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What do you see as the biggest challenges and innovations that the commercial landscaping industry will see over the next decade? with Randy Ferrari

The biggest challenge in commercial landscaping is consistently labor. Whether that’s due to a lack of opportunity to hire an immigrant workforce through H2B or otherwise, labor is always going to be at the top of challenges in the industry. It also tends to be the biggest direct cost. There is new competition all the time looking to hire from the same pool of individuals. We have to stay abreast of new methods for hiring and managing people year-round.

The Houston commercial landscaping market is so broad. It continues to expand, always creating opportunity for commercial maintenance. Attracting management level people to manage the growth of the business is important.  LMC’s reputation in the area brings talented people our way, which is a great way to grow our team and a huge benefit to our reputation in the marketplace. We also work to attract new talent from the college level as well. Twenty-twenty presented new challenges in having to ‘meet’ and introduce our company to potential candidates through virtual portals. It was an uphill climb to attract the right candidates in that environment. Acquiring quality individuals is key to continuing to grow while maintaining the culture of our company. Once they are on board, proper training becomes equally as important.

Continuing to develop training programs that benefit our team and innovate in the moment is necessary. It is always a challenge to reinvent ourselves a little bit but as we grow it is essential. We know that we have to modify ourselves to the market. We always want to train new techniques. Utilizing technology to help our team work efficiently has huge benefits.  From the software used to manage property information, equipment and tools in the field, or having the latest technology saves us time, money and mistakes.

As stewards of the environment, we work to stay ahead of what is required of the industry were the environment is concerned. While considerations for the environment may become more prevalent in the coming years, we believe that our processes will always be more considerate than what is required. Making the world a more beautiful place to live, work and play requires us to be gentle with our footprint.

What do you see being the next biggest breakthrough in the industry?

Over the last 20 years we have seen revolutionary improvements in the equipment that we use that has allowed us to be so much more efficient on the commercial maintenance side of the business. Looking ahead, I think that robotics will be the next innovation that will change the way we currently maintain and bid commercial landscaping, commercial maintenance and tree trimming. We are going to see lawnmowers that mow sod by learning a commercial property and mow the site from memory. It is very exciting to watch this next phase of innovations come our way. There is always something somebody is thinking of to better the industry as a whole. Robotics will be a revolutionary solution to the labor challenge we constantly face. While labor is always our biggest challenge, technology will answer some of that challenge in the future.