February 2019 VOL. 41, NO. 2
Four ways to de-clutter your company Upfront tips ease debt collection Reader survey results: Concern and optimism
Electronics, mental health, cannabis: Time to tweak systems for 2019 Johan Bossers PM40013519
FEBRUARY 2019 VOL. 41, NO. 2
EDITOR AND PUBLISHER Lee Ann Knudsen CLM | firstname.lastname@example.org
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SEASON GEAR-UP ISSUE
ACCOUNTANT Joe Sabatino | firstname.lastname@example.org ACCOUNT MANAGER Greg Sumsion | email@example.com COMMUNICATIONS COORDINATOR Angela Lindsay | firstname.lastname@example.org ADVISORY COMMITTEE Gerald Boot CLM, Laura Catalano, Jeremy Feenstra, Mark Fisher, Hank Gelderman CHT, Marty Lamers, Bob Tubby CLM, Nick Winkelmolen, Dave Wright Landscape Trades is published by Landscape Ontario Horticultural Trades Association 7856 Fifth Line South, Milton, ON L9T 2X8 Phone: (905)875-1805 Email: email@example.com Fax: (905)875-0183 Web site: www.landscapetrades.com LANDSCAPE ONTARIO STAFF Scott Barber, Darryl Bond, Amy Buchanan, Tony DiGiovanni CHT, Denis Flanagan CLD, Cassandra Garrard, J. Alex Gibson, Meghan Greaves, Sally Harvey CLT CLM, Heather MacRae, Kathy McLean, Kathleen Pugliese, John Russell, Ian Service, David Turnbull, Lissa Schoot Uiterkamp, Tom Somerville, Myscha Stafford, Martha Walsh
Landscape Trades is published nine times a year: January, February, March, April, May, August, September, October and November. Subscription rates: One year – $46.90, two years – $84.74; three years – $118.64, HST included. U.S. and international please add $20.00 per year for postage and handling. Subscribe at www.landscapetrades.com Copyright 2019. All rights are reserved. Material may not be reproduced in any form without written permission from the publisher. Landscape Trades assumes no responsibility for, and does not endorse the contents of, any advertisements herein. All representations or warranties made are those of the advertiser and not the publication. Views expressed do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the association or its members, but are those of the writer concerned.
6 Safety calls for new thinking
Contractors address the challenges of 2019: Cannabis, mental health and digital connectivity.
BY JORDAN WHITEHOUSE
14 Readers speak up
Survey yields insights on business outlook, information sources, labour shortage, growth limitations and more.
18 Management solutions
De-clutter your company by taking time before the spring rush to review your team, organize tools, adapt to software and streamline contracts.
BY MARK BRADLEY
22 Road to success
Green businesses must be destinations, if we hope to compete against mass merchants. Our secret weapon: The Wow Factor.
BY ROD McDONALD
24 Legal matters
Implement strategies at the beginning of jobs, to ease collection worries at the end.
BY ROBERT KENNALEY
34 Mentor moment
Anthony O’Neill tells business owners how to get it all together — how to make the stars align.
DEPARTMENTS ISSN 0225-6398 PUBLICATIONS MAIL SALES AGREEMENT 40013519 RETURN UNDELIVERABLE CANADIAN ADDRESSES TO: CIRCULATION DEPARTMENT LANDSCAPE TRADES MAGAZINE 7856 FIFTH LINE SOUTH, MILTON, ON L9T 2X8 CANADA
GREEN PENCIL 4 NEWSSCAPE 28 CNLA NEWS 30 NEW PRODUCTS 32 EVENTS 33 ADVERTISERS 33
COVER PHOTO: Mike Schram FEBRUARY 2019 | LANDSCAPE TRADES |
greenpencil Business succession takes many years
any business owners ask when they should start planning for succession. The answer is NOW. Any well-defined business plan will have succession as part of its long-term planning. It’s essential to start this. Key word is Start. It will never be perfect. It will always be changing. It will always take adding and subtracting. But the best thing to do is just Start: Now. Some of the best advice ever given was that, “paperwork makes good relationships.” Whether it’s a client, business partner, employee, or future family member, paperwork takes away ambiguity, confirms promises, and holds people accountable to agreed-on terms. Succession may be the largest transaction many people handle in their lifetime, and it should be treated as such. It’s taken many a lifetime to reach this point. By Brent Ayles First: Draft your succession plan Ensure your plan is written out, printed and filed where it can be easily found. Make sure it is easy to understand. Write out paths for potential employee ownership, family member succession, and/or a private purchase. Make a list of expectations for BOTH SIDES, and have them printed, signed, and kept on file.
Second: Seek wise counsel You will need legal and accounting counsel. Plan for it, and draft out your plan. Discuss with other shareholders and stakeholders, which may include clients and suppliers. You want the transition to be as seamless as possible, ensuring good relations for the next generation of owners. Ask for help! Your accounting professional will help advise the most effective way to transfer shares, sell the company, and all the other options. Good legal counsel will advise on the proper transactions and written documents to protect both original owner and purchaser.
Third: Test the market Seldom, if ever, is something worth what you think it is. So ask 70 per cent more, subtract 33 per cent, add 47 per cent and you are about where you should be. There are ways in which businesses are evaluated for purchase — it happens every day. Buying a competing, lateral-growth company that 4 | FEBRUARY 2019 | LANDSCAPE TRADES
complements your existing business is the fastest way to gain market share. Just be a realist — ask others and test, because this should never be your only plan for retirement or succession. The values of good will, assets in equipment and inventory, buildings and property, and long-term contracts have all become more volatile in recent years. Consider your largescale global economy, then Western economy right down to the country level, and then your local economy. They are all 100 per cent connected. How? Major steel equipment used in landscaping is manufactured in mass quantities outside our continent, affecting long-term value of assets. The entire world economy rises and falls on the price of oil. Understand how that affects our economies — nationwide and provincially. Most consumer buying behaviours are heavily influenced by local government. Learn to realize and be aware. Many things should be considered when evaluating a company and determining value. The number one asset is always long-term retained earnings, showing good solid management and a steady track record through the highs and lows of fiscal years. This affects everything right down to your succession plan, market value, financing, etc. I have always been told the one that dies with the most equipment doesn’t win — the one with equipment working is the one that wins. Don’t get caught up in thinking equipment is a huge asset in business worth evaluation. I am not saying it doesn’t have value, but just stating most new start-ups can get financing as easy or easier than a 25- to 40-year-old company. It’s just the market. Cash still wins and always will. The best operating companies grow cash. The book “Scaling Up” by Verne Harnish — Chapter 9 on CASH — is a must-read!
Fourth: Work the plan We have all seen the difficulties associated with lack of planning. It could be a family business that was not properly structured, a story from a friend, or a business book written about a large company’s history. That’s how the world makes stories — on other peoples’ misfortunes. Take the time. Most only do this once in their lifetime. Draft it. Counsel it. Test it. Work it! It’s never too early LT to start.
Brent Ayles is president of Ayles Natural Landscaping, based in Riverview, N.B.
