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People, Processes, Products, Price

November 5, 2020

In this episode of the Green Industry Perspectives Podcast, Ty Deemer welcomes Jeremy Talboy and Ryan Mosier to the show! Jeremy is the owner and Ryan is the operations manager of North Georgia Landscape Management. Jeremey and Ryan share how they have become a  top 25 commercial landscape company in the competitive market that is Atlanta, Georgia. They dive into the instrumental hires that have taken their business to the next level, and how they are planning to go towards smart growth into 2021.

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On this episode, you’ll learn:

  • How NGLM prioritizes customers in every interaction.
  • The importance of hiring the right people.
  • Ryan’s approach to being an operations manager
  • What planning for 2021 looks like for NGLM.

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Full Transcript:

Ty Deemer:

You are listening to The Green Industry Perspectives podcast, presented by SingleOps, a podcast created for green industry professionals looking for best practices, tactics and tips on running their tree care or landscape business. 

All right, everyone. Welcome back to Green Industry Perspectives. I’m really excited to have Jeremy Talboy and Ryan Mosier on to the show today. They both work for North Georgia Landscape Management. Guys, welcome to the show. 

Ryan Mosier:

Thanks so much for having us. 

Ty Deemer:

Yeah, absolutely. So, like every episode, we always like to ask our guests the same question to provide some immediate value for the audience. Guys, in y’all’s experience, what have been the top three things that you can say have made North Georgia Landscape Management a successful business? 

Ryan Mosier:

Yeah, no, it’s a great question. I think Jeremy who’s our owner and myself as the director of operations, our biggest thing is customer service. We are in the industry of making sure if it’s a customer’s home to an HOA or to a commercial bank, it’s something that you’re going to see on a daily basis. So, we really pride ourselves on the customer service side no matter if you spend $300 a month with us or $1,000 a month or $10,000 a month. We have customers and everything in between. We treat them the same way. My father always told me treat everybody the way that you treat your mom and you can never go wrong. So, I really do take that to heart. I really pride myself on my customer service and making sure that whatever that customer may need, we make sure that that’s taken care of for them. 

Ty Deemer:

Yeah, that’s a great point. I think any time you’re working in this industry, if you’re keeping your end customer in mind, it’s best way to start. That’s for sure. I’m sure we’ll touch on a few things as we go throughout. But just so the audience knows, y’all’s background, the services your business offers, can y’all just provide a little insight into how you both got involved at North Georgia Landscape? How you got involved in the landscaping industry? 

Jeremy Talboy:

Yeah, sure. So, I started the company actually when I was in college, my last year college. I was a history major. I was going to be a teacher and a baseball coach and I kind of sat in the back of the class. At the time, Shark Tank was kind of new on TV and I watched a lot of Shark Tank. So, I wanted to be an entrepreneur all of a sudden. So, I kind of put being a history teacher and a baseball coach on the back burner and I gave it a shot and I sat in my class and kind of tried to figure out what the easiest thing would be to learn so I could create a company because I had very limited experience outside of being a history major. So, I came up with landscaping. I figured it was the easiest to learn. I could learn quick and grow a company. So, I started in 2010 and I started at the worst time to start a company in the middle of the recession. Gas was four dollars, four dollars and fifty cents a gallon. Fortunately for me, I made a relationship with a bank and a real estate company who specialized in foreclosures. So, I got a whole group of foreclosed homes, distressed properties all in one big contract and that allowed me to gain all the experience not only cutting grass and chemicals and stuff like that but how to actually run the business, how to make logistical routes and how to account for everything, how to invoice, how to record transactions, customer service, everything. So, that’s kind of how I started. I started off cutting grass and then we started doing residential grass. 

And about 2015, I believe I met Ed Szczesniak, he had a company called Georgian Landscape Design. I decided to start branching out into install design and install work instead of just doing maintenance. And I met him, we worked together for a little while we kind of partnered up. We made a really good team. He was really good at design and landscape and I was good at running the business and the marketing aspect of everything. So, we kind of partnered up in 2015, North Georgia Landscape Management and Georgian Landscape Design as two separate companies as a partnership. And this past I guess December, I actually purchased Georgian landscape design from him. So, now we’re kind of the same. I own both companies. Instead of being a partnership, I kind of absorbed them. But the thing that really allowed me to do that was the fact that I was able to hire people and talented quality people. In 2017, we hired another designer Philip Tucker. He’s in the office next door. Fantastic designer. And he came in and he really mastered his craft. He’s a senior designer now and he kills it. And he allowed us to expand and grow and this past year, we hired Ryan to be our operations manager. Another awesomely talented dude. He handles all the stuff that I can’t handle and ever since he came along, it’s unbelievable the amount of growth that we’ve had this past year even with a pandemic. So, that’s kind of our back story of a real quick where we started and how we got here. 

