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What are some of the challenges and opportunities someone new to the commercial landscape industry can expect?

Houston is a wealth of opportunity for somebody new coming into the commercial landscape industry, specifically because Houston is a premiere location for commercial landscaping, commercial irrigation, and tree trimming. The climate and rainfall totals in the area combined with the long growing season present a diverse pallet of plant material. Houston also is home to most of the largest commercial real estate companies in country and they take lots of pride in their landscaping on their commercial properties. It really is the ideal spot for those interested in the commercial landscaping industry to come into to and to let their mind wander. Houston can be their oyster in terms of landscape design and truly impressive commercial landscapes. They can be an integral part of creating that beauty.

All of that opportunity presents its own challenges. High end landscapes require an attention to detail worthy of the term. Customers who have a high standard for the visual appeal of their commercial property know what to expect from a customer service standpoint. Being new to the landscaping industry can present a large learning curve from the get-go.

Labor is a consistent challenge to the industry as a whole. Coming in to a supervisory role in commercial landscaping means always staying on top of your labor needs and managing your team so that a labor shortage does not cause an issue in the field.

Handing down the trade to a newer generation is vital to the success of the transition process. We have to stay focused on training in order to do this successfully. Our goal is for the property to only improve with a change of hands as new landscape consultants, brand managers or operations mangaers join the team. As industry leaders we take a lot of responsibility of properly passing along the craft that in landscape maintenance. The success of the new class of people entering commercial landscaping is directly related to how well we train them as they start their landscape careers.

What do you think that the perception of a commercial landscaping career looks like versus the reality?

Getting a degree in horticulture or turf management can’t fully prepare you for what a landscaping career means. It is an excellent base of plant knowledge that is vital to our industry as well but commercial landscaping is more about relationship management most days. Being able to successfully work both within your team and with your clients to achieve an impressive in result is a skill set that isn’t necessarily taught in school. Attitude makes all the difference.

The growth potential in commercial landscaping is exponential. Commercial landscaping isn’t just a small industry that you can make an okay living in. It is something that, if you really throw yourself into it and decide that you want to learn and grow, will be an engaging, challenging path to a successful career.

A piece of advice for those individuals entering college and interested in a degree path related to the commercial landscaping industry would be stay the course and remain teachable. It is important to never stop learning from both those who have been in the industry a long time and those brand new to it.