Tapping technology, Pate Landscape maintains human touch

Pate-Landscape-logoWatching Pate Landscape Co.’s estimator, Gena Smith, cruising through preconstruction management software from iSqFt Inc., it’s difficult to picture the days before such technology existed.

Yet, like company founder Rick Pate, Smith knows it’s human relationships, not software programs, that make all the difference.

“It’s easy to find out about jobs,” she says, “but you want to be someone a (general) contractor wants to submit a proposal – someone they want to work with.”

Email exchanges are important, of course, but you need to pick up the phone and speak to your clients regularly, Smith says.

Landscapers have long known their best advertisement is the quality of their work. But, particularly among companies that focus, as Pate does, on large commercial jobs, producing attractive landscapes goes only so far.

“You stay in contact with general contractors,” Smith says, and over time they come to know that your business operates professionally on every level and doesn’t make promises it can’t keep.

“They realize you’re not only going to get the job done right,” she said, “you’re going to get it done on time and on budget.”

Cultivating long-term business relationships requires staying in touch, not just online communication.

“That’s how they get to know you – that your easy to work with,” she said.

For Pate Landscape Vice President Jason Walker, who has been with the company for 21 years, winning clients’ trust requires more than timely bids and pretty photographs of previous jobs.

It’s through offline communication, he says, that they pick up on Pate’s can-do attitude.

“There’s no project we can’t do,” Walker said. No matter what the insurance and bonding requirement, for example, “they know we can do it.

“In fact, the more difficult the job, the better fit we are.”

Like his boss, Walker credits much of the company’s success to its workers. They represent Pate Landscape well through their competence, to be sure, but also by their ability to solve problems and overcome obstacles.

“Our workforce has a lot to do with why clients see us as trustworthy,” he said.

The Attachments Idea Book
Landscapers use a variety of attachments for doing everything from snow removal to jobsite cleanup, and regardless of how often they are used, every landscaper has a favorite attachment.
Attachments Idea Book Cover