Jeffrey Scott hosts Design-Build Growth Summit

September 4, 2019 -  By
Photo: Mitch Katz

Left to right, Matt Seiler, co-owner of Hidden Creek Landscaping; Brandon Lair, CEO of The Site Group; Jason Cromley, co-owner of Hidden Creek; Jeffrey Scott, owner of Jeffrey Scott consulting; Kevin McHale, owner of McHale Landscape Design. (Photo: Mitch Katz)

About 175 industry professionals gathered in Columbus, Ohio on Aug. 27-28 for Jeffrey Scott’s inaugural Design-Build Growth Summit.

The event, which was held over the course of two days, aimed to help landscaping companies grow their businesses by not only hearing from speakers including Scott, Kevin McHale, owner of McHale Landscape Design, and Brandon Lair, CEO of The Site Group, but also by seeing firsthand how a successful company runs its business.

During the first day of the event, attendees heard Scott give a talk on his seven rules for achieving high profit. He spoke about how doing things such as having a high-profit mindset, pricing work to win big and providing a branded experience can all help companies grow.

“You’re going to earn whatever it is you think you deserve,” he said. “Being a leader in this industry, you always have to have a positive outlook.”

Growth was among one of the many reasons people came from far and wide to attend the event. According to David Burton, landscape designer at DiStefano Landscaping in Jericho, Vt., the company attended the event because, “The owner really wants to grow the business side of the business.”

Trina Julian, owner of Country Girl Gardens in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, attended for much the same reason. “We are here to grow,” she said. 

Also on the first day, attendees heard from companies who have successfully achieved growth. Both Hidden Creek Landscaping, in Hilliard, Ohio, and McHale Landscape Design, headquartered in Upper Marlboro, Md., started out as small, two-man businesses that morphed into large, multimillion-dollar companies. These companies stood as proof that no matter how small, if a company employs the right growth mindset, it can achieve growth.

Photo: LM Staff

On day two of the event, attendees were given a tour of Hidden Creek Landscaping’s facility just outside of Columbus, Ohio. (Photo: LM Staff)

Hearing about the growth strategies and struggles of others was among one of the takeaways for James Arch, design/build manager at Vizmeg Landscape in Stow, Ohio.

“I’ve gone to a lot of events like this. It’s an affirmation that we are doing a lot of things the right way,” he said. “We are laser-focused on the 10 percent we’re doing poorly. You’re always looking to improve. If you stop that, that alternative is not good.”

On day two of the event, attendees were given the chance to tour the facility at Hidden Creek Landscaping. During the tour, various members of the company spoke about operations within the business, including finances, human resources, sales, marketing and workflow. The company tour gave visitors a chance to see what they could be doing differently, but also what they might be doing correctly.

Smooth processes are an important part of Hidden Creek’s business. For example, the company does design/build and also handles maintenance. According to Matt Seiler, co-owner of Hidden Creek, if projects start cleanly on the design/build site, finish cleanly and make a clean transition to maintenance, projects go much more smoothly.

Hiring the right employees is also important for Hidden Creek. Gail Reinhart, human resources and recruitment for the company, reminded attendees that they are professionals who happen to be in the landscaping business, and when looking for new employees, they should try to make that message clear. Among rules for employees: adherence to the company uniform and no tobacco use on company property or any job sites.

Getting a glimpse of how a successful landscaping company operates was beneficial for attendees.

“Nobody has a cure-all, but little bits of information can help solve problems or give a different perspective,” Arch said. “It’s really gathering info, and it’s really great to talk to people from different places. It’s really understanding what’s current and what are future trends. (The event) is worth the time commitment because it gets you out of the office and lets you focus on the business in a different way. You can go back with fresh eyes and ears.”

Clara Richter

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