Diversifying services

Diversifying services

Branching Out - Branching Out

From dog park design to monument signs to playground installation, Richmond & Associates Landscaping is using its employees’ skills to keep growing.

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October 5, 2018
Kate Spirgen
Photos courtesy of Richmond & Associates Landscaping

Diversifying services beyond the traditional landscape and lawn care offerings has helped Richmond & Associates Landscaping stay busy throughout the year. So busy, in fact, that the company just keeps on growing.

The company got its start in 1993 and by the early 2000s, it was about 40 employees generating about $140,000 in monthly revenue through mowing and typical landscape services. In 2003, the company’s partners went their separate ways and Richmond & Associates was born. The company now has more than 250 employees bringing in more than $1 million each month, bringing in $15,631,074 last year.

“It’s grown quite a bit and it’s changed a lot of the years,” says Vice President Chaun Sherman. “We started off just being your typical lawn care company and we saw a need for other things out there.”

Richmond & Associates got its start servicing mainly multi-family homes. Now, the company focuses mainly on apartment buildings and HOAs in the Dallas and Houston areas.

“I think a big part of it was the team,” Sherman says. “The people coming on board or growing with the company is kind of what piqued our interest and took it there. It wasn’t the customers necessarily but kind of a collaboration of both.”

Diversifying offerings.

Sherman says the company is always looking for talent, even if candidates aren’t necessarily a good fit for the job they’re applying for.

“If a certain person comes in and it’s like putting a square peg in a round hole. It doesn’t always work and certain people are talented and can do more,” she says.

For example, the company’s work with monument signs came about because Richmond & Associates brought talented stone masons on board. “You can design a beautiful flower bed but if it’s got an ugly sign behind it, it’s not going to look beautiful,” Sherman says.

With the talent on board, Richmond & Associates had the power to branch out into more stone work and signage. Working already with many apartment communities where the signs were either dilapidated or dated, Richmond partnered with design companies to provide the letters and graphics and got to work.

“We have masons who work for us who do the beds and everything so we thought it can’t be much different building a monument sign,” Sherman says.

And while the service started off small, it has grown over the years and become more and more elaborate.

The same progression happened with the company’s playground installation service. It started with one job where the company was helping out a supplier. The installation proved to be easier than the company had originally imagined and before they knew it, the crews were becoming experts.

Offering artificial turf led Richmond & Associates to add more services like dog park design and installation.

“The first one was really challenging,” Sherman says, since the crews didn’t have much direction and the playground had so many parts and the equipment needed to be 100 percent safe before children could play on it.

And 10 years ago, Richmond & Associates got started on dog parks, installing one at a high-end property in downtown Dallas. The company was already working with artificial turf and decided to go one step further. Since many HOAs and large apartment complexes have jumped on the trend in recent years, that service is growing as well.

The company was able to open a Houston location in 2006 has really increased revenue, and Richmond & Associates plans to open yet another branch in Ft. Worth in October.

A collaborative environment at Richmond & Associates also helps them get creative and think outside the box. “We just challenge ourselves and challenge our guys,” Sherman says. “We get everyone’s involvement. We’ll have open table discussions on what we think we can do and what works best and learn from our mistakes and that’s why we’ve gotten better at it over the years.”

Employees at Richmond & Associates do cross-train, but only within their own department, Sherman says. For example, production crews are trained to install both artificial turf and playgrounds.

“The guys that are mowing grass every day, they’re mowing grass every day,” she says. “The guys working on the trimmers, they’re trimming. That’s what they do and they become much more skilled at it.”

Selling well.

While 55 percent of the company’s revenue comes from maintenance, amenity centers, dog parks, playground installations and other work keeps them busy during what would typically be slower months. “We are one of the fortunate companies because we do offer all of these other services so we are busy all year long where we’ve had record months in November and most of the time it’s these amenity centers that we complete,” Sherman says.

According to Sherman, the amenity services are extremely profitable, much more than lawn maintenance. “There no profit in lawn care but it’s crucial to have it,” she says.

Because of its reputation, Richmond & Associates doesn’t do a lot of marketing. Many projects come through word-of-mouth, or by property managers requesting services for multiple locations.

“We do a lot of multi-family and once they see what we’ll do on one, they’re like ‘Hey, I’ve got nine other properties in the community. They really love this. Can we do the same thing?’” Sherman says.

The company is active on social media and keeps up with local HOA, apartment and certification associations, which also helps them get the word out. And while crews are working, yard signs and clearly marked trucks also show off the company name to keep sales coming.