Archive for January, 2010

Safety Tips for Landscapers

January 26th, 2010
by Drew Roberts, CPCU, ARM | No Comments »

Safety TipsI came across these great safety tips on Zenith’s website for businesses in the landscaping industry:

For more information about workplace safety, please visit the Groundskeeping Safety section of their website.

Zenith Insurance Company

January 21st, 2010
by Drew Roberts, CPCU, ARM | No Comments »

When discussing workers’ compensation insurance with landscaping businesses, I often emphasis the importance of taking a long term approach to controlling premium costs by lowering the cost of claims. I typically recommend partnering with an insurance carrier that is committed to controlling the cost of claims and providing resources to your business that help you prevent workplace injuries. I believe Zenith Insurance Company (www.theZenith.com) is an industry leader in this approach.

Zenith Insurance

Zenith Insurance

Since 1977, Zenith Insurance Company has been a specialist in workers’ compensation insurance. They write coverage in 45 states and the District of Columbia. Zenith conducts business through independent agencies, like BearWise Landscapers. Zenith Insurance Company currently has an A.M. Best rating of A (Excellent). For the latest rating, access www.ambest.com.

They are experts at managing the claims process, getting injured workers back to work, and fighting fraud and abuse whether it relates to providers of medical goods and services or to individuals making false claims. Because of this extensive experience, Zenith leads the way in helping businesses with higher than average experience modifications. Their staff works together with your landscaping business to help reduce workplace injuries and improve their bottom line.
Here are a few of the valuable services provided to Zenith clients:

Workplace Safety & Health
Managing Claim Costs
Quality Medical Care
Returning Employees to Work
Fighting Fraud & Abuse
Providing Claims Legal Services
Premium Audit Services
Education & Training

Free ALMA Membership

January 15th, 2010
by Drew Roberts, CPCU, ARM | No Comments »

We have some great news from the American Landscape Maintenance Association (ALMA).
They are now offering free memberships!

If you are a landscape maintenance provider, we encourage you to visit www.ALMAnow.com today to join.

Here is a link to their membership page.

Here is an article with more information about ALMA.

Free ALMA Membership!

Here is some information from their website about the free membership:

Why Is ALMA’s Basic Membership Free?
An ALMA Basic membership is Free. Unlike any other trade organizations, we do not charge Basic membership, and our Premium Membership rate is one fixed price no matter the size of your company. Most national trade groups charge based on the size of your company. So you heard it right…no matter what your size, $29.99 a month and you’re a Premium Member!

Please understand that we are not creating two factions of the association, we’re all one family. We just don’t think it’s fair to saddle everyone with the costs associated with our comprehensive learning material when everyone doesn’t need or want it! So please don’t, don’t enter into a program that you don’t need right now. You will receive wonderful learning tools as you go free of charge and will reap huge benefits from you Basic Membership. But if you need more comprehensive learning tools and you’re at that point in your business life where you’re ready to throw it into another gear - we can help you do that!

Remember, we’re one of you. We know how tight money is today. If we can pass it on to you for free, we do. If we have direct costs that are associated to putting some program or material together for you, we allocate every resource we have to keeping those costs to a minimum. It’s been our philosophy since 1988 and we’re not going to change now!

Statistics for Landscape Maintenance Workers

January 11th, 2010
by Drew Roberts, CPCU, ARM | No Comments »

Labor Statistics for Landscape Maintenance

Labor Statistics for Landscape Maintenance

I came across some information about workers in the landscaping industry on the website for the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the United States Department of Labor. Here is a link to the full report on grounds maintenance workers.

The great news from the report is that the outlook says job opportunities are expected to be good in the landscaping industry and are going to grow faster than the average industry.

Here is a quote about the nature of work for grounds maintenance workers:

Grounds maintenance workers perform a variety of tasks necessary to achieve a pleasant and functional outdoor environment. They mow lawns, rake leaves, trim hedges and trees; plant flowers; and otherwise ensure that the grounds of houses, businesses, and parks are attractive, orderly, and healthy. They also care for indoor gardens and plantings in commercial and public facilities, such as malls, hotels, and botanical gardens.

These workers use handtools such as shovels, rakes, pruning and handsaws, hedge and brush trimmers, and axes. They also use power lawnmowers, chain saws, leaf blowers, and electric clippers. Some use equipment such as tractors and twin-axle vehicles.

Grounds maintenance workers can be divided into several specialties, including landscaping workers, groundskeeping workers, pesticide handlers, tree trimmers, and grounds maintenance supervisors. In general, these specialties have varying job duties, but in many cases their responsibilities overlap.

Landscaping workers create new functional outdoor areas and upgrade existing landscapes, but also may help maintain landscapes. Their duties include planting bushes, trees, sod, and other forms of vegetation, as well as, edging, trimming, fertilizing, watering, and mulching lawns and grounds. They also grade property by creating or smoothing hills and inclines, install lighting or sprinkler systems, and build walkways, terraces, patios, decks, and fountains. Landscaping workers provide their services in a variety of residential and commercial settings, such as homes, apartment buildings, office buildings, shopping malls, and hotels and motels.

Groundskeeping workers, also called groundskeepers, usually focus on maintaining existing grounds. In addition to caring for sod, plants, and trees, they rake and mulch leaves, clear snow from walkways and parking lots, and use irrigation methods to adjust water consumption and prevent waste. These individuals work on athletic fields, golf courses, cemeteries, university campuses, and parks, as well as many of the same settings as landscaping workers. They also see to the proper upkeep and repair of sidewalks, parking lots, groundskeeping equipment, pools, fountains, fences, planters, and benches.

