To continue to stay at the forefront of the lawn care franchise industry, Spring-Green sat down with Jim Slomka, Vice President of National Accounts for SiteOne Landscape Supply for our Q&A series on the state of the green industry to get his viewpoints on everything from industry challenges to new products.
SiteOne Landscape Supply is a national supplier of wholesale irrigation, outdoor lighting, nursery, landscape, fertilizer, turf protection, grass seed, turf care and golf course equipment and accessories for green industry professionals in the United States and Canada. For more information on SiteOne Landscape Supply and the support they offer lawn care franchise owners, please visit their website.
Spring-Green: What are some of the threats that may affect lawn care companies in the future?
Slomka: One of the things we are always keeping an eye out for is the effects of future government regulation. This is always going to be something we have to be planning and preparing for by working with manufacturers. It’s also important to be reinforcing safety around products and work solutions, preparing our customers to have the right solution should there be a change in regulation.
Spring-Green: How would a lawn and tree care professional choose between all the different products that are labeled for a particular weed, disease or insect?
Slomka: It was really great to go to the Spring-Green conference back in July and meet with a lot of the lawn care franchise owners. There were lots of people from the industry there and a lot of folks who came from outside the industry. Whether you are an experienced owner or a new franchise owner from outside the industry, SiteOne’s greatest value to Spring-Green is our team of knowledgeable associates. Many of our people come from a lawn care and grounds maintenance background. They will take the time to go through products, find out what franchise owners are trying to accomplish and help create the right solution. It is always my recommendation to lean on your local representatives, and it costs you nothing to talk to them.
Spring-Green: When a new product is released to the market, why is it so expensive?
Slomka: We are a large and local wholesale distributor; therefore, our pricing reflects a competitive offer for a tremendous value in local expertise and inventory. New products that solve problems often drive cost out of the business operationally. It is best to always discuss the benefits of new products with an owner’s local team of associates. Some new products offer unique chemistries that were developed using years of testing and research and development. Some of these new technologies offer lower active ingredient loads or result in less labor for the professional applicator to apply. These newer technologies with higher input costs, but lower labor costs, can result in a total applied cost per acre that is less than other products. Over time, as the initial R&D costs are recouped, the price will come down.
Spring-Green: From a manufacturing standpoint, what are the hurdles that you will be facing in the years to come?
Slomka: As a wholesale distributor, we’re really bullish about the future and the continued growth in the landscape marketplace. There are a lot of tailwinds with new construction going into 2016, and we’ve got a lot to be excited about as an industry.
Spring-Green: Is your company working on more biological or “organic” control products for lawn care franchise owners or other professionals? Do you think that these products will become more widespread in the future?
Slomka: SiteOne does offer a wide range of biological, natural and organic solutions and we continually look for products that provide an economic value coupled with performance. There is a growing interest in these alternative products in the market. When one is developed that works and provides value, it becomes accepted in the market. We watch these potential products closely and are optimistic that more options will become available in the future.
To learn more on how you can diversify your existing green industry business by partnering with Spring-Green Lawn Care contact us or call (800) 777-8608.
Also check out the other Q&As in our series — Maureen Thompson of FMC; Mike Dzurenko of Bayer Corporation; and Dave Loecke of PBI-Gordon.