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Using an independent contractor may be the way to go.

Kristen Hampshire | April 5, 2012

Whenever Columbia LandCare’s accounts called for irrigation maintenance or installation, the company relied on its go-to, Mike Hentges of Hentges Irrigation. After all, independent contractor had shared a shop with Columbia LandCare’s Jed Taylor for eight years at his old facility.

Columbia LandCare purchased Hentges Irrigation this year, and Taylor expects irrigation to bring in a chunk of business this year. By acquiring the irrigation outfit, Columbia LandCare will inherit about 700 residential irrigation maintenance customers. And that could mean opportunities to cross-sell services.

“The way that business goes, you install a system and you gain a customer for life by doing the maintenance,” Taylor says, noting that Columbia LandCare’s irrigation business will grow to 14 to 15 percent of the total business mix now that Hentges is on board.
    
And now, rather than subbing out irrigation jobs, Columbia LandCare can sell the service as a part of its complete brand. Hentges gains some ownership in a larger firm, and the benefits of being on board with a larger company. “I think Mike is excited because he gets a little bit of equity in being in a bigger company,” Taylor says.
 

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