FROM THE RED HEN FAQ VAULT: For Red Hen Turf Farm’s Business / Commericial Customers … Jeremy asks: DO YOU STRUGGLE WITH PRICING?

(Article originally written by Jeremy, Red Hen Turf Farm, in Spring 2019 – revised for Spring 2023)

Almost daily, I have business owners confide in me with a wide range of business problems. I really enjoy helping to hash things out and when they act on the solutions that we come up with and things goes well, I get a great feeling of accomplishment. Developing a pricing structures must be one of the toughest things to do. Every business is so unique in the overall costs, market competition, employees / labor issues and equipment.

Let’s shift our perspective on this issue to a customer’s perspective using an example from a few years ago. My family’s fireplace is a gas-feed one that would only work sometimes. So, we make a few calls to get it serviced. The first fireplace service place would not come out because they did not install it. They were within a 10 minute drive to our house and their website said they do service on our type of fireplace, which is why we called them first. Next, we called another service provider that was more than twice as far away than the first one. They scheduled an appointment 4 weeks out, and on the day we were set for service, they arrived on time, replaced a part and cleaned the fireplace — in and out in under an hour.

So, what was the cost? I had an amount in my head that it should cost, but there were a few things that came into discussion. Was the quote high at $125.00? Or was that amount way low … so low that I contacted the company again.

By the way, the amount I had in mind was $300.00. I work with Red Hen’s numbers and many other business models, so based on my own experience, I was considering the company’s drive time, office staff overhead, the time of year, insurance costs, training costs, etc. If someone does not deal with any of these sorts of things, they would not consider them in what they feel we should have paid for the service – and would likely find that quote of $125.00 to be high.

My point of all this is that many of you are afraid to raise prices based on your own, ultimately limited, perspective and beliefs.

It’s your business, but please consider all of the less obvious business costs and expenses you might be overlooking, and charge what you need to.

I’d be happy to talk with you about your company’s pricing, especially if you take a bit of time to give things some though beforehand. To inspire you to make revisiting your pricing in the New Season a priority, here are a few resources to take a look at:

Expert Advice to Establish a Landscape Business Pricing Strategy by Monique Allen (April 2017) – at

How to Charge for Lawn Mowing: Pricing Tips and Pricing Chart for Lawn Care Pros (April 2023) – at

And lastly … SatQuote …

When it comes to lawn care and landscaping estimating software tools, every year there are more and more options, with a wide range of pricing structures, features, reliability, accuracy, and practical usability.  

A new one on the market — SatQuote — was launched by Sod Solutions, the same developers who created the web-based sod sales order logistics system that Red Hen has been using for years.  

SatQuote was listed as #1 on Mowing Magic’s 8 Best Lawn Care and Landscaping Estimating Software Tools and has been well-reviewed in several similar lists.  

In a nutshell, SatQuote is a suite of tools that helps with everything from lead generation and management to creating quotes and impressive proposals.  

The system offers property owner information, boundary data, drawing and map manipulation features, high-resolution imagery and AI measuring assistance.  It’s web-based with mobile apps that can be used in the field.  

Founder and Chief Technology Officer Drew Wagner offers this descriptions:

“Outdoor service providers will be able to save money and deliver bids faster by utilizing SatQuote’s full suite of tools on laptops, tablets and mobile devices. Understanding the details, layout and measurements of potential work before wasting time and money driving to the site will save business owners and salespeople significant time and allow them to focus on the highest profit jobs. Our SatMeasure Technology AI and measurement tools paired with our mobile app for on-site geotagged photos and notes are a game changer and will make businesses run more efficiently.” 

There’s a 14 Day Free Trial, so perhaps before the season takes off, you might give it a whirl?  SatQuote annual plans range from $150-$600/year with 3 different feature levels to choose from.

Red Hen Turf Farm is now officially an Affiliate for SatQuote so if you’re curious to do a demo with the Sod Solutions team, be sure to use our LINK to get started.  

RED HEN TURF FARM’S 2021 COVID-19 Safety Preparedness Plan (Updated 3/1/21)

Updated and Reviewed: 3/1/2021 in response to Indiana Governor Holcomb’s 2/25/21 Executive Order 21-06:  FOURTH CONTINUATION OF COUNTY-BASED MEASURES AND RESTRICTIONS BASED ON THE IMPACT AND SPREAD OF THE CORONAVIRUS DISEASE (COVID-19)


Red Hen Turf Farm is currently OPEN FOR BUSINESS, however for everyone’s safety, all Customer / Sales interactions – whether for pickup or delivery – will be handled Curbside / Touch-free whenever possible. 

Red Hen Turf Farm extends wishes of wellness to all. We are committed to doing the best we can in providing a safe COVID-19 free environment for all Red Hen employees and for every one of our customers, vendors, and guests. 

In making this a safe environment we are following guidelines from the CDC, the St. Joseph County (IN) Health Department, the Indiana State Department of Health, and Indiana State Governor Holcomb’s executive orders / Back on Track Indiana Plan concerning COVID-19.

Throughout these challenging times, we are reminded that landscaping and immersing yourself in outdoor environments offer a safe and healthy connection to nature, and can provide a sense of well-being.  Turfgrass not only produces oxygen, but it also filters dust and pollution, and there are many noteworthy environmental benefits of a lawn. 

We encourage you to support your local businesses and landscapers and use this time to get outside and enjoy your lawn!

For Customers, Vendors, and Other Guests

  • The main doors to Red Hen’s Office / Shop are currently locked, therefore all Customer ORDERS should be placed in advance by phone. We provide curbside pick-up and contactless delivery as a general rule of thumb, and upon request.
  • We have designated a specific backdoor office entrance to maintain safer social distancing, and will conduct interactions as much as possible by phone call / text / email / curbside.
  • As much as possible, any payments / receipts / paperwork will be delivered and received electronically.
  • Masks for employees that DO NOT interact with customers are generally NOT required on the farm property as long as social distancing can be maintained. However, signage will be around the farm reminding everyone of safe social distancing of 6 feet if possible.
  • Masks for employees that DO interact with customers are generally required when social distancing CANNOT be maintained.  Customers are encouraged to have masks with them in case there is a need to interact with Red Hen Turf Farm employees at times when social distancing of 6 feet is not possible.

For Employees

  • Each day, every employee will be self-screen at home prior to coming to work, with requirement to continue to self-monitor and self-report to management after arriving to work to make sure they not experiencing any of the COVID-19 symptoms or “red flags.”  “Red Hen’s Daily Onsite Employee COVID-19 Self-Evaluation Checklist” consists of:
    • Taking their temperature. In order to consider reporting to work, the temperature reading must be 100.3 degrees Fahrenheit or below.  
    • Answering screening questions related to currently known common COVID-19 symptoms, whether they have been in close contact with someone known or suspected to have contracted COVID-19. 
      • If St. Joseph County, Indiana (where Red Hen is located) is at Color Code Blue with a point score of 0.5 below or Color Code Yellow with a point score of 1.0, then Employees may self-screen by “honor system” without having to turn in or show any proof of completion.
      • If St. Joseph County, Indiana Color Code Yellow with a point score of 1.5, or in the Orange or Red Zones, then Employees are required to show proof of completion through use of “Red Hen’s Return to Work & Daily COVID Screening App”.
  • Should an employee experience any of the COVID-19 symptoms or “red flags,” then Red Hen’s most current “Return to Work Plan” will be followed, in concert with current guidelines and guidance of CDC, Indiana State Health Department, and St. Joseph County Health Department.
  • Every employee will wear a mask or face shield when unable to maintain social distance at least 6 feet when interacting any fellow-employee, customer, vendor, and guest, following CDC’s current definition of “close contact” as, “Someone who was within 6 feet of an infected person for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period.”
  • Every employee will practice safe social distancing of 6 feet, as much as they can.
  • Every employee handling food and/or money will practice safe social distancing of 6 feet, wear gloves and/or wash / sanitize their hands.
  • Hand sanitation supplies will be available for cleaning hands often. Soap and water will be provided — especially for proper hand-washing.
  • The cleaning products used at Red Hen Turf Farm are all EPA approved for fighting the spread of COVID-19.


I know … everyone says they have THE BEST CUSTOMERS, and I truly mean it!

And, I have some of the funniest customers around.

For instance … Let’s talk about Landscapers!  Landscapers in general must have a good sense of humor just for the industry they are in. Mother Nature tends to throw a monkey wrench into a landscaper’s job plans weekly if not sometimes daily.  They might be trying to lay sod, but it rains two inches that night. Or they might be going to plant trees, and it snows two inches. Then they need to get the salters in the trucks and a day later take them back out. Yes every job and business has its challenges. But Landscaping in the Michiana area is a unique one.

I have been on some fun trips, events, conferences, lunches and dinners with my customers. I learn something new and always have a good time. I am amazed at how many of my customers have become a friend over the years. I am very lucky to be in the industry I am in, and to have met so many great men and women.

There are more days than I can count that a customer has called or texted me and made me laugh. Including today. Laughing makes for a great day!   Thank you!

Until next time, Jeremy and The Red Hen Turf Farm Crew

Jeremy’s Book Corner – Reviewing Traction by Gino Wickman

Here at Red Hen, over the past 3 years, we’ve been reading and re-reading the book, “Traction: Get a Grip on Your Business” by Gino Wickman … and it turns out that this book has been responsible for firing quite a few employees.  I came to this realization as I was recently having lunch with a salesman from our industry when it hit me. I was talking about the book and how an employee realized that if we did what was in that book they would need to leave.

Traction: Get a Grip on Your Business by Gino Wickman (Click on the pic to order this book from Amazon)

Basically, Traction has a lot of great ideas to take your business to the next level, and the chapter that has helped us the most is about holding employees accountable.
Over the past 4 years there is no book that I have given out more copies of, and here at Red Hen, we tend to read a LOT of business books.

I do believe that because every business is run differently everyone will get something different out of this book. I like the way it is presented by having actionable summaries at the end of each chapter. After you read the first chapter I believe you will start to see what you can do next in your own business.

I do not believe that we would be in the great place we are in without some of the insights we’ve gained from Traction. From holding different styles of meetings from the top management down, exploring ways to increase “employee engagement”, and various new processes that have made a world of difference, just to name a few.

If you do not get something out of this book, you must be reading this from a beach and just getting a check in the mail from your company.

When I talk about employees being fired or quitting and this being influenced by Traction, I’m not just referring to our business. There are a handful of business owners that we work with on a level that goes beyond merely providing and selling a product.  Time and again, they tell me that they how much we have helped them GROW their business.

For instance, I helped another sod farm in Minnesota where the owner was having major problems with an employee … and that employee was his brother. After spending a few hours with him talking about his business, he ordered Traction to read on his Kindle while flying. After his plane landed in Minnesota, he ordered 10 copies to give to all of his employees, brother included. The end result was that the brother ended up quitting within a 2 week period. I talked to him again more recently this past December and asked, “How was the 2016 season?” He replied, “It was the best we have had in a long time.”

Another great example comes from a local landscaper business owner that also has learned from the book. This landscaper states, “We realized that everyone (is now) happier and attitudes have improved.”

I have a goal of reading 10 to 15 business books every year. Some are of course, better than others. No single book can make all business problems go away, but we strongly believe that Traction will get you started in having a better and more productive year.

Until Next Time,

Jeremy and the Red Hen Crew

Was it worth it? Recharging Our Batteries at the iLandscape Show in Shaumburg, IL

Was it worth it?  

