Progress is often spurred by new technology. It’s easy to see in other industries. Fracking has helped the United States become more energy independent. Traffic deaths have fallen steadily since the introduction of airbags (until this year) and throughout the world, new equipment and technological processes have created layers of efficiency and innovation in manufacturing, fulfillment and service industries.
On the surface, it doesn’t look like snow and ice management relies on the same layers of technology that have helped other industries innovate, but new equipment and information about best practices continue to make contractors more efficient and effective in their battle with the weather.
A snow pusher/skid steer combination is more than twice as efficient as a truck/blade setup. Route tracking and crew management software saves time and redirects valuable labor resources to the job sites that need them most urgently. Sidewalk equipment can eliminate the need for hard-to-find and oftentimes unreliable shovelers. Documentation systems ensure that workers are managing a site to the customer’s expectations. A properly calibrated salt spreader can save hundreds of dollars an hour in deicing product. Even GPS sprayers are becoming more popular for liquid applications. Though adoption is low right now, there are some studies out there that say the units can pay for themselves in one season.
In addition to equipment and software, best practices are becoming better established for contractors. These innovations give contractors guidelines for operations and some shield from frivolous lawsuits.
These innovations and dozens of others add up to a robust amount of technology for a seemingly simple industry. The question is: How much are you learning about these tools that will allow you to be more profitable?
Continuing education and tradeshows are an important part of this industry as new equipment and ideas provide avenues to be more efficient, effective and profitable snow and ice management businesses.
The Alaska Snow Symposium helped to highlight many of these technologies in Anchorage in October. The fourth-annual event welcomed about 100 attendees and exhibitors to discuss new equipment, trends and solutions in an important market.
Here’s a few tidbits:
The Alaska Snow Symposium allowed attendees to explore these concepts to create a better business model. Profit is a culmination of personnel, training, preparation, equipment, experience, and increasingly the adoption of best practices and new technology. There is no better way to learn about new equipment and operating models than through the peer experience of an industry gathering.
Visit PlowSite.com for more forums on equipment, business management and technical information. Join the conversation in the largest community of snow and ice business professionals.
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Don’t look for this being rolled out in 2018 for landscape and lawn care companies — but it’s coming. I’m referring to green industry service techs using wearable technology on their routes.
Wearable technology? In the consumer market, of course, it’s already here. Think Apple Watch, FitBit and the many other smallish electronic, micro-controlled devices that many of us use to monitor and track our activity or our health. These are the most common examples.
But stop and consider the possibilities of fine-tuning and employing this technology for your lawn care company, as one example. Beth Berry, vice president of business development for RealGreen Systems, has. Berry offered up some compelling thoughts on wearable technology and how it might fit into the green industry at the recent Ohio Turfgrass Conference. Berry is a 30-year green industry veteran having worked for both ChemLawn and Scotts MiracleGro prior to joining RealGreen Systems
Speaking at the conference, she said that one of the most common calls customers make to lawn care companies is whether or not a technician has actually treated their lawn. Or, relatedly, if perhaps the technician skipped fertilizing a portion of their lawn, perhaps the back yard.
That’s understandable, Berry said, inasmuch as only about 20 percent of customers are home when a technician treats their lawns. Also, when a homeowner pulls into their driveway at day’s end, their lawn looks pretty much the same whether it’s been treated or not.
But consider how easy it would be to provide customers of proof of service if the technician wore a device (maybe a watch-like device?) that automatically monitored and recorded, not only their start and stop times on each property, but also the route they took and where they sprayed or applied their fertilizer and weed control.
But that’s not all.
“Think of it (wearable technology) also from a quality assurance perspective,” Berry says. For example, if you have a new technician and you want to make sure they’re treating lawns the way you trained them, you just need to review the data on their device. It will show you if they need additional instruction, even down to a single lawn.
