of the white stuff on the city in February and March alone (the area typically gets an average of 82.5 centimetres of snow over this period). Needless to say, it was a tough one on the bottom lines of many Halifax snow contractors, especially those who took on a majority of fixed contracts. But it also taught some good lessons. Being so close to the Atlantic Ocean, the region is different from many climates in the country in that it gets a lot of wet and heavy
14 | AUGUST 2018 | LANDSCAPE TRADES
snow, frequent freeze-thaw events, and nor’easter storms that can dump upwards of 30 to 100 centimetres of snow at a time. Yes, the winter of 2015 was unique, but the mixed bag of precipitation it delivered was not. As the Halifax snow contractors we spoke to told us, to get through a winter here — and make a profit — you need to learn how to hire and retain the right people, draw up the right contracts, and stay up-to-date on every new tool that could make your job easier. PEOPLE FIRST Trim Landscaping is one of the more prominent snow contractors in the municipality, servicing everything from an entire university to parkades, and employing about 50 full- and part-time staff in the winter. For co-owner Brendan Wilton, there’s no doubt that their people are the primary reason why they’ve been able to survive
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Halifax’s unpredictable winters and consistently find success. “Sure, we have some new, innovative equipment and technology, but it can’t operate itself,” he says. “It needs someone that can sit behind the wheel at 2 a.m. in a blizzard and push through until the parking lots are safe for our customers.” Still, it’s not easy finding people who are willing to get out of bed at 2 a.m. and enter that blizzard. What’s Brendan Wilton helped for Trim Landscaping, says Wilton, is going after contracts that have a limited amount of shovelling. He’s found that the more contracts they can do with machines — meaning less time spent on physically demanding work outside of a warm cab — the easier it is to attract good people. Once they think they’ve found those people, Wilton says it’s crucial to train them to manage their schedule properly, to keep them healthy and motivated, and to create a team atmosphere. “[That’s] the best way to overcome human resources challenges in the winter.” For Edmonds — another prominent Halifax contractor with about 100 people in the winter — it also helps to have fellow employees in your corner. Eric O’Brien says that they’ll often give existing employees a bonus fee if they can bring someone in to help out. But you have to diligently vet those people, he’s quick to add. “We go right to town on all the safety: making sure they have a valid driver’s license, making subcontractors sign an orientation brochure and supply their own truck insurance, checking refer-
ences. You have to do that work because your reputation and business are on the line.” VARIED CONTRACTS Your reputation and business will also likely take a hit if you decide to take on just one type of contract in this part of the country, say local operators. Because winters are so notoriously unpredictable here, if you take
“ It’s crucial to keep them healthy and motivated, and to create a team atmosphere. That’s the best way to overcome human resources challenges in the winter.” on all fixed contracts, for example, and you have a winter like the one in 2015, it’s not going to be good for your bottom line. “I would hate to see someone lose their business because of something like that,” says Wilton. O’Brien says it’s also crucial to write the contract for the conditions the client wants to pay for, and to involve your insurance company as much as possible. “If the insurance company says, ‘Yeah, you’re crazy if you do this’ or, ‘No, that’s acceptable,’ listen to them,” he says. “If the contracts are too heavy in liability, they’re not worth having.” Easier said than done, of course. The snow management business in Halifax is
Finding people who are willing to get out of bed at 2 a.m. to plow snow can be challenging.
a red ocean industry, and most customers here expect contractors to sign a hold harmless and/or an indemnity clause, which doesn’t give them much wiggle room to reduce liability through a contract. Thus, another key to reducing that liability in Halifax is maintaining robust, proactive recordkeeping systems. At Edmonds, for instance, every operator completes work forms at the end of every shift that include hazard asEric O’Brien sessments at each site. Edmonds also uses a software program to document site-specific details, among other data, that’s easy to access whenever they need it. All of this information goes back into updated assessment letters that are
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regularly sent to clients so that they’re aware of potential liabilities and hazards. TECHNOLOGY HELPS Brendan Wilton agrees that beyond the contracts, you have to gather and use as much information as possible to reduce liability. New technologies are certainly helping with that in Halifax. At Trim Landscaping, all of the trucks and snow clearing equipment are equipped with GPS units, giving managers real-time positions and telling them where operators
“ Another key to reducing liability is maintaining proactive record-keeping systems. At Edmonds, every operator completes work forms at the end of every shift that include assessments at each site.” have been. For job costing, Trim also uses mobile tracking systems that operators sign in and out of. These act as redundancy controls should the GPS not work properly. Given the unpredictable nature of winter weather here, more companies are also buying into subscription-based weather forecasts. Edmonds uses up-to-the-minute weather reports from Scotia Weather Services Limited, which works in collaboration 18 | AUGUST 2018 | LANDSCAPE TRADES
with Environment Canada, while Trim uses a service that adds forecasted asphalt temperatures as well as predictions about black ice and other specific data they find useful. Outside of digital technology, there has been more investment here lately in brines that work faster, modern fleets that don’t require as much maintenance as previous models, and V plows. When taken together, all of these newer technologies help reduce liability and improve service for clients. But it all comes at a price, and a hefty one at that, particularly in an increasingly competitive market like this one. “Increased competition as well as more access to financing has allowed companies — much like ourselves, to be honest — to acquire larger equipment that is more productive much sooner,” says Wilton. “This reduces the barriers to entry and increases competition, which in turn depresses prices.” O’Brien concurs. “It’s really hard these days. Customer budgets are tightening, but salt costs are going up, equipment costs are more. So when you spend a dollar, you really have to make sure it’s well spent.” Couple all of that with what can be unpredictable and “brutal, brutal, brutal” winters, and, if you’re not ready for them, a recipe for a tough way to turn a profit. “Our climate here is very different than what most snow operators in other areas of the country experience and only becoming more variable with global warming,” says Wilton. “You have to be prepared for pretty much everything and your operators have to be trained to battle more than just snow.”LT
Jordan Whitehouse is a Kingston, Ont.-based freelance writer, with roots in Halifax.
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Beauty and brains B.C.’s CanWest trade show has long been known for beauty, colour and creativity. CanWest exhibitors pull out all the stops when it comes to booth decoration. Their efforts go way beyond displaying products, to creating imaginative takes on each show’s theme. This year’s event, taking place Sept. 26-27 at Tradex in Abbotsford, B.C., is themed “Roots & Blues.” Seeing
20 | AUGUST 2018 | LANDSCAPE TRADES
the interpretations of this earthy theme, alone, justifies attendance. Over 300 trade show exhibits are the heart of CanWest, and essential to western Canada’s horticulture industry. To complement, organizers are staging CanWest’s largest educational offering to date, featuring 31 sessions. New this year is a Truck and Trailer Workshop presented by a pro trainer. The schedule also features a tour of the Fraser Valley, a Landscape Designers Symposium and an Urban For-
Attendees to CanWest will be in for a visual treat as well as great educational sessions.
est Symposium. Attendees can also choose from two half-day workshops: Bubbling Water Rock Features, and Kevin Kehoe on effective leadership. Other sessions are planned for every green sector — growers, contractors and retailers. Business management topics will help raise the bar for all, including a free keynote by TV and radio personality Cisco Morris. The British Columbia Landscape and Nursery Association stages CanWest, so career development has always been a key priority. A plant ID station in CanWest’s Certification Zone offers the opportunity to challenge a certification module, just as if administered by CNLA. Completed contest forms enter a draw to win $250. The Green Careers Student Youth Tour and Mini Job Fair connect students with potential employers. Rob Welsh of Kwantlen Polytechnic University has been involved with the show since 1988, and volunteers on the Certification Zone. He says, “Whether through education sessions, new products and technology or for the value of meeting with industry friends and colleagues, I can’t think there is a better show of its kind. Sitting in the same session with the range of experi-
Students get great networking opportunities at the Green Careers Student Youth Tour and Mini Job Fair happening at this year’s CanWest.
enced participants and striking up a conversation, or just listening to the discussions, often is as much value as the session topic, and may lead to opportunities or invitations to a student.” To help delegates wind down, free Tailgate Parties are planned on both show days. Enjoy live performances from Kenny ‘Blues Boss’ Wayne and Karla Sax, as you catch up with old and new friends. For complete information and CanWest LT registration, visit canwesthortshow.com.
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AUGUST 2018 | LANDSCAPE TRADES |
Sometimes we play BY ROD McDONALD
Positivity on the hill I was walking down a hill in the West End of Vancouver this spring. Many streets in the West End have inclines. Many. There was a woman in her 50s walking ahead of me. She had two small bags of groceries. She was struggling with the steep incline. It was apparent that she was also struggling with severe arthritis. I asked if I could carry her groceries to the bottom of the hill. She was a gracious woman and explained to me that she does this every day. She climbs the hill to get to the grocery store on Davie Street, buys a few items, and returns to her apartment at the base. It is not an easy climb, even for a young person, but she wants to keep moving. We chat. She explains that she had to take disability leave from a job she loved because she could no longer do the work. She is greatly plagued by her arthritic condition, a disease that affects many of us but seldom to this degree. She could phone in her grocery order for delivery, but she wants to keep moving. She wants to do what she can, lest she lose what little mobility remains. I am choked by our conversation. I am moved by her sense of determination. Her willingness to play hurt.
Not so positive At the other end of the spectrum are those who refuse to try. They refuse to embrace life and take on its challenges. Their issues become the rationalization for doing very little and sometimes nothing other than to complain. They want others to do everything for them, from government agencies to friends and family. You hear them hold court in coffee shops, espousing in loud voices, “The government should…” and you are free to finish the sentence. There are people who do try and they try with integrity. I met a man who had been laid off from a good job. He asked if there was any work at my garden centre. I needed someone for a day or two, so I told him to report the next morning at 8 a.m. At 7 a.m. he was there. He told me he could not afford gas for his car so he rode his bike. “I didn’t know how long it would take me and I didn’t want to be late, so I left the house at 6:30. Tomorrow I will leave later.” That is someone who tries. After my conversation with the woman struggling to get down the hill, I turned to my wife and said, “I really hope I have some part of her attitude inside me.” I want to be positive. I don’t want to be filled with complaints. I understand life is not always going to be fair and 22 | AUGUST 2018 | LANDSCAPE TRADES
sometimes things do not work out; but it is the only life that I have and I want to make the best of it.
All of us get older One of my fears as I grow older, is that I will become a caricature of an ‘old fart’ sitting in a mall and making statements that begin, “In my day…” I have been invited to join coffee klatsches that meet every morning, and I refuse. I have never seen a coffee shop where gossip was not on the menu. I am not a sitter and neither are you. We are movers and shakers. We have a need, a very strong need, to get things done. Rather than complain, we change things. We also believe the best way to get things accomplished is to do them ourselves. Those are defining parts of our personalities — for better or worse.
Sometimes we have to play hurt My neighbour was a very successful real estate agent, specializing in higher-end residential properties. She had a mentor when she first started. She complained about having worked 10 hours and then getting a call from a client who just had to see a house that night. Her mentor told her, “Sometimes we have to play hurt.” That phrase stayed with her and it has stayed with me. All of us in this trade have to play hurt more often than we care to do so. It is a part of our unsigned contract. How often have we been wrapping up from an exhausting day, only to have that one last truck show up before we close the gates? We unload it. We need what is on that truck. We miss supper. We do it again and again, because that is who we are and what we do. continued on page 24
Working hard and keeping a positive outlook, even when things are tiring, is the best approach to our chosen career paths.