Groundskeeping workers who care for athletic fields keep natural and artificial turf in top condition, mark out boundaries, and paint turf with team logos and names before events. They mow, water, fertilize, and aerate the fields regularly. They must make sure that the underlying soil on fields with natural turf has the required composition to allow proper drainage and to support the grasses used on the field. In sports venues, they vacuum and disinfect synthetic turf after its use to prevent the growth of harmful bacteria, and they remove the turf and replace the cushioning pad periodically.

Groundskeepers in parks and recreation facilities care for lawns, trees, and shrubs; maintain playgrounds; clean buildings; and keep parking lots, picnic areas, and other public spaces free of litter. They also may erect and dismantle snow fences, and maintain swimming pools. These workers inspect buildings and equipment, make needed repairs, and keep everything freshly painted.

Workers who maintain golf courses are called greenskeepers. Greenskeepers do many of the same things as other groundskeepers, but they also periodically relocate the holes on putting greens to prevent uneven wear of the turf and to add interest and challenge to the game. Greenskeepers also keep canopies, benches, ball washers, and tee markers repaired and freshly painted.

Tree trimmers and pruners, sometimes called arborists, cut away dead or excess branches from trees or shrubs to clear roads, sidewalks, or utilities’ equipment, or to improve the appearance, health, and value of trees. Some specialize in diagnosing and treating tree diseases, and in performing preventive measures to keep trees healthy. Some may plant trees. Some of these workers also specialize in pruning, trimming and shaping ornamental trees and shrubs for private residences, golf courses, or other institutional grounds. Tree trimmers and pruners use handsaws, pole saws, shears, and clippers. When trimming near power lines, they usually work on truck-mounted lifts and use power pruners.

Supervisors of landscaping and groundskeeping workers oversee grounds maintenance work. They prepare cost estimates, schedule work for crews on the basis of weather conditions or the availability of equipment, perform spot checks to ensure the quality of the service, and suggest changes in work procedures. In addition, supervisors train workers; keep employees’ time records and record work performed; and may assist workers when deadlines are near. Supervisors who own their own business are also known as landscape contractors.

The employment statistics are the most interesting part of the report in my opinion. 402,000 grounds maintenance workers were self-employed and they provide landscape maintenance directly to customers on a contract basis. About 36 percent of all grounds maintenance workers were employed in companies providing landscaping services to buildings and dwellings. Here are the complete statistics on the 1.5 million grounds maintenance employees in 2008:

  • 1,205,800 - Landscaping and groundskeeping workers
  • 217,900 - First-line supervisors/managers of landscaping & lawn service workers
  • 45,000 - Tree trimmers and pruners
  • 30,800 - Pesticide handlers, sprayers, and applicators, vegetation
  • 21,100 - Grounds maintenance workers, all other

Official ALMA Insurance Partner

January 5th, 2010
by Drew Roberts, CPCU, ARM | 2 Comments »

ALMA

ALMA

BearWise Landscapers is proud to be named the insurance partner of the American Landscape Maintenance Association (ALMA). The partnership will allow our agents the opportunity to provide practical information to the large number of ALMA members across the United States. We will do this through insurance articles similar to the ones on this portion of our website and through a number of videos. Check out ALMA’s website, www.ALMAnow.com, to see these videos and other informative pieces. ALMA provides a variety of practical information and services to businesses in the landscape maintenance industry.

The Member Resource Center on their website is the hallmark of the all new ALMA. Using innovative new technologies, ALMA is bringing their comprehensive selection of documents and information to landscape contractors on a global level. Through the use of video, audio, and document retrieval systems, the wealth of knowledge ALMA has to offer is at your fingertips 24/7.

Some of the features of the resource center include:

  • In-Depth Operational Topics
    The Resource Center is constantly updated with current issues and operational tactics in video format.
  • Document Libraries
    ALMA has been around since 1988, so we have manuals and documents that can easily be customized to fit you operation. Most documents are instantly downloadable and free to Premium Members right from the document center.
  • Industry Interviews
    ALMA brings some of the most dynamic and successful contractors (large and small) to the resource center to tell their stories and offer advice and inspiration.

While the information provided to landscape contractors through the Resource Center is worth its weight in gold, you will not find another association staff that cares more about its members.

ALMA has been in existence since 1988. Since that time they have helped thousands of landscape maintenance contractors of every size in every area of the country. ALMA’s President and Founder, Tommy Ganz, has indisputably the most dynamic background of anyone in the green industry today. Publisher of Commercial Mowing Magazine, Founder of ALMA, the largest landscape association in America, Host of the ALMA Expo, former General Partner of U.S. Lawns, Executive at Environmental Care, President of AgriCare International and heading up Ganz Landscape Services for almost 30 years. For the last 20 years of Tommy’s career, he’s been doing nothing but helping and training landscape maintenance contractors all over America.

When Tommy assembles a team, lookout! He finds the best. So you can rest assured, through your membership in ALMA, you will learn from America’s most dynamic contractors who will be sharing their secrets with you!

Premium Members will have direct access to Tommy Ganz, Rick Beaver, and the rest of the ALMA Team. You will have their direct email addresses where you can request a phone call, have any questions answered or communicate however much you need by email whenever it’s convenient for you.

Check out ALMA’s website for more information about this great organization and to become a member. We look forward to developing an ongoing relationship with ALMA that will benefit its members through providing insurance information specific to your industry. We are also available to offer comparative insurance quotes to ALMA members located in Florida.

Trusted Choice Insurance Agency Committment to LandscapersWe are a Trusted Choice Insurance ProgramDivision of Black Bear Insurance Agency