The device might also measure environmental conditions at a job site and technicians’ well being, as well — things like their heart rate, body temperature and perhaps even exposure to the chemical products they’re using on a property.
Is wearable technology one of the next big things that service company owners can expect or even hope to see in the green industry? What do you think? If your answer is yes, what other features could it offer landscape, lawn care or tree services companies — features to benefit not only their companies but also their service techs and clients, too?
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Some landscape contractors will tell you their business has completely changed since they’ve hired a business consultant. Others might say it was too expensive. But taking your business to the next level may require both research and an experienced person to lead you in the right direction. Here are some opinions from LawnSite members on what worked for them when they were using a consultant to expand their businesses.
RedSox4Life: I’m at a point with my business that I need to make some decisions about which direction to go in. I have all the usual issues: I need to be out of the truck more, need to find and retain quality employees, need to develop systems to keep everything running smoothly, etc. My problem is I’m not a businessman; I’m a landscaper. And I don’t really have anyone to talk to and bounce ideas off of. In short, I don’t know where to go from here. I’m wondering if anyone’s been in my shoes and looked outside for help? Would some sort of consultant or business coach be a help to me? How did they help you? What were the good questions you did, or would, ask?
La Chandler: An excellent and needed question. Especially in the strategy and financial area. Talk to all your friends, contacts, customers, etc. Can anyone put you in contact with a successful businessman or retired businessman who could coach you?
grass man 11: Professional business groups and consultants are completely worth it. Don’t be afraid to spend some money along your way in search of the right person or group. Ultimately, you have to decide what you want to do with your business, but they can be a huge help.
Efficiency: Consultants will be most valuable when you have specific goals for them to achieve. Break it down: What are some of the specifics you are struggling with? Maybe some of us can help and others gain through this.
GRANTSKI: Follow Dirt Monkey on YouTube. Watch all his videos and you can learn a lot!
Green Insurance Guy: You might contact Steven Cohen with GreenMark Consulting. He specializes in the landscaping industry.
TPendagast: What part of the country are you in? Massachusetts, I assume because Red Sox? But, it depends on who’s in your neck of the woods and what help you need specifically.
serviceautopilot: Mike Callahan is in New York. He’s had some great results recently.
lawnpropm: Do you have a SBA (small business association) near you? It could be a tool to get you going in the right direction.
marcusmac99: Your question is fair and important for many of us. I tried the SBA and the people there are very enthusiastic to help. Finding a counselor/consultant will be of great help. However, it needs to be someone with experience in this particular service industry. Plus, it would help a lot if you found a resource in your area of the country. What would work in Massachusetts would likely not work as effectively here in Florida. The input above gave you some names and contact information. Try them and look locally, too.
brycez28: Dirt Monkey on YouTube also has a program that you can subscribe to and will allow you to ask him and some of his contacts specific questions. I get the impression that you also get a forum-type experience with other members of his group. I haven’t done this (yet), so I don’t know all the details.
snomaha: Years ago, I made the decision to hire an outside facilitator to run our annual and quarterly strategy meetings. The person we chose had no green industry background, but had corporate experience in operations and financials. He now also facilitates our weekly manager meeting where we review division dashboards and discuss any employee or customer headlines. Having him facilitate and run these meetings has allowed me to be an active participant in shaping the strategy, rather then running the meetings. He is able to take my vision and help form smart goals that division managers are held accountable to. We spend $15-20k with him a year and it’s money well spent.
