Top 5 Reasons to Attend GIE+EXPO
GIE+EXPO, held every October in Louisville, Kentucky, is the landscape industry’s premier event.
Super Lawn Technologies talked with several landscape company owners to find out why they always find the time to attend GIE+EXPO.
The Top 5 reasons are:
- Find new, innovative products that provide a competitive advantage
- Test drive all types of landscaping equipment from all the leading manufacturers
- Ask technical questions of actual product engineers
- Learn about managing and growing a landscaping business
- Network with other landscape business owners
Let’s take a look at what a few Super Lawn Technologies customers have to say about the GIE+EXPO.
Charles Kirby Jr., Kirby’s Landscaping
Kirby’s Landscaping in Mechanicsville, Virginia, has been in business 23 years. Charles Kirby Jr. has been attending GIE+EXPO for the past five. “Unless I have some kind of family emergency, I always make it a point to go now,” Kirby says.
For Kirby, the drive over to Louisville takes around nine hours. He says it’s more than worth it. “You can see the entire industry all in one place over the course of a couple of days,” Kirby points out. In other words, a couple days’ worth of drive time is a good trade-off for the two action-packed days at the show. GIE+EXPO features more than 1,000 exhibits showcasing everything from mowers and excavators to hardscape materials and software.
“I’ve attended local tradeshows that are much smaller,” Kirby relates. “There’s a lot of value to them, but many times you only get to see a few equipment manufacturers. There aren’t too many places where you can test drive pretty much every piece of outdoor power equipment that’s out there.” GIE+EXPO features more than 20 acres of outdoor demonstration area.
Kirby also likes that he can walk into an equipment manufacturer’s booth with a long list of technical questions. He can present those questions to the actual engineers who designed the product. “This is really helpful when it comes to things like engines,” Kirby adds.
Kirby says the Wealthy Landscaper Summit, put on by Super Lawn Technologies and held the first day of GIE+EXPO before the tradeshow opens, makes attending GIE+EXPO an even easier decision.
“The Wealthy Landscaper Summit lets us take in a lot of great business advice in a short time, all in one room,” Kirby says. “Then we can spend our other two days at the tradeshow looking for innovative products to help our business.”
SPECIAL OFFER — Everyone who registers for the 2019 Wealthy Landscaper Summit gets a one-day pass to the GIE+EXPO. LEARN MORE
Kevin Bonin, Bonin’s Lawn Service
Kevin Bonin of Bonin’s Lawn Service in Lafayette, Louisiana, has been in business since 1993. He started going to GIE+EXPO around 2000 and has only missed a couple of shows ever since. “Attending GIE+EXPO is vital to any entrepreneur in the landscape industry,” he says.
Bonin especially appreciates the networking opportunities GIE+EXPO provides. Over the past 20 years, he has met numerous likeminded business owners in exhibit booths, seminar rooms and social functions. As Bonin says, there is no substitute for “talking shop” with your peers. Plenty of that takes place at GIE+EXPO, and even more takes place after — all thanks to connections made at the show.
In addition to networking, Bonin is always eager to take advantage of educational opportunities. Over the years, he has attended a mile-long list of business seminars put on by associations and manufacturers. Now he’s a regular attendee of the Wealthy Landscaper Summit. He is especially looking forward to this year’s event with a focus on digital marketing.
“I think digital marketing and selling services online is going to be crucially important for us going forward,” Bonin says. “I’m also getting closer to making the switch to battery-powered equipment. One of my goals at GIE+EXPO is to learn more about this equipment by talking to the manufacturers.”
For Bonin, GIE+EXPO has always been about staying ahead of his competition, whether that’s learning about the latest business strategy in a classroom or the latest equipment innovation on the tradeshow floor. “I’m not really there to look at mowers and trimmers and blowers,” Bonin says. “I want to find that innovation that will give our company an edge — and I want to find it before my competition does.”
