Ditch Witch Adds New PowerHouse XD Case
Here’s a look back at how Custom Landscaping handled this earlier this season.
Frank Leloia Jr. says he thinks his business, Custom Landscaping and Lawn Care, in East Brunswick, NJ, is improving.
Since the team’s first meeting with the Harvesters in December 2019, Leloia says they’ve already made a number of changes.
“The biggest factor we’ve worked on so far has been HR issues,” he says. “Harvester Steve (Cesare) worked with our operations manager, Syril, to make sure we are fully compliant. “
Leloia says the company did a full I-9 audit, reviewed EPLI insurance, and restructured the company manual.
The company has also been hiring recently, which will help streamline operations and allow the company to better delegate tasks.
“We hired an operations manager just for the maintenance of our residential lawns,” explains Leloia. “This went hand in hand with our more internal organizational strategy. We believe it will make us stronger. Our retention and recruitment are expected to increase.
Before the new hire, three employees contributed to the direction of the department.
“Now with leasing we are more streamlined. We have essentially de-cluttered our organization chart, ”says Leloia.
Along with the behind-the-scenes upgrades, Custom Landscaping focused on growing its business customer base.
“We’re chasing business accounts,” he says. “We are very proud to say that we just got our sixth new business account. I think we should increase revenue by half a million dollars per contract.
“We’ve had a lot of talk with (the Reapers) about how we can put together better sales presentations,” he adds, “so that when we meet business customers we want to be able to impress them and we ahead of the competition. “
To improve their presentations, the company organized sales pitch simulations.
“Now we’re faster on our feet,” Leloia says. “We also prepared more and we don’t just do estimates anymore. We are more transparent in our contracts and we are also considering incorporating unique video presentations. “
One of the targets set by the Harvesters was for Custom to have a 50-50 mix of residential and commercial accounts by 2022.
“Obviously it takes work, but the main thing they taught us is to have a target and identify what we want. At this point we were able to focus on what we wanted and go get it. “
Leloia says that in order to arrive at the 50-50 split, Bill and Ed urged Custom Landscaping to review its residential accounts and eliminate the unprofitable ones.
“They wanted us to reduce our residential accounts a bit,” he says. “We did not reduce as much as they would have liked, but we trimmed the edges of our less dense areas in order to make our most dense areas profitable.
The pickers’ point of view.
Frank and his team are pursuing more commercial work and stabilizing their residential work, as we agreed during our initial visit to Harvester. This will require a significant change in their mindset and in what has been done here for several decades…. Frank is in full swing.
In order to take advantage of this market, it will take some fine tuning, changes and key actions to be successful, here are some key points:
- • Editing unwanted residential work: This will require a review and classification of accounts as well as professional termination notices.
- • Keep the residential caretaker: The main objective here will be to keep a dense road location to better serve the customer and be most efficient.
• Learn to say no: Set up very clear selection criteria and know how to say no for residential and commercial work.
• Build proposals that kill: Build a proposal format that is more relational and less transactional and deals with solving their issues versus selling and telling them how awesome we are…
• Estimate: Set up a more formal estimation process using the harvester triangulation method: Crew hours per visit – Hours per task – Production method – Compare to similar jobs
• Recruitment and Business Developer: Stay in the hunt full time with a business developer who hires full time to sell commercial work.
It all starts with the leader of each organization. Frank is doing very well and understands the importance of having a better balance between types of markets. Change is difficult, especially if a business has been doing it one way for a long time. Frank has surrounded himself with great people and it’s always a good start on the road to success.
Next, we want to share how Frank hired a top CFO at the most reasonable cost.
Frank Leloia and the Custom Landscaping and Lawn Care team retreat from the trenches.
The coronavirus pandemic has hit the New Jersey-based company hard as several employees contracted the virus.
“It was really difficult,” says Leloia. “We had 19 cases of the virus. Of those 19 people, only five had symptoms. “
Leloia says so many workers have fallen ill despite the company’s adherence to guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“We make sure that trucks, machinery and equipment are disinfected daily. We have shifted the start times, we wear masks and gloves, ”he says. “We have started to take the temperature; however, in our 19 cases, no one had a fever.
Leloia estimates that around 75% of the business has been tested for COVID-19.
Leloia says having so many employees outside made it difficult to keep track of the workload.
“It presented a lot of challenges, but we were able to overcome them,” he says. “We work seven days a week and 80 hours a week.
Even through it all, Leloia says Custom Landscaping and Lawn Care hasn’t had an increase in cancellations, but not a lot of new work either.
“The interview is still flourishing,” he says. “We don’t see the bigger and more expensive jobs happening as we expected, but we have managed to keep pace. “
Leloia and the Harvesters were also working to improve human resources.
“Our whole focus in terms of human resources has been to keep track of the virus, what to do if someone isn’t feeling well, how long to keep them away and that sort of thing,” he says. he.
Leloia says he hopes things continue to improve.
“We try to figure it out as we go along, like everyone else,” he says. “We have to make sure that the job is done and that it is as safe as possible for the employees as well as for our customers. I would like to think, with optimism, that the worst is over.
Capture of the Harvesters.
As you can imagine (the COVID-19 cases) have tipped his operation into free fall. Not only did he lose the 12 crew members, but also those who worked with them. At one point, 40% of its operations were closed. The result: all in his company rallied. They worked 12 hour shifts seven days a week to look after their customers. At the beginning of May, these infected employees return to work. None have been hospitalized and they are all doing well.
Sales are up from last year. Sales of larger upgrades are down, but overall they are having a good fiscal year.
Frank has indicated that they have received their PPP money, but he is wary if he will actually be able to keep it.
As for the future, the next 90 days are shaping up to be better and better every day. So far, there doesn’t appear to be any long-term effects until the fall.
Looks like customer lawn care is doing well despite their setbacks. In fact, they are looking for a business developer who can help develop their business department in the future.