The enterprise value specialists at Ceibass work with lawn and landscape companies throughout the country to improve company value and assist in the transition of ownership. And in their endeavors one phrase keeps coming up, over and over again, as Ceibass value specialists work with company owners and management groups – “We could grow and expand at a faster pace, but we have labor issues. Who doesn’t? It is what it is.”

“This phrase is a death knell for effective and strategic action. When I hear it coming out of the mouth of an owner or executive team member I hear it as an excuse, as being complacent for not achieving some projection. I hear it as a betrayal to the company’s growth goals,” said Tom Fochtman, Ceibass CEO. “Yes, it is an issue, a challenge to growth, but it is not a reason to surrender or keep doing what you are doing. When I hear this phrase it is a wake-up call to shake things up, to get off your behind and start innovating and trying out new tactics to achieve your growth numbers. Because here’s the truth about growth, those new business customers, they are going to go to someone, probably your competition. So step up and improve your recruitment practices. Yes, it will probably cost you more time, energy, money and lost opportunity. But the situation has changed with labor. Change with it. Onward.”

The Ceibass team went on to give more specific tips about how to deal with the lack of labor that seem to be playing havoc with management team’s mindsets. Here are some highlights: 

  • Participate in Career Fairs; in markets where labor is more abundant.  And at high schools, community colleges and trade schools.
  • Use high school kids. Those that want to work.  Other contractors around the country have made this work.  
  • Try Interns & full-time candidates (be sure to attend NALP’s National Collegiate Landscaping Competition in March at Michigan State…more on this later)
  • Recruit FFA kids; great source of hard working young people
  • Recruit from Puerto Rico; some companies have found limited success here. It’s tough, but may be worth a try.
  • Stay with H-2B; take them when you get them.
  • Purchase a small company to get their people,
  • Dump your small jobs to create labor for the bigger jobs. 
  • Try new things.  Do something!  Develop a recruiting strategy, own it and stay on it full-time.
  • Lease a digital outdoor board or other type of sign for your business and advertise your job offerings on a daily basis.
  • Purchase a digital outdoor board for your business and advertise your job offerings on a daily basis.
  • Pay referral fees for recruits.
  • As Bruce Wilson, industry sage, commented recently in L&L magazine “Recruiting has become a 24/7, 365 day per year effort. The big ah-ha is that recruiting is not an event.  It is a process that goes on all the time, all year long.”  One has to have that kind of attitude to compete at a high level today. Change your mindset, start thinking that “it is what it is” is a great opportunity to leapfrog your competitors.