Brian Patterson, Trophy Landscape
Brian Patterson of Trophy Landscape in Lakemont, Georgia, has been in business roughly 12 years. He has been going to GIE+EXPO for the past six. He started going upon the urging of his business adviser, Tony Bass of Super Lawn Technologies. “I’d never heard of GIE+EXPO until Tony told me about it,” Patterson relates.
Now Patterson knows the show all too well. He has also learned how to work it.
Patterson does some soul searching in advance of the show. He makes a list of company “problems” he wants to find solutions for. He then walks the aisles of GIE+EXPO in search of those solutions.
“One year we found something called a zip level, which I had never heard of,” Patterson says. “We’d always used a laser level for shooting grades. But for most of our applications, a zip level is a lot better. Plus, one person can operate it which helps increase productivity, a ‘problem’ I’m always in search of solutions for. We bought one, and the zip level has sped up that part of a project. We always seem to find some gadget or tool like that that is transformational to our business.”
Another thing that has been transformational to Patterson’s business is the relationships he has struck up at GIE+EXPO.
“I’ve become good friends with a business owner from Virginia,” Patterson says. “We talk regularly. I also got to know a guy from Texas and have even went out there to check out his company. The networking at GIE+EXPO and the Super Lawn Technologies events in particular is really beneficial.”
Brad Agin, Gecko Fence & Landscape
Many landscape company owners who attend GIE+EXPO are within a tolerable drive to Louisville. Some, however, travel much longer distances. Brad Agin, owner of Gecko Fence & Landscape in Lolo, Montana, travels about as far as anybody.
Agin attended GIE+EXPO for the first time in 2018. He’s coming back this year.
“I finally realized I was in business not just to mow yards, but to build a business,” Agin says. “The Wealthy Landscaper Summit was a big reason I decided to attend for the first time last year. The information presented can really help shorten a business owner’s learning curve.”
In addition to the Wealthy Landscaper Summit, Agin attended several of the educational sessions at Hardscape North America, which is a part of the overall GIE+EXPO event.
“Hardscaping is a service we are looking to get into more,” Agin says. “It was really helpful to attend seminars to learn about industry standards and best practices. If you limit yourself to local tradeshows and seminars, you can be somewhat limited as to which products and methods you hear about.
By attending GIE+EXPO, I was able to see some unique companies and higher-quality products that aren’t readily available in my area, but that I could have shipped in,” Agin continues. “I was especially impressed by the variety of smaller hardscape and water features we could upsell to our residential customers.”
Hal Pruitt, Cumming Lawn Service
Hal Pruitt of Cumming Lawn Service in Cumming, Georgia, is attending his first GIE+EXPO this year. “I’ve wanted to go for a long time, but I’ve always been in a truck helping run my crews,” Pruitt relates. Between running his business and attending family events, taking another three or four days off in October has been hard to justify. But this year he’s doing it.
“I’ve attended Super Lawn Technologies’ Profit Builder seminars in the past and really got a lot out of them,” Pruitt says. “I’m looking forward to learning about digital marketing at the Wealthy Landscaper Summit at GIE+EXPO.”
With his Wealthy Landscaper Summit registration, Pruitt also gets a one-day pass to the GIE+EXPO tradeshow. Having never attended before, Pruitt is not quite sure what to expect.
“I might be like a kid in a candy store walking in circles,” Pruitt says. “The big thing I’m looking to learn about is robotic mowers. It isn’t getting any easier to find able-bodied employees who will show up to work every day, still have a driver’s license and can pass a drug test.
“I want to talk with some of these robotic lawnmower manufacturers to see if these mowers can get the job done in a place like Georgia when it’s raining all the time in July and the bermuda has three fertilizer applications on,” Pruitt continues. “Will these mowers get bogged down in that type of environment? It would be nice if I could turn some of my three-man crews into two-man crews and put some of these robotic mowers to use. I’m going to GIE+EXPO to hopefully find out.”
Everyone who registers for the 2019 Wealthy Landscaper Summit gets a three-day pass to the GIE+EXPO. This year’s topic is “Digital Strategies for Dominating Your Market.”