Landscaper counts time with family as key to success

Updated Mar 5, 2019
By making sure that a customer is pleased at the end of the project means possible repeat business and good word of mouth. Photo: Jill OdomBy making sure that a customer is pleased at the end of the project means possible repeat business and good word of mouth.
Photo: Jill Odom

PROSCAPE Inc. has been in business since 2003 and owner Austin Marcum is always looking for new ways to grow his company.

What started out as one man doing landscape maintenance has transformed into a team of eight employees who excel at doing design/build work for intermediate to high-end residential homes.

Marcum didn’t become successful overnight, and he had to learn a lot while on the job. Looking back over those years, here are his five keys to success:

Spend time with family

While it may sound a little odd – after all, if you’re with your family, you’re not at work – Marcum sees quality time with family as a way to stay happy and motivated.

“I don’t have that many hobbies, but you get support from your family,” he says.

Customer satisfaction

Since almost all of PROSCAPE’s business comes from word of mouth alone, it is crucial that customers be wholly satisfied with a project. That way, Marcum says, they’re likely to be repeat clients and more likely to spread the word about the quality of his company’s work.

“(Customer satisfactions means) doing what you say you’re going to do and doing it how you say you’re going to do it,” Marcum says.

Experienced and motivated workers

Finding skilled landscape workers can be a struggle, but once you do find them, it is important to keep them. By keeping the same employees, the same quality of work can be assured and their experience will only grow with each new project.

“Pay them well,” Marcum says. “Respect them.”

Networking matters

Networking with suppliers and people in your trade allows ideas and better ways of accomplishing things to be shared. Even though the landscaping business is competitive, Marcum likes to stay in touch with his colleagues.

“There’s enough work out there for everybody and I’m not going to let a project ruin a relationship,” he says. “They’re people just like you and they have families, so there’s no need to talk down about anybody or talk bad about someone.”

Equipment worth owning

With rare exceptions, Marcum’s company owns every piece of equipment it needs to get the job done. He only rents when it is an item they rarely use for projects.

“Buy the right piece of equipment that will get the job done right,” he says. “Don’t get cheap on a piece of equipment because that’s what you’re going to rely on.”

Along with not getting cheap on equipment, Marcum also ensures his machinery will run for as long as possible by sticking to regularly scheduled and preventive maintenance.

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