In one word …

Lisa and I attended the 4th annual iLandscape show in Schaumburg last week. If you are in the landscape business I would suggest you keep this on your radar for next year. It is a great show for estimators, supervisors, managers and owners. With it being located in our region I don’t know how you can pass this up.
If you have gone to Indiana Green convention in Indianapolis, it has a different format. Indy seems to me to be more education driven. Schaumburg seemed to offer bigger picture ideas along the line of — What does landscaping look like from 30,000 feet? Just a few themes that were explored by the excellent speakers at iLandscape:

  • How are questions from potential customers being asked and answered?
  • How do you move landscaping stone?
  • Is there a better way so you can do it without hurting your back?
  • Can you get your work done in 4 days instead of 5?
  • What is your most import asset? (It’s your employees by the way)

According to their Facebook post, iLandscape was named one of the 50 fastest growing tradeshows in the country according to Tradeshow Executive Magazine, ranked #21 by net square feet and #22 by number of exhibitors.

A few more links related to the speakers from some of the sessions Lisa and I attended:

AND LASTLY, looking ahead to the future …

Jeremy’s 6 Tips for a Better Convention Show Experience:

  1. Check out the speakers ahead of time, and spend some time Googling them to find articles and videos that will help you decide which sessions to attend. Make sure your employees do the same.
  2. Book early. The convention hotel will book out earlier than you might think.
  3. Reflect on the 3 largest vendor driven purchases you make? See who their competition is, and whether they will be setting up booths at the show.
  4. Download the apps for Uber and/or Lyft. We found out that for iLandscape, if you don’t stay at the convention hotel, especially during the winter it’s likely too far to walk to dinner or get back to the hotel if you did not pay attention to number 2.
  5. Take notes while you are there, and share them with your team.
  6. Give me a call and let me know you’re attending.  If we’re also planning on being there, perhaps you’d like to meet up for dinner and do some networking — one of my favorite things about attending these shows.

Recharging your batteries during these winter months can go far in making the coming Year YOUR BEST SEASON YET!

If you want more in-depth info, you know where to find us … just give Red Hen Turf Farm a call at 574-232-6811.

Until next time! … Jeremy and the Red Hen Crew

Introducing Red Hen’s NEWEST Team Member

Image Source: Flickr User Waywardshinobi

Image Source: Flickr User Waywardshinobi

We are excited to spread the word that, as of December 1st, we have a new team member, Jennifer Quirk.

Jennifer’s primary role is as a Customer Service Specialist.

We joke that, “At some point, Jennifer will be our Jeremy when Jeremy’s not available.”

She has some BIG SHOES to fill, and it will certainly take some time for her to learn, but we’re confident we’ve made an excellent selection.

We asked Jennifer to share some information about her background, and to reflect on her first week at Red Hen … She’s actually in her 3rd week with us, but with all of the year-end flurry of activity going on here at the farm, we’ve been a bit behind on sharing, but HERE GOES…


I have spent the majority of my career building strong customer service skills and learning how to manage positive customer experiences both in a position at a small family owned granite product manufacturing shop, where I managed granite production jobs along side customers from order placement to final installation, and with the Indiana Department of Workforce Development, where I held a variety of positions helping customers with unemployment insurance and finding new job placements after the loss of a job.


In my free time I enjoy reading, cooking and movies, especially horror flicks. I enjoy a challenging work environment and am looking forward to tackling a new role using my current skills in a new environment on the farm and getting to know all of my new Red Hen team members and customers.


My first week here at Red Hen Turf Farm has been great.  All of my new coworkers here have been doing a fantastic job of providing a solid foundation for what I need to know and do to be the best representative to all of our customers.  I have had a chance to get to know some of our customers, work on some special projects and have started learning a lot about how things run here at the sod farm.