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CLUB EVERYONE IS TALKING ABOUT
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Safet Old ways are
Contractors dedicated to prevention face new challenges in 2019 BY JORDAN WHITEHOUSE
afety should be priority Number One for any contractor. But let’s face it: it’s not
the most inspiring topic. Most people who work in the landscape industry do so because they want to be outside, working with their hands, building, maintaining, designing — not stuck in front of a TV or computer screen learning how to properly use a hedge trimmer or what precautions to take around pesticides. Still, it’s a critically important topic, and no matter how boring safety training may be, good training could be the difference between life and death or serious injury. “It’s pretty simple: you can’t keep people around if they’re going to be resistant to it,” says Patrick Lanoue, owner of Genuine Earthworks, a Calgary-based landscape construction and maintenance company. “So you have to implement those values right from the start of them coming onboard, that’s probably the most important thing.” And besides, with many clients these days, safety is becoming more of a priority item when assessing which companies to award work to. In other words, safety isn’t just an ethical obligation, but an economic one, too. For Jordan Sumner, general manager at Saskatoon’s ULS Landscaping, that’s meant more contracts with specifications for Contracting Officer’s Representative certification, registration with the Saskatchewan Heavy Construction Association, intense health and safety audits, and more. “It’s not so much your price 6 | FEBRUARY 2019 | LANDSCAPE TRADES
point anymore. It’s: Are you a safe company? Yes or no.” As for the specific health and safety issues that are top of mind for Canadian landscapers right now, there aren’t simple, overarching trends. And yet, for some or all of the companies Landscape Trades spoke to for this story, three categories did emerge: cannabis, mental health and new technology.
Concern over cannabis Now that pot is legal, this country’s habit is out in the open. Recent Stats Canada numbers say about 14 per cent of Canadians (or around 4.2 million people) have used cannabis within the past three months. And sure, like alcohol, that ubiquity doesn’t mean landscape crews are using it on the job. But it is easier to hide than alcohol, and some companies are saying it’s becoming an issue. In Landscape Trades’ June issue, Tony Lombardi, owner of Scarborough, Ont.’s Dr. Landscape, said cannabis use is rampant in the industry, and it’s “almost like a plague.” “I think the day and age of employers ignoring these kinds of issues is long gone,” he said. In 2017, he fired one crew member for bringing cannabis to work and three others for not reporting it. Now he asks job applicants if they use cannabis, and he also does random drug testing on current employees. Patrick Lanoue doesn’t go that far with his cannabis policy, but pot is the first topic he brings up when asked what health
and safety risks are trending upward these days. “Yes, it’s legal, but it shouldn’t be mixed in at all with the workplace. You wouldn’t drink a six-pack and come to work, so why would you smoke a joint?” And then, of course, outside of the heightened workplace dangers that pot poses to users and everyone around them, there are serious legal implications, too. If an accident happens in a company truck, for instance, and the driver gets a DUI, the company could lose all of its insurance coverage and legal representation from the insurer. If injury or death happens, the company owner could go to jail for negligence. It’s not worth taking lightly, says Lanoue. “It’s definitely something that we had to add to the policy. It’s a condition of employment. If you’re caught with it, there’s reason for dismissal.”
Mental health — out in the open Mental health may not be as pressing a health and safety issue as cannabis right now, but maybe it should be, if not more so. continued on page 8 Patrick Lanoue, Genuine Earthworks
Genuine Earthworks is a Calgary-based landscape construction and maintenance company.
FEBRUARY 2019 | LANDSCAPE TRADES |
Darcy MacNeill, Earthform Landscape Professionals
According to the Canadian Mental Health Association, in any given year, one in five people in Canada will experience a mental health problem or illness. By age 40, about 50 per cent of the population will have or have had a mental illness. The silver lining is that mental illness can be treated effectively, and while landscape companies should not be asked to be healthcare providers, research shows a change in one’s workplace can lead to a significant change in one’s mental health. In turn, that can mean better productivity, safer employees and an overall more enjoyable place to work. It’s why owners like Darcy MacNeill are taking mental health a lot more seriously. He runs Earthform Landscape Professionals in Stratford, P.E.I., and he says it’s a hot topic that is only going to get hotter in the future. “From the top down, we’re trying to get into a position where we know a lot more about each other, personality-wise, because if know where a person is coming from, it’s only going to help make a safer, easier environment to get stuff done.” This isn’t lip service, by the way. Earthform asks office staff to complete personal profile tests, which help them all know how one person may get along with another person, says MacNeill. “It’s kind of weird for a landscape company to use personality profiles, but it’s been a godsend. Now we’re going to roll it out into the field crews this year, and when we told them about it, they got so excited because it just makes so much sense.”
The ULS team provides year round services in landscape design, construction, maintenance, and snow and ice control in Saskatoon.
8 | FEBRUARY 2019 | LANDSCAPE TRADES
Earthform Landscape Professionals is a design, build and maintenance company serving Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia.
For Jordan Sumner and ULS Landscaping, mental health isn’t necessarily addressed in policy, but that doesn’t mean they don’t take it seriously. For example, they try to relieve the mental stress that comes with periodic winter employment by guaranteeing 80 bi-weekly hours of work for 10 pay periods between November and April. Plus, in summer they don’t work more than 10 hours per day. “We’re not one of those employers who grinds their guys to the bone for 16 hours a day,” he says. “We rarely work weekends, and never Sundays, because we understand that people have families, they have social lives.”
Threat of technology And then there’s the behemoth that is new technology, and what it can and can’t do to improve safety. No surprise that smartphones are a common concern. Sure, all of their file-sharing, video-chatting and GPS-mapping functions can make for safer worksites, but the smartphone’s zombie-like pull can also do the opposite. They’re a pet peeve for Johan Bossers, owner of A Touch of Dutch Landscaping in Stratford, Ont. “I had somebody tell me this summer that they noticed in one of my trucks the guy was using his cellphone while driving.” Proper cellphone use is a tough one to enforce, though, he adds. “I’m not with them all the time, so I don’t know for sure what they’re doing.” What helps is simply repeating
Jordan Sumner, ULS Landscaping
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Johan Bossers, A Touch of Dutch Landscaping
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the message that he hired them to work, not to be on their phones. Bossers is no Luddite, however. Over the past three or four years, he’s been using more online training tools. While he wishes he could make training more enjoyable, he says the internet-based part has been a plus overall. The other good thing with these tools is that they leave a digital trail, letting Bossers know who has done training and who hasn’t. Outside of digital technologies, Darcy MacNeill mentions the evolution of tools that reduce or eliminate harmful particles in the air. One example is the new cut-off saws that actually eliminate dust. Adoption is tough, though, at least right now. “They’re fairly expensive and they’re a little heavier or they cut the other way than what guys are used to,” he says. “Some of them are also paid on productivity, and these can slow them down.” Still, as with Tony Lombardi’s approach to cannabis or Bossers’ to smartphones or MacNeill’s own attitude about mental health in the workplace, health and safety trumps all, including productivity. And if it doesn’t take precedence? Well, as Patrick Lanoue repeats, you have to do what you have to do. “If they’re going to be a liability, you just have to move forward and let LT them go.”
