Spring-Green is proud of the vendor partnerships we have nourished across the green industry. These partnerships offer significant value for Spring-Green and all of our lawn care franchise owners from buying power to insight on products and trends.
We have been reaching out to several of our vendors to discuss the current and future state of the lawn care industry. Here is an excerpt from our conversation with Maureen Thompson, Director of North America Professional Solutions with FMC, a global chemical company providing a wide array of pest control, and lawn and tree care products to the agricultural, industrial and consumer markets.
Spring-Green: What are some of the threats that may affect lawn care companies in the future?
Thompson: The biggest threat facing the lawn care industry is increased regulations around pesticides. For example, despite the intense work and grass root efforts of industry advocates from Responsible Industry for a Sound Environment (RISE), National Pest Management Association (NPMA) and the National Association of Landscape Professionals (NALP), we have seen more and more counties restrict the use of pesticides on county property, which affects the ability of lawn care professionals to operate.
Fortunately, the green industry’s voice is getting louder than in the past. Manufacturers and industry advocate groups are increasing their understanding and learnings around who and when to influence. It’s always been critical to influence the EPA, but it is also important to influence Congress, State and Local government. Equally important is involving decision makers early on in the actions and processes to ensure informed decisions are made.
Spring-Green: From a manufacturing standpoint, what are the hurdles that you will be facing in the years to come?
Thompson: One big hurdle is herbicide resistance to various chemical families. It’s on the cusp of becoming a major problem in the turf grass industry. When a weed develops resistance it can eliminate several products, and with the continual overuse of products, manufacturers must work diligently to steward proper chemical use, including chemical rotation.
Spring-Green: Is your company working on more biological or “organic” control products? Do you think that these products will become more widespread in the future?
Thompson: FMC made a significant investment in biological research in 2013, and we’ve been very active in both the agricultural and commercial segments. I do think these kinds of products will become more widespread in the future, but the key is price.
Spring-Green: When a new product is released to the green industry market, why is it so expensive?
Thompson: The agricultural chemical industry is no different than any other industry when it comes to launching new products. When any new technology hits the market, it comes with a price that the market will support, and the same can be said about new products in our industry. Manufacturing puts in a huge amount of resources to develop a new product. Plus, new products typically are priced competitively against existing products, and new products should bring something new to the market, as well—new chemistry, a broader spectrum of control or lower use rates.
Spring-Green: How would a new Spring-Green business owner choose between all the different products that are labeled for a particular weed, disease or insect?
Thompson: Spring-Green lawn care franchise owners have a vast choice of pesticides in the marketplace today, so it’s important first to understand what the biggest issues are and then look for the best value solutions. It’s not always about the least expensive product—they need to take into account the full offerings of a company in terms of technical support and industry/company sponsorship.
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 franchise?
Thompson: They should get involved in the industry, through groups such as NALP , RISE and NPMA. They should build relationships with distributors and manufacturers to stay abreast of new product offerings. And they should always keep their options open around expanding services, such as pest control, mosquito control, and weed and disease management programs.
For more information on FMC, please visit their website at fmcprosolutions.com. You can also contact us at (800) 777-8608 or visit the website to learn more information on how you could benefit from our partnerships with vendors such as FMC by becoming a Spring-Green franchise owner!
Stay tuned for additional insight on the state of the green industry from other vendor partners in the upcoming weeks!