Managing a company that offers multiple large-scale services always poses some challenges. It’s important not to lose sight of the company’s vision or direction. For Texas-based EarthWorks, the company has always been “landscape first” and they haven’t lost sight of that focus. But after many years of subbing out irrigation work, it eventually made sense for the company to bring that service in-house. The result has been a division that drives business back into landscaping – and vice versa.
“We were always getting a lot of irrigation work because we work for clients that want a company that handles it all,” says Chris Lee, president. “By bringing it in house we now have better control over that work.”
Lee says that the company has picked up new landscape maintenance contracts through their irrigation division. The company holds irrigation 101 seminars and training and has landed new contracts simply by educating the public. “Both the landscape and irrigation divisions definitely feed each other,” Lee says. “Once a client starts to like you they want to know what else you can help them with.”
EarthWorks is also conscious of pacing their growth, Lee says. When businesses get caught up in expanding rapidly they run the risk of become a jack of all trades but a master of none. “The way we’ve done things has been very methodical,” Lee says. “Every time we take on a new service we start off by subbing it out to the experts.
It can be hard when you don’t have full control over it, but we find good, trustworthy subs and then we watch and learn. We’re constantly asking questions and trying to learn what they do. When it gets to the point where it’s justifiable for a full-time crew to do that work, then we make the move to bring people in-house.”
Lee says that this methodical growth is the same way the landscape business grew. The company used to sub out its tree trimming services until they started getting enough business to justify it as an in-house offering. And it was the same case for retaining walls. “It comes back to taking it one step at a time and making sure we learn everything there is to know before jumping in,” Lee says. “We’re focused on steady growth.”
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