One of the first things to have struck me is how appreciative Red Hen is for its customers.  They are committed to forming solid and meaningful business relationships and try to provide enjoyable and personalized interactions with each one. It is obvious already that so many of the customers I have spoken to over the last week enjoy working with Red Hen and I have even received some light-hearted hazing by a few!


I have also gotten a general overview of all of facets of the sod industry and I still have so much to learn, but am looking forward to the challenge of tackling it and becoming proficient so I am ready to hit the ground running as soon as we start back up in the spring.  Luckily I have some great teachers here to show me the ropes and they are working hard to make sure I have all the tools I need to provide everyone with the same standard of customer service they are used to receiving each time they place an order with us.


Have a great rest of the week!

– Lisa and the Red Hen Turf Farm Crew

Jeremy’s Wintertime Reflection: It’s the Memories that Mean so MUCH!

seuss memory quote

One of my favorite days of the week this time of year is Wednesday. Well it’s really Wednesday night. My youngest son and I have a deal made during every school week.  If his grades are up and he is well-behaved, we go bowling. We have a great bowling alley down the street from our house. Ed, the owner, knows us by name and what we like to drink. Last Wednesday it felt like we were part of Ed’s family. Fourteen lanes and we were the only one there. We ate dinner there, bowled both of our best games to date and had a great time. What Ed’s business does for us really, is it creates great memories.

Jeremy’s son’s FIRST STRIKE of the Night

Our goal at Red Hen is to provide great customer service. Maybe for some, that could mean that we will help your yard look better for a backyard wedding, party or to be put up for sale. But what REALLY is great customer service? I believe a large part of it is to create great memories. We are lucky to be able to do what we do. We get to be involved in so many different lives each year. Some our customers become great friends and mentors. Even when we are the customers to other companies, many become great friends and mentors.

While I was bowling I knew then what I needed to write about next. It is time for me to thank all the customers, family, friends and other small business that gave me great memories this year. For all the years I have been working I don’t think I have had more great memories than this year. It’s hard to count how many times I laughed this year. So it’s that time of year when we need to be thankful for all the Ed’s in our lives that work to create great memories.

alcott memories


In the news … Red Hen-Red Gold Partnership Highlighted by Turfgrass Producers International

As our regular readers might recall, our Summer 2015 Marketing Intern, Leslie, was very busy with all sorts of projects (CLICK TO READ MORE).

One of the articles that Leslie wrote was submitted to the Turfgrass Producers International (TPI) magazine and we are very happy to announce that it has made it to PRINT!  

The article is about Red Hen’s partnership with Red Gold tomatoes and our diversification into producing a range of commodity crops in addition to the 100% Kentucky bluegrass sod that we are known for in the Michiana region.

You can READ about it by CLICKING HERE (pdf download).

Red Hen-Red Gold Partnership - Turfgrass Producers International SeptOct 2015

CLICK on this Snapshot to access the full-sized PDF of this Article

Red Hen Turf Farm is a proud member of several industry and professional organizations, including TPI.  The TPI website is a great resource for anyone seeking more information on the sod industry.  Turfgrass Producers International is the only international trade association dedicated to promoting the benefits of turfgrass sod worldwide.

Thank you, TPI, for your ongoing support of Red Hen Turf Farm!  For anyone interested in following TPI via various social media outlets:

Jeremy Reflects on the Small Business Mentality – and it’s National Small Business Week

Do you know what I miss when I shop, especially at the box stores?  It’s a small business mentality.

When I was young my parents started a video store in Elkhart, Indiana. I learned early on what customer service meant to my parents and their customers. I highly enjoyed working at the South Bend location. In fact, I did not start getting paid untiI was 14, so it must of been the free movies that kept me working there – RIGHT?

But now, looking back, it was the customers that kept me coming back. I know this might sound cheesy but it’s true.

I had one customer who took me on my first plane ride. I even got to fly the plane for a while.