roadtosuccess All of us make choices I detest hearing someone, anyone, suggest that a successful person was or is lucky. I detest the word because it implies that success is a random event that occurs for a few in undefinable patterns. Success is a chosen path. Success is a chosen result. Success is not random. It is not luck. It is not limited or finite. It is the end result of having made more good decisions than bad ones. When any of us look back on our careers, we can see that when we chose wisely, we experienced positive outcomes. We can also see where we screwed up. I could write more eloquent words, but screwed up describes poor choices in honest, albeit blunt, terms. Success belongs to us when we have realized a few basic truths. Basic truths such as, The more successful we make our customers, the more successful we make ourselves. New gardeners often give up because they have not been successful in their initial attempts. When they cannot get plants to grow, they believe they lack the mythical green thumb. We had little snow cover in Regina this past winter. Snow, of course, is a great insulator and protector of lawns and gardens. Many plants were lost and others were damaged. I accept that and my dyed-in-the-wool gardening friends also accept their losses. We carry on with replacements. New gardeners are not as willing to go at it again, with the fear of, Once bitten, twice shy. I talk to these people, as do you. I tell them losing plants is a part of the challenge and excitement of gardening. Some I convince, some I don’t. My point is that we cannot leave these new gardeners hanging onto the belief they have no ability to garden. Regular readers know I have stressed, many times, the importance of seminars within the confines of this column. When we teach people how to plant, when we teach them how to grow tulips, when we teach them the difference between shade and full-sun gardening, then we become successful. Our business survival is built upon
repeat customers who have experienced their own joys. Sadly, as I cruise through the box store garden centres, I can see the ship approaching the iceberg. Non-hardy plant material is being sold as if it were; shade plants being sold for sunny locations and vice versa. This morning, as I write, I told the manager of a Canadian Tire garden centre that a plant she had was not hardy here. She didn’t care, and that is not a surprise to my readers. Several years ago, Dr. Howe, director of the Prairie Farm Rehabilitation Administration Shelterbelt Centre at Indian Head, Sask., was in a box store garden centre. Dr. Howe has long been a supporter of our trade. He noticed the majority of trees were non-hardy for the prairies. He spoke with the manager and was asked, “What do you care?” He told the manager, “People are coming in here to buy trees, and you are selling plants that have no chance of survival. Many of these people will give up on planting and gardening, believing they are not very good at it. You are destroying the customer base.” No surprise here, but Dr. Howe’s words of warning fell upon deaf ears. What they destroy, we attempt to repair. Success does not exist in isolation, and the more we embrace a holistic approach to success, the more we share in the rewards. We choose our paths and our results. Like the woman struggling with arthritis, climbing up and down the hill every day without complaint, we make our choices. Our choices dictate how far we travel on the road to success. LT
Rod McDonald owned and operated Lakeview Gardens, a successful garden centre/landscape firm in Regina, Sask., for 28 years. He now works full time in the world of fine arts, writing, acting and producing in film, television and stage.
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24 | AUGUST 2018 | LANDSCAPE TRADES Date:
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Frugality can cost money
BY MARK BRADLEY
Without a doubt, waste is rampant in our industry, and inefficiency should be stamped out wherever possible. But I think too many contractors get too focused on small, frugal decisions. The idea of re-using something makes some sense, but the ‘frugal’ mentality can drive all kinds of decisions — many of them incorrectly. There are three types of people in the world: l People who are not good with money l Money savers l Money-makers — People who put their money to work for them The really successful people in business are typically Type Threes. A strong streak of frugality does indeed drive the landscape industry, and I hope it’s obvious that through many of our articles, we’re trying to see the forest for the trees. A few years ago, lots of contractors thought we were nuts because we were spending $50-70 per month equipping foremen with cell phones. That was seen as an unnecessary expense, risk and opportunity to get distracted during work hours. But if reaching out to someone in real-time can save just one mistake a month, that paid for the phone! And trust me, it saved 30 mistakes a month! For a long time, the way to ‘make money’ was to get your equipment paid off and own everything. I think this stems from the way we account for expenses. Once equipment is fully depreciated, it no longer shows up as an expense. Sometimes you are ahead, but many contractors end up spending far more on repairs, on fuel, and — most significantly — on lost revenue. Lost revenue, because machine breakdowns can cut productivity by two-thirds or more. But lost revenue doesn’t show up in accounting, and so most people don’t factor it in their decisions. All they see is no payments. And because their profits are low (because their equipment 26 | AUGUST 2018 | LANDSCAPE TRADES
isn’t sufficient, or is breaking down all the time!), contractors don’t comprehend that an investment (spending!) in new equipment will offset its cost through increased speed, productivity, and therefore revenue. But on an accounting statement, equipment is often seen only as a monthly cost — without seeing the revenue (or lost revenue!) potential. It’s no secret that most contractors come from non-business backgrounds and never had finances clearly explained. And when people lack knowledge about something, they tend to minimize risk and play it safe. So contractors often choose the cheapest route on paper — not because they’re just “cheap” — but because that’s the safest route. I really think this is the root of the labour problem in this industry. Landscape contractors — who, by and large, are some of the nicest, most genuine people you might meet — aren’t making a lot of money, so they believe they have to minimize wages. This can be an effective strategy in highly structured environments such as Walmart or McDonalds, but out in the landscape industry, where you have 100 variables a day and very little structure, the result of cheap people is typically poor performance. Poor performance leads to low profits, which unfortunately further reinforces the belief that we can’t “afford” higher wages and the cycle repeats itself, until you arrive at a point where our booming industry offers too few opportunities for rewarding careers. I believe a lack of financial understanding leads to frugality (safe decision making, dealing with costs one can see), which in turn, leads to underperforming individuals and companies. Low profits,
unfortunately, seem to reinforce the need for further frugality … instead of understanding it might just be frugality that’s causing the problem in the first place. If you went skydiving with no training, when would you pull your chute? Probably in the first few seconds after you left the plane. You don’t know what’s going to happen, how fast you will fall or whether your chute will even open, so you make the safest, most conservative decision you can. You pull that chute fast. And you survive, but your skydiving experience wasn’t very fun. The conservative approach got you down safe, but eliminated the potential to have an amazing experience. But train someone to skydive, when to pull the chute, and how to land, and that person will not only survive, but will make the most of the skydiving experience. I think the same goes with running a business. When you don’t know your numbers, you hire cheap people, you keep equipment with no payments, you have a crappy website (if you have one!), and your office is dingy, dirty, and furnished with desks and chairs that are 25 years old … because you can directly see how all those decisions are saving you money. But you don’t see the “hidden” costs of being cheap. If you hire cheap, you are not going to attract great people. Without great staff, you will be forever babysitting and fixing mistakes. You might save a couple of bucks an hour in wages, while you lose $1,000 per week, or more, in potential revenue because your work is performed by people who don’t work productively and have no reason or motivation to improve. Your ‘paid for’ equipment gets old, and now it keeps breaking down when you need it. So you have no payments, but you lose all kinds of man-hours taking it to get repaired,
working without it, repairing it, etc. When your crews are fixing equipment, or working without it, they are losing available manhours to do the work they are getting paid for — landscaping! Your office is old and dingy because your customers don’t see it, so you don’t invest dollars into it. But what kind of office staff are you going to attract, when they’re working in a trailer, with a port-a-potty outside, and their chair is 15 years old and squeaky? You save a few thousand bucks a year on rent and furnishings, but you have an office that’s unkempt, unprofessional, and doesn’t instill pride in one’s job. (These are the same owners that complain they don’t have staff who get engaged, or take responsibility). And you probably lose good potential hires who don’t see career opportunity in an office like that. You skimp on advertising — at the cost of lost sales. You make cheap business cards and have a website that’s six years old and you wonder why you can’t get any big, good jobs. You don’t equip your trailers properly.
