During the summer growing season, Shipp Shape crews visit customers weekly, and even during the offseason most residential customers still see a crew at least once a month. Depending on the service offering, commercial customers may drop back to bi-weekly visits in the offseason.
Equipment gives competitive edge
No matter what part of the country you’re in, mowing and maintenance is very competitive. Using the right equipment has helped Shipp Shape maintain its competitive edge. “We’ve been using Grasshopper diesels since 1994,” Shipp explains. “The diesels are great for fuel economy, which helps our profitability. In fact, we use less than half the fuel with diesel engines than we would with gasoline engines, saving us around $13,000 a year. Needless to say, this really helps the bottom line, as does a diesel engine’s longevity, which means we don’t have to purchase mowers so often.”
Matching equipment to application has also been helpful, Shipp adds. “A rotary broom has proven extremely useful for clearing sidewalks after we mow and edge. Crews mow along miles of sidewalks for the city, and they previously used backpack blowers to clean them. Now they use a rotary broom, which we have found to be three times more efficient.”
Shipp operated out of his home until he outgrew his space. The company has since purchased a facility in the city comprised of a 40’ x 80’ building that has two bays, a 20’ x 40’ shelter and two 20’ x 20’ offices. Continued growth is part of the business plan, especially since his 19-year-old son Trey has the same interest in horticulture and lawn maintenance. Still, Shipp doesn’t foresee any great changes in his marketing strategy. “We advertise on a billboard in town and sponsor high school teams. Our best advertising, though, comes from satisfied customers who refer us.”
This proud owner says there are no secrets to his success. It’s service first, followed by offering a variety of services to generate year-round work and having the right equipment for the application. The formula has allowed him to keep his business, just as the properties he maintains, in shipp shape.