George Hohman started Turfscape in 1988 while he was still in college at University of Akron. He left school to focus on his business and although he struggled for the first five or six years, the company is thriving now. Turfscape now has four locations in Ohio with 130 employees servicing about 300 commercial accounts and housing developments. We stopped by his operation in Twinsburg to see his crews take care of their customers.
Turfscape crews have been having a tough season so far due to heavy rains in the area. “There still aren’t enough hours in the day,” Hohman says, adding that half of his workforce is working six-day weeks and most are working overtime.
When properties are flooded, crews will do the best they can, taking care of beds and other tasks. Hohman makes sure he’s communicating with the property managers about their challenges.
Turfscape employs 42 H-2B workers currently, and uses multiple avenues such as newspaper ads, Craigslist and word of mouth to find snow crews in the winter. Several H-2B workers have been at the company for more than a decade.
“I’ve spent a lot of time personally down in Washington,” Hohman says of the H-2B program. “The reality is it’s our only reliable source for labor. The labor market is extremely thin and our recruiting efforts are nonstop.”
Crews stay organized by with huge whiteboards, and all crews are on mobile tablets with Boss LM to track jobs and time. The teams have weekly tailgate safety meetings and company meetings every other month at each branch. They also get together for sporting events and the annual Landscape Olympics. They even have leadership team dinners once a month either at a restaurant or Hohman’s house.
“The one thing I’ve learned in business is attitude reflects leadership. Whenever we have issues, I’m always looking at the leader,” he says.
Turfscape employs one full-time mechanic and cycles out their equipment on a regular basis. The company tries to get rid of mowers before 2,000 hours, which is two to three years. “We run it to a point and then we sell it,” Hohman says. “We probably do an auction every other year.”