Acting as a single-source for landscape design has led McHale Landscape Design deep into specialty services over the years. The firm has masonry and carpentry divisions with trained craftspeople who execute high-end jobs for clientele. And recently, the firm has taken this building knack to another level, serving as a custom homebuilder for existing clients who desire the service.
The construction division evolved into doing pool houses, small home additions and large-scale custom homes (one in the works now is 8,000 square feet). The firm has five homes under its belt so far.
The margins on homebuilding are much tighter than landscape design/installation. And this division hires lots of subcontractors – a practice McHale avoids on the landscape design/installation side of the business. But similar to the McHale business structure where divisions within the landscape firm operate as mini businesses, the homebuilding venture could stand alone – yet it falls under the McHale umbrella. A construction division manager oversees the homebuilding projects.
“Now, we have under construction a $3 million project, the house is $2 million and the landscape is $1 million,” says Kevin McHale, president of the Upper Marlboro, Md.-based landscape design firm. “If we can get a significant landscape project like that, (homebuilding) is well worth it to us.”