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Green industry leaders reflect, ready to move past COVID-19

May 1, 2020 · 6 min read

With over half the states in the U.S. announcing plans to partially reopen businesses, after a long and tumultuous month and a half it seems like America is starting to get back to work.

In the last installment of our COVID-19 webinar series, we had Jarrett Myers (CEO of Capital Land Management), Steve Chisholm (President of Aspen Tree Expert Co), Tom Bechtel (Owner of Heritage Lawn and Landscape, Rich McClellan (self-described SingleOps Specialist of Heritage Lawn and Landscape), and Josh Marotta (Owner of Atlanta Arbor) discuss the lessons they’ve learned during the pandemic, how their companies have been performing, and how they are all excited for America to get back to work.

Here’s the full recording followed by the recap.

 

 

 

 

Jarrett Myers- CEO of Capital Land Management

“We’ve been busier. Our maintenance work has seen quite an uptick. I believe we’re up 16% in sales and contract maintenance right now. The bids have been steadily coming in so that’s definitely a reason to be optimistic. I would say the only downside is what has been happening in our landscape installation side of the business. It is in a bit of a holding pattern. I don’t think it’ll be lost work, but it is definitely getting delayed.”

Steve Chisholm- President of Aspen Tree Expert Co.

“The phones have been a little slow, but thankfully the weather cooperated during all of this. January, February, and even March, there were above-average temperatures and we had zero snow. That enabled us to go full out at the backlog that accumulated throughout the winter in New Jersey.”

Tom Bechtel- Owner of Heritage Lawn and Landscape

“If you go back about six weeks ago, when we got our season started, we were going like gangbusters. We were up a good 10% over last year’s excellent performance in early March. Then about mid-March when the shutdowns started to happen, we noticed fewer and fewer appointments for our salesmen, less new sales, especially less big contracts.”

Josh Marotta- Owner of Atlanta Arbor

“For March, we actually outperformed last year by about 10%. It was interesting though, repeat customers were going like gangbusters but there were hardly any calls from new clients until Governor Kemp announced that Georgia would be opening back up. Then, new client call-ins went from 3 to 5 a day to like 30 to 40 a day. As soon as people heard that things were going to go back to normal, the phone just went off the hook.”

 

 

Jarrett Myers- CEO of Capital Land Management

“I’m all for reopening. I do think it’s a serious virus, but it’s going to be around for a while because that’s the nature of a virus. We accomplished the goal of slowing the curve so I’m all for opening it up. Florida didn’t open fully and I wish we did like Georgia. I think we’re about two to three weeks away from that.”

Steve Chisholm- President of Aspen Tree Expert Co.

“Well, thankfully as far as our business goes, we were never shut down. We are an essential business. So we’ve continued on and only missed one day of work and that was due to weather, which is normal anyway. As far as the state opening, I don’t think they should have ever closed. I would go out to dinner tonight. I would go get a haircut tonight, I would go to a hotel tonight. I would get on an airplane tomorrow, and fly to Georgia or Florida and spend my money. I think you’re doing a lot of damage by not opening up.”

Tom Bechtel- Owner of Heritage Lawn and Landscape

“I wish we would let business owners operate. Make those tough decisions, to protect their workers, protect their clients. Let each business decide what measures they need to go to, to conduct their business, and avoid exposure. I mean, I think every business has some angle that they can pursue their business and be compliant with all the edicts that our governors and president have put out there. Let us make that tough call and do the right thing, not just shut us down.”

Rich McClellan- SingleOps Specialist of Heritage Lawn and Landscape

“Maybe all of this has helped flatten the curve and everything, but from an economic standpoint, I think it’s had a very negative impact.”

 

 

Josh Marotta- Owner of Atlanta Arbor

“Everybody being at home looking at their yard and realizing that they have so much stuff that they’ve been neglecting. So calling me saying, “Hey, these trees are just bothering me.” Because they’re sitting at home every single day staring out of the yard, realizing that they need to address issues around the house.”

Tom Bechtel- Owner of Heritage Lawn and Landscape

“The biggest win is knowing that 0% of our customers were concerned that we were coming out, and had no opposition to us coming out to do their services. And in fact, they were overjoyed that we could come and many of them were saying, “Way to go, we’re so glad you can keep working. America needs to keep working. We’re glad you can keep working and glad you’re being successful.”

Steve Chisholm- President of Aspen Tree Expert Co.

“We had the opportunity to do some extra projects for our local utility company. We were taking down some extra trees in proximity to all the local hospitals to make sure that if the risk of trees falling on power lines would be minimized to protect people on ventilators. So we just had an opportunity to build up the team a little bit there and that was good. It was also just about reminding our team that you guys are important, your job is important, and the public is counting on you to do some things.”

Jarrett Myers- CEO of Capital Land Management

“We’re really thankful to be an essential business during all of this. With everybody being home, they’re looking at their community a lot more and seeing how their community could be better. We’ve been able to provide enhancement proposals to those HOA’s and it’s been great for our business.”

 

 

Jarrett Myers- CEO of Capital Land Management

“The biggest lesson I’ve learned is from other businesses that are having issues with their employees not working. This whole deal has made me very thankful for our team and that we were able to get ahead in communicating the plan to them early on so everyone was able to work”.

Steve Chisholm- President of Aspen Tree Expert Co.

“When the economy is good, you tend to be an order taker and you’re just humming along and just doing what needs to be done and fixing things as it comes at you. When everything hits the fan you always have to be a little bit more aggressive. You have to be a little bit more of a hunter out there, you have to start pushing yourself. I think all of this has reminded me about that.”

Rich McClellan- SingleOps Specialist of Heritage Lawn and Landscape

“It’s just been a reminder that the type of industry that we’re in, we have factors that we can’t control. Whether it is the weather, a pandemic, or the government regulation, we can only continue to provide excellent service and give great value to our customers while providing opportunities for our employees to be well taken care of and provided for.”

Josh Marotta- Owner of Atlanta Arbor

“Unexpected lesson learned was the ability of my team to look past all the stuff that’s going on around us. Everyone was adjusting and making necessary accommodations to try to protect themselves and continue to push through and come in every day, and do what they’re supposed to and step up and adapt to the new norm for the time being. Really proud of my team.”


To watch the entire recording of this webinar, click here.

To learn how SingleOps is helping green industry professionals run their business digitally during COVID-19. Get a personalized demo here.