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Breaking in as ‘the new guy’

Industry News

Relocating to a different market halfway across the country challenged this landscape entrepreneur to work for referrals.

Kristen Hampshire | March 17, 2011

Nick Orsillo cuts down the 2010 U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree. The company donated its services to the effort.

 

In 2001 when Nick Orsillo moved from New Jersey to Jackson, Wyo., with his family, he had only one business contact in his new community. He had a lifetime of experience in the landscape industry – he grew up working alongside his father in his maintenance business – but he was starting from scratch. He joined a firm and worked there for a short time, but he soon acted on plans to launch a design/build firm.

“I was bent on not doing maintenance at that time because I had mowed lawns my whole life,” he says. He partnered with architects and recruited two team members to work on his first project for a builder, an old classmate of his wife. Orsillo produced a project that the builder talked about positively with others in the community. Plus, he networked with every contractor in every trade that stepped foot on that project. “I made 20 contacts by the time I was done,” he says.

His reputation grew in the community and business snowballed with word-of-mouth referrals. “Everyone got to know me in town: ‘If you want something done, give Nick a call,’” Orsillo says. Before long, clients were asking for services that Orsillo didn’t offer, from maintenance to irrigation. So he began to expand his business. The first year his revenues were $380,000, and three years later in 2004, the company hit $1 million. Last year, Wyoming Landscape Contractors’ revenues were $5 million – and it all started with one project.

Orsillo says the key to growing a business when you’re the new guy – and even if you’re long established in the community – is to focus on quality and hire people with integrity. And show your passion for the industry. “If you love what you do, the contacts will come,” he says.

 

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