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Summer Growth Summit attendees at Drost's Mechanic Garage in Petoskey, Mich. (Photo: LM Staff)

Summer Growth Summit attendees at Drost’s Mechanic Garage in Petoskey, Mich. (Photo: LM Staff)

It’s an understatement to say that Drost Landscape in Petoskey, Mich., puts an emphasis on metrics. The operation tracks its revenue, gross profit margin, man-hours, billable hours, non-billable hours, throughput and key performance indicators (KPIs) of its team members and services.

Metrics was a reoccurring theme that attendees heard while at Jeffrey Scott’s Summer Growth Summit in Traverse City, Mich., where attendees got a chance to meet the staff and see Drost’s operations up close during a facility tour.

Owner Bob Drost and General Manager Dale Drier welcomed visitors to the operation. Staff representing marketing, design/build, human resources, installation, recruitment, Drost’s greenhouse and nursery, landscape services, tree services and more gave visitors the inside scoop on what makes Drost a successful organization.

Drost said when  Drier stepped into the role of general manager, that allowed him to pursue other avenues and spend more time with his family. Drier said this shift in priorities for Drost — from managing the day-to-day operations to a focus on business development — made an impact on the operation, and it’s something he wishes would have happened sooner. For the owners in the audience who were considering a management change, Drier advised, don’t wait.

“I couldn’t imagine where our company would be right now if we would have made the change when the company was $3 million or $4 million,” he said. “It would have allowed Bob to be more visionary.”

Dale Drier, general manager; Jeffrey Scott and Bob Drost, owner, welcome attendees to the operation's headquarters at Petoskey, Mich. (Photo: LM Staff)

Dale Drier, general manager; Jeffrey Scott and Bob Drost, owner, welcome attendees to the operation’s headquarters at Petoskey, Mich. (Photo: LM Staff)

Growth mindset

Brandon Jewett, landscape services manager for Drost, said a big focus for the operation is converting more of its design/build clients into maintenance clients. Jewett said 60 percent of Drost clients have two or more services, but he wants that number to grow. He encourages his team to understand client needs and to align those needs with the services Drost provides.

“We won’t get the sale if we don’t ask for it,” Jewett said.

For landscape services, revenue per man-hour is a major KPI. Jewett said understanding the revenue per man-hour allows his team to shift priorities.

“It allows you to make informed decisions about the services you provide,” Jewett said.

Drost team members (back from left) Jim VanAnterwerp, Dale Drier, Jake Bock, Bob Drost, Jason Porkka (front from left) Darlene Matelski, Brent Ward, Jason Zulski, Jenna Lindenberg and David Grossi. (Photo: LM Staff)

Drost team members (back from left) Jim VanAnterwerp, Dale Drier, Jake Bock, Bob Drost, Jason Porkka (front from left) Darlene Matelski, Brent Ward, Jason Zulski, Jenna Lindenberg and David Grossi. (Photo: LM Staff)

Communication focus

Communication is a huge focus at Drost. The company hosts bi-weekly meetings with the entire team to share performance updates, quizzes to engage the crowd and breakfast. Each department also hosts a weekly meeting where department heads review KPIs and goals. Drost’s leadership team — called the accountability group — also meets to update department managers about the ongoings of the company.

“It’s a lot of meetings, but it makes us communicate from top to bottom,” Brent Ward, design/build manager for Drost said.

Drost sets up one-on-one meetings with managers and employees to encourage engagement and personal development.

“Any time we’re improving them, we’re improving Drost itself,” Ward said.

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Christina Herrick

About the Author:

Christina Herrick is the editor of Landscape Management magazine. Known for her immersive approach to travel from coast to coast in her previous stint as senior editor of American Fruit Grower Magazine, she uses social media (Twitter/Instagram @EditorHerrick) to share her experiences on the road with her audience. Herrick has a degree in journalism from Ohio Northern University. She can be reached at cherrick@northcoastmedia.net.

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