You save money by sharing tools and keeping them at the shop, but when you need that tool, another crew has it, or you forget to put it on the trailer, you lose a few hours going back to the shop to get it — or buy another from a vendor. You don’t invest in software because it’s a visible expense. But you lose 10 prospective customers a month because you don’t remember to follow up — or manage the prospects properly — but that lost opportunity isn’t quantifiable, so it is easy to ignore. I could go on with many more examples. It used to be that farmers could run their farms (and do all right) and landscapers could run their businesses (and do all right), but both are facing revolutions in their industries. Both of these sectors are now genuine business opportunities for smart, aggressive, business-minded people and, right or wrong, the business-minded people will win out. They’re already winning in offshore manufacturing, big box retail and factory-farm agriculture, and they will win in landscaping, too.
That’s why it is so important, for the sustainability of our businesses and our labour market, to help landscape contractors be successful business people — as well as the great people they are today. I want the small contractors to win. I believe most contractors want great staff, and new equipment, and nice offices and a healthy bottom line … they just lack the confidence, business acumen, and proof that investments will help them get there. They are currently too busy, too burnt out, too frustrated and not profitable enough to see the light at the end of the tunnel — which is why we try to include example after example of investment, showing the revenue potential it can generate. LT Mark Bradley is CEO of LMN, based in Ontario.
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industrynews Snowposium 2018 will focus on conferences for the snow and ice industry.
and will also have a tabletop exhibit area, featuring snow and ice removal equipment, technology and affiliated products. Planned conference topics will include a legislative update relating to the snow and ice industry, a Smart About Salt overview, a detailed session on the Landscape Ontario Standard Form Snow and Ice Maintenance Contract, claims management, civil litigation issues and an in-class commercial vehicle inspection demo. Conference passes include in-class sessions, lunch and exhibits. Registration is now open, at $85 for provincial trade association members and $115 for non-members. After Sept. 14, prices go up. Details on the event and registration can be found at Snowposium.ca.
Health Canada studies imidacloprid’s impact on pollinators Unique snow business event: Snowposium Landscape Ontario’s Snowposium, an annual event for snow and ice removal contractors and suppliers, will take place Sept. 25 in Brampton, Ont. LO’s Snow and Ice Sector Group has selected Lionhead Golf and Conference Centre as this year’s venue. The 2018 edition will focus on the conference portion of the event,
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Health Canada is consulting Canadians on its proposed re-evaluation decision for the neonicotinoid pesticide imidacloprid, following an updated pollinator risk assessment. “Under the authority of the Pest Control Products Act and based on the evaluation of currently available scientific information related to pollinators, products containing imidacloprid are being proposed for continued registration in Canada, and risk mitigation measures are required to be in place to further protect pollinators,” stated the Proposed Re-evaluation Decision PRVD2018-12, Imidacloprid and its Associated End-use Products: Pollinator Re-evaluation. Imidacloprid is used by agricultural workers and licensed applicators to protect crops from insects. It can be applied to the ground, leaves, seeds, and as a tree injection. This pollinator assessment is the last piece of the re-evaluation of imidacloprid. In November 2016, Health Canada published a Proposed Re-evaluation Decision for imidacloprid that assessed health and environmental risks but did not include an assessment of impacts on pollinators. In that document, Health Canada proposed phasing out all agricultural uses and many other outdoor uses of imidacloprid over three to five years for the protection of the environment. This 2018 proposed regulatory decision is the pollinator risk assessment. It considers all additional information since Health Canada’s 2016 Re-evaluation Note, Re-evaluation of Imidacloprid – Preliminary Pollinator Assessment. It does not affect the 2016 proposed decision on agricultural and other uses. Consultation is open until August 29, 2018. To comment visit: www.canada.ca/en/health-canada.