Jordan Whitehouse is a Vancouver, B.C.-based freelance writer.
Phone: 877-727-2100 17525 Jane St. | Kettleby, Ontario | L7B 0J6
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Subscribers talk about their profession and their magazine
SURVEY 2019 Landscape Trades always welcomes comments; we hear from readers often and appreciate their perspectives. Since we had not surveyed readers since 2014, we felt it was time. However, spam and email fatigue have been depressing survey response rates recently, so we were apprehensive. To cut to the chase, you really came through: this year’s survey response rate was nearly four per cent, a very rare and strong response rate in these times. We like to start our surveys with a big question, so we asked subscribers about the business outlook for 2019. Over 57 per cent of survey respondents expect stronger performance in the coming year. By contrast, only seven percent expect weaker performance. Many observed in comments that their growth prospects are limited by the tight labour market. We also asked about business investment plans for 2019. While about nine percent plan to scale down or cut staff this year, over 40 per cent of respondents plan to invest in their businesses, hire more staff or both. One commented, “More projects booked!” Another said, “Super busy.” 14 | FEBRUARY 2019 | LANDSCAPE TRADES
What factors limit Canadian horticulture professionals’ growth? Availability of skilled labour was by far the most significant limiting factor, cited by nearly 41 per cent. Lower-priced competitors were the most significant factor limiting growth for about 16 per cent. Other factors included management skills and time constraints.
The Landscape Trades Source Book is the only product and service directory for Canadians in landscaping, but with many directories moving exclusively online, we asked about its continued usefulness. Positive comments outnumbered negatives; “It rides around in the truck with me,” was typical. Several questions centred around Landscape Trades’ usefulness and future direction. When asked how industry information is received, the top response is trade magazines, selected by nearly 85 per cent. Trade shows, networking with peers, internet searches and direct sales contact with suppliers fall into the next tier of usefulness. About half receive information from email newsletters and association membership, and the least popular information sources were
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What is the main factor limiting your company's growth? Management skills and time constraints
Weather was a factor last year
While concern about hiring talent is pervasive, the Canadian
Availability of working capital
social media and blogs. We asked readers to rate Landscape Trades’ usefulness to their businesses. Well over half reported it is staying the same, about five percent deemed Landscape Trades less useful, but nearly 32 per cent answered Landscape Trades is become more useful to their business. This is gratifying, and we will do our best to keep this trend going. On the same theme, over 59 per cent of respondents save or file their Landscape Trades issues. This is a stunning statistic, and even beats the issue retention rate from our 2003 survey, which was 53.7 per cent. And according to 97.54 percent of respondents, Landscape Trades publishes credible content.
Availability of skilled labour
industry has plenty to be thankful for, according to hard survey numbers. Respectful of subscribers’ inboxes, we e-blasted the Landscape Trades survey invitation only once and received an impressive 302 responses. By contrast, a U.S. magazine in the same sector, Lawn & Landscape, got 163 responses to its November 2018 survey. This reflects very positively on Canadians, who are willing to take time
How do you receive industry information? Ideas from readers to ease the labour shortage Offer professional development potential and a clear career path for success. l Create a great company culture and attract them. l Pay more. Treat the hort profession as a full-time career and employees will, too. l YouTube channel: training videos, reality show format of a phenomenal landscape build, appeal to lifestyle and environmental issues important to young people. l To promote the ‘health’ factor at the high school level to horticultural students. l Health benefits, pension plans and set hours have helped us. l Direct conduit from Europe where their training is better and graduates actually have some marketable skills. Would be nice to connect with potential immigrants who have the necessary skills. Canada needs a better training platform. l I have seen a lot of poorly run businesses, so I have to wonder how much of the problem is management or lack thereof. l Off-shore labour. l Survey all the children of current landscape industry professionals for ideas/feedback. l Have government offer more help to small business. l Give people a chance, even if they don’t look as skilled as you may think, you never know until you give them a shot. l Easier access to and/or less red tape in hiring process for foreign workers. l Unless the extensive training and educational programs as provided in Europe and Asia are implemented, recruiting specialized and experienced workers abroad is the still the best option — unfortunately. l Train workers, give responsibility, show that there’s room to advance, show your appreciation often. We have recently had good success with Iranian workers. Honest and hardworking. What they don’t understand in our language and culture they make up with hard work.
Networking with peers 69% Trade magazines 85%
16 | FEBRUARY 2019 | LANDSCAPE TRADES
Trade shows and conferences 76% Email newsletters 50% Assoc. membership 45% Internet searches 66% Direct sales with suppliers 60% Social media 31% Blogs 6%
for the good of all in their sector. Our 2019 survey was comprised of 16 questions, and besides ticking off answers, the number of comments submitted totalled 436 — typical Canadian generosity aimed at improving a resource. Coming back to the labour shortage, we asked if respondents had suggestions to ease the crisis; 110 took time to share their thoughts. Selected comments are presented in the sidebar at left. The three things that elevate professions are trade shows, associations and media. Canada is fortunate to have vibrant trade shows, and benefits from strong provincial and national horticultural trade associations. When it comes to media, Landscape Trades works hard to live up to its tagline: Canada’s premier horticultural trade publication. Thanks for your confidence, and thanks for your suggestions LT on where we can do better.
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Simplify your business this year BY MARK BRADLEY
There’s a show taking over Netflix right now called Tidying Up, and its popularity is exploding. In the past month alone, host Marie Kondo has gained over 300K followers. In the show, Marie goes to real peoples’ houses and helps them find more joy in their life by, you probably guessed it by the title: organizing their homes. And by the end of the episode, each family experiences more joy as a result of a simpler, less cluttered home. Growing a landscape business by the seat-of-your-pants causes a lot of the same clutter. Whether you’re three or 30 years into the industry, it’s certain you have processes, equipment, tools, etc. that served a purpose at one point, but now contribute to clutter in your company. They make things overly complex, create lots of extra work, and contribute to the frustration of running a business, rather than the excitement of growing a business. Let’s look at a few areas of your business where you can reduce clutter, and make running your business a little more fun again.
TOOLS AND EQUIPMENT We love our tools and machines, sometimes to a fault. But a few tips can help reduce costs and the work involved in maintaining a large fleet of equipment and tools. Standardize your trailers: Equipping and organizing all trailers with the same sets of tools, stored in the same (labelled) places on the trailer, makes managing equipment simpler. Having the same tools in the same places makes it much simpler to see when we were missing something, move staff between crews and hold foreman accountable for maintaining, breaking and/or losing tools. Standardize makes and models: Over the years, our company bought tools or machines wherever we could get the best deal. Upfront we saved purchase costs, but we ended up with so many different makes and models, my shop turned into a parts warehouse. I’ve thrown out tens of thousands of dollars in unused spare parts, repair pieces or consumables for tools and equipment we bought once, then never again. Whatever we saved upfront was spent — probably double — try-
Using the same make and model of tools saves both time and money.