Ty Deemer:

Yeah, absolutely. The reason we like to start off with that question is for people that are listening, if they can hear you give your background and the services you offer to have an idea of like oh, I can relate to that because a lot of people do have similar journeys in the industry. They might not have always dreamed of being a landscaper but they saw an opportunity. 

Jeremy Talboy:

And that’s what happened to me. I didn’t grow up thinking I was going to be a landscaper. I was going to be a professional baseball player my whole life. In my last year of school, I’m like all right, well, I’m not getting drafted so I’ll be a teacher. But I wanted to build something, create something that I could put my heart and soul into and with unlimited upside, a lot of risk up front but the sky’s the limit. So, that’s what I wanted to do and I always had a degree to fall back on. I can always go back and be a teacher and coach high school kids in baseball. But why not give it a shot first, right? So, that’s exactly the same story that I have. 

Ty Deemer:

Yeah, absolutely. And it sounded like you had kind of that entrepreneurial bug in you and that’s definitely to me what I’ve seen as a key theme across the industry. Lots of people like you that are willing to own their own business, a lot of it just goes back to having the bug for it. That’s awesome. Just so, a follow-up question kind of on the background of your business, I know you’ve mentioned kind of some of the residential services you offer but also working with HOAs. Just so we can have a better picture of the different services y’all offer, what all do you offer to the Atlanta area? If you could go into kind of just a quick hit list of all the stuff y’all do? 

Jeremy Talboy:

Yeah. So, we’re a full-blown design maintenance and installation company. So, we offer mowing for residential and commercial properties, mowing which includes weed eating, edging, blowing, your normal basic maintenance. We do have an own in-house irrigation and lighting specialist. So, we are able to design, install and maintain any types of irrigation if that’s residential, commercial, anything along those lines. We also do the installation part of hardscapes, hardscapes and softscapes. So, hardscapes would be included in patios, retaining walls. We work with local GCs if we need to permit. We can do large scale retaining walls or we can do just a homeowner’s retaining wall for their backyard. We do plant installation. We do full-blown designs through our designers who actually take the time out and actually draw a plan out for us to give to that customer. So, everything, anything really to do in the exterior of the home, we’re going to be able to handle. So, if it’s adding existing hardscapes to an existing patio or completely redesigning something, we can do that as well. 

Ty Deemer:

Yeah, awesome. Yeah. That’s all great information to hear. Yeah. So, we can start talking about a little bit more in-depth topics now. I’d love to start kind of, Jeremy, where you left off, you’ve made a point that a lot of your company’s growth has gone back to the people you’ve brought in. So, that’s something, workforce people, that’s always a huge part of landscaping and tree care businesses and it’s priority number one. But the hiring pool or the talent pool out there, some would say that’s like the biggest struggle in this industry is finding good talent to bring into your company. What is North Georgia Landscape Management’s approach to hiring and how have you been able to go out and hire people that have really made a huge impact on your business? 

Jeremy Talboy:

Sure, sure. Well, to be honest, I got really lucky. It all starts from the top down essentially and Philip came to us. Philip was our first big good hire and he came to us highly recommended from the local community college horticulture program. Ed Szczesniak, the guy that started Georgian Landscape Design, that’s where he went and he had a relationship with that professor. And that professor was teaching Philip and I guess just felt the need to reach out to Ed and say hey, if you ever want to grow and you want to hire some people, this guy would be a great candidate. So, he kind of fell into our lap. And then our second biggest hire was Ryan obviously. You’ve talked to him a little bit. You can see he’s great at customer service. He knows what he’s doing. He came to us. Like he showed up at our door one day and came in and said look, I was in the landscape industry for several years. I know what I’m doing. I’m customer service. I’m a manager and I’m currently working at a roofing company and I want to get back in the landscape. I didn’t have anything for him at the time and we stayed in touch for about a year, year and a half, something like that. And I kept promising him, hey, when I’m at that point, when I can expand and make a position for you, I’d be glad to have you. And eventually, I took the risk and that’s the one thing that I like to stress to people is you have to take the risk. I could have taken the risk and hired him earlier even though I didn’t have the money, I didn’t have the amount of work for him but he is a special talent. He brings the work to us and he pays for himself essentially. So, he’s a low-risk risk. You know what I mean? 