Fredericton inoculation project The City of Fredericton, N.B., announced plans for an inoculation pilot project to slow the spread of Dutch elm disease on city-owned trees. Starting in May 2018, all elm trees greater than 30 centimetres and located within pre-determined trial areas of Devon, and the downtown east and west plat, as well as several larger elms of significance located in parks on the north and south sides of Fredericton, were inoculated with DutchTrig, a bio-control vaccine for elms. DutchTrig is a biological and organic control agent consisting of spores of the Verticillium fungus that, once injected, activates the elm tree’s natural 28 | AUGUST 2018 | LANDSCAPE TRADES
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industrynews defense mechanisms. The inoculation process can be most easily compared to that of the influenza virus vaccination process in humans. Instead of making healthy elm trees sick, the inoculation ensures that elms produce a healthy immune response to infection from Dutch elm disease. Arborists will apply the vaccine by microinjecting a small amount of the formula into the elms this spring, when the trees are at 25 per cent or more in leaf development. The treat-
ment is non-invasive, requires no drilling, and is completely safe for people, animals and the surrounding environment as it uses only plantbased pathogens associated with Dutch elm disease itself. The infection and survival rates of the inoculated trees will be compared to non-treated elms in other areas of the city throughout the summer. Results will then be recorded for analysis in July, during the City’s annual Dutch elm
disease survey. Municipalities using the inoculation have experienced a dramatic decrease in infection rates, with some communities showing 99 per cent of injected elms successfully protected against Dutch elm disease. A successful vaccination program will preserve the number of elm trees in the city and reduce removal and replanting costs, leading to more efficient and self-sustaining urban forestry programs.
EU expands neonicotinoid ban The European Union Commission recently voted to ban all outdoor uses of neonicotinoid insecticides, expanding upon a ban initially put into place in 2013. The expanded ban now prohibits the use of clothianidin, imidacloprid, and thiamethoxam to all field crops, because of growing evidence that the pesticides can harm domesticated honeybees as well as wild pollinators.
Feds fund climate change mitigation
THE BEST OUALITY
The federal government is allocating funds to “help reduce the impacts of climate change and better protect Canadian against natural disasters.” On May 17, Amarjeet Sohi, Minister of Infrastructure and Communities, launched the Disaster Mitigation and Adaptation Fund (DMAF), a 10-year national program that will invest $2 billion in projects “that help communities better withstand natural hazards such as floods, wildfires, seismic events and droughts.” DMAF will support large-scale infrastructure projects with a minimum cost of $20 million like diversion channels, wetland restorations, wildfire barriers and setback levees. These projects will safeguard public health and safety, protect people’s homes, make sure access to essential services is not interrupted, the government explained in a media release. For the full eligibility list and other program details, visit the www.infrastructure.gc.ca.
Caterpillar appoints CFO
30 | AUGUST 2018 | LANDSCAPE TRADES
Caterpillar, the Peoria, Ill.-based equipment manufacturer, announced its board has appointed Andrew Bonfield as chief financial officer (CFO). Bonfield brings more than three decades of financial expertise to the role, most recently serving as Group CFO and board member of National Grid, a British multinational electricity and gas utility company. Prior to Bonfield’s eight years at National Grid, he was CFO 30 | AUGUST 2018 | LANDSCAPE TRADES
at British confectionary company Cadbury. Since 2010, Bonfield has been a non-executive director and chair of the audit committee of British retailer, Kingfisher. Bonfield also chairs Andrew Bonfield the 100 Group, which represents finance directors of the top 100 U.K. companies listed on the London Stock Exchange. Bonfield is a chartered accountant who holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Natal in Durban, South Africa.
For more information, visit: www.canada. ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/lymedisease/risk-lyme-disease.
Bayer hires turf and ornamentals head Environmental Science, the Clayton, N.C.-based business unit of the Crop Science division of Bayer, named Will MacMurdo head of the U.S. turf and ornamentals business. MacMurdo will lead strategic planning and commercial operations for the turf and ornamentals business, servicing golf course management, lawn and
landscape, and production ornamentals markets. MacMurdo was most recently director of Environmental Science Canada. With Bayer, he has also held leadership roles with environmental science in Australia, France and Canada.
Research released on LED for horticulture The Lighting Research Center (LRC) at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, N.Y., released a new report on energy and the economic performance of LED horticulture lighting products. The report looked at, “The framework includes the
Lyme disease cases increase Cases of Lyme disease in Canada are rising as blacklegged tick populations grow and expand, according to health officials. “What we’re seeing is definitely a range expansion, Robbin Lindsay, a research scientist with the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) told Global News. “This is not a problem that’s getting smaller, it’s tending to get larger in terms of the range of the tick.” Around 20 per cent of blacklegged ticks carry the bacterium that causes Lyme disease, Lindsay explained. Lyme disease causes symptoms including fever, a rash and fatigue. Left untreated, it can cause facial paralysis and heart and neurological disorders. There were 1,479 cases across Canada in 2017, something PHAC calls a “significant national increase” of nearly 50 per cent compared to 2016. Blacklegged ticks are typically found in wooded areas with lots of leaf-litter, which they can hide under to escape the sun, Curtis Russell, an entomologist with Public Health Ontario,
told Global News. The best way to prevent tickborne disease is to not get bitten, experts say. When in a wooded area that might have ticks, stay in the middle of the trail, Russell said. The bugs can’t jump onto you, they only grab on if you brush against them. “Wear long sleeves, light coloured clothing with everything tucked in. That way you have a better chance of noticing the tick on you,” Russell added. You should also wear a bug repellent containing DEET or picaridin. AUGUST 2018 | LANDSCAPE TRADES |
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industrynews analysis of 11 luminaire-specific metrics and five application-specific metrics, which provide growers with the best available information regarding any given horticultural luminaire’s performance. The LRC then used this framework to test and evaluate 13 horticultural luminaires, including LED, two HPS, and one MH (metal halide) product.” It should be noted, though, the testing did not include growing crops and evaluating lighting based on crop growth. The report can be read at: www.lrc.rpi.edu/programs/energy/pdf/HorticulturalLightingReport-Final.pdf.
Color Spot files for bankruptcy protection Temucula, Calif.-based Color Spot Holdings filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on May 29, 2018 in a Delaware court. The grower primarily produced annuals and woody plants, as well as some tropical patio plants. In the filing, the company states that after years of bad weather and sales losses, it needed to make a quick allassets sale to deal with $147 million in debts. In 2017, Color Spot attempted to deal with
its financial problems by closing four of its 13 nurseries, laying off 30 per cent of its workforce, and attempting to sell its Texas-based Southwestern division. However, with $83 million in debt due early June 2018, the measures were not enough to prevent the bankruptcy.
with IQ in 2016 as the Southeast regional sales manager.
