If It’s Not Perfect, Make It Perfect
Without a doubt, TLC was no longer just dabbling in tree care—they were dedicated to it. The company is also dedicated to perfection.
Blessed with a green thumb and an inventor’s mind, Spector is always on the lookout for ways to improve systems, equipment and training. In addition to the company’s custom-designed tree truck and maintenance trailers, Spector also invented a locking irrigation valve box lid to prevent vandalism and cut down on wasted water (see “So Brilliant it Needed a Patent” below).
In the maintenance/lawn care division, Spector custom-blends his fertilizers, using a local manufacturer. “When we take on a new property, we immediately take a soil sample to determine the exact needs of the soil,” Spector tells. “For properties we’ve been maintaining, we’ll take subsequent soil samples when we start to see areas of stress.”
Back at the office, Louis the operations manager has devised a system whereby maps of TLC’s largest properties are hung on a wall in the training room. Louis color-codes the maps to show the most efficient mowing patterns, along with which mowers will be the most productive in certain circumstances. “This has helped us reduce our mowing man-hours by a third on some properties,” Spector points out.
Saving money without negatively impacting results is what it’s all about these days. After 12 years in business, TLC certainly has things dialed in.
So Brilliant It Needed a Patent - Locking Access Device (LAD) helps reduce wasted water.
Wasted water from irrigation systems is something that can be prevented, and one Arizona contractor has taken matters into his own hands.
David Spector of Mesa-based TLC - The Landscape Company has been working in the Arizona landscape arena for 36 years. He has had to deal with the issue of wasted water due to the lack of positively locking valve box lids, not to mention the propensity for vandalism and overzealous people trying to turn on the watering systems. Both reasons add up to irrigation systems left running—and wasting water.
“I tried the bolts that the manufacturing companies provide,” Spector relates. “I tried screwing the lids to the boxes. I tried metal straps with pad locks. Nothing would keep someone who was intent on accessing the valves from opening the lids to do their dirty work. So I had to come up with something that would work.”
After several years of development, Spector came up with a simple, sustainable and cost-effective locking mechanism. A set of bars that fit under or into the support frame for the lid eliminate unwanted access. These lids can be retrofit to any box, which means you don’t have to dig up the box in order to make this work.
“No one has gained access to any of these secured boxes since we have been selling them to the public,” Spector points out. Putting the Locking Access Device (LAD) on the boxes will keep the systems safe. Reduced costs for repairs and wasted water pay for the LAD many times over.”
TLC - The Landscape Company in Mesa, AZ
Owners: David and Bridget Spector
Year Founded: 1998
Estimated Annual Sales: $2 million
Business Mix: 71% all-inclusive maintenance contracts that comprise mowing, irrigation, chemicals and tree care; additional revenue derived from 9% tree care, 8% irrigation, 12% “other” including landscape enhancements, chemical/fertilizer, design and consulting services
Employees: 42 all year, 50 peak season