Q. Describe the most common types of jobs you do for your clients.
A. We have 5 crews in our company. Each crew has a specialty.
Crew 1 - Weekly landscape maintenance and clean-ups/pruning.
Crew 2 - Synthetic grass & putting green installation (We are the Premier Installers for SYNLawn of Oregon)
Crew 3 - We have a full time mason on staff that specializes in anything with mortar including brick columns, stone patios, outdoor kitchen and fireplaces.
Crews 4&5 - These guys are our custom landscape project managers that specialize in patios, sprinklers, water features, retaining walls, lawns, plantings, low voltage lighting, etc.
Q. What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
A. Visit the Oregon Landscape Contractors Board website. Here's a link:
This is an indepth guide to consumers on how to select a contractor.
Along with that, here's some other things you can do:
1. As to see a portfolio/pictures of jobs similar to what you'd like to have done.
2. Ask for references.
3. Ask who actually does the work - there foreman or are they using sub contractors - because that's what you are ultimately paying for.
Q. If you were a customer, what do you wish you knew about your trade? Any inside secrets to share?
A. The old saying, "You get what you pay for" is really true in the landscape industry.
Q. What important information should buyers have thought through before seeking you out?
A. Some types of projects can be bid bases on square footage or linear footage. The more detail you have about your project, the easier it is to get a bid. If you have a landscape design done, this makes it very easy to get apples-to-apples bids. Most projects, however will require an on-site visit from a sales person in order to see all the aspects of the site that will affect the final cost for services.
Q. Why does your work stand out from others who do what you do?
A. We know how to offer the most bang for our client's buck - without compromising on quality. Plus, our sales team is very experienced and creative. What this means for our clients are well-thought-out and beautiful solution for their yards.
Q. What do you like most about your job?
A. Being the owner, I really enjoy all parts of my job. From marketing, to sales, to budgeting, owning a landscape company offers many enjoyable challenges. But, my most favorite part of my job has always been and continues to be sales. I genuinely enjoy meeting new people. That coupled with the opportunity I get every day to listen to their needs and offer solutions that I know are right for them gives me tremendous satisfaction.
Q. What questions do customers most commonly ask you? What's your answer?
A. Q - Are you licensed, bonded and insured? A - Yes.
Q - How long have you been in business? A - 16 years.
Q - Do you have a specialty? A - We are custom landscape contractors which means that most of our jobs have multiple components to them. Some contractors specialize in just patios, water features or sprinklers. We specialize in all of the above an more. An, in fact, we know this makes us better specialist even if we are doing just one aspect of a yard because we are considering how that aspect ties in with the other parts of the yard.
Q. Do you have a favorite story from your work?
A. It was time to lay sod on a $150,000 project in the middle of a wet winter. Our problem was we we created a shin-deep bowl of mud soup during construction of the other portions of the project. The forecast called for freezing temperatures that night, so I had the crew spread the brown, gooy mess smooth with square shovels like butter on toast before we left the job site. The next day we arrived to find to our delight the mud had frozen as solid as a sidewalk. We applied topsoil, graded, rolled, laid sod and walked away with a smile.
Q. What do you wish customers knew about you or your profession?
A. What we hear over and over again from our customers is this: They hired us because they thought we had good ideas, they trusted that we would do the job as we said and that we would do it right. What they don't find out about us until they make the decision to work with us is how wonderful our installation teams are. We constantly receive compliments about how kind, professional, clean and attentive our employees are. We are very proud of this and of them and feel blessed with the employees we have. Plus, they are amazing craftsman!
Q. How did you decide to get in your line of work?
A. I put myself through college working on peoples yards. After graduating, I decided to continue working in the industry because I really liked was I was doing.
Q. Tell us about a recent job you did that you are particularly proud of.
A. We are very proud to have install a design for Huntington & Kiest Landscape Architects. They are one of the top 2 landscape architects in the Portland area. The job was very detail oriented and classy and involved many specialty contractors. The client told us that we were the best contractor they worked with on the project in terms of communicating with them. Also, the installation was spot on.
Q. Do you do any sort of continuing education to stay up on the latest developments in your field?
A. We are very big on continuing education - both for our sales team and our installers. We believe that it is a key to maintaining our level of installation quality, plus we are able to better serve our clients by being educated about new products and services that become available to our industry.
Q. What are the latest developments in your field? Are there any exciting things coming in the next few years or decade that will change your line of business?
A. I am very excited about a new product offered by RainBird. It is a smart sprinkler controller that takes the guess work out of programming a controller and making seasonal adjustments due to rainfall or temperature. During installation, we program the controller with several key pieces of information for each zone. Is the zone in sun or shade? Is it a lawn or shrubs? Is the area sloped or level? Is the soil clay or sandy? Is the water being delivered through drip emitters or spray heads? These types of questions and more all add to the controller know exactly how much water to put down and how often. Plus, with the assitance of a raine sensor and temperature gage, it makes seasonal adjustments automatically. In short, you turn the controller on and that's it - you don't have to ever touch it again!
Q. Describe your most recent project, what it involved, how much it cost, and how long it took.
A. We are currently working on four different construction projects. I am managing a $70,000 project right now that includes a large circular paver patio and paver walkways, a 3' retaining wall, plantings, raised garden boxes, sprinkers and a very large section of SYNLawn synthetic grass for the client's kids and pets to play on. It's going to be a wonderful, low maintenance space for their family for years to come.
Q. If you have a complicated pricing system for your service, please give all the details here.
A. Although we use unit pricing on some items we bid, each job is bid on an individual, custom basis.
Q. If you were advising someone who wanted to get into your profession, what would you suggest?
A. Go to school first. Get the formal training. It was one of the biggest benefits for me. Also, work for another company for awhile. Try and find one that is similar in size or larger than what you'd like to have. In doing this, you will learn about operating procedures, structure and practical technical knowledge of the landscape industry.
Q. Write your own question and answer it.
A. What inspires you to get up and do what you do every day?
The main drive and focus in my life is my pursuit of knowing God. All that I have become as a man, a father and a business owner is a bi-product of that. I credit God for my business ethics, responsibility, creativity, honesty and smile.