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5 Questions: Monty Theiss

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(Photo: hhphoto.com)
(Photo: hhphoto.com)
Photo: hhphoto.com
(Photo: hhphoto.com)

Monty Theiss

Owner and President, Theiss Landscape Works, Hockley, Texas

1.  What would you like me to know about Theiss Landscape Works? 

We are a family-owned and operated business. My dad started our company in 1968, so we’ve been around for a long time. In 1999, my dad decided to retire. My brothers and I took over the company. And then in 2004, I bought them out. Now I’m the owner. Randy, my younger brother, still works here. We’ve done a little bit of everything over the years. Most recently, I’d say within the past eight or 10 years, we’ve strictly done design/build. Anything to do with landscaping and outdoor living spaces, we pretty much have designed and built it.

2.  What is a ‘hell yes!’ customer? 

We learned of this type of customer through working with (consulting firm) Ramblin Jackson. All customers are good customers, but a ‘hell yes!’ customer is the best fit for our company — in terms of our service area, the size of the project and the type of project. It is more profitable working with a ‘hell yes!’ customer. We’ve learned to target our marketing to that customer. We’ve designed our website for that customer. And we prequalify through our website and some other efforts. For example, we have started charging for consultations. That helps us make sure the person we’re dealing with is serious about hiring a landscaper.

3.  What trends are you seeing with your customers there in the Houston area?  

Hardscapes, backyard renovations and additions to outdoor living spaces tend to be something that is becoming more important. The landscaping around here has been destroyed twice in about three years by the freezes we’ve had. So, now, everyone wants hardier plants that will make it through our winter — if we do have a hard winter. Some of the plants we normally would’ve used five years ago aren’t as popular anymore. So as far as plants go, that’s one thing we’re seeing. We’re seeing people spending more time in their backyards. They definitely don’t want to spend a lot of time working in their backyard. They want to spend their time enjoying it. So, low-maintenance landscapes are another trend.

4.  What is your favorite tool to get the job done?  

Our mini skid-steer. It’s a Vermeer. We have the largest compact track loader they make. We can pick up a pallet of grass, which means a lot to be able to move something like that around. It is very powerful and there are a lot of things we can do with it that we can’t do with the smaller ones. 

5.  Do you have a family? 

My dad owned 76 acres. Over the years, he’s sold two acres here and there. I bought 13 acres from him. The 13 acres I bought from him are where we have our office. One of my daughters and her husband and their four children live here on the property. My son and his wife and two children also live on the property. My parents still live on their 45 acres. My sister and my brother and their families all live here. My niece and her family live here. My aunt lives here. So, we’re one big family. I can say that I’ve lived on the same piece of property since I was 3 years old and I’m 57 now.

Photo: Seth Jones

Seth Jones

Seth Jones is is editor-in-chief of Landscape Management, Golfdom and Athletic Turf magazines. A graduate of Kansas University’s William Allen White School of Journalism and Mass Communications, Seth was voted best columnist in the industry in 2014 and 2018 by the Turf & Ornamental Communicators Association. He has more than 23 years of experience in the golf and turf industries and has traveled the world seeking great stories.

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