Ty Deemer:

Absolutely. 

Jeremy Talboy:

So, if I could go back, I wish I could have just took him on day one. But to answer your question, those two hires, I got lucky. They fell in my lap. They came to me. As far as crew goes, I like to, believe it or not, we’ve gone through a lot of crew. So, when we find somebody good, a good crew leader, a couple things. We pay them well. We pay them when we say we’re going to pay them. Apparently, a lot of landscape companies and tradesmen, they don’t always get paid when they’re when they’re promised to get paid because jobs haven’t paid or whatever. But we pay them well, we pay them on time and then when we find that good person, we essentially let them staff their crew which may sound weird but it really works out. If you need another two guys for your crew, go find them and bring them to me and we will interview them because I know that you guys have picked those people for a reason. And then we kind of give them I guess you would call them like a finder’s fee, a bounty or whatever, a little bonus for bringing us quality people. A lot of times when you have a lot of people that work together that aren’t, they have no chemistry. They don’t mesh. They complain about each other and they don’t get along. And this way, you know that they’re bringing you people that check those boxes and they can work well together. So, when we find good people, we take care of them and we cater to their needs. If they say they need something, we tell them to go get it. 

Ty Deemer:

No, I love all of that. There’s a lot to unpack there. I love the program of kind of a referral program for your crews because that’s such a good idea. Because if you have a crew lead that and trust and you know is going to do a good job and that’s reliable and you give them the opportunity to surround themselves with people that they want to work with, it’s two birds with one stone. It’s the idea like you’re going to keep that person happy because you’re allowing them to work with the people you want and it is hard to find good crew members. So, if they’re like going out and doing that for you, that’s awesome. And then to your point about kind of your two bigger hires and being lucky, I still think that’s a great lesson for other business owners like you that are owning landscape and tree care companies because now they know that they can go to the local community college or the local trade school and talk to professors and build a relationship there. Because while it did end up being lucky for you, I’m sure there are other people out there that are looking for jobs and professors that would be happy to refer people. That’s a great example.

Jeremy Talboy:

Sure. And they have job boards. They have job boards and little job fairs that you can attend. I did not find that out until after Phil came to us. But again, I was super lucky that he was referred to us. But yeah, there’s resources out there. Whoever has a horticulture program, if you’re looking to expand and hire designers, they have programs and if you go, you can put your company information into the professor’s ear and on the job board. They have a physical job board and then they have an online resource too. So, if that’s something that somebody wants to branch out into and staff somewhere down the line, that would be a good start. I’ll say it again. I was very lucky these two yeah came to me. So, I’m blessed I can’t say enough about it. 

Ty Deemer:

Absolutely. So, that’s a good segue. Ryan, I’d love to kind of go a level deeper into your role in the business. 

Ryan Mosier:

Yeah. 

Ty Deemer:

What does it look like every day for you to be a head of operations? What all do you own? And then if you were talking to someone like Jeremy that was trying to decide hey, should I take that risk of bringing on a head of operations, kind of sell the role to them and how you like, basically give him the pitch that you gave when you walked in the door a few years ago. 

Ryan Mosier:

Yeah. I didn’t think I was going to have to interview again today but we’ll make it happen for you guys. So, the day-to-day operations are mine as I typically I’m up. I’m an early riser. I like to get my day kind of going early. I do have three small children at home. I have a baby. So, she kind of gets me up early. So, I get to kind of spend a little time with her. But typically, it’s communicating with the guys. Some days I’m in the office early when the crew is here. I haven’t had to do that. So, much now because I’ve been able to kind of train those guys and they have accountability and things of that nature. But typically, if I do come into the office, it’s responding to emails. I am real big on if an email came in the night before, I try to get that within six hours. Obviously, if it comes in at 10 o’clock at night, I’m not going to wake up at 3:00 A.M. But it kind of gives you an idea. Six hours is kind of my window. So, I will come in, respond to all my emails, kind of look at my schedule for that day. I will look and say okay, well, I have a meeting with Reserves at Decatur at ten o’clock this morning and then I have one at 11 30 in Duluth. Okay. Well, let me think to myself what properties do I already have in those areas, right? I’m already going to Decatur. What property can I swing by, hence back to the customer service side, just swing by and just make a stop and go into the office, talk to the gals and say hey, look, I’m on my way to a meeting, I just want to stop by and see how you guys are doing. Sometimes it’s bringing them coffee. Sometimes it’s bringing them a gift card or something because really without these property managers or slash homeowners, I wouldn’t have a job. So, throughout the day, 