Toro announces staff changes
Toro recently announced a number of promotions, including Rick Rodier’s appointment to vice president of Toro’s Commercial Business. IQ Power Tools hires Rodier, a 31-year veteran of the company, succeeds Brad Hamilton, who was promoted training manager IQ Power Tools, the Perris, Calif.-based manu- to group vice president, in charge of Toro’s facturer of power tools with integrated dust col- Commercial and International Businesses. Adlection technology, appointed Vince Hollis as its ditionally, Dan O’Brien, CSE, was promoted to national product training director of sales, North America for Toro’s Commanager.In the position, mercial Business, a position previously held by Hollis will be in charge of Jim Heinze, who recently retired. Another recent product information and organizational change is Grant Young’s promotraining for both dealers tion to managing director, global product deand field representa- velopment for the Toro Commercial Business. tives. Additional respon- Young has also held a number of management sibilities include the role roles across multiple divisions at Toro, including of product trainer at in- the Residential and Landscape Contractor BusiVince Hollis dustry shows, as well ness in managing partnership efforts with The as participating in IQ’s regional training events Home Depot. LT partnering with various associations. Hollisb egan
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Joinour us in planting protecting 2 million treesthe along the 401 Highway Heroes, a tribute to the men and women You can participate in honouring military, environment andofbeautifying fought for Canada in our wars and a living memorial to the who died for freedom. North Americaâ€™s most travelledwho highway. Visit hohtribute.ca or call 905-875-0021 to117,000 get involved. You can participate in honouring our military, protecting the environment and beautifying North Americaâ€™s most travelled highway. Visit hohtribute.ca or call 905-875-0021 to get involved.
Illustration by Rick Jacobson Illustration by Rick Jacobson
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cnlanews Nova Scotia wins Skills Canada gold The Skills Canada Competition was held in Edmonton last June, with seven teams competing in landscape gardening. Nova Scotia’s Diana Davidson and Chad Merrett won the $500 gold prize; Ontario’s Thomas Hawley and Blaise
Chad Merrett and Diana Davidson from Nova Scotia were gold medal winners at Skills Canada.
Mombourquett won the $250 silver prize; and Quebec’s Sebastian Brissette and Alexandra Boivin won the $100 bronze prize. Skills Canada runs regional events across Canada each year, culminating at the national competition. While competing at the Edmonton EXPO Centre, 550 of the most talented students and apprentices from across the country were tried, tested and judged. Over 200 medals were awarded to the top industry champions in six skilled trade and technology sectors, including transportation, construction, manufacturing and engineering, information technology, service and employment. The competitors were evaluated based on strict industry standards. During Skills Canada, approximately 6,000 student visitors, industry leaders and several industry celebrities took part in on-site activities such as the Essential Skills Stage and over 50 Try-A-Trade and Technology activities. The purpose of Skills Canada “is to engage Canadian youth and promote all of the exciting careers that are available to them in the skilled trades and technologies.” It is the only national multi-trade and technology event of its kind for young students and apprentices in the country. CNLA thanks organizing committee members Lauren Fry (Chair), Bill Hardy, Rob Welsh, Jeff Foley, Lindsay Lindholm, Sally Harvey, Alain Harvey, Sylvie Metthe, Jim Landry, Sharra Hinton, Harold Deenen and Leslie Sison. CNLA also
thanks Landscape Alberta’s executive director Joel Beatson for his work as a committee member and for hosting the event.
AIPH publishes 2017 flower and plant yearbook The International Association of Horticulture Producers (AIPH) released the International Statistics Flowers and Plants 2017 yearbook. Produced by AIPH and Union Fleurs, the yearbook shares data on the global production and trade of flowers and plants that is used by trade organizations, policy makers, marketeers, producers, traders, libraries and universities. The yearbook includes data from 40 countries, including valuable data on product comparisons, market data and prices, and global import/export data. New for this year is additional trade information for Belarus, Brazil, Kazakhstan, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Ukraine and United Arab Emirates; updates on the distribution channels for horticultural products in Canada; and a new country page for the area and production data in Japan and Argentina. CNLA is an organizational member of AIPH. For more information, visit: www.aiph.org/ statistical-yearbook/.
CNLA hires communications manager CNLA recently underwent staff changes in a number of departments. Scott Barber was named communications manager following the departure of Anne Beifuss, who left the association after seven years to pursue a new career opportunity. Barber joins CNLA afScott Barber ter spending the last twoand-a-half years in the assistant editor role as part of Landscape Ontario’s publications team. At LO, Scott wrote articles, edited copy and shot 34 | AUGUST 2018 | LANDSCAPE TRADES
photos for Landscape Trades, Landscape Ontario magazine and Garden Inspiration. Scott also has a landscape background, having worked for Landscape Ontario member companies in both maintenance and construction. Jason Young recently left CNLA’s professional development department for a new career opportunity outside the association. In administration, CNLA hired Lauryn Mullan following her co-op placement with the association.
CNLA relocates during office renovations CNLA staff moved to office space at 174 Mill St., Unit 102, Milton, Ont. L9T 1S2 during the first week of June, 2018, in order to maintain operations while extensive renovations are undertaken at the Landscape Ontario Horticulture Centre. Renovations began June 15, 2018, and completion is expected in 8-10 months. CNLA looks forward to returning to the improved
offices at 7856 Fifth Line S. in Milton, and will continue to work closely with LO staff and volunteers. LT
The Canadian Nursery Landscape Association is the federation of Canada’s provincial horticultural trade associations. Visit www.cnla-accp. com for more information.