18 | FEBRUARY 2019 | LANDSCAPE TRADES
ing to maintain all these different makes and models. Sticking to the same makes/models for tools and equipment may cost you a bit more upfront, but you’ll reap the benefits: l Less inventory. You need a lot less consumable/repair parts in inventory when all crews use the same make/model of tool. l Fewer trips to get parts. Simpler parts inventory means fewer trips to your dealer to pick up parts you don’t carry in inventory. l Easier to train crews on maintenance and repairs. One make/model means it’s easier to train crews on how to safely use and maintain our fleet and tools. CONTRACT TYPES One area you can simplify is your contract types or options. Sure, you can try to make every sale by offering customers any billing scenario to fit their needs. But if you have 200 service contracts billed 18 different ways, I’ll bet my life you miss billing some of those services. It’s complicated. I meet contractors who take days to get their monthly billing out, because someone has to stay on top of every invoice, ensuring the right customers are getting billed for the right services, according to their specific contracts. A lot of the profit on those contracts is getting eaten up in overhead admin hours (tracking, reviewing, approving, invoicing, approving the invoices, etc.). Even more is getting eaten up when services get missed. The solution is to offer fewer contract and billing options. I’ve met a lot of contractors who offer customers a choice between one of three billing options. They have come to accept they will not land every sale if a customer wants an irregular billing scenario. But when it comes time for monthly billing: l They can do more estimates in less time.
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managementsolutions l They are less likely to make a mistake in
pricing (or in a contract). l Invoicing takes less time and fewer people. l Invoicing is easier to train and delegate. l Invoices are more complete, with less missed billing. SOFTWARE One of most rapid changes in the landscape industry over the past five- to seven years is the adoption of software. First, it was accounting software, then websites and marketing, and now we’re seeing a surge in the adoption of operations-type software (estimating, timetracking, customer/lead management, etc.). Many contractors fail to successfully implement software because it does not fit their processes. They try a few different types (none fit perfectly) and get frustrated. Often they choose one, but only use 20 per cent of its capabilities because its processes don’t fit theirs exactly. Consider changing your processes to fit the software! Face the facts: You are never
their conversations. Often these people are also “good at the work” and are sometimes seen as indispensable! But they cause all kinds of needless problems for the business owner. It’s very difficult to make decisions, changes and to move the business forward with these types of people in important positions. They inevitably undermine change, create stress and confusion for staff and owners, and they will stunt the growth of the business. Not only that, they increase the stress and anxiety of running a business — and strip much of the fun out of it. If a certain person (or people) came to mind while reading this … spring is a perLT fect time to de-clutter your people.
going to find software that fits every facet of your business perfectly. But many contractors fail to ask themselves this question: Are our processes so important that they outweigh the benefits and efficiency of the software? Many times, the answer is no. We learned this lesson (the hard way) when we first adopted Quickbooks. We made some changes and sacrifices to ‘our ways’ to fit Quickbooks; now our information is faster, better, and more accurate. Work is easier. And that makes running the business more enjoyable. PEOPLE In these times, it is tough to get picky about people, but I’m closing this article out on people for a reason. There are people in your business today that are creating clutter. You already know who they are. They: l Refuse to change or try new ideas. l Undermine new processes or people. l Don’t adhere to the company’s rules and systems. l Spread negativity in their actions and
Mark Bradley is president of Ontario-based TBG Landscape and LMN.
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Winning the game: Wow
It was the beginning of the Christmas season, and a fellow I mentor was ready to do business. He had his trees, points and décor on display. I stopped by early in the morning, as no one appreciates a visit from the ‘old man’ when the customers are lined up six deep at the till. We had time to talk before the day’s rush began. He wanted to know how to compete with Canadian Tire, which has a store at the end of his road, especially in the spring. Here is the first story I shared with him and his family. I tell this story often, as it illustrates niche marketing perfectly. Canadian Tire sells toilets and sinks. Lots of them. Prices are really great. Their prices on taps and fixtures are attractive as well. Question: Have you ever seen the toilets and sinks they sell at Canadian Tire? If you have, then you will understand the next part of my story. Years ago, the kids had left home and we were renovating the house. A typical story for empty nesters. The smallest bedroom was being turned into a spa for my wife and me. Seven-head shower, soaker tub, sauna, granite counters, hardwood floors, you get the picture. Did we head off to Canadian
BY ROD McDONALD
Tire or any of the box stores for our tub, toilet, sink, fixtures or any of our supplies? No, we wanted something nice for ourselves. This was a special room for us, and we still enjoy the space 15 years later. We wanted, for lack of better words, the good stuff. We went to the specialty shop and paid a thousand bucks for the sink, twelve hundred for the toilet and four grand for the soaker tub. We not only wanted the good stuff, we were prepared to pay for it. The shop where we purchased our fixtures, did not carry any of the low-end toilets. That was not their market. They were engaged in niche marketing and we were their target audience. The box stores do an excellent job of selling cheap goods cheaply. They cater to a price-sensitive market and that market accepts (grudgingly) a limited service concept. Every now and again when I encountered a staff member at a box store, who either knew about a product or knew where it was stocked, I have been greatly surprised. I suspect each reader has shared this experience. The question I ask is: Why compete with a store that already does a great job of selling cheap goods cheaply? My ’60s roots could be
Pigeons are content to flock to box stores, customers with a taste for quality not so much.
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showing, but ‘it is not your thing.’ Walmart sells hanging baskets for as low as 10 bucks and they are not worth even that amount. The baskets were planted one week before sale with three petunias, and if that is your idea of a good value, then knock yourself out.
My second story is about an independent who reinvented a very old wheel and found success. There was a confectionary in Regina, on the edge of downtown, that sold the traditional product line-up of bread, milk, soup, beans, chocolate bars and cigarettes. They had been in business since the 60s. The owners were Italian immigrants and they sold imported food stuffs including sausage, cheese, pasta and olive oil. They sold mainly to other Italians, as these edibles were difficult to find in Regina. I, myself, shopped there for cheese and olives. The things my kids call “Dad’s stinky stuff,” and they were not referencing my old socks though the comparison could be made. As the store passed to the next generation, they realized the writing was on the wall for confectionaries and small groceries. They had to make some changes or else go under.
The store already stocked deli meats and cheeses as well as pickles, mustard and peppers. They ordered in oversized buns from a local bakery and started selling sandwiches at lunch time. It was a great idea, what with office buildings being close by and lots of hungry employees. It was slow going the first year. Very slow. Few sandwiches sold but those who did buy them thought they were tasty. Word spread and more people started coming by at lunch time. Long story short, on a big day they now sell hundreds over an extended lunch hour. One of the players for The Calgary Stampeders had a sandwich. He told his team mates how good it was. When they flew into Regina to play The Riders, they called ahead to have sandwiches ready upon arrival. Quite the endorsement. The confectionary started to change its product mix on the shelves as well. Slowly, beans and soup disappeared, replaced with imported and unusual items. Factory bread was replaced with artisanal bread. McCain Pizzas were replaced with hand-made, local pizzas. Food items that could not be found elsewhere became the norm. Today, it is no longer a confectionary but a full-fledged deli with thousands of specialty items — and the place is busy. It has become a destination store with people driving from all parts of the city and out-of-towners now have it on their list of shopping stops. Success by innovating. Success by not competing with other food stores offering cans of beans and soup. Niche marketing at its finest. All of us in the green trades can learn a lesson from The Italian Star, a confectionary turned deli.
