At your service

How do you decide what services to add and when? Listen to customers.

March 17, 2011
Kristen Hampshire
Industry News

Here is a before (left) and after photo of Wyoming Landscape Contractors work.


You can’t be all things to all people – but you can hire subcontractors and do a lot more things. At least this was Nick Orsillo’s theory when he first launched Wyoming Landscape Contractors in 2001. Then, the company was him and two other guys. His focus was solely design/build, and his customers were asking for more.

In particular, clients wanted irrigation services. So Orsillo connected with subcontractors who could fill that bill, but the quality wasn’t up to his standards. And the pickier Orsillo got on those jobs, the more subcontractors charged. Ultimately, Orsillo wound up increasing prices and sacrificing integrity. That just wasn’t going to fly.

So Orsillo reeled in his services, at first learning the trade himself so he could be the expert. “I got books and went back to school – I learn quick,” he says of studying how to rig and service irrigation systems. “Now, we are the leading irrigation installation company in our area, hands down.

“By me taking over irrigation services, I could control the quality and control the price.”

Orsillo knows he can’t do everything. But his desire to bring services in-house so he could manage the delivery and pricing resulted in another plan. He would hire experts to launch new services, teach them the Wyoming Landscape Contractors way, then turn them loose to sell the services. “Don’t sell the service then hire the staff – you’ll start off doing poor quality because you won’t have the right person in there and you’ll get more customers than you can handle,” Orsillo says.    

The key is to set up the service department first: hire the manager, train him or her and establish systems for performing the service. Then, sell the service to customers. This formula has worked well for Wyoming Landscape Contractors, which offers almost every service except holiday lighting.

“It’s pretty hard for your competition to get a foothold on any of your clients if you keep them off your projects,” Orsillo says. Also, being a multi-service provider allows the firm to deepen relationships with customers. For instance, offering snow removal gives the company an “in” to talk about landscape services. Orsillo says, “We have access to that customer, and we present ourselves by saying ‘Since you are pleased with our snow removal, would you like us to handle irrigation or lawn mowing or tree care.’”

One service leads to another.

As for choosing which services to add to the business, Orsillo listened to his customers. “We found that the management companies we work with would nonchalantly ask, ‘Do you do this, do you do that … do you do roof shoveling?” he says. “At that point, we would make a decision about whether we were going to do that service or sub it out.”

Currently, the only service Orsillo sells and subs out is hot tub service. (His crews will shovel roofs.) The company’s hallmark is that it can fill any outdoor need any season of the year. “By doing those services ourselves, we prevent other companies from getting the business from our clients,” Orsillo reemphasizes.