Tips from the top: Steve Pruchansky

Steve Pruchansky, CEO, Greenscapes

March 16, 2015

I owned a business before. It was successful. I sold it. Retired for a few years. Moved to Florida in 1988 and then I started looking for businesses again with business brokers.

I found a landscape company in 1991. I did a great deal of due diligence on it and what turned up was that the woman that was running it was exceptional. Everybody raved about her. Her name was Linda Nelson. So I sat down and I talked with Linda and we had common ideas, common thoughts on customer service and how to approach the market and so forth and so on. So I made an offer and acquired the company.

I have no horticultural experience except that I mowed lawns when I was in elementary school.

It was a service industry, which I was looking for. And from a financial analysis of it, it was a future that I was buying into and I was buying into a relationship with Linda Nelson, who I thought was just an exceptional, passionate person and had tremendous knowledge of the horticulture industry and was really committed to it.

The company’s focus is primarily lawn maintenance. When we set it up, we decided that we should be a full-service company. We do mowing, pruning, irrigation, pest control, other services including enhancements.

We took full responsibility for what we did and we focused on quality service and exceptional client services and we continue to do that.

Twenty fourteen was a good year. We continued with a little stronger growth than we have over the past four or five. We got the economy in a different mode. People were in a different mood. They were willing to spend money and do things around their properties.

Last year, things picked up and we had a very, very strong year and strong growth and I expect to do the same thing in 2015. Our goals are to exceed what we did last year. We’ve got fantastic people in place; the staff is exceptional.

Labor is a primary issue. Our pay rate is slightly above local scale but with construction and other jobs the way they are right now – the construction industry is booming. Finding qualified labor is very, very difficult. Our rates are up almost 20 percent more this year than we did last year for people.

People have told me about many things. One is: Don’t ever make the same mistake twice. Learn from your mistakes and move forward.

We have a belief here that a company is like a three-legged stool. On one leg you have your clients, on another leg you have your vendors which are critical because if you’re not getting good products at good value then you’re not conveying that on to your clients. So it’s employees, vendors and clients that hold up your business.

I think a company is made up of its people. Lawn mowers, assets, vehicles, trucks – that’s not what makes a business. What makes a business is quality people that are committed and passionate and get the support of upper management to do their jobs well.

The reason we grow our business is to provide greater opportunities for our employees. We do an awful lot of not just safety training, but training to provide them additional knowledge on their jobs, whatever phase of the business they’re in, whether it’s pest control or irrigation or accounting or clerical work. We focus a great deal of our efforts on training the folks and having them establish goals and strive to be better.

We grow the business because it’s the way we attract quality people. We can allow the folks that we have to reach new heights.