One of my favourite ads, running every spring, had a headline: ‘Thirty-five plants available exclusively from us!’ Competing when there is no competition has always appealed to me. Let the public know you have those special items they read about in magazines. Items no one else carries. Ads such as this enforce your place as a true destination shop, worth the drive. We cannot compete with the box stores by playing their game. Box stores have a much lower overhead than we do as they offer little in the way of service. Box stores operate with three to five percent of gross sales allocated to labour. This explains why customers wait for a long time in Rona to get assistance loading a heavy item. Let the box stores offer a no-frills approach, let us sell service. The main objective of our operations is to ensure the customer walking through our doors utters the word, ‘Wow!’ The Wow
factor means someone is impressed, and if that person is impressed, chances are excellent they will be purchasing. This is why building wonderful and innovative displays is so important for independents. Displays are an important part of our ‘Wow’ factor. Find your niche and distinguish yourself from all others. Stay on the Road to Success by being special and ensure your guests say LT “Wow!”
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.
Our garden centres, greenhouses, supply yards and shops need to be destinations. We have to give people a reason to drive across town. We have to give people who live in other communities a reason to stop into our places of business. We are not going to encourage traffic by offering what is readily available at box stores. We have to work with suppliers to avoid duplicating what is sold elsewhere. Keeping it simple, we have to be different. FEBRUARY 2019 | LANDSCAPE TRADES |
FEBRUARY 2019 | LANDSCAPE TRADES |
Managing construction debt collection: Part I BY ROBERT KENNALEY
Many contractors, subcontractors and suppliers address debt collection only when amounts are long overdue and owing under a contract. Yet thinking about debt collection from the first stages of a project can better help you get paid in the event problems arise down the line. In our next series of articles, we will discuss debt collection issues. Debt collection issues should be considered from the time you first negotiate or bid for a contract or subcontract. You should firstly make sure you know who you are contracting with. Is it a corporation, a partnership or an individual? If you are only provided with a business name (with no corporate identifier, such as Ltd., Limited, Corp. or Corporation), you might be dealing with any of the above. Simply put, if you end up having to initiate proceedings to collect on a debt, you need to know who it is that owes you the money. You should also make sure you get the full name of the individual signing the contract, along with his or her position with the corporation or partnership, if applicable. You might also (in the residential context in particular) make sure the person you are
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contracting with owns the land you will be working on. If you are dealing with a husband and wife on a residential job, for example, both should sign the contract. This is because only one member of the happy couple might own the land. Similarly, if you are being retained by a company that does not own the land, your risk in the event of nonpayment goes up. You may wish to price the job accordingly, or ask an individual to agree to guarantee the company’s payment obligations. In some circumstances, you may also wish to make the agreement conditional upon a satisfactory credit investigation of your potential client(s). In negotiating the contracts, you should also ensure payment schedules, dates and amounts are clear and acceptable. If you wish to charge interest on accounts owing, the rate of interest should be set out and fixed at an actual annual rate, as clauses which set out daily or monthly rates may be unenforceable. If you are going to employ subcontractors of your own, you should dovetail the payment schedules, for obvious reasons. You should also, if possible, avoid “paywhen-paid” and “pay-if-paid” clauses. These
clauses provide, for example, that the general contractor need not pay you for your work until he has been paid for your work by the owner. They may also apply to the relationship between subcontractors. Depending on the circumstances, they may, or may not, be enforceable. Regardless, where the person above you in the pyramid relies on such a clause, he or she may take the position that you cannot stop work or terminate the contract for non-payment. This, of course, can be very difficult. If you cannot avoid these clauses, you might try to limit their impact by requiring a term that allows you to at least stop work if you have not been paid. Also, you might pass the same clause on to your own subcontractors so that you will only have to pay your subcontractors once you have been paid. Where you are bidding a contract that has been put out to tender you will not, of course, have the luxury of negotiating its terms. (This is because you are putting a price on the terms and conditions which have been put out to tender. As discussed in other articles, your bid will generally be rejected as ‘non-compliant’ where you make
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legalmatters a counter-offer on the terms). If you cannot negotiate the terms, you should at least understand the risks associated with the job, and price it accordingly. If you have concerns about the application or meaning of the contract’s terms, you should consider raising a question (as opposed to a counteroffer, qualification or clarification) with the consultant during the tender period. Often, such questions will lead to the owner, or consultant, amending the tender documents to address any issues raised. Subcontractors should be careful to understand all of the contractual terms they will be bound by, when pricing work for a contractor. This is because the terms of the prime contract (between the contractor and the owner) will often be incorporated into the subcontract, such that, for example, paywhen-paid clauses and other provisions effecting the scope of work, payment and risk allocation will apply to the subcontractor, even if they are not expressly written in the
subcontract document signed itself. It is thus important to obtain a copy of, and read, the prime contract before pricing, and entering into a subcontract. Again, if the terms of the prime contract are incorporated into your subcontract, you should consider including them in the subcontracts you enter into with the subcontractors beneath you in the construction pyramid.
considered at the outset. Contractors should understand their rights and obligations under such legislation so as to avoid problems and to ensure their contracts will comply with the legislation. This may be particularly important, for example, in Ontario where the new Construction Act’s prompt payment and adjudication provisions will have a significant impact as they come into force. LT
Finally, it is important you ensure your contracts comply with all applicable laws. For example, consumer’s protection legislation (such as the Consumer’s Protection Act in Ontario) may place strict requirements on anyone who contracts with residential owners in landscape construction. Significantly, if a contract entered into does not comply with such legislation, residential clients may have a host of options available, including the termination of the contract and (in some circumstances) the demand that all amounts previously paid be returned. In addition, construction lien legislation should be
Robert Kennaley practices construction law in Toronto and Simcoe, Ont. He speaks and writes on construction law issues and can be reached for comment at 416-700-4142 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. This material is for information purposes and is not intended to provide legal advice. Readers who have concerns about any particular circumstance are encouraged to seek independent legal advice in that regard.
The wall-less, bottom-less RootSmart propagation tray promotes healthy root distribution when iti really counts. TM
Healthier trees, Rooted in science. 26 | FEBRUARY 2019 | LANDSCAPE TRADES
WE’VE GOT YOUR BACK. We believe there’s no glory in getting beat up on the job. That aches and pains aren’t trophies – they’re just barriers keeping pros like you from getting the work done. You know better than anyone that this business can be back-breaking, but that’s all the more reason to partner with someone who has your back. We’re all about helping you finish strong and feel good doing it. That’s why we’ve built our equipment for unmatched comfort, durability and quality of cut. And we build you up with world-class customer support. So you can get more jobs done, with more peace of mind, and have more energy to take on tomorrow. Let the other guys keep suffering for the job. It’s time for you to finish one more day of hard work feeling good.