I’m constantly reaching out to my potential customers, following up. Follow-up, I don’t know if you’re familiar with a follow-up. That’s kind of a running joke we have here in the office. Are you familiar with the follow up? And really on that side of it is that’s customer service. I know I keep saying customer service, customer service. But at the end of the day, we are not in the land care business or our lawn care. We are in the customer service business. Between our office here in Duluth and where you guys are located in Buckhead, there’s probably realistically, probably 50 landscape companies, realistically. What sets us apart from Bob’s Lawn Care or The Russell’s or The Valley or those big companies? Really it’s that customer service. Are my guys going to cut grass any better than the other crew? No, probably not. But when they call me or they send me a message, they get an instant response even if it’s hey look, I’m out of the office. I’m at the World Series yesterday. I got an email and it was hey, I’m out of town, I’ll get back to you on Friday. They love that. So, as an operations guy, your roles are I’m not just on the maintenance side, I help with the installation side. I am the owner’s right hand. If he needs something in the sense of going to a meeting for him or anything along those lines, that’s my job. 

I’m a policies and procedures kind of guy, right? I like to set those expectations. Hey, guys, look, you wear khaki pants and this color shirt and you’re here at six o’clock in the morning and I hold them accountable for that. And I understand things happen but if you can have your employees, I call them my teammates. I’m a big sports guy. So, all these guys, I’m not their boss, I’m their teammate, right? I’m a coach. I’m not here to the drive home mistakes. I’m here to be on your team. I would be more than happy to jump in a truck if I need to and help go mow grass for the day .Some days I wish I could do that more often than not. So, it’s one of those things. So, on the operation side is, operations, when you’re dealing with a lot of, you have to have good time management and you have to be detail-oriented. So, any of those potential people that are trying to become operations, now I don’t really come from an operations background. My background’s totally different but it kind of goes back to that customer service side of it in regards of if you can take care of the people that work for you and your customers, everything else will fall into place. 

Ty Deemer:

Yeah, I love that. For someone, whether it be another operations manager or another business owner out there, you mentioned ways to really kind of go the extra mile with your customers and the follow-up, the check in with coffee. Like what are some other ways that if you have been able to really make sure your customers know that they’re top of mind? 

Ryan Mosier:

I come from a kind of a law enforcement family slash background. My father always told me a man only has his handshake and his word, right? At the end of the day, if you say you’re going to do something for a customer or a friend or a family member, you do it no matter what, whatever it costs you or however you may not be feeling well or whatever that case may be. If you say you’re going to do something, do it. And I think that’s what my customers see. If I tell them, Tina over at Reserve, hey, listen, I will be there on Thursday at 11:30 to do our walk-through, by all means, I’m going to be there. And if I can’t be there, I’m going to make sure that either Jeremy or one of my other teammates is able to be there for me. That’s really what sets us apart and that’s why we’ve made top 25 in Atlanta this year. So, we’re proud of that. We didn’t get there just by sitting back and hanging out and doing nothing. It’s taken a lot of hard work. This is still my first year. I’m excited to see if I can—my goal is to crack the top 20 next year. We made top 25 so we have a goal in mind and customer service, customer service. Nothing brings me more excitement than when I see a review from a customer and they mention me by name for the entire world to see. So, it doesn’t matter, a new potential customer, they’re probably going to look at your reviews before they contact you. Nowadays with social media and stuff like that, they’re going to do their research before you even come out there. So, when they see my name on our reviews and there’s quite a few of them and then I go out, then I meet them, Ryan Mosier, it’s not a very common name so they’re going to say okay, well, we know who this is. We know what kind of customer service we’re going to get. 