Marine03112: If you can hire a salesman to give initial estimates and once you find out a lead is very interested, you can seal the deal. You have to formulate a plan that plays to your strengths. Only you know what that is. Then implement a plan that can work for you to be able to tolerate the work you do to be profitable. I sometimes have to put on my “actors face,” as I call it. Getting into character. Exuding confidence and enthusiasm to a potential sale or current client. Takes practice and discipline. It can be done. You need to really think on what will work for you. Then march forward.
marcusmac99: Another option is to look at local colleges to find a professor who may be willing to consult with you. There will be marketing, operations, sales and/or finance professors you could talk to first before deciding on who to hire. I will offer this advice: If your goals for what you are looking to do are vague, then expect most advice to be just as vague. If you can be more specific, with objective-based goals, such as, “I want to increase revenue by 12 percent next year and improve my profit margin by 3 percent,” then you will get more specific directions from an experienced advisor. You cannot manage it if you cannot measure it with accurate numbers.
grassmasterswilson: I think the biggest hurdle is on the employee side. Finding/training is my biggest issue. I need to spend more time training to ensure jobs are done correct. Employees are the main reason I consider getting out of business.
landscape2014: I have used all of the things you are talking about. I have hired consultants, business coaches, etc. I am not a huge fan of expensive consultants. I hired Vander Koi when he was alive and it was just OK. The good consultants are going to charge $15-30k and that is a lot of money to spend. I think some are probably worth it, if you are really committed to following through. I will probably use one in the future when I commit mentally to building my company to $5 million-plus. I go to conferences with my staff two to three times a year. “Grow!” by Marty Grunder is a really good value for the money. NALP has several conferences that are really good. The Service Autopilot conference in November is awesome. I have made friends at these events, and I touch base with on a monthly or even daily basis. I am also a member of a Jeffrey Scott’s peer group that holds each other accountable, teaches you how to run a business and is a great support team. This has been one of the best things I have ever done. My numbers show it. We have been able to grow above $2 million in revenue maintaining a 20 percent plus net while paying myself a six-figure salary. I also feel like my overall life is going in a better trajectory. I also use a life coach that I call once per week to make sure I am implementing my goals, making sure I am strong mentally, and talking through issues, booking assignments, strategy development, talking through problems and maintaining the life balance I want. You are reaching out for help which is great. Start trying some of the things I mentioned and you will get the right cocktail for what you need.
lawntennis: SCORE gives free advice to all types of business. I have not used them but my father-in-law is very involved. I think it stands for Service Corps of Retired Executives.
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It’s time to convince your clients to create backyards for their homes that can replace expensive vacations, including recreational opportunities like bocce ball and pétanque courts, putting greens and even chess boards. Your clients might already have swimming pools, but use these other recreational additions to boost their outdoor living.
Make Your Move
Putting greens can be a great option for property owners who have children and also enjoy entertaining friends. Karen Filloon, director of marketing and business development at Southview Design in St. Paul, Minnesota, says they installed a putting green for a family who wanted a resort-style outdoor space. The homeowners requested putting greens because they said they thought golf would be a good game for their kids to learn.
“It seems to be working,” Filloon says. “One of the sons is taking golf lessons.”
The project included an outdoor kitchen, fireplace, water features, swimming pool, hot tub and fire pit and has received awards from the Minnesota Nursery and Landscape Association, National Association of the Remodeling Industry-Minnesota Chapter and Regional, as well as from the National Association of Landscape Professionals.
On another project, Southview Design installed a regulation horseshoe pitch for a Minneapolis homeowner who was looking to include an outdoor pastime in a small side yard. The homeowner’s neighbors even come over to join in the competition.
“One 80-year-old neighbor said the sound reminded her of her schoolgirl days when her father and uncles would play in the evenings after dinner,” Filloon says.
Creating a giant chessboard is not a typical outdoor recreation game installation, but Southview installed one for homeowners with five grandsons who enjoy playing chess, according to Filloon. With a bolder wall for seating, the chessboard is in a wooded area behind the home. The board itself is made of natural stone and the chess pieces are weighted with sand, Filloon says.
Needing a new driveway was the ticket to installing a sport court for another Southview Design client. “This family loves hockey and basketball,” Filloon says. “When it was time for a new driveway, they needed a design that would let them play the games that they love, without having a negative visual impact.”
