Doug has been thrilled that, despite the economic slowdown, he’s been able to keep two installation crews busy all year. A third maintenance crew, led by foreman Jon Acosta, keeps cash coming in, and has done a superb job of paving the way for additional enhancement projects.
“By the looks of things, we’re going to crush last year’s numbers,” Doug says. In fact, Landscape America actually grew sales upwards of 40% this year. “The secret has been following up on all those sales calls we did in the fall of 2008 where customers got nervous and decided to hold off on projects. We hit it hard the first part of this year. By spring we had a good workload lined up.”
Landscape America has also been fed a couple construction projects from an area homebuilder who specializes in $2-4 million homes. One project alone carried an entire crew from mid-spring through August. “This project is the main reason I added a second construction crew this year,” Doug points out.
Doug is confident that he’ll be able to maintain both construction crews going forward, with or without work from the homebuilder. “This fall has helped me realize that I can keep two crews busy,” he says. “I’m focusing nearly 100% of my efforts on selling now. In between big projects, both crews can stay busy on the smaller jobs that continue coming in.”
CATCHING THEIR SECOND WIND
That said, there will likely be more of those bigger projects coming in. Landscape America is already bidding on two huge projects for next spring. And as the economy and housing market continue to stabilize, there should be plenty of opportunity for continued growth.
The McDuffs are taking a modest approach, though. “We want to continue growing next year, but maybe at a slower rate,” Doug tells. “We’re at the point now where we need to start building a culture, where our employees continue to appreciate and convey the same values Andy and I do.”
A couple of years down the road, Doug envisions possibly adding another salesperson, perhaps through the promotion of one of his existing foremen. Then, an existing crew worker would fill that vacant foreman’s position. It’s all about having a plan for the future—and making employees a part of that plan.
For now, the plan will continue to have Andy maintaining his role as “super foreman,” running those bigger construction projects, managing and maintaining the truck and equipment fleet, and making sure crews have what they need to succeed. Doug will continue to focus his efforts on selling, estimating, scheduling and billing.
Due to the volume of landscape contractors operating in the Wrentham-area market, Doug says he’s been doing more bidding than ever as of late. But he’s found that the customer’s decision rarely comes down to price. “It can’t, because we’re almost never the lowest bidder,” Doug says.
And Landscape America continues earning new jobs. With a 40% growth rate over 2008, that fact is as plain as day—almost as plain as the numerous degrees, certifications and client testimonials that continue to reassure new customers that they’re making the right choice in Landscape America.