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newsscape Family theme for Canada Blooms 2019 The 23rd annual Canada Blooms brings the theme “A Family Affair” to Toronto’s Enercare Centre, March 8-17, 2019. The country’s largest flower and garden festival, Canada Blooms aims to “connect people to the joys and benefits of nature through experiences with gardens and flowers, [and] by promoting, educating and celebrating all aspect of horticulture.” Co-located with the National Home Show, the festival features display gardens and landscapes, as well as over 200 horticulture and floriculture seminars and workshops. This year’s festival will include more flowers than ever before, including a display from Proven Winners; Canada Blooms Plant of the Year, Electric Love weigela from Van Belle Nursery; and the first chance for the gardening public to view new plants tested at the University of Guelph Trial Gardens in 2018. On March 15, 20 amateur and professional florists have been invited to compete live on the show floor. Each florist will receive an identical box of items with three hours to create something live for all to see. Licensed judges will then score the creations and announce the winner. Canada Blooms general manager Terry Caddo says, “It will be really interesting to see how well the amateurs fare, as they have all won previously at World Association of Floral Artists (WAFA) competitions.” A separate design team is working on a new entrance to the show, courtesy of Bruno Duarte, Fresh Floral Creations. A Canada Blooms Professional Florist in past years, Duarte recently represented Canada at the Singapore Garden Festival. Landscape Ontario and Come Alive Outside are partnering to create a Green Street at Canada Blooms. The Green Street Garden will highlight the physical and mental benefits of landscapes in our communities. This garden is aimed at promoting “green time,” not screen time. The Green Street Garden promises to be a place where both kids and kids at heart can take a few minutes to play in a setting that inspires creativity and wonder. Visit canadablooms.com for more information.
Canada Blooms is a feast for the eyes and a preview of the gardening season to come.
the board’s history, up $24.5 million from 2018. “We’re so pleased to have this large capital portfolio of projects to bring to Vancouverites,” Tina Mack, manager of park development, told the Vancouver Courier. “It is a direct response to the growth [in the city], so while growth and change are hard on the city we’re going to be seeing some real benefits in the park system in the upcoming years.” Major projects and renovations are planned for Queen Elizabeth Park, English Bay Beach Park, Marpole Community Centre, East Fraser Lands and a new downtown park.
and Europe including trials in 2017 and 2018 at Cornell University’s Long Island Horticultural Research and Extension Centre.”
Syngenta to launch downy mildew-resistant impatiens
Natural Resources Canada (NRC) is asking Halifax residents to keep a lookout for woodpecker activity. Research scientist Jon Sweeney told CBC News Halifax that woodpecker activity is a sign of emerald ash borers, because the birds feed on the insect’s larvae. “If you see bark flakes on the ground, that’s a sign of woodpeckers, and if it’s an ash tree, there’s likely emerald ash borer there,” Sweeney said. Three trees have been killed in Bedford’s DeWolfe park since the borer was discovered. NRC aims to track the infestation and to treat affected trees.
Syngenta plans to launch a line of a downy mildew-resistant impatiens at the California Spring Trials in March. The Switzerland-based agricultural giant says Imara XDR is the first Impatiens walleriana for the North American market that shows “a high degree of resistance to downy mildew.” The company says the resistance was “confirmed in independent trials in North America
28 | FEBRUARY 2019 | LANDSCAPE TRADES
Hamilton, Ont.-based Miska Trailers recently added Streamline to its line-up of utility trailers. The cargo trailers will now be branded Streamline by Miska Trailers.
Halifax on lookout for emerald ash borer
Private sector job vacancy rate rises
Vancouver boosts parks budget The Vancouver, B.C., Park Board approved a $63.7-million capital budget for 2019. The budget marks the highest capital expenditure in
Miska Trailers acquires Streamline
Imara XDR is a new line of mildew-resistant impatiens.
The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) reports the private sector vacancy rate climbed to 3.3 per cent in the third quarter of 2018. “Estimates show 3.3 per cent of jobs had been sitting vacant for at least four months because employers were unable to find suitable candidates,” the CFIB stated. “This compares to 3.2 per cent in quarter two of this year and 2.9 per cent in quarter three 2017.”
The 3.3 per cent rate represents approximately 430,000 private sector openings across the country.
most refreshing approach. Bravo Brent! Yours truly, Laurel Angeloff Everett Construction and Landscaping Toronto, Ont.
Atlantic Canada’s BBB warns of snowplow scammers Peter Moorhouse, CEO of the Better Business Bureau (BBB) for Atlantic Canada, warned homeowners to be wary of fraudulent snowplow services in an interview with CBC News. “When somebody comes to your door offering any service, including this one, really taking that extra time to … do research before you sign a contract, before you hand over any money, is particularly important,” Moorhouse told the public broadcaster. He added, “If something seems too good to be true, oftentimes it is.” Moorhouse said the BBB gets calls every winter from homeowners who have paid upfront deposits for snow service that never arrives. Moorhouse outlined one example of a Halifax scammer who took cash deposits with contracts that listed nonexistent email addresses and phone numbers.
letterstotheeditor Brent Ayles’s article entitled “The hard way” (November 2018 Landscape Trades) was excellent. People spend a lot of money on self-help books, videos and seminars in the hopes of getting direction. This writer has done this in a one-page article. His straightforward advice is applicable to a wide range of readers. I commend him for this
Editor’s note: The following is an anonymous reader survey comment; we are publishing it as a letter to invite responses. The landscape industry can make one simple change that will have a significant impact on sustainability — improve soil moisture-holding capacity by installing additional and better quality soil. By example, in 2018 in the Oakville area of the GTA, a landscape with four inches of soil required 30 irrigation events all season (based on actual ET and rainfall data for 2018 and a Managed Allowed Depletion level of 50 per cent). If there was six inches of soil installed on the same landscape, only 18 irrigation events would have been required (these frequencies are based on a sandy/clay/loam soil). To the irrigation industry, stop wasting water by setting simple timers to arbitrarily water the landscape based on a day-of-the-week schedule. Watering three times per week in Oakville in 2018 resulted in at least 70 irrigation events, more than double what was actually required. Also, do independent research on “Smart Irrigation Controllers.” The vast majority do not work because of poor quality and insufficient ET data or rainfall measurement. Many have proven to increase water consumption over and above the arbitrary timer settings. Education,
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research, and simple performance measurement are simple ways to avoid blind belief in the marketing hype. Flow monitoring is becoming very inexpensive to implement and many municipalities are investing in dedicated irrigation meters making measurement a very simple process. As they say, “the proof is always in the pudding.” Damage caused by over-watering includes: Nutrient leaching causing pollution of our river systems. This leads to additional, unnecessary, fertilizer application which is then leached out again by over-watering (a vicious cycle of events). In areas with a clay sub-soil (poor drainage), more trees and plants die on irrigated landscapes from drowning than from a lack of water. Water waste from irrigation is lost for downstream use. Unlike domestic waste which is virtually recirculated back to the source, water waste from irrigation is a net draw from the river system and is no longer available for downstream use. Unnecessary water expenditures and water treatment. Canada has some of the highest water-use rates in North America. Savings are a win for everyone. For example in 2018, Ikea Calgary saved over 6.6 million litres of water, or over $17,000 in water costs, through an effective, automated, commercially available irrigation water management system. The environmental focus is currently on CO2 but water is likely going to be a much larger issue in the decades to come. With water and irrigation, it is not the use of water that is the primary problem, it is the extreme waste and subsequent pollution that is the larger problem. Healthy plants reduce CO2 and produce oxygen. Unhealthy, dying, and dead plants produce more CO2. LT
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FEBRUARY 2019 | LANDSCAPE TRADES |
cnlanews Savings program year-end highlights It has been an incredible year of savings for all CNLA members. With 23 different member savings programs offered, there were plenty of savings to take advantage of this year. Some of the highlights for the year (as of October 2018) include: • $884,200 in discounts for FCA vehicles. • 3,404 Mark’s Work Warehouse savings cards issued to members. • $11,660,200 in savings discounts for GM vehicles!