The lines of the court are a part of the paver pattern, not painted on. According to Filloon, crews traced out the perfect arcs of the 3-point line, and then removed the affected pavers and carefully cut each brick to size.
The owners of a Cleveland, Ohio, property on Lake Erie requested something unique for their yard — a pétanque court. Brandon Barker, commercial operations manager of J. Barker Landscaping Co., says that this was the first time the company had installed a pétanque court. Pétanque is a French bowling game that is similar to bocce. The pétanque court is located adjacent to the pool, with Lake Erie as the backdrop. “It’s filled with crushed oyster shells with sandstone providing the border,” Barker says. “We rake it out for them when we do maintenance and occasionally fill it with more oyster shells.”
Joe Huettl is a licensed landscape architect and contractor at Huettl Landscape Architecture in Walnut Creek, California. For putting greens, they typically use synthetic sod. Huettl has even designed a combined putting green and bocce ball court. The Mill Valley project is an example of using synthetic lawn for the putting green, which is below the outdoor spa.
The bocce courts typically have crushed oyster shells, which Huettl says is softer for the bocce balls and prevents chipping that would occur with gravel. Usually clients request a bocce court, or Huettl says he will suggest one for an extra area or a side yard that’s not being used.
The Northgate project completed by Huettl Landscape Architecture has a bocce ball court in the side yard where people can sit around and watch the game. The court has oyster shells and a concrete curb wall with redwood bumpers on the inside.
Although bocce courts are fairly low maintenance, it is expensive to build and install using concrete as the main material. For one project, Huettl used steel and wood to build the bocce court curb. Gravel was originally used for play, but the clients later upgraded. The clients at this property also had an in-ground trampoline installed.
Hobbies for the Home
Scott Neave, company president of the Neave Group, installs sports courts and putting greens depending on the client’s interests and hobbies. “Some clients belong to country clubs and want it at their homes, too, in the form of a putting green,” he says. The Neave Group puts synthetic turf in all putting greens and performs maintenance by resetting the cups and rolling with a heavy sod roller.
While serving some client’s closer to New York City, Neave comes across situations where a sport court or putting green can’t be installed or there are certain property restrictions that would make a rec area complicated.
Typically, before installing a sport court or a putting green, Neave is looking for a place that would be a great location and the putting green would be a good use of space in that area of a property. What would have otherwise been a difficult area can sometimes be an ideal area.
“There’s been a big increase in outdoor living,” Neave says. “It’s seldom the client wants just a patio. They want the entire package.”
When serving the high-end residential customer who wants the full, outdoor living package, it’s important that the outdoor area becomes a part of the house. “As a company, we love to do these multifaceted projects,” Neave says. “They’re more complex but they’re gratifying.”
One way Neave and his team stay up to speed on trends and potential project issues is by having a lot of the outdoor living elements in their own yards. He says by using their own yards, they can test new ideas and understand how something fully works and whether or not to recommend it to a client.
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There are numerous shrubs and perennials that shine in the colder months. They take less time to establish, of course, and so their addition to the landscape provides near-immediate payback of year-round attraction. Here are a few examples of perennial winter plants. What’s your go-to selection for a splash of winter fun?
1. Athyrium species
Evergreen ferns lend both color and texture to the cold months, and the selection Athyrium niponicum var. pictum (Japanese painted fern) is an outstanding choice for winter gardens. It’s best suited to sheltered locations, where light shade brings out optimal frond color in spring and summer. Typically reaching up to about 18 inches tall, the graygreen fronds are brushed with silver and accented by maroon to purple midribs. The cultivar ‘Burgundy Lace’ shows a rich, near-metallic burgundy tone that’s at its most brilliant in spring, but stands out all year long.
Hardy in zones 3(4) to 8(9).
Known as “pig squeak” for the high-pitched sound leaves make when they’re rubbed between the thumb and forefinger (how rude!), Bergenia features thick, leathery leaves that are strong enough to withstand snow and cold. Throughout the growing season, foliage is a shiny, medium-green sometimes highlighted by a deeper red to purple margin. Often used as a groundcover, Bergenia reaches 12 to 18 inches tall with a similar spread.
The foliage of the petite cultivar ‘Flirt’ turns nearly black in winter, making it a real standout.
Hardy in zones 3 to 8.
3. Cornus canadensis
It’s considered deciduous, but bunchberry may not lose all of its foliage in winter; if there’s not much snow on the ground, Cornus canadensis can be seen to offer burgundy to purple leaves amid patches of rime and ice. It’s native to cool climates, specifically in coniferous and mixed forests throughout the northern U.S. and Canada, and performs best in cold conditions in the shade of trees and shrubs. Brilliant, shiny red fruit — bunches of berries — persist into winter. Typical mature height is only about 9 inches and it spreads by woody rhizomes, making it a suitable and hardy groundcover in northern gardens.
Hardy in zones 2 to 6.
Erica carnea, the aptly named winter heath or snow heath, forms a dense groundcover supporting needle-like, medium-green leaves. Bloom time is from January to March, during which 6- to 12-inchtall spikes bear tubular flowers ranging from light purple to pink; plants may bloom beneath snow in the more northern locations of their growing range. The cultivar ‘Springwood Pink’ reaches only to about 9 inches tall and can produce light pink flowers that deepen with age, but are persistent from December through May.
Hardy in zones 5 to 7.
5. Helleborus species
Like some people we know, some plants perform best in winter. Helleborus is one such selection, known for its hardy growth and compelling flowers that bloom throughout the coldest months. Both Helleborus orientalis (Lenten rose) and H. niger (Christmas rose) are happiest in part to full shade; Lenten rose grows up to 18 inches tall while Christmas rose reaches about 12 inches. Large, cupshaped flowers resembling roses nod from the stems, but a few have been bred to deliver blooms that face upright. Flower color is widely variable, ranging from white through pink to the darkest blue-black.
The deep-hued double hellebore pictured here is Terra Nova’s ‘Onyx Odyssey’, part of the company’s Winter Jewels™ collection.
Hardy in zones 3 to 9.
Editor’s note: This article originally appeared in American Nurseryman Magazine.
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While you can always hire a financial professional to deal with this sector of your business, it is in your best interest to at least understand the basics of accounting and figure out how to get your financials started. Dan Gordon, a certified public accountant for TurfBooks, specializing in accounting for the landscape industry, broke down the four main steps to take control of your accounting.
STEP #1: Choose your accounting method.
Unfortunately, managing your financials is not as simple as picking up a ledger and tracking your expenses. Luckily, however, if you take the time to research the two main methods of accounting (the cash method of accounting and the accrual method of accounting), you should be able to choose the right one for you and your business.
As Gordon explains, with the cash method “the books are kept on the flow of cash in and cash out of business.” Since it is a straightforward method to accounting, it is a favorite of small businesses.
“From a tax standpoint, it’s sometimes advantageous for a business to use the cash method of accounting,” Gordon adds.
On the other hand, if you are a larger business, the accrual method may be easier because, as Gordon says, “revenue is recognized when it is earned rather than when cash is received.”
With the inventory that the accrual method allows you to maintain, it will give you a bigger-picture look at your finances. It’s the best choice for those looking to get real insights on their businesses from their finances. But if you are a small business and just getting started, this method may be a little too daunting for you and not entirely necessary.
STEP #2: Understand balance sheets.
Once you have chosen the best accounting method for you, you can get more into the details of your financial statements. But these next steps do tend to get a little trickier than just understanding the differences between the cash method and the accrual method.
According to Gordon, understanding balance sheets is “the area of business that most business owners don’t get.”
A balance sheet is basically a view of your financial standing at a certain point in time. It shows what you own and what you owe, which gives you and investors and the bank an understanding of what your business is actually worth. While that is a simplified way to understand what can often be a confusing topic, Gordon discusses an easy way to see if you are managing your balance sheets properly.
