Well-grounded: Grounds management firm evolves business model

Jon Crandall and his company, JC Landscaping, were recently profiled by the Boston Business Journal.

March 29, 2010
Boston Business Journal
Industry News

Jon Crandall caught the entrepreneurial bug early on.

The seeds of Crandall’s Peabody-based grounds management company, JC Landscaping, were planted about 14 years ago, when at the age of 16, he began providing lawn service in his Peabody neighborhood. He’d always enjoyed the outdoors and being creative, but he was also looking to help supplement his family’s income. He started the business with about $500 in savings and a couple of pieces of used equipment from a family friend.
Crandall kept the business going, even as he held another job at a grocery store, worked for another landscaper and attended Salem State College. While there, he studied political science — knowing, he now admits, that he probably wouldn’t actually enter the field when he graduated in 2003. Instead, he chose to continue to nurture the business he had started in his teens.
“There is something to be said about owning your experiences, whether good or bad, and I think as an entrepreneur you are clearly able to do that,” said Crandall, 30.
The business has since blossomed into an operation that serves commercial and residential customers throughout eastern Massachusetts. JC Landscaping occupies approximately 8,600 square feet of space in Peabody. It employs 15 full-time employees and as many as 100 during the snow and ice season. The company’s revenue has climbed from approximately $1.4 million in 2008 to $1.8 million in 2009 and projections of $2.1 million for 2010.
And while he got his start primarily providing residential landscape service, Crandall, who said he loved the sight of snowplows rolling down his street as a child, is deriving more of his revenue from snow and ice management for commercial accounts these days.
“The level of complexity has forced us to change, and the growth in revenue has forced us to come out of our comfort zone,” said Crandall.
Part of Crandall’s growth as an entrepreneur has come from aligning himself with outside resources. These include the Boston chapter of the Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO), with which he’s been involved for a number of years. Crandall said he’s also received valuable training in goal-setting as a client of Strategic Coach, a Toronto-based organization, for the past couple of years.
One tangible result of these relationships is that his company has focused on attracting more of what he refers to as “A” customers and staff — those who share the company’s culture and values, Crandall said.
“Those values include trustworthiness, dependability and a sense of urgency,” he explained.
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