Ty Deemer:

Yeah, that’s awesome. And it’s a great segue to kind of the next topic I wanted to talk. You mentioned being named a top 25 commercial landscape company in Atlanta. You both sent me over some stats that you’ve won over 75 awards around the Atlanta market as well as nationally. You’re growing a hundred percent year over year for the last three years. Give me like what you both believe are the two to three things that have allowed you to achieve that growth and that success. I know we’ve touched on customer service. But are there some more like systems or operations measures that you all have done to make sure you can scale the business? 

Ryan Mosier:

So, I’ll speak on one of them and I’ll let Jeremy speak on one. So, when I came here, we have a system called Jobber. This is going to sound kind of weird but Jobber is a system that helps keep us organized. Organization is key. When you have four install crews going at a week, you have four customers that are getting thousand dollar projects and things of that nature, being organized is huge. So, we have a system that Jeremy has purchased for our company. It’s called Jobber. It basically will walk you from when the first initial call, when they call into the office and Sean takes down their information. He puts them into a database and tags myself and says hey, Ryan, at Tuesday at 10 o’clock, you’re meeting with Mrs. Smith for this. She wants a walkway patio and a fire pit. When I go out there, I’m able to meet with them. I’m able to make notes within that system. I can come back to the office and then put my proposal together with photos and then be able to see that. I can see if they’ve opened that email, if they’ve seen. It automatically has reminders for them to open it. When somebody’s spending $20,000, it’s not like they’re going to give you an instant response and really is just making sure if they have any questions or things of that nature, just following back up with them. Jobber has been a saving grace for us and I will say that that has probably helped us grow this year because we’re able to stay so organized. When it’s middle of summer and things are going crazy and you have a good database to use to keep yourself organized, you’re able to give that customer service and things to those customers either residential or commercial as well. 

Ty Deemer:

Gotcha. 

Jeremy Talboy:

So, my keys are actually four things. These may sound familiar. There’s a TV show called The Prophet. it’s on CNBC. I believe the guy that runs the show, his name is Marcus Lemonis and what he does is he essentially, it’s like bar rescue, right? He finds these businesses that are struggling. He goes in, he assesses what they’re doing and then he makes changes to make them profitable and then he’s a partner or whatever. I got this sort of blueprint from him and I put it into practice early on and it has really worked out for me. So, the three things, people and they all start with P. There’s actually four. I’m going to name four. So, people, it starts with people, right? Ryan, Philip, Sean answering the phones, running the office, our crews. You have to have good people. So to speak, you may have to kiss a bunch of frogs to get to a prince, right? If you hire somebody and they’re not working out, you have to move on and you have to cycle through them until you find somebody that that checks all the boxes that you need. So, number one is people and when you find them, you take good care of them. You pay them well. You don’t make too many promises that you can’t keep and just take good care of them and don’t micromanage them. One of the big things I stress is I don’t micromanage people. If I have to micromanage you, that means you’re in the wrong position. You are the wrong person for that job. It’s not a good fit. I give my people an objective and the resources to achieve and I let them go. I’m always here if you need some help, if you have questions, if you need guidance. But I trust them to handle their responsibilities and their duties. There’s a reason why I hired them. So, number one is people. 

Number two is your product and your price. Our product here, we’ve been doing this for 10 years, as Ryan said, our reputation is really good and we’re top 25 this year. Our online reviews are stellar. Everybody is very happy with this because we are very customer service, client satisfaction oriented. And then your price. So, if you can offer a good product which we have at a reasonable price. And then the fourth P is processes, some sort of program to keep your team all on the same page and organized. There’s hundreds of programs out there. If you don’t have that, you’re not going to be successful because nobody’s going to know what’s going on and everybody’s going to be wasting time and people are going to be stepping on each other. So, for me, it’s the people, the product, the price of that product and then your processes. It’s very simple.

Ty Deemer:

Yeah, that’s all great. Yeah, I love breaking it down to the four Ps there because that’s something that anyone can remember and it really is true. I love what you said about people though and what you were touching on was the power of delegation. Like you’ve got to allow your team to go out and do the job you’ve hired them to do. 

Jeremy Talboy:

You have got to trust them to make decisions. There’s a reason why you hired them and people do not like to be micromanaged. I’ve worked for people in the past, there’s been several times where I’m just like just leave me alone, just tell me what you want me to get done but don’t tell me how to do it. Now if I run into a problem, maybe I say hey, this is how I’m doing it, do you suggest me doing it a separate way and maybe looking for feedback. But get out of their way and let them do their thing. And they may make mistakes but that’s how they learn and they’ll learn how to do things their way the most efficiently that they can. In the end, everybody’s successful for it. 