“If you are running your balance sheet properly, you probably don’t keep much in the bank,” Gordon explains.
STEP #3: Use profit and loss statements.
Don’t confuse your balance sheets with your profit and loss (P&L) statements. While they are two completely different statements, it is equally as important to understand and use P&L statements as it is to use balance sheets.
Gordon simplifies the difference by explaining that “a P&L is what you make, and a balance sheet is what you have.” Basically, the balance sheet looks at a set point in time whereas a P&L examines a set period of time. These may seem like hard things to maintain and differentiate, but even if someone else is handling them for you, you should have a pulse on these two things as they are two of the main financial statements that you will come across.
And whether or not you have hired a financial professional, as a business owner you need to see how your company is performing. If it’s good, you can keep doing what you are doing and more of it. If it could be better, you know what changes to implement.
That’s where the P&L comes in handy. Because, as Gordon says about P&Ls, “at the end of the day, this is the way you determine whether or not you are winning.”
STEP #4: Start budgeting.
Last but not least, according to Gordon, is one of the most important and most easily understood concepts: budgeting. Using a document to project future income and expenses is one of the best ways to successfully handle your finances.
“Business budgets may be one of the most important accounting tools a company uses in their business,” Gordon says.
Using a budgeting tool will not only limit expenditures, it also provides you a financial roadmap for your operations. Knowing how your business is operating is important, but properly budgeting is even more important.
“Many companies review previous years’ budgets to determine how well they followed the guidelines and why budget variances occurred,” Gordon explains.
Running your own landscape business is an exciting and daunting endeavor. If you have experience in the industry, it can be easy to understand what potential employees and customers would expect of you. But to successfully go from landscape employee to landscape business owner, take the time to learn about accounting.
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So you’ve bought a new house. Or maybe you’re considering one? Or maybe you’re just someone with a penchant for design, architecture, style, and furniture – or maybe not, maybe you’re completely clueless about the whole thing and need an introduction. Either way, we’ve crawled the internet and found 100 interior design and architecture blogs that you should be following, whether you’re in the industry or just curious.
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Mark Borst, owner of Borst Landscape & Design in Allendale, New Jersey says that in his early years in business it was always a struggle to work on the business — rather than in the business — as the popular adage goes. Today, Borst does some occasional consulting work and says he sees other landscape business owners struggle with the same thing. He says the challenge is to empower your people to do the work and then to trust them that they’ll get it done. But it requires letting go, which isn’t easy to do.
“As the owner, I think you often feel the need to be very involved in the jobs and you feel like you still need to be on site,” Borst says. “Years ago, I would have this feeling as though I was being replaced when I would allow others to do the work without my input. It also felt like a responsibility to be there.”
But ultimately, Borst realized that in order to grow the business, he had to be in the mindset of growing his people. In other words, he had to allow them to be challenged and to excel — without him looking over their shoulder. Of course, that’s easier said than done.
One thing that Borst did, many years back, to start evaluating how he spent his time, was to write down everything he did in a day. He was surprised by just how many tasks he handled that could have been delegated. These included things like listening to the answering machine messages and writing them all down, opening the mail, or doing bank deposits. These were all little tasks, but Borst says they added up.
“It’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day stuff only to have the day end and wonder What did I actually do today?” Borst says. “Look at your daily functions and figure out what you can delegate to someone else.”
Borst says another good starting point in starting to work on the business more than in it, is to find that one key person in your company that can become your righthand leader.
“Treat that person extremely well,” he adds. “When I grew my company, I had a key person become my righthand man and it was essential to our growth. I would sell and he would do estimates and run production. You must ultimately realize, as a business owner, that you can’t do it all.”
Our Like a Boss series highlights some common business challenges landscape professionals face and how they conquer them. Discuss your biggest business challenges on LawnSite’s Business Management forum.
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Want to keep up with the latest news in lawn care and landscaping? Check back every Thursday for a quick recap of recent happenings in the green industry.
Texas Governor Joins Kubota for Hurricane Relief Donation
Ariens Partners with Green Packers on Fun Titletown Hill
Jeffrey Scott Announces CEO/COO Partnerships Workshop
Vectorworks Cloud Services Earns Prestigious Award
Scag and FUSO Announce New Presidents
Mitsubishi Fuso Truck of America, Inc. (FUSO) promoted Justin Palmer to the position of president and CEO, effective November 30, 2017. He replaces Jecka Glasman, who is leaving FUSO to return to Israel, her home country, for family reasons. Palmer has spent the last two years at FUSO as its business operations director. Palmer joined FUSO in 2015.
NALP IGI Survey Sheds Light on Why Americans Hire Landscape Pros
For those who have hired professional help, 52 percent did so to help their lawn/landscape look better, while 41 percent wanted to save time and 30 percent wanted to enjoy their yard more. Sixty-two percent of those who didn’t hire a lawn/landscape professional in the past 12 months say the costs is too high, while nearly half (49 percent) say they enjoy caring for their lawn themselves and 43 percent believe their yard is fine as is, according to the survey.
Introducing Yellowmark, a Caterpillar Brand
NALP Announces 2018 Regional Education
National Geographic explorer and Titanic discoverer to keynote GIE+EXPO 2018
Husqvarna Group breaks ground on new warehouse facility in Nashville, Arkansas
NHLA Announces “Green Collared” Campaign
Polaris to Celebrate One-Million RANGER Vehicles
Propane Council Donates $5,000 to Parks Foundation of Miami-Dade County
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Landscape designer Brittany Whalen of Rock Water Farm, a full-service landscape company based in Aldie, Virginia, says that as much as she loves her Chevrolet Cruze for zipping around the Northern Virginia area, she really could use a pickup truck. “As many times as I’ve tried to stack plants in my car, I have yet to figure out how to fit a tree in,” Whalen jokes, adding that she hopes her boss reads this. But in all seriousness, Whalen says her vehicle helps her get through the day — most of which is typically spent in the car going from client to client. We recently caught up with Whalen to find out exactly what she keeps in her vehicle and why.
During the busy season, I may be in the car as much as eight hours a day. I spend a lot of my time driving around from client to client. My car is basically my office when we’re busy.
I don’t have kids but I carry a diaper bag. It’s the only bag I could find that was big enough to carry everything I need — and I love all the pockets. You don’t get that in a regular bag. I can even fit my purse in there. I just load it up and hit the road for the day.
My music keeps me going, but it changes depending on my mood. If I’m about to go into a presentation I like to listen to 90s hip-hop. It amps me up and gets me ready to go. If I just lost a job, I listen to reggae because that makes me feel better.
My car is decked out with Rock Water Farm info. We service the Northern Virginia area, which is huge, but we’re in a pretty specific area. People will recognize the car and wave and say hello all the time. We’ve also received a lot of business just from the car. Someone will stop me at a convenience store and ask if we do pools or patios — it’s a great way to pick up leads.
Driving a branded vehicle is also pretty intimidating. I have to admit, I’m not a bad driver, but our phone number is plastered on the car, and I’ve had two people call about my driving.
The finishing touch on my car is my Virginia Tech personalized license plate that my boss got me. It says VT Designer, since I graduated from Virginia Tech.
Sunglasses — I don’t have a specific brand, they just must be less than $20 because I lose them on jobsites all the time.
Diet Coke — That’s my version of coffee in the morning; it’s my jolt of caffeine.
Water — After lunchtime I switch to water or else I won’t sleep.
Tape measure and marking paint — I can’t go anywhere without them.
Raincoat and rain boots — I’m outside even when the 16 weather is bad.
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Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.