Bob Wilton started the property maintenance giant in 1973 as a small weed control service, adding grass-cutting and landscaping a couple of years later. In the early 1980s, when he wanted to grow his business through franchising, people thought he was crazy. He did it anyway, and now sits at the helm of one of the largest landscape management companies in North America, with Error! Hyperlink reference not valid. in operation from coast to coast: from New Brunswick to British Columbia and New Jersey to Florida.
"It was an unconventional move, using franchise marketing to build a landscape management business," Wilton says. "But I knew that entrepreneurs would see the value in being part of a professional organization with a lot of experience and an established reputation with very large customers. They did, and they still do. We’re still growing that way, adding new owners in new cities."
Recent additions to the Clintar network are in Calgary, Alberta, and in Vancouver, British Columbia. Vancouver operations have been underway since January and the Calgary franchise started up in early May.
"Our success, getting to 40 years, moving into the future with pride-it’s all based on having franchisees who commit to the business with a full tank of gas," Wilton says. "We’re not selling service, we’re selling relationships. Combine this with a system of strict, proven, company-wide guidelines; this is how we outperform."
Clintar provides year-round care and maintenance for customers with large outdoor spaces, such as property management companies, corporations, hospitals, large retailers, and home owner associations. Services include landscape design and construction, landscape maintenance, irrigation systems, litter pick-up, parking lot cleaning, line-painting, and snow and ice control.
Steady growth took Clintar to $10 million in sales for the first time in 1999; today its annual sales sit at more than $50 million.
In 2013, to celebrate its 40th anniversary, Clintar is using the slogan, "Green since 1973," a nod to the organization’s familiar green vehicles, uniforms, and overall branding, but also to its commitment to protecting the environment.
"What it means to be ‘green’ has evolved over the years and it continues to evolve," Wilton says. "Our work is the environment. Of course we have to reduce our impact on the environment as we beautify it. We take only essential trips, and we continue to update our fleets and use new technologies that can improve fuel efficiency and reduce emissions."
Wilton says Clintar’s horticultural methods reduce the need for fertilizers and pesticides, and they recycle – not only organics like shrub clippings, but also soil, concrete, and asphalt. In winter, they use less de-icer by controlling application of a quality product. The company is also involved in research to study de-icing materials that will keep properties safe while reducing the use of chlorides.
"Our customers know as well as I do that a parking lot is more than a parking lot, and a flower bed is more than a flower bed," Wilton says. "What we do includes creating positive first impressions, extending a company’s good reputation to the outside, helping their marketing dollars work, and improving morale for the people who live, work, or visit there. The most important thing we do is help to keep a property safe, whether it’s clear markings in a parking lot or sidewalks that are free of ice. It’s all just good business."
For more information about Clintar Landscape Management, visit clintar.com.