The Top 100

Lawn and Landscape’s top 100 landscape companies is now online. To me the biggest surprise was the blurb about earnings.

In 2006 the average growth for the top 100 was 17 percent(pretty good stuff), in 2007 growth was down-7.7 percent. That’s quite a difference. The top 100 did over 7 billion dollars in business.

Lawn and Landscape also shows the list by states, Illinois(15), California(14), and Florida(14) were the top 3 states with Maryland(9) and Texas(6) rounding out the top five. What that top 5 says to me is that there’s a lot of business in cities like Chicago and Atlanta, and a lot of corporate work in the Washington D.C. area.

I can back up that Chicago/Atlanta remark with the fact that I know a lot of folks in the industry living in those two cities. The opportunities for work are there.

Looking at this list points out a another big point . . . there’s a lot of money to be made in the maintenance business. Look at the names at the top:

  • Tru-Green
  • Valley Crest
  • The Brickman Group
  • The Davey Tree Expert Co.
  • Scotts Lawn Service Co.

When you look at that 5 . . . to me . . . 4 jump out as guys who do serious maintenance work. Believe me these are not “Mow and Blow guys”.

Which one doesn’t belong? . . . You ask.

Valley Crest, at least what I know about them, lots of large install work including Vegas. If you’re a youngster and looking to break into the maintenance side, bid-install large work, commercial, industrial, corporate these guys are for you.

For those of you not familiar with the top 100 list and how you get on that list let me throw one word at you . . . acquisition.

Acquisition, that’s a big word in this industry and according to this years list a trend that continues to be a major part of this business.

The Future:

What thing I am really curious about is the coming collision between sustainability and the American quest for perfect lawn turf. I don’t think they go hand and hand. Perfect turf need help, those of us in the business for some time know this to be true . . . it doesn’t quite jibe with organic.

So whadda we got . . . “organic vs. obsession”.

Something’s gotta give . . . doesn’t it? Doesn’t it.

I’m gonna guess if there were a lot of comments on this question the typical homeowner would want the beautiful grass. The rabid gardener would respond with a ”who the hell cares about a perfect lawn”, and the the industry professional with;

I get paid to create lush, green, weed-free, perfect lawns. No one pays me to be organic and weedy.

There is some movement toward organic fertilizers, organic applications to remove weeds, but that doesn’t answer the watering question, and the run-off from over watering.

Like I say, it’ll be interesting to see how the big buys respond to the sustainable movement.

Is it a real movement to Green, or is it all talk, and no show . . . style over substance . . . which is really the American way.

By Rick Anderson

The Whispering Crane Institute was originally formed to act as the umbrella organization for the Philosophy of Design Symposium, and other seminars and workshops given by Rick Anderson and Richard L. Dube’. In the year 2000 WCI became a sole proprietorship owned by Rick Anderson. Today the WCI provides design and consultation services for Landscape Contractors, acts as a Green Industry think tank, and provides training for others in the form of workshops, seminars, and individual consulting. The WCI also provides written material, opinions, case-studies and how-to articles for industry trade magazines.

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