Spring-Green is proud of its strategic vendor partnerships. These partnerships offer significant value to the Spring-Green organization, including offering our lawn care franchise partners substantial discounts through our national buying power, as well as dedicated account services, and deeper knowledge on products and trends.
Continuing our Q&A series with some of our strategic vendors and getting their viewpoints on the state of the green industry, we hear from Dave Loecke, Herbicide Product Manager with PBI-Gordon. Since 1947, PBI-Gordon Corporation has focused on serving the turf and farm industry, as well as formulating products for various firms. For more information on PBI-Gordon, please visit their website.
Spring-Green: What are some of the threats that may affect lawn care companies in the future?
Loecke: The regulatory environment in which lawn care companies work is something to continually keep an eye on. At one time it was primarily changes in federal and state regulations that you had to watch. Today, the addition of local regulatory pressure continues to create concern, particularly when the issues are based on emotion and not fact.
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?
Loecke: There is no question that there are a lot of products being offered to lawn care companies today. Over the years, the loss of select active ingredients has created different alternate control challenges. The first thing to do when selecting products is to fully understand the challenges you are up against. Manufacturer representatives are a good source of information and will help recommend a solution for your problem. In the case of PBI-Gordon, local territory representatives have a tremendous understanding of local agronomic issues and are able to offer prescriptive solutions to help companies be successful.
Spring-Green: When a new product is released to the market, why is it so expensive?
Loecke: In most instances, today’s formulations are more complex, contain multiple ingredients and require unique manufacturing methods. The formulations are more sensitive and typically cost more to make. The amount of data and dollars required to support and register an EPA-regulated product continues to increase. There are multiple instances where manufacturers disband development of a product, not because it does not work, but because the market is either not large enough or the product will not bring enough value in the marketplace to recover costs and make a profit.
Spring-Green: From a manufacturing standpoint, what are the hurdles that you will be facing in the years to come?
Loecke: The market continues to look for new and improved products to solve problems. Finding products that perform to the end-user’s expectations, solve an existing problem, and are equally priced to the value delivered is a balancing act. From a manufacturer’s perspective, discovering these products and bringing them to market takes significant time and resources. In addition, you want to be able to enhance the business in the process.
Spring-Green: What advice do you have for current franchise owners? What about other green industry business owners considering diversifying by adding a Spring-Green lawn care franchise?
Loecke: Utilize the resources available, such as manufacturer websites and sales reps, to help you become a well-positioned lawn care company. In terms of products, manufacturers spend significant resources to make sure a product works as intended and is respectful of the environment. It is critical for lawn care operators to read labels to understand the products they use and calibrate equipment to apply the product properly.
Also utilize key industry websites such as 24D.org and pestfacts.org to educate yourself on the science-based information regarding pesticides. These sites provide good information regarding the benefits of pesticides and how they help enhance our quality of life.