workers to keep more money.” Parliamentary Secretary Rodger Cuzner mentioned he would like to discuss this further. After this session, Judith Andrew reached out to Victor to discuss his comments in more depth. Santacruz was able to succinctly detail the issues that our industry faces with using sub-plan and to clearly outline how the program works in reality for a seasonal industry. He was also able to broach the issue that EI invests funds into training and grants for apprenticeship, but then fails to ask for trained apprentices when issuing tenders. Judith Andrew, Commissioner for Employers, was very interested in these concerns and has suggested further meetings for a more in depth look at the sub-plan specifically as it applies to seasonal industries. The meeting was a promising step in the right direction.
CNLA welcomes new LCC Chair Leslie Cornell
Vehicle discounts continue to be a great savings benefit for CNLA members.
We are always on the lookout for new programs that will benefit you, and in turn, help serve your customers. The programs we have are valuable to us because we know they are important to you in helping to manage your company. Member programs are specifically chosen with your best interest in mind. The member services team is looking forward to 2019. It is going to be an exciting year and we can’t wait to see what it will bring. Be sure to stay up-to-date on all the latest news by checking out future issues of the CNLA Newsbrief and our monthly membership update.
CNLA heard at ESDC forum Last November, the EI Commissioner’s Employers Forum was held in Gatineau Que., and was attended by CNLA Executive Director Victor Santacruz and Industry HR Coordinator Leslie Sison. The meeting was hosted by ESDC Commissioner for Employers Judith Andrew and attended by various government representatives including most notably, the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development, the Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos and Parliamentary Secretary Rodger Cuzner. Speaking on behalf of industry at the round table discussion, Victor Santacruz addressed the sub-plan concept, whereby “We appreciate the sub-plan, but the issue is that it takes approximately six weeks to get a payment. Employees can’t pay bills and employers can’t pay the workers. This forces people to look at other sectors and then we lose people. They will often take jobs for cash and then we all lose. We would like to see a system where we can work with government; have the government pay a little and have employers pay a little more but allow the 30 | FEBRUARY 2019 | LANDSCAPE TRADES
Leslie Cornell’s personal business philosophy and goals are to help people through landscape horticulture. Sometimes that means helping a student reach his or her goals of becoming a landscaper, or it may be helping customers achieve a backyard oasis for their staycation. Leslie started her company, Cornell Design and Landscaping of Moose Jaw, Sask., in 2008 as a landscape construction company with a complete tree nursery and a small perennial greenhouse. In those early days, Leslie’s only other employee was Kurtis Langton, her son’s best friend, whom she encouraged to enroll in the apprenticeship program. Her encouragement was an investment in the future of her company, as today Kurtis is one of the company’s key employees. In 2009, the company was expanded to include a retail garden centre, plus another greenhouse for growing their own perennials and annuals. Since then, yet another greenhouse has been added as the market for succulents has exploded in their area, requiring its own production greenhouse. Leslie Cornell Although still a small company, Cornell Design and Landscaping has expanded steadily over the years and today employs 15 people during the peak season. Leslie currently serves as president of the Saskatchewan Nursery Landscape Association (SNLA), and has been an active member of the Moose Jaw Communities in Bloom board from 2014 to 2018. A graduate of the University of Saskatchewan with a Prairie Horticulture Certificate and a Landscape Arboriculture designation received in 2009, the U of S PHC program asked Leslie to represent the Landscape Arboriculture stream of PHC in their marketing campaign by way of infographic flyers to the public. Leslie participated on the Saskatchewan Apprenticeship Trade Board for Landscape Horticulturist since 2009 and in 2016 she became a Red Seal Landscape Horticulturist. Her landscape construction team was featured in the infographic marketing campaign for Saskatchewan Apprenticeship program landscape horticulturist. She participated in the development of the Interprovincial Program Guide
in, mark ‘Yes,’ that you will take substitutions, so you get the right number of workers. Named workers If you are one of the growers whose named workers ended up on farms they did not want to go to, you can get them back by requesting them again as named workers. Please contact the Mexican Consulate if this is the case. Timing It will take on average 144 days from the day you apply for your LMIA to worker arrival. The LMIA goes to the Mexican Ministry of Labour, then CVAC (Canada Visa Application Centre) and then the named worker is informed. It used to be the Ministery of Labour would inform them. This is a delay as compared to previous years. The worker or the employer can contact the Mexican consulate to follow-up and stay in touch with respect to worker processing. Housing inspections ‘Pass with Conditions’ will not be accepted as a ‘Pass,’ so your LMIA will not be processed. You must make the required changes, however small, and then be re-inspected or prove that it has been fixed in order to get a pass and have your LMIA processed. No foamies will be allowed as mattresses. Full mattresses are required and will need to be changed every two years. LT
Processing foreign workers from Mexico may take longer as a result of requirement changes.
for Landscape Horticulturist in 2010 as the Saskatchewan delegate. In 2017 she participated in the Red Seal Occupational Standard for Landscape Horticulturist Red Seal Trade exam question review. Among her many other commitments to the landscape industry, Leslie has also participated on the Landscape Canada Committee for several years, including participation on the LCC sub-committee for the development of the Canadian Landscape Standards that was released in 2016. Leslie wears many hats, all of which are designed to promote and further the landscape horticulture sector. On behalf of all members, CNLA welcomes Leslie as the new chair of the Landscape Canada Committee.
The Canadian Nursery Landscape Association is the federation of Canada’s provincial horticultural trade associations. Visit www.cnla-acpp.ca for more information.