I had customers bring me food, desserts and even invite me to dinner. At one of the dinners I went to they showed me a board game that I have since taught to my sons.

At that time, our customers could have gone to at least 3 different video stores — but they choose us. They wanted to rent a movie – sure – but more importantly they wanted a recommendation they could trust.

So sitting here at home on my iPad reading about how it is National Small Business Week, I thought about where I shopped tonight. Let’s just say that when we all walk in a big chain store, we are no more than a number.

But, as customers and small business owners and employees, we often can make a different choice and that choice can make a difference in our lives that goes beyond buying a product or a service.

Thank you for supporting small business.

Jeremy and the Crew from Red Hen Turf Farm

Red Hen Training Day a Success!


Have you ever heard the phrase “LEAN Manufacturing”?

If you read our previous blog written by our owner, Gordon, about what he does during our off-season months, you might have caught that we were planning for a full-day of training on LEAN Manufacturing 101.

In addition to having our own employees attend this training, we also invited a handful of our landscaping / contractor customers.

The workshop was led by Jim Walsh and his assistant Harold.  For the general public, Jim holds LEAN 101 Workshops on a regular basis through the Michiana LEAN Network, typically at the Elkhart Chamber of Commerce facilities.  Gordon and our office manager, Lisa, had attended one of these workshops this January, and felt there was a great value in introducing the concept to our team.

LEAN 101 was initially developed at the national level by NIST (National Institute of Standards & Technology) and locally by North Central Indiana Business Assistance Center (NCI) in partnership with local area Chambers of Commerce.

In a nutshell, “LEAN” is a way of describing elimination of waste in your operation.

Each company ultimately gets to decide how LEAN you want to be, but to make this decision you need some basic tools and an understanding of the 8 basic wastes. This knowledge and these tools, along with an all-day manufacturing simulation, is what you get when you attend a LEAN 101 Workshop.

Google “LEAN Manufacturing” or “LEAN 101” and there’s no shortage of results. CLICK HERE to view some videos about LEAN 101 if you’re curious.  The LEAN Enterprise Institute website is another great resource for more information, including some history on how the concept of LEAN evolved.

For one thing, LEAN gives you a way of labeling wastes, which might not sound like a huge deal, but unless you can recognize waste, you can’t effectively address it, and you probably don’t realize it even exists.

When LEAN is being described, depending on how the concept is being framed, there are roughly 8 or so different kinds of Wastes (and you can remember them by using the acronym TIM WOODS):

T – Transport – Moving people, products & information
I – Inventory – Storing parts, pieces, documentation ahead of requirements
M – Motion – Bending, turning, reaching, lifting

W – Waiting – For parts, information, instructions, equipment
O – Over production – Making more than is IMMEDIATELY required
O – Over processing – Tighter tolerances or higher grade materials than are necessary
D – Defects – Rework, scrap, incorrect documentation
S – Skills – Under utilizing capabilities, delegating tasks with inadequate training

The LEAN 101 Workshop includes a presentation with several hands-on activities that illustrate key points.  By the end of the day, it becomes pretty clear that there are ways that any business can identify Wastes that will make

The core idea is to maximize customer value while minimizing waste. In a sense, LEAN means creating more value for customers with fewer resources.  Implementing LEAN is an ongoing process that includes getting ideas from every single person on your team, no matter what their job title might be.  With LEAN, your biggest asset is your Employees.

LEAN Principles | Image Source:

LEAN Principles | Image Source:

This was the first time that Jim had presented LEAN specifically to a group in the agriculture and landscaping industries.  Even so, between our Red Hen team members and our invited guests, there was quite a bit of discussion about how we all can begin thinking differently about our day-to-day operations in order to identify waste that adds little to no value for our customers.

Once more, we’d like to give a BIG THANK YOU to Jim and Harold for facilitating this workshop, and all of our Red Hen employees who attended, along with our guests who represented the following companies whose leadership is dedicated to continual improvement:

Thank You Note