Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Don’t Fear The Winter Season

While warmer months bring prosperity to outdoor work, the colder months are generally slower. This article by Total Landscape Care provides a few tips for companies to bring employee's spirits out of their winter slumps. 

Total Landscape Care
Winter can be a tough time for many landscapers. Your entire season could depend on how much snow falls or if rain will wash out a day of productivity.

Winter is seen as a necessary evil for many landscaping businesses.

Between balancing seasonal employees, making sure you land in the black and basing your entire business around the weather is extremely difficult.

During the summer and spring, the grass will always grow and flowers will always need to be planted. However, winter means three, four, five or even six months of uncertainty.

Add Holiday Lighting
Adding extra services to your offerings can be a great way to get your company through some slow times. If the snow is not cooperating, or if you live in an area that doesn’t receive snow, adding a service like holiday lighting can be a great way to add some extra cash. However, don’t take holiday lighting lightly. It’s a hefty service, and you should be sure that you have the manpower and availability to offer extra services.

Continue reading this article here.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Got Leaves? Put 'Em to Work

Getting your garden ready for the spring starts in the fall. This Mother Earth News article teaches you everything you need to know about the uses of leaves and how to winterize your plants.

autumn leaves bp
Mother Earth News
'Tis the season for harvesting leaves, the most abundant free source of organic matter available to most gardeners. Microorganisms in soil and compost transform leaves into bits of organic matter, which helps the soil retain nutrients and moisture. By themselves, leaves contain small amounts of 16 plant nutrients.

You can stockpile leaves in a bin or pen to use later as compost or mulch, but you don't have to wait until leaves decompose to put them to work. With some shredding assistance from your lawn mower, you can give your leaves useful jobs right now.

1. Turn lawn into garden. Prepare sections of lawn you want to develop into garden beds by smothering them with leaves. First scalp the grass by mowing as close to the surface as possible. Then cover the space with several thicknesses of newspaper or cardboard, and cover the base layer with two inches (or more) or compost or manure. Top with 3 to 4 inches of shredded leaves.

2. Winterize hardy vegetables. Use shredded leaves to limit winter injury to kale, leeks, carrots and other hardy vegetables. Surround the planting with a low fence or burlap enclosure and fill it with up to 12 inches of shredded leaves. Mulch garlic and perennial onions with up to 6 inches of shredded leaves mixed with the season's last grass clippings.

Continue reading this article here.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Electric Wheelbarrow: Move More With Less Effort

Power Pusher E-750 electric wheelbarrow
In order to safely maximize profits, you need the right tools. Made in the U.S.A., the Power Pusher E-750 electric wheelbarrow is a commercial-grade solution for safely moving and dumping loads up to 750 pounds with its 5 cubic foot bed capacity. It doesn't only offer drive assistance but also power-assisted dumping at the push of a button.

No workday is too long for the E-750. Its rechargeable battery works all day - up to 5 miles of travel on a single charge, noise free! Because it is battery-powered, the E-750 uses no fuel and runs emission free, making it easy to use in enclosed and indoor spaces without the dangers of exhaust.

Eliminate pulling, pushing and straining while reducing dangerous falls, slips hazards and injuries. Power Pusher's E-750 is ideal for unstable and time-sensitive loads and is ideal for commercial and construction contractors, concrete demolition, base prep and pours, masonry block and brick work, landscaping rock, retaining wall and pavers, sod and soil work, industrial material hauling and factory floor material or scrap building. It offers greater productivity with less manpower, faster and more efficient projects and solutions to your toughest and heaviest challenges.

Click here to watch the E-750 electric wheelbarrow in motion!

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

The Skills Gap And Why We Need A Modern Rosie

Why aren't there more women in manufacturing careers? This IMPO article talks about how the manufacturing industry could fill in its gaps by hiring and training women in this field.

The original iconic image of Rosie the Riveter, created in 1942 by J Howard Miller
Women make up half of the U.S. population and almost half of the workforce, but only 24% in the manufacturing sector.

The manufacturing field is full of opportunities on the cutting edge of technology and innovation. Manufacturers in the United States perform two-thirds of all private-sector R&D. Manufacturing is the backbone of the American economy—according to the National Association of Manufacturers, the industry supports an estimated 17.4 million jobs and has the highest multiplier effect of any economic sector, adding $1.32 to the economy for every $1 spent.

Manufacturing offers good compensation in salary and benefits, with the average manufacturing worker in the U.S. earning an average of $14,960 more than the average worker in all other industries in 2013. Manufacturing is an extremely diverse field offering careers at practically every socioeconomic level and dealing with practically every product you can imagine.

Continue reading this article here

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

8 Ways To Hire, Nurture The Best People

The best companies are made up of the best employees, and sometimes, the most qualified person on paper isn't right for the job. This Total Landscape Care article discusses how to find - and keep - the right employees for your company.
Total Landscape Care

Any smart business-person knows people are the heart of an operation. Employees can make or break you, bring in business or drive it away, and cause your company to thrive and grow or wither and die.

But finding the right employees – and keeping the good ones – isn’t the easiest task.

“Unquestionably, employees are our greatest blessing and our greatest challenge all wrapped into one,” says Mark Halla, owner of The Mustard Seed Landscaping and Garden Center in Chaska, Minnesota, and a TLC Landscaper of the Year finalist.

Finding employees that are a good fit for your company is key. Sometimes the person who seems the most qualified for the job isn’t necessarily right for the position.

 “Like any relationship, it takes a long time to get to know each other,” Halla says. “We used to hire based on skill sets, but we learned that was the wrong approach for our company. It’s really more about personality and character for us. If they’re willing to learn, we can teach them anything.”

Whether you are looking to hire seasonal workers or full-time staff, here are eight ways to find, nurture and invest in long-term relationships with your employees.

Continue reading this article here.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Normal Sleep A 'Privilege' For Night Workers

It is hard enough to get a full night's rest while working 9am-5pm. What about the people that work 9pm-5am? This CNN article discusses night workers and their sleep patterns and the tole not getting enough sleep takes on your health. 

With biology beckoning their bodies to sleep during the night, shift workers say staying awake is always a struggle.Gregory Jones begins his day when his family and the rest of the world winds down and gets ready for bed.

The New Jersey truck driver reports to work at 8 p.m. He loads, stacks and transports vegetables and fruits until 4 a.m.

"I don't get eight hours," Jones said about his workday sleeping habits. "Sleep for me is a privilege. It's a blessing if I can get it."

Night workers like Jones are at higher risk for heart disease, diabetes, and other conditions. With biology beckoning their bodies to sleep during the night, shift workers say they struggle to stay awake no matter how many years they've done it.

When sleep prevails, there can be major consequences for others as well.

On March 23, two airplanes landed at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport shortly after midnight without an air traffic controller.

The controller, a 20-year veteran who was suspended, told investigators that he had fallen asleep, according to the National Transportation Safety Board. "He had been working his fourth consecutive overnight shift (10:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m.)" according to a statement from the agency.

Read more here.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Expect To See More Women Managers On Construction Jobs

According to this CT Post article, the future is bright for women in the construction industry. Although a traditionally male-dominated industry, construction businesses are not only seeing an increase of women working on job sites but women in management roles, as well.

Sophomore Zamarie Rivera adjusts the table saw Thursday, Feb. 27, 2014, during carpentry class at Bullard-Havens technical school in Bridgeport, Conn. Photo: Autumn Driscoll / Connecticut Post
CT Post
As women are being urged to "lean in" to corporate jobs, there's another challenge for management-minded ladies: breaking the proverbial glass ceiling -- with a hammer.

Working out in the field as a construction manager, Dianna Barrella likes to be the first one on the job site every morning. She likes the ever-changing nature of the work, the variety of people she meets on each project, the opportunity to work with different teams of consultants, architects or engineers. Over the past 16 years she's spent at Turner Construction in Shelton -- almost her entire career -- Barrella has relished her roles, which have included overseeing jobs like in-house building projects at UBS in Stamford. But it took time to get there.

"When I started at Turner, I think I may have been a little intimidated, being the only girl out in the field," Barrella said. "But in the industry, that has changed. There's many more women now. The challenges are pretty much the same for men and women."

Construction has traditionally been a male-dominated business, with the small percentage of women who do join -- just 8.9 percent of the industry nationwide, according to the U.S. Dept. of Labor -- often relegated to doing clerical or support jobs. In Connecticut, based on the state's demographics, it's likely the numbers are even lower, said Jacob Kovel, associate professor and chair of the department of construction management at Central Connecticut State University.

Click here to continue reading this article.