Foreign worker update Information has come out that the foreign worker process in Mexico is changing; processing may take longer as a result. Applications can be submitted up to 120 days in advance of the workers’ start date (this is also the earliest you can submit to the Job Bank). The following information was assembled by BCLNA’s Hedy Dyck. Some of these rules may pertain only to B.C., but it’s best to know what is happening. Biometrics The requirements for biometrics (finger-printing) mean workers will be required to go to Mexico City for processing before they get their work visa. For some workers, the round trip is expensive and lengthy, which may affect their interest in coming to work for a short term. However, as BCLNA growers are aware, if a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) has been approved before Dec. 15, 2018, for entry into Canada in the first two months of 2019, they will not require biometrics. It may be that the timing on this might be extended, so workers who come later under the same LMIA, also do not need to have their biometrics completed.
HLA’s new Hydraulic Rotary Pick-up Broom is ideal for cleaning up parking lots, construction sites, streets, curbs and gutters as well as parks and recreation areas. • • • •
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Substitutions There will be no last-minute substitutions at the airport due to the biometrics requirement. Any substitutions will take at least six weeks to process. So, if you are not sure if your named workers can get
FEBRUARY 2019 | LANDSCAPE TRADES |
FEBRUARY 2019 | LANDSCAPE TRADES |
newproducts Zero-turn riding mower Exmark is expanding its Radius line of zero-turn riding mowers to include a new 44-inch Radius E-Series model. The new compact model features the integrated Hydro-Gear transmissions that deliver forward speeds of up to 7 mph. Features of the Exmark engine include a dual-barrel carburetor, cast iron cylinder liners and a quick-drain oil hose for tool-free oil changes. Exmark www.exmark.com
Mini hydraulic excavators The Caterpillar range of Next Generation mini hydraulic excavators has been expanded with the addition of six new models in the 7- to 10-ton category. The new model lineup includes the 307.5, a standard tailswing model with a fixed boom; 308 CR, a compact radius model with a swing boom; 308 CR VAB, featuring a variable angle (two-piece) swing boom; 309 CR, a new model in the mini range featuring a compact radius, swing boom, and high flow auxiliary hydraulics; 309 CR VAB, which expands the 309 CR’s capability with a variable angle boom; and 310, also new to the range, featuring a fixed boom, standard tailswing, and twin blade cylinders.
Mulching head John Deere adds the MH60D mulching head to its Worksite Pro lineup. Designed to remove eight-inch trees and 12-inch stumps, the MH60D model shreds underbrush and woody materials into mulch. The mulching head is optimized to work with John Deere skid steer loaders and compact track loaders, as well as most competitive models. John Deere www.deere.ca
Smooth and milled hammers The new 19-oz. Hickory Hammer from Milwaukee Tool is available in both smooth face and milled face. The new hammers are constructed with shock-absorbing American hickory and engineered with precision balance. For ease-of-use, the magnetic nail set allows users to set and drive a nail with one hand. Milwaukee Tool www.milwaukeetool.com
One- to two-ton mini hydraulic excavators Cat adds four new models to its one- to two-ton mini hydraulic excavator line. The new model range includes: 301.5 (1.5-ton class, standard tail swing, with canopy); 301.7 CR (1.7-ton class, compact radius, with canopy); 301.8 (1.8-ton class, standard tail swing, with either canopy or cab); and 302 CR (2.0-ton class, compact radius, with either canopy or cab). Cat www.cat.com
Stand-on zero-turn mower Exmark introduces the 2019 Staris stand-on zero-turn mower. The new mower is optimized for a low centre of gravity with engine placement, operator position, fuel tanks and tower structure, all designed to enhance weight distribution for improved stability and overall performance. Exmark www.exmark.com 32 | FEBRUARY 2019 | LANDSCAPE TRADES
events Feb. 18-20, Turfgrass Producers International Education Conference, Charlotte, N.C. www.turfgrassod.org March 23-27, California Spring Trials, www.springtrialsregistration.com June 15-23, Garden Days, www.gardendays.ca June 19-21, Salon du Végétal, Nantes, France, salonduvegetal.com/pro/en/ June 23-26, Garden Centers of America Summer Tour, Nashville, Tenn., www.gardencentersofamerica.com June 25-28, SIMA Snow and Ice Symposium, Grand Rapids, Mich. www.sima.org Aug. 13-15, IGC Independent Garden Centre Show, Chicago, Ill. www.igcshow.com LT
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Making the stars align nthony O’Neill’s passion for horticulture came from his father, Joe, who was an avid gardener and small business operator in Spaniard’s Bay, Nfld. In the 1990’s. Joe and wife Teresa transitioned their supermarket into a greenhouse and garden centre, and brought sons Anthony and Steven on board. In the 25 plus years since, Anthony has run the garden centre while Steven runs O’Neill’s Gardenland Landscape Professionals. Anthony currently serves as the Treasurer for the Canadian Nursery Landscape Association. How did you get started in horticulture? As we say, O’Neill’s Gardenland was our dad’s hobby gotten out of hand. We grew up with our dad knocking on our door on gardening days at 6 o’clock in the morning, telling us to get out of bed the day is half over. Anthony O’Neill Our reward was boating on the pond after chores were done. It’s a wonder we weren’t turned off from it actually. Where did your passion come from? I think the passion was in us, genetically. Mostly what we liked, as young people, was the creation part. We enjoyed having a project and completing that job; we were horrible on maintenance. That’s why dad had to get us up at 6 in the morning, we didn’t want to go out weeding or anything like that. We just wanted to build; we loved creating an environment and interacting with nature. We had a piece of property in the woods of Newfoundland and dad transformed it into a mini park, with us as cheap labour.
34 | FEBRUARY 2019 | LANDSCAPE TRADES
What are some tips for operating a family business? Setting up a very good budgeting program, right from the beginning, is important. For years and years we never did any budgeting, we just had it in our head. I never needed to look at a machine to find out how many boxes of bone meal were on the shelf, or how many snowmound spireas were in the garden centre, you just knew. I would encourage all family business start-ups to learn budgeting techniques from day one. As soon as they can afford a mentor or a controller who can almost be like an arbitrator between the family members during discussions, they should bring them into the operation. Do you have any advice for prospective business owners? There isn’t anything one thing, because it has to be everything. You are in customer service, and at the end of the day, the customer isn’t concerned about all of the challenges that you are facing as business owner, an employer, a grower or a landscaper. The customer has to have a phenomenal experience and they need to be satisfied with their choice in spending their money on your products and services. It’s not about one particular thing, all the stars have to align. You have to manage your plants from a growing perspective, and you have to be flexible with your staff and their needs in life. Everything needs to line up, you also need to have a clean environment, a good array of products, knowledgeable staff, good pricing. and your work has to be of great quality. You could have the best price, but if your quality is bad, you will not be successful. And you can have the best quality, but if the price is off, it won’t work either It’s a complicated mix of things and you need to be very quick on your feet to make decisions as situations arise. Finally, you have to wake up every morning with excitement, ready LT to giver and go.
If you have a question to suggest, or a mentor to recommend, please write to email@example.com.
Safety tune-up Four ways to de-clutter your company Upfront tips ease debt collection