Grow with Grunder: Nearly 40 years in, we focus on these 4 areas

January 25, 2023 -  By


When I first started my business, I couldn’t even drive. I was using a tractor and pulling a trailer behind me to go house to house, mowing lawns. 

It’s hard to believe that 2024 marks our 40th year in business at Grunder Landscaping Co., and it’s unbelievable to me how far we’ve come since the early days. As we approach our 40th year, I’m sharing the most important lessons I’ve learned. They fall into four categories: platform, people, process and profits.


Nothing is more powerful than a clear vision, mission and core values. These are tools for identifying a common goal for your team, and they help you rally your team around that goal. Your core values are the beliefs and behaviors that must be present for your team to reach that goal. 

An effective platform needs to be enacted and not just espoused. You need to hire people who demonstrate core values and fire people who don’t. 

This was a hard lesson for me to learn. Especially in the years we struggled to stay fully staffed; it was easy to get complacent and retain team members who were “close enough.” 

By keeping someone who excelled in our core value of quality but fell flat on teamwork, we told our team that this behavior was OK. Our core values are important, so today we hire and fire based on all of them. 


It’s people who get things done, and a great team is the No. 1 ingredient the fastest-growing landscaping companies have in common. With people, I’ve learned that attitude is way more important than aptitude. 

I want team members who are curious, humble and who care. We can teach them all the landscaping skills they need if they’re willing to learn. The best team members understand that it’s all about the team, and they make everyone they work with better. 


Processes enable ordinary people to do extraordinary things. My business has grown tremendously in the past two years, and that growth has been possible because we found balance in processes. 

We used to have so many processes that it became paralyzing. We put some decision making back into the hands of our team, we have gotten rid of processes and removed steps from others. We still train our team on how we want work done and best practices for efficiency and quality standards, but we’ve greatly decentralized decision making. 


Profitability is NOT a dirty word, yet too many of us don’t talk about profits with our teams. Early in my career, I was protective of this information. I didn’t want my team to somehow use our profitability against me. 

But I learned if I don’t share the information, they assume if we do $2 million in work, $1.5 million of it is profit. When in reality, we may have $200,000 in profits. We now share profitability metrics with our team at GLC, but we also always frame it so they understand why the company’s profitability is important to them. 

Our teams work because they have their own financial goals. They want to take care of their families, buy a car, buy a house and better their lives. Profitability allows us to reinvest in the company and the team with new equipment, additional team members, raises and profit sharing or bonuses. Our team members will make more money and have more opportunities if we’re profitable. 

Grunder Landscaping Co. is still a work in progress, and we’re still learning and figuring things out, just like I know many of you are. I’m looking forward to the many years ahead and all my team and I will be able to accomplish in that time. My career has been quite the journey, and we’ve still got a lot of road ahead. 

At GROW! 2023 in San Antonio, Texas, on Feb. 28-March 2, I’ll share more about our mistakes and what I’ve learned in my keynote. We have a fantastic event planned. If you haven’t registered yet, what’s stopping you? Visit

Marty Grunder

About the Author:

Marty Grunder is president and CEO of Grunder Landscaping Co. and The Grow Group, based in Dayton, Ohio.

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