At Majestic Lawn Care and Landscape, one call does it all
In addition to lawn maintenance services, Majestic also handles installation jobs ranging from landscapes to hardscapes to ponds.
PHOTOS COURTESY OF MAJESTIC LAWN CARE AND LANDSCAPE/MAUREEN PLAINFIELD.
Joe Holland’s first career was as a drummer in a touring band. After getting married in 1993, he says, “I realized I needed a real job.” That search brought him to the lawn and landscape industry, and over the past 18 years he found more than a job – he found a new career and built a company.
After briefly working for another landscape company, he purchased an existing lawn maintenance business and quickly began to expand the services Majestic Lawn Care and Landscape (www.majesticlawnandlandscape.com) offers. “Early on it was just lawn maintenance services,” Holland explains. “We were lucky enough to get in with a realtor and he gave us a lot of business maintaining foreclosed houses. That was a real break for us.” As the company began to expand its clientele, homeowners began to ask for more and more different services. Holland had once worked in the tree care business, so moving into that segment was a natural transition. “We started doing tree work almost from the beginning,” he says. Majestic Lawn and Landscape maintains some 350 lawns in and around Rockland County, N.Y., and also offers services ranging from landscape installation to hardscape construction to irrigation to snow removal and more.
Pond construction is another area the company specializes in. “We do elaborate pond installations,” Holland explains. Majestic recently completed one pond measuring 35 by 22 feet that was 4.5 feet deep. “The pond is large enough to support the lives of 150 fish the owner now has in it.”
Obviously, the size of the company has grown with the list of services it offers. What started as Holland and one other person has become a staff of more than 20 in the summer months, with two employees in the office and a dedicated mechanic. Each member of the crew has a specific area of focus, and that’s helped Majestic perform quality work in an efficient manner, says Holland.
By dividing crews into various specialties, the company as a whole is able to competently handle just about every aspect of lawn maintenance and landscaping. “One call does it all,” says Holland. “That’s how we’re marketing ourselves. We can come to your property, cut your trees down, remove or grind the stumps, install a landscape, hardscape or pond, and then maintain it for you. We can do the landscape design work, as well, and we have licensed chemical applicators, so we can do everything.”
Customers appreciate the fact that one company can provide all of these various services, which eliminates the need for them to research and locate various different contractors, Holland points out. “And, they only have to deal with me. If something is not right, it’s my fault. There’s nobody pointing fingers at each other blaming somebody else. We’ll be responsible for anything that goes wrong, and we’ll be responsible for fixing it. That means less stress on the homeowner,” he says.
That same strategy carries over into the internal management at Majestic Lawn Care and Landscape. Crews are divided up into different maintenance duties rather than having a general crew that does maintenance, mulching, spraying, etc. “We have three full-time lawn maintenance crews, and that’s all they do – the lawn maintenance. Then we have a crew for chemical applications,” explains Holland. “We do that so that there’s only one guy to turn to.” Having employees focus on specific tasks also results in a more uniform job, and the specialization leads to more efficient performances.
At Majestic, crews are divided up into different maintenance duties rather than having a general crew that does maintenance, mulching, spraying, etc. This leads to a better, more efficient job, says Owner Joe Holland.
Much of Holland’s own time is spent estimating new accounts for the company. “If a homeowner calls for an estimate on lawn maintenance, I don’t let them off the hook that easily. I give them an estimate for everything that I think needs to be done, or will need to be done, including ideas for landscape and tree care. I try to get them to take as much of the package as I can, so we can get their property looking good. In the long run, they’ll be happier that way,” he explains. “A lot of people jump on board with the whole program. Other people cross services off the list, and then call up later to ask why their lawn isn’t looking so good. We offer to reinstitute doing the things they had crossed off, and nine times out of 10 they say OK.”
Majestic Lawn Care and Landscape maintenance crews use Scag hydraulic walk-behind mowers and Great Dane riding mowers. “And I think we’re going to be moving into some John Deere mowers this year,” Holland adds. He says it’s paid off to have more mowers in the garage than are needed on a daily basis – that way if there’s a breakdown, the crews can quickly pick up another mower and get back to work. All trimmers, hedge trimmers and backpack blowers are from RedMax. “We’ve tried other brands, but these really seem to have the best staying power,” he says. The crews use Lesco aerators and about 20 Little Wonder 13 hp walk-behind blowers.
“We try to keep certain equipment types all the same. For example, we use all Ford trucks. That makes it easier with parts and maintenance,” says Holland. Majestic’s on-staff mechanic is responsible for all preventive maintenance and any repairs that are needed. “We’re very lucky to have him. He can fix a weed wacker, and he can also completely overhaul a diesel engine. He’s very talented.”
Majestic Lawn Care and Landscape has been beautifying properties in Rockland County, N.Y., for 18 years.
Most of the company’s lawn maintenance work is done within Rockland County, but Majestic will travel further for tree work and larger landscape construction projects. “A lot of times we get called to do lawn maintenance, and I’ll point other things out to them. For example, if they have a tree that’s dead and hanging over their house or a lot of stumps in their yard, I’ll ask them if they need those issues taken care of. Or if their rock wall needs to be repaired, we can take care of that, too. I’ll point these things out and at least offer our assistance.”
Holland points out that one advantage Majestic offers that many other lawn and landscape firms do not is a fully staffed office. “We have two employees in the office who are responsible for maintaining our relationships with customers,” he explains. That means if a customer – or potential customer – calls during the day, they get a live person on the other end of the phone rather than a voice mailbox. If a customer has a concern, the office staff can quickly respond by sending a crew over to address it. “I tell new customers who might have been unhappy with their prior maintenance company – or our industry in general – that if they come on board with us they’ll be able to talk with someone anytime during the day. They won’t just get a machine and then have to hope that they get a call back at night.”
Holland speaks with a real sense of conviction when it comes to pricing work in the lawn and landscape business. “I’m not a low-ball bidder,” he explains. “I’m usually in the middle to upper end.” Those that submit low bids for work often are under-pricing the job, hurting their own chances of success, as well as the industry as a whole.
Currently, Majestic’s lawn maintenance work is about 85 percent residential and 15 percent commercial (cemeteries, corporate office parks, strip malls, etc.). Holland says that commercial work presents less stress and scheduling challenges. At the moment, though, he’s targeting the high-end residential market. Part of the company’s marketing is in the form of its enclosed trailers, which are visible throughout the county. And, a polished, professional-looking website has really helped with bringing in new customers. “We’ve stepped up our marketing in the past year,” states Holland. “We’re already pretty well-known, but we’re trying to get our name out there even more. We have been in business for 18 years – we are not a fly-by-night company. We are in it for the long haul, always looking to improve our services and client satisfaction. We want to be the company that people think of first when they need quality landscaping or maintenance work done at their home.”
Patrick White is a freelance writer and editor who has covered every aspect of the green industry in the past 15 years. He is based in Middlesex, Vt., and is always on the lookout for unusual stories.