Ty Deemer:

Absolutely. That’s great. Going into kind of the next question, I would love to hear, you know, it’s kind of with 2020, you kind of have to address it. How has COVID helped or hurt your business? As we’ve been talking to people in the industry, it seems like in March, some people took a hit but a lot of people ended up all right. With the different services you offer, did some divisions of your company, were they helped or others hurt or what was the outcome for y’all in the last couple of months? 

Ryan Mosier:

It’s a good question. So, as we all know that when COVID-19 and the pandemic hit in early March, I guess March/April, right? Some around in there. I had just started here. I was hired March 1st and the pandemic hit. I come from a totally different background. I’m going oh my goodness, so where are we going to go with this, right? So, we started to kind of sit back and think and I think to myself okay, well, we are in an industry where no matter where, grass has to be cut. No, we can’t just stop mowing properties or homeowners’ yards because the grass is still going to grow. It doesn’t matter. the grass doesn’t care if there’s a pandemic or something along those lines. So, we really didn’t see a drop off on our maintenance side of it. We got actually some additional clients. But I think where we really excelled this year was on our enhancements division, right? Everybody’s sitting at home, husband and wife are working from home, husband is getting chewed out by his wife, hey, why aren’t you doing anything with the backyard? You’re at home. You’re not doing anything. So, instead of him having to go out there and swing a pick and shovel himself, they would call us. I think with people being home for so many months, I think they really wanted to think to themselves okay, we’re not going on our Carnival cruise, we’re not going to the beach, we’re not doing our vacation this year. So, let’s put money back into our homes to try to at least recoup some of that loss that we’ve been able to or that we’ve gotten over these past few months. So, really it was a real blessing for us. I mean we are—

Jeremy Talboy:

As crazy as that sounds, it’s true. It was a blessing. 

Ryan Mosier:

I mean just give you an idea, if you were a customer and you called me today and we end up getting a job approved for you today, we’re starting to schedule the first of the new year. We are already booked all the way through Christmas which has just been absolutely amazing to see that people are willing to even wait a week to two weeks just to have a consultation with us. And that goes back to them going in, seeing those reviews and seeing that hey, these guys take care of their customers. I don’t mind waiting a week just to have somebody come out or I don’t mind spending $3,000 more on my project versus this other company because I know what the kind of customer service I’m going to be able to give to those customers. So, really, COVID, this year 2020 in a nutshell, this may sound kind of weird for all these listeners but it’s been a blessing. 

Ty Deemer:

Yeah. 

Ryan Mosier:

It really has for us and I’m excited to see like if 2020 was this good, what does 2021 look like for us? As we start to grow and put those four Ps into place every day, I think the sky’s the limits for NGLM. You’re going to see us. You’re going to see us around and about. You’re going to hear about us and that’s really what we want. So, we’re super excited and I think 2020, yeah, I miss a lot of baseball and stuff like that but at the end of the day, I was blessed to still be employed and still be able to take care of customers during these crazy times that we’re having. 

Ty Deemer:

Yeah, that’s great. That’s a great way to kind of phrase the next question too. When I had talked to Jeremy earlier in the week or last week, you had mentioned that y’all are in the middle of kind of what your bidding season is for some of these new projects. So, how are you beginning to plan and forecast for 2021 during your bidding season now and what are some of the things you all are thinking of what 2021 will look like? What are you putting in place to kind of set yourself up for success going into that next year? 

Ryan Mosier:

We have a number. We have a number and I don’t mean that in like a price number. I have a client number. If that client spends $300 a month or $3,000 a month, they [inaudible 00:29:48]. So, we have a client number. During this downtime, we start to look at our goods that we have, our mowers, our vehicles or things of that nature. What are we going to need next? Install has really taken off. We already have two Bobcats. Do we go ahead and start planning to get a third? We start putting the bug in our guys’ ears. Hey, listen, we are growing very quickly. We have a lot of work. Start thinking about some friends that you may know that are interested in and coming to work for us. So, it’s really setting the table ahead of the time. I like to use three months as like okay, so, right now we’re in October, getting ready, what does January look like for us? When we get to January, what does April look like for us? And if you can kind of break it down by quarters because as we know, the wintertime is more of a time where it kind of slows down. Not this year. I mean like I said, we are fully just gun hoe. We’re just going. But really, it’s just more setting ourselves up for success, making sure that the guys have what they need. Nothing is more irritating when you’re out mowing on a property and your mower goes down, right? So, now I have to jump in a vehicle and go bring a new mower to somebody or things of that nature. Jeremy does, speaking on behalf of him being an employee of NGLM, Jeremy like I know he has said before, he makes sure all of his employees, if it’s me as the operations manager or Sean, the office manager or Edgar who’s one of our crew leaders, if they need something, he’s going to make it happen. He’s going to make it happen whatever he has to do because ultimately at the end of the day, the guys that are in the field really keep us in business. So, without them, I have nothing. We do cookouts for our guys, bringing them back to the, doing carne asada on the grill, even just small things. Jeremy’s taking us managers out to dinner tonight with our spouses to a really nice restaurant. I mean I’ve never worked with somebody who really appreciates and takes the time to really show that he really is appreciative of everything that we do here. So, yeah, I know I kind of got a little off track but COVID-19 and 2020, we’re done with that. We’re ready for 2021. Bring it on. Let’s go. 

Ty Deemer:

Yeah, I loved all the things y’all were thinking through too, making those decisions about hey, do we need to buy this new piece of equipment, do we need to like—yeah I would love—that’s what I was going to say. I would love to go a level deeper on what data or like what strategy you use to actually make that call. 

Jeremy Talboy:

Right.. So, in a traditional year, a non-COVID year if you will, bidding season is August and September essentially, you’re taking out clients, these property management groups and property managers and building owners and you’re trying to support them I guess and get as many opportunities as you can. And then you submit all those through those two months. The traditional contract is January 1st to December 31st. Every now and again, you have certain properties that may be like March 1st to March 1st or whatever but traditionally it’s January 1st through December 31st. Well, this year, we’re noticing that certain properties, a lot of properties are pushing their approvals back a couple of months because of the uncertainty. They don’t know. The fall and the winter is supposed, with COVID teaming up with the flu, nobody kind of knows, we’re getting back into that, what’s going to happen. Traditionally by now, we would have a whole list of hey, you got these properties started. So, it really helps us to inventory what we got and what we need starting January 1st. Fortunately, January 1st is slow. The leaves have dropped and we’re not cutting all that much. So, we have some time January and February to build our inventory and our machines and our trucks. However, again, everyone’s kind of pushing everything back. So, they’re extending their current contracts maybe three months and they’re going to go month-to-month and not make their decision. So, that’s kind of put us kind of behind the eight ball where we’re just kind of sitting here in limbo guessing still. But eventually, we will get our list and we’ll see how many properties renewed and how many we have that we’re taking on new properties. Hopefully, it will be while we’re slow where I have a couple weeks to staff everything and get all the equipment that we need. But in that event, we would get all these approvals, we’d look it over, what do we have, what do we need and make it happen. When we estimate and we bid, we have a pretty good idea of what it’s going to take to do that property as far as manpower, trucks and equipment. So, that’s all laid out there for us and it’s really not that difficult because we do a lot of prep work. So, when it comes, we’re ready. Just this year, it’s kind of delayed. So, we’ll see what happens. January and February might be pretty interesting. We’ll see what happens. 

Ty Deemer:

Absolutely. So, rounding out kind of our conversation today, I’ve got two questions or two topics I want to cover before we go. The first one is, just because I’m local to Atlanta, I understand when you mentioned earlier on the show, you are in an extremely competitive market. Like if I Google landscape companies in Atlanta, I’m going to get a list that’s 40, 50, 60 deep of companies. You all have laid out extremely well how kind of offline you do an incredible job of leaving your mark on whether it’s your current customers or prospects that you come into contact with. What type of initiatives do you all do to make sure that you have an online presence, to make sure that if someone’s looking for a company, how can they find NGLM and how have you all built that brand? 