CNLA forms working group with Canadensis CNLA and Canadensis: The Garden of Canada (Canadensis) formed a working group to increase collaboration in the pursuit of a national botanical garden in Ottawa, Ont. Representatives for each group met in Ottawa last May to discuss strategies, as well as a potential stakeholder meeting and public forum in the fall of 2018 to advance the goal of a botanical garden in the nation’s capital. Tim Kearney, CNLA staff for the national garden and Landscape Canada, was named chair of the working group by members Gerry Lajeunesse (Canadensis acting chair), John Westeinde (Canadensis board member), Jeff Turner (CNLA Ottawa board member) and Richard Rogers (CNLA Ottawa board member). Canadensis will name another member to finalize the group of six. Canadensis is a registered charity based in Ottawa, Ont., dedicated to creating a national botanical garden in the capital. Canadensis develops summer garden projects and related programming on a yearly basis at the future Canadensis site within the Central Experimental Farm in Ottawa with the support of the National Capital Commission (NCC) and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC). The charity also published a comprehensive business plan for a national garden in 2012 and will be releasing an updated document in 2018. The new working group marks a commitment by CNLA and Canadensis to work together and to present a unified voice to stakeholders and government officials in the promotion of a national botanical garden in Ottawa.
JUNE 2018 | LANDSCAPE TRADES |
AUGUST 2018 | LANDSCAPE TRADES |
snowproducts Expandable wing plows The new Fisher XLS snowplow line now offers an 8-ft.,6-in.-length model that reaches 11 feet when fully expanded, and all models are two inches taller at 31 inches. The expandable wings have been redesigned with a flared height of up to 36 inches, giving operators the ability to maneuver more snow than ever. The XLS plows are now available with corrosion-resistant stainless steel. Fisher Engineering www.fisherplows.com
Stainless steel drop spreader Boss Snowplow introduces the Exact Path, a drop spreader designed to enable precision drops of deicing material while protecting grass and landscaping. Available in 2.5 cubic feet and 6 cubic feet capacities, Exact Path offers three mounting options to fit UTVs, compact/ sidewalk vehicles and tractors. A stainless steel hopper and frame with a polyethylene cover keep materials dry and free-flowing. An exclusive feed gate lever makes it easy to adjust material flow with no tools necessary. Boss Snowplow www.bossplow.com
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WPEequipment.ca 36 | AUGUST 2018 | LANDSCAPE TRADES
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Variable speed drop spreader The new SnowEx Drop Pro 600 drop spreader features an intuitive variable-speed digital control with minimal wiring for simple installation. With a 6-cubic ft.material capacity and a 36-inch spread width, the drop spreader offers controlled application of bagged ice melters and bulk rock salt. The Drop Pro 600 spreader is designed for use with UTVs, tractors and other compact vehicles. SnowEx www.snowexproducts.com
V-plow guard system Winter Equipment announces the launch of its V-Plow Guard system, featuring steel blades, centre and outer PlowGuards, hardware and installation instructions. All steel is reinforced with Winter’s carbide matrix hard facing weld, increasing blade efficiency, while also reducing damage from unseen obstructions. The PlowGuards and blade work in tandem to protect and reduce uneven and premature wear, eliminating in-season blade changes and reducing downtime. The system is currently compatible with Western, Fisher and SnowEx plow models. Plans for additional models are currently under way. Winter Equipment www.winterequipment.com
Inverted snow blowers The new Hybrid Series of inverted snow blowers by Normand are designed to enable operators to get closer to obstacles. The machines are built with Hardox 450 steel. Normand www.ciernormand.com
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SNOW AND ICE MANAGEMENT CONFERENCE AND EXPO Brought to you by SN && I CIEC E COGM MU I TPT E E SOW N OW RO
AUGUST 2018 | LANDSCAPE TRADES |
snowproducts Heavy straight-blade plows The new Fisher HC Heavy Contractor plows are the largest and strongest straight blade plows in the Fisher lineup. They fit up to 27,500 lb. GVW trucks and are designed for heavy contractor work as well as municipal applications. The plows stand 34 inches tall and come in 9- and 10-ft. widths, allowing them to clear large properties efficiently. Fisher Engineering www.fisherplows.com
Oscillating skid-steer mount SnowEx has introduced an Oscillating Skid-Steer Mount for its Heavy-Duty (HD) and Speedwing snowplows, contributing to better scraping performance and less wear on the plow’s cutting edge. The mount can quickly attach to any brand or style of skid-steer loader. The new mount provides six degrees of sideto-side oscillation, which allows the blade to follow the contours of the pavement for a cleaner scrape. SnowEx www.snowexproducts.com
Inverted snow blower Machineries Pronovost recently acquired the Cyclone inverted snow blower. The new Cyclone incorporates several Pronovost components such as chute, chute rotation, impeller, chain tensioner, shear plate and several mechanical parts such as gearbox, drive shaft, bearings, chain and more. The snow blower is designed to leave a minimum amount of snow on the street and is well suited for urban snow clearing. Pronovost www.pronovost.qc.ca
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September 2018 - RETAIL ISSUE October 2018 - NEW PLANTS November 2018 - BUSINESS ISSUE 38 | AUGUST 2018 | LANDSCAPE TRADES
Stainless steel spreader Salt bucket spreader The new DoubleDown salt bucket from Arctic Snow and Ice Products attaches to any skid steer or loader with Arcticâ€™s Slip-Hitch universal coupler and is easily interchanged with Arctic pusher and plow attachments. The DoubleDown allows users to take control of their spreading parameters for distance, density and direction with an in-cab LCD display monitor. Arctic Snow and Ice Products www.arcticsnowandiceproducts.com
The new Hiniker stainless steel tailgate spreader utilizes a specially designed auger system to prevent material from dribbling and leaking through the spreader when the motor is stopped. Two capacity options are available to meet specific application needs. Hiniker www.hiniker.com
Straight blade plow Designed for heavy contractor and municipal applications, the all-new Western Pro Plus HD straight blade plow fits up to Class 6 trucks. It measures 10 ft. wide, 34 in. tall, and is reinforced with eight vertical ribs. Western Products www.westernplows.com
Battery-powered chainsaw The new Milwaukee M18 Fuel 16-inch chainsaw delivers the power to cut hardwoods, cuts faster than gas, and delivers up to 150 cuts per charge. The unit is designed to meet the performance, durability and ergonomic needs of professional landscape maintenance contractors. The Powerstate brushless motor maintains speed under heavy loads without bogging down to outperform small gas engines and higher voltage systems. Milwaukee www.milwaukeetool.com
Irrigation systems for large areas The new XLR series water jets by Rainbird are designed for efficient irrigation of large areas, including sports turf. All three XLR models feature part- and full-circle operation. The XLR 24 model has a fixed, 24-degree trajectory and nine available nozzles for a throw range of 28 to 54 meters (92 to 177 feet). With a fixed, 44-degree trajectory and nine available nozzles, the XLR 44 model can throw water from 26 to 53 meters (85 to 174 feet.) Users can adjust the XLR ADJ modelâ€™s trajectory from 15 to 45 degrees. Nine available nozzles for this model range in size from 12 to 28 millimeters (0.47 to 1.10 inches.) Rain Bird www.rainbird.com
Cut-off machine The expanded guard adjustment range of the new Stihl TS 440 cut-off machine allows greater access in challenging cuts such as the bottom portions of walls, cutting in corners and cutting the underside of in-ground pipes. This expanded guard adjustability is made possible due to the sensor-activated Stihl Quickstop wheel brake technology. The first cut-off machine in the world equipped with the technology capable of stopping the rotation of the cutting wheel in fractions of a second if kickback occurs. Stihl www.stihl.ca AUGUST 2018 | LANDSCAPE TRADES |
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40 | AUGUST 2018 | LANDSCAPE TRADES
August 14-16, Independent Garden Show, Chicago, Ill. www.igcshow.com August 22-24, Plantarium, Boskoop, Holland. www.plantarium.nl August 22-24, The Far West Show, Portland, Ore. www.farwestshow.com September 10-12, GLEE, Birmingham, U.K. www.gleebirmingham.com September 25, Snowposium 2018 Milton, Ont. www.snowposium.ca September 26-29, Communities in Bloom Seeds for the Future, Strathcona, Atla. www.communitiesinbloom.ca September 26-28, Canwest Hort Show, Abbotsford, B.C.. www.canwesthortshow.com October 3-4, Canadian Greenhouse Conference, Niagara Falls, Ont.. www.canadiangreenhouseconference.com October 16-18, The Green Industry Show and Equipment Expo, Louisville, Ky. www.gie-expo.com November 14-16, Fihoq Expo, Drummondville, Que. www.expofihoq.com November 15-16, The Green Industry Show and Conference, Edmonton, Alta. www.greenindustryshow.com November 28-30, The Buildings Show, Toronto, Ont. www.thebuildingsshow.com December 3-7, The Irrigation Show and Conference, Long Beach. Calif. www.irrigation.org
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Words mean things Robert Kennaley, a lawyer specializing in construction law, has been helping contractors avoid legal exposure for years — as a former contractor, he understands the industry’s challenges. In addition to his Landscape Trades column, Kennaley is a frequent speaker at landscape industry events, and drafted the widely used Standard Form Snow and Ice Maintenance Contract, downloadable at www.landscapetrades.com/Kennaley. What is the biggest mistake snow operators make in drafting contracts? There are three; they are all big ones, and can hurt equally. The first mistake is not properly defining your scope of work — if you can’t show what you were hired to do, you can’t prove that you did it. A clearly defined scope allows you to show that you have met your contract obligations, if someone alleges that you didn’t. Site maps can help define scope, as well as identify problem areas. The second mistake is to make promises that are impossible or unclear. I have seen contracts promise to “keep the premises free of snow at all times,” which is impossible. I’ve also seen contracts promise to “apply salt when necessary,” which Rob Kennaley means virtually nothing and exposes that contractor to allegations that they breached the requirement. The third big mistake is to agree to over-reaching indemnity clauses — which we often call “side deals.” These require you to indemnify your client for claims even if you are not in breach of contract or negligent, and which go beyond personal injury or property damage claims. These go too far, and will oblige contractors to potentially pay when they do nothing wrong. As a big picture concept, the importance of documentation is well known in the snow industry. What record-keeping details help an operator succeed? The sooner operators embrace technology, the better, such as GPS, electronic reporting or instant uploads. Technology has become so efficient and economical, you can’t afford not to have it. For larger operations or sites, the old methods might not provide enough detail.
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How often is a win in court, a loss to a contractor? Every time a dispute goes all the way to court, it is a loss. Legal fees are expensive, and even if you win, you never get your legals back. In addition, you have lost lots of time away from work. Always try to resolve disputes sooner rather than later. Does the Standard From Snow and Ice Maintenance Contract work across Canada? While it was written for Ontario, is has been widely utilized. Those who use it outside Ontario should check with local counsel to ensure it meets local requirements. When it was first prepared, I introduced it on a ‘road show.’ We will be presenting a how-to session on the contract at this fall’s Landscape Ontario Snow Symposium. Client relationships are independent of contract terms. Any tips on cultivating good relationships? With smaller companies, smaller clients and residential work, relationship is key. Always make sure your client understands what he is getting for his or her money. Lawsuits rarely originate from contract terms, but rather from misunderstandings about the scope of work and loss of trust. You have been a contractor, and have worked with contractors for years. How good are they at learning and taking advice? Many contractors used to operate without written contracts, on a handshake. Those days should be over, and many contractors do a very good job at preparing good contracts, engaging good policies and keeping good records. Some, however, attend seminars, listen and learn, but do not implement the knowledge. It takes work and diligence to manage risk well under contracts, and in practice. Many don’t learn the benefits of doing this work until a job goes south and they learn, first-hand, the importance of doing so. The smart contractors implement sound risk management processes, including good contracts, good documents, good training and good training records. They look at it like insurance: it’s a pain, and you don’t expect to need it. However, once you have it in place, it will pay off LT when you do.
Rob Kennaley will speak on Sept. 25 in Brampton, Ont., at Landscape Ontario’s Snowposium. Visit www.snowposium.ca to register.
Snow and Ice 2018 Special Focus issue