Good people

Good people

Kevin Smith, vice president of operations at Ferrandino & Son explains why your employees are the key to success.

There’s a first time for everything – the first sale, the first expansion, the first mistake and maybe even the first award. To help gain insight into the successes and lessons learned by successful business owners, every month Lawn & Landscape will talk to companies who have surpassed those milestones and have become some of the newest members of the Top 100 List.


What does being a Top 100 company mean to you?
From a market perspective, it provides a lot of credibility for our clients. Most of our services are offered across the entire country versus a regional solution, so it shows our clients that we are one of the larger companies out there.

What has changed most about your company as it has grown?

We started out like a lot of companies by providing local and regionalized solutions to clients. As our clients grew, we grew with them. So starting out as a small, localized company and now being one of the largest national landscaping companies has certainly been the biggest change.

Did you plan to grow your company this big?
I don’t think we necessarily have a plan of where we want to be in three years or five years. I think we’re growing where the opportunities present themselves, where they make sense for us as a company. I don’t think we have any specific revenue numbers of where we want to be, it’s just what works for us and our clients.

How do you avoid complacency?
With the growth we experience, there’s no time for complacency.

For us, we’re always pursuing new opportunities with clients, especially as a national solution.

It’s different for a company that has a single client. Our clients are the top 20 retailers, banks and restaurant chains, and there are always significant growth opportunities with them, so there’s never really a time to allow yourself to grow complacent.

Is there any aspect of your company that you’d like to change?
No, I think we’re in a really well-positioned in this market.

Being a national provider for exterior services plus facility maintenance gives us a diverse set of services to provide to our clients.

So if something is not a great fit, a lot of times there’s another service or another market that is a great fit, so that makes us very dynamic to our clients.

To what do you attribute your success and growth?
It’s good people. We have a fantastic management team here. A lot of our senior managers have done this on a national basis for 10 years plus, so it provides that credibility when we work with multi-billion dollar potential clients.

What mistake have you learned from the most in your career?
I think the biggest thing we know to avoid is taking on opportunities that you know aren’t a good fit. Don’t be afraid to say no to a client on an opportunity – be it price related, or geographically related or service type. If we can’t deliver a successful program that is sustainable, then we’re willing to say no.

What advice would you give to other companies trying to grow their businesses?
It’s about their people. Put the right people in place that are familiar with the marketplace and services.

It’s great to develop from within, and I think that’s a big key to being successful, but having great people in critical positions will help drive that growth while you build the infrastructure underneath.