Signature solutions

October 1, 2010 -  By
Marsha Newberry

Photo: Marsha Newberry

Marsha Newberry, owner of Signature Contracting Services, LLC in Grand Prairie, TX, says she can’t pinpoint just one reason why the company has been so successful this year. “It’s the whole picture,” she says. “There are a multitude of reasons.”

The top two are diversification and customer loyalty. While she’s heard other companies tell prospective clients they “don’t do that type of work,” Newberry says Signature doesn’t like to say ‘No’ to future clients and have been diversified from the beginning in the type of services they offer their all-commercial base. That includes everything from mowing to erosion control and construction and street work. In terms of creating customer loyalty, she says it’s simple — they build great customer relationships from day one. “We have really deep customer relationships,” she says. “It’s mostly because we make them feel comfortable from the start. We have a conference room here with couches and big televisions where we hold meetings. Our clients always feel welcome. And, of course, we follow through with great work performance.”

This year, despite a down economy, Signature is projecting 18% growth. In some ways, Newberry says, the economic situation has actually helped her business, due to the type of work they do. In fact, while most landscape companies have no construction work going right now, that division has actually grown for Signature. “That’s mostly because of the large contracts we work on, which the Federal government has put money out for,” she explains, adding that Signature is a certified business. “We have certainly reaped the benefits on those types of jobs, and it’s also the type of work where you know you’re going to get paid since the government has laid the money out.”

While they’ve had a great year, Newberry says it wasn’t without challenges, and the economic situation did have some negative effect on the business in terms of cash flow. “Probably one of the largest challenges we face today is that the banking industry does not want to let go of money and that makes it difficult to get cash flow for big projects,” she says. “We’re a small company with many big projects, so that’s a real issue for us.”

As a result, Newberry says that she’s really started watching the company’s money a lot closer. “I will call clients before it gets to the 90-day period and discuss the payment with them,” she says. “Staying on top of your accounts receivable in a down economy is highly important. People who used to pay right away will wait the whole 90 days now. Being on top of that has helped us continue to succeed. Nobody is going to watch your own money as closely as you do.”

Despite some cash flow challenges, Newberry feels fortunate to be one of the few companies that did grow this year. “We definitely feel lucky,” she says. “And we’ll continue to work hard for another good year.”

LM Staff

About the Author:

Comments are currently closed.