Big 3 CEO’s and their nice Private Jets(2)

Whispering Crane Institute chopI hear it everyday, and now from everywhere. Our industry-the real Green Industry, is bracing itself for a Nantucket sleigh ride from hell.

2009 is not going to be for the weak of heart. I’m calling it now . . .  all sissies to the sidelines. It’ll probably be the worst year in the Green Industry since 1981-1982.

Some companies will fail and a lot of guys who are out of work . . . you know what I am about to say, don’t you? . . . . . . . a lot of guys out of work, who own a pick-up and a couple mowers are gonna appear en-masse. Making it even tougher for those of us who play by the rules, bid work correctly, hire employees correctly and pay our taxes on time. We just want the opportunity to work in an even playing field . . . right?  . . . right?


In the meantime 3 companies who have literally pissed away way over 50% of their market share are standing . . . tin cup in hand, without a ounce of remorse . . . asking for billions. That’s billions . . . of dollars. No one is resigning, mo one is accepting blame, no one is accountable, and finally no one on the union side is remorseful . . . they are conceding nuthin’, nada, zippo.

Our industry will not do this, no tin cups in hand for us. The good men and women in our industry will plug along, fight the good fight and work hard every day hoping that what they/we/I earn in 2009 will allow us to continue.

Bailouts . . . it’s not our way we have dignity.

If our industry is doing it wrong, we change the way it’s done. Or we go out of business. Keep growing the same petunia and you’re outta here! Build a wall with RR ties . . . you’re outta here!


A note to those enablers inside the Beltway:

You cannot help men permanently, by doing for them what they could and should, do for themselves.

Those are good words, they come from a wise man, a guy pretty good at crisis manaagement, and he wasn’t a bad President  . . .  Abraham Lincoln.

Possible Solution

Some of these issues are going to get a lot of time at the American Nursery and Landscape Association (ANLA) Management Clinic this coming Febuary. If you’re looking for some strategy for the coming year, good ideas, solutions, networking opportunities . . . this is the place to be.

I wasn’t going to bring up the clinic in this post, but this seems to be appropriate to my rant. A opportunity for solutions, not bailouts.

Just In

They’re now calling it a Bridge-loan, but it’s a bail out and it’s wrong. this is not the American way. Seriously let’s pull up our britches, re-adjust the ball cap and just go out there and work our asses off.

Find new ways to market, ourselves, brand ourselves, re-do the business plan. Use our minds, our hearts, our brains.

Do we really want this great country to be a nation of Organ grinders and monkeys holding out tin cups?

Do we really want that?

I sure the hell hope not.

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.


  1. 2009 will be the second year apparently of this recession probably much harder because the layoffs of working people were not factored in much last season. Overall my company did a little bit better than expected, our sales increased 30.7% though not our profit though it was up as well. We spent like the dickens to promote our company and new services and in what we would call our local competition many absolutely quit marketing themselves as of early April. Now this is our first recession in the business we are a relatively new company but we are very smart and focused. I see this as a time to take a strategic advantage and gain our market by cleverly beating the competition with better marketing and unique services. We probably couldn’t get a loan this upcoming year as I couldn’t imagine applying for credit again but we have cut our costs by working with our suppliers. We have not undercut our competition as I think they tried last year and some went belly up in our area right away.

    This bailout of the big 3 is ridiculous. People out there making $10 an hr with no benefits are paying people making $50 an hour plus compensation and sometimes they actually get paid to not work. Its not American and I wish there was a clear all option on the American ballot when it came to congressmen and women.

    There are still more wealthy people than this country has ever seen before, people make money in downturns. I don’t think 2009 will be bad for the established companies. The green industry is still huge and here in Northeast Ohio (Stark County) there are plenty of home that have never really been landscaped or had professional services performed. There will still be home improvements to be made, maybe work wont be set up many months in advance but I think other than general mowing the industry will do just fine. After 9/11 more people focused on the home and staying there. For every vacation to Maui someone cancels they may put the money into their home or backyard as they stay there for the summer or winter.

    I’m still a glass half full person, with three years of double digit growth in a row I have no intentions of being stagnant. I plan on increasing my staff slightly and have new positions available, entry level but none the less its creation of new jobs. Hopefully higher taxes don’t prevent me from taking on new employees in the upcoming years. Time will tell.

    Thanks for the time to respond with this length of comment, I appreciate your input and time to post, more on this from me after xmas.

  2. Rick, I feel like I need to speak up although I haven’t commented here before. I have an appreciation for your work and your writing. I have your blog in my reader since the day I tried to talk my husband into building a blog related to his stone masonry business in Michigan. I do social media for a living. For General Motors.

    There are a lot of Americans who haven’t followed the auto industry in Detroit but speak out now without getting the facts straight. A bailout is a bailout and a loan is a loan. When there is a repayment schedule and interest, it’s a loan, and the media is finally starting to call it what it is. Lack of accountability and remorse? Check out what’s happening with the $700 billion bailout we are giving to banks like AIG, and what wasn’t required beforehand.

    In the time that I’ve worked for GM (8 yrs) dozens of plants have closed, costs have been cut dramatically, quality and safety have improved, the business plan has been rewritten to be tougher and tougher. The truth is, the restructuring that has been going on for years now has been working. GM union workers make the same wages as Toyota’s non-union workers, but being 100 years old means there are lots of retiree pensions. If the credit market hadn’t failed, GM would not be asking for a loan. The plan GM submitted to congress and taxpayers shows how the funds would be used and how GM plans to keep restructuring. It includes CEO salary of $1, negotiating with the UAW for more concessions, further model reductions, etc. Would you take the time to read it?

    More on this from me after xmas

Leave a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: