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Business Owners & Managers

Women in the Industry - Rachel Bennett, Part One

"If you have the passion to work in this industry, do it."

Rachel Bennett of Happy's Lawn Care & Landscaping is the third female landscaper to feature in our regular 'Women in the Industry' series here at ECHO Means Business.

One of the panelists for our April edition of 'Get To Know The Pros Live' on YouTube, Rachel helped reveal some of the obstacles that still exist in the landscaping business that female landscapers like herself have to deal with everyday.

We interviewed Rachel on a number of issues related to her work. Here is part one of her responses:

What inspired you to get into the landscaping business?

We were inspired to start our own business after moving to a completely new area. We knew we needed a business that could be an easy start up, allow me to work from home due to our young children, and earn us the financial independence we needed for our growing family.

My husband Carl worked part time with a tree company in the past, and had seen success stories of other landscaping entrepreneurs that grew their businesses into very profitable companies.

I already had experience with operating, managing, hiring and advertising for a customer service (daycare) business, so when Carl said "I have an idea", I just went with it!

Would you say there exists, to some degree, a bias when it comes to hiring female landscapers?

Yes, unfortunately, I believe there is a bias to hiring female landscapers because clients may think, "How is she going to mow my hill or landscape my flower bed?"

I also feel if a client is hiring a female landscaper they may believe the prices will be lower than if they hired a male owned company.

I believe us operating as a husband & wife team helps with that bias a bit, because they figure if she can't do it, then he will.

Because of this bias, I sometimes think clients feel I'm there to speak with them and just "oversee" the jobs.

Even though, I am 5' 2", I enjoy showing clients what I am capable of and I'm sure the longer I work in the field, the faster and more precise I will get. I have a dream that one day all men and women will be viewed as equals!

Have you ever had to deal with a client who was not comfortable with the idea of working with a female landscaper?

I don't recall a client voicing that they weren't comfortable working with a female landscaper.

I have, however, come across clients that have told me to leave the difficult area for Carl, or made similar remarks, leading me to believe that they felt I wasn't qualified for that type of work.

There have also been times when a male client has requested work and they specifically ask for Carl to call them, or only address him in email. I know if I see or hear doubts from a client it only motivates me more to hustle and do a great job!

What's the one piece of advice you'd give women who are considering working in this industry or starting a landscaping/lawn care business of their own?

There is not just one piece of advice, and I would give the same advice to anyone. If you have the passion to work in this industry, do it.

Set goals and start your own business! Do your research, educate yourself, network with other companies, especially in your area.

Show up, do great quality work and each year you will see the growth in yourself and your company!

About Rachel:

Rachel Bennett shares her passion for landscaping with her husband Carl. Together, they own Happy's Lawn Care & Landscaping. Over the 8 years of operation, their family business has grown into one of the most recognizable ones in Western North Carolina. You can follow them via social media on YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram.

Are you (or do you know) a woman professional in the lawn care and landscaping industry, or know a women-owned business? We'd love to hear your story - you can share it with us by using the "Tell Us Your Story" section at the bottom of our home page.