Jeremy Talboy:

Yeah. So, we have our websites. NorthGeorgiaLandscape.com is our main website. That was my original website. Again, we kind of have two names. We have North Georgia Landscape Management which focuses on all the maintenance apartments, HOAs, town homes and then some upscale single-family homes as well. That company handles all the maintenance. And then we have Georgian Landscape Design which is a team of designers. We have four in-house designers and three and a half full-time install crews that work alongside with them. So, I have NorthGeorgiaLandscape.com and then we also have GeorgianLandscape.com and that’s the install side. And we do a lot of marketing. So, that’s kind of my main responsibility. I have a lot of responsibilities. I run the company and the day-to-day stuff, all the background stuff, all the headaches if you will. But my main responsibility is to make sure that those phones are ringing. I have the people, I have the product, I have the price, I have all that. I need to make sure that they’re full and the pipeline is full and that the phone is always ringing. So, I handle the marketing. Ninety-five percent of the marketing I do is all online. I have a couple Google AdWords accounts. I run a maintenance package. I run an install package. 

We work with Houzz, -H-O-U-Z-Z ,which is a website similar to Angie’s List and they kind of promote local contractors, rank them and stuff like that. A lot of the awards we have won are best of Houzz. We’ve been on there for 10 years or so and they offer a little marketing package and I signed up with them. I have several zones with them and that has yielded very well for us. But everything’s online. I do a couple direct mailers on just the local big neighborhoods around here. I don’t see the benefit from that nearly as much. The ROI from that is much smaller than the money I spend online. So, Google AdWords really highlights our two websites and that’s what gets our phones ringing. 

Ty Deemer:

Yeah, that’s awesome. 

Jeremy Talboy:

I have the ability to adjust it up and down depending on how full we are. If we’re two weeks out on estimates, I got to scale it back because next thing you know, you’re telling people it’s going to be three weeks before I can even come out there. So, that makes it, it’s fully customizable. It’s great. And that’s how I do marketing. 

Ty Deemer:

Yeah, that’s great. I was mainly just curious because I do know like some of the people we have on the show, they speak to a market that’s not nearly as full as the one that’s in Atlanta with just this many people here, this many businesses. I was mainly curious. 

Jeremy Talboy:

Yeah, a lot of competition and that’s why our reviews are so important and we push our people to please drop us a line and even if you don’t like us, go ahead and tell us. You won’t find many of those. 

Ty Deemer:

Yeah, for sure. So, how do you collect those reviews just kind of going off that? Do you typically just like in conversation like ask for your customers to give a review?

Jeremy Talboy:

So, it’s crazy. They kind of just fall on your lap because the client typically will seek you out based on your reviews. They’ve already done the research, they found the reviews and now they’re calling you based on your reviews. So, obviously, reviews mean a lot to that person. So, when you work for them and you give them the product that we give them and they’re obviously happy because that’s what we pride ourselves on, they’re going to leave a review because that’s typically the type of client that’s coming to us. So, it’s kind of like Ryan and Philip, I just got lucky. The clients that leave reviews got us from reviews. 

Ty Deemer:

Yeah, it’s a little flywheel effect. I hear you. All right. So, kind of last question and you each can answer it in your own unique way. But I always like to kind of finish the show this way just because it kind of highlights what’s going ahead in the future for you both. What comes next for you whether it’s an individually or for the business? What comes next for you and what are you most excited about? 

Ryan Mosier:

Yeah. I’ll go first and then I’ll let Jeremy kind of wrap it up for us. I’m just excited to see where I am next year. Right now I’m the director of operations. I’m kind of Jeremy’s right hand. My goal within really the next year is just to kind of really grow the business. But if I could give you a three-year plan, I would love for us to have another branch and I would like to be a branch manager if you will. Basically, not an owner but a manager to do a branch where I have my own office manager, I have my own designers, I have my own crews and things of that nature. So, that’s ultimately my goal is to try to grow this as big as possible and when I say grow, I want a healthy growth, right? There’s a lot of these companies that will go out there and they will get so big but then their customer service goes way down and then they lose their customers and then they’re gone. You just never hear from them. So, Jeremy and I, Jeremy’s really big on making sure that we grow but at a healthy rate. We don’t need to have 16 offices by the end of next year but we set a goal. His goal this year when I sat here in this office and interviewed and he said look, I’m going to make top 25. And sure enough, he did, right? So, super proud of him, super honored to work for this awesome team. I call these guys family because at the end of the day, I spend more time with Jeremy and Philip and Sean than I do my own my own family. So, they are family to me. I treat everybody with the utmost respect and I’m just super, super excited to see where we’re going. It’s been kind of a wild ride this year for 2020 but the sky’s the limit again. So, that’s kind of what I’m looking for. So, I’ll let kind of Jeremy wrap up. But thank you for allowing me to talk today I really appreciate it. 

Ty Deemer:

