How To Use Professional Associations To Grow Your Lawn Care Or Landscaping Business

If you want your lawn care or landscaping business to succeed – you need to focus on 3 things:

  1. Getting more customers
  2. Making more money from each customer
  3. Doing the above two while keeping operating cost low.

You could listen to endless business podcasts. You could spend $1,000s on useless courses, seminars or marketing consultants.

Or…

You could join a professional association of lawn care and landscaping business owners who are already doing/have done what you want to do.

And get advice, tips and lessons from them.

Today, let’s take a good look at the main lawn care/landscape Associations at the national and state levels.

What You Ought To Know About The Most Popular Lawn Care & Landscape Associations And Organizations: 

We will call everything an Association for the rest of this article.

But just in case you wanted to know the difference:

  • What is an Association? A group of people that come together because they have a common interest.  This could be something as simple as a website forum you pay to join to talk about landscaping. It could be called the Landscaping Resource Association.
  • What is an Organization? Same as an Association but it has more structure and the people running it have distinct roles and responsibilities. There are Directors and Secretaries and Treasurers. Often they have course material and certificates.

The Most Popular Lawn Care/Landscape Organization 

There is only one national level lawn care and landscape organization and that is:

National Association of Landscape Professionals (NALP)

National Association of Landscape Professionals Logo

Here’s some history of how NALP came to be:

  • In 1961 the Associated Landscape Contractors of America (ALCA) was founded.
  • In 1979 the Professional Lawn Care Association of America (PLCAA) was founded.
  • In 2005 ALCA and PLCAA joined forces and rebranded to become the Professional Landcare Network (PLANET).
  • In 2015 PLANET rebranded again to become what they are today: the National Association of Landscape Professionals (NALP).

NALP Facts and Details:

  • Although they call themselves the National Association of Landscape Professionals. By definition, they are an Organization because they have a defined structure with voting and rules and a Board of Directors.
  • They represent the nearly 1 million landscape, lawn care, irrigation and tree care experts across the country whether they are members or not.
  • 35,900 people on their Facebook page.
  • To become a member of the National Association of Landscape Professionals you will have to pay an annual rate that is based off your annual revenues. It varies. It costs $525/year if you have less than $200,000 in revenue. If you have $250,000 to $750,000 in revenue then membership costs $900/year. And so on.
  • Every month NALP has an event/conference somewhere in the country. Their flagship conference is held every September and 1,000s attend.

See NALP website →

The Most Popular Lawn Care/Landscape Association For Each State

Each state has several lawn care and landscape contractor associations.

Most lawn care professionals join NALP and their state association. The state associations also cost a membership fee. It is a smaller fee than NALP.

Here are the best lawn care & landscape associations for each state:

What Is The Difference: Lawn Care vs. Landscape Contractor

Lawn care is considered a sub-section of landscaping.

In other words: All landscape companies do lawn care but not all lawn care companies do landscaping.

Lawn care is taking care of an already present garden/lawn.

  • Mowing – Cutting the grass shorter so it looks tidy.
  • Weed control – Removing weeds and applying chemical to stop them from growing.
  • Fertilizing – Healthy lawns need to be fertilized several times per year.
  • Leaf removalRemoving leaves from the lawn during fall.
  • Aeration – Allows water and air to get deep into the soil and makes it healthier so the grass grows better.
  • Pruning – Removing dead branches and trimming back hedges.
  • Dethaching – Prevents spread of fungus.

Landscaping is creating an outdoor oasis.

  • Designing garden beds and mini outdoor environments.
  • Planning where trees and plants are put.
  • Installing structures like patios, walkways and decks in strategic locations.

Can I Join A Landscape Association If I Only Do Lawn Care?

Yes.

All the associations are for green industry professionals: lawn care, landscaping, grounds keeper, facilities manager, golf course turf manager, and more.

How To Leverage The Association’s Network To Grow Your Profits

The whole purpose of joining an industry association is to increase your profits.

How do they help you do that?

Quickly learn what marketing works:

  • You go to a conference and you meet 10 landscape company owners. You talk to them over a beer or two and share what is working and what is not working. You copy what is working and don’t do what isn’t working. The networking is the main driver of learning what works.
  • If you go to the workshops at the conferences there will be expert speakers talking about what they did to get more customers. Copy them.
  • Also, within the association websites will be industry specific education. A more formal approach to learning how to do marketing for your lawn care business will be available there. You read the material and try it out in your biz.

Quickly find out the best equipment you need:

You need to own the best equipment to do the best work.

To find out the answer to these questions would take days of research. You could easily find the answer at an association conference in 10 mins. Yes, you will get different opinions. But you should already have an idea which brands and models you are leaning towards so you can focus on asking questions about those.

Cross promotion and referral marketing:

You might meet someone at a conference operating 2 or 3 towns over from you. You get along and exchange emails. A few weeks later you get an email saying one of his customers needs work done in your city but it’s too far for him to travel. You do the job and say thanks. Repeat this over and over and you start trading business with each other. Win-win: customers happy and you happy.

Wrap Up

No one is forcing you to join an Industry Association.

It does cost a few hundred bucks a year.

But it also gives you more trust.

Put the NALP badge on your quotes. In your advertizing. On your business cards. And see if you get more customers.

In addition, you are joining like-minded business owners in the same industry as you. Learn from them. See what is working. Talk shop over a beer.

Here’s the NALP membership page →

Further Reading

  1. We have a listing of the 5 best lawn care services in each state. Go and check if you are listed. If not get in touch and we’ll get you listed.
  2. Are you looking for a new lawn mower? Check out our listing of the 7 best.
  3. And just for a little fun. Check out How Many Acres these places and things are. From a soccer field, to a hockey rink to a baseball field.

About your guide: Jamey Krames is a NALP certified Lawn Care Manager and a Mechanical Engineer by trade. He has been writing about power equipment for 12 years and has been quoted in NYTimes, Popular Mechanics, Wirecutter, HowStuffWorks, iFixit, MSN, Realtor.com, and more. He owns 194 acres in the country (and mows 50 acres of it) but lives on 1/4 acres in the suburbs. He currently owns and uses 6 different lawn mowers and has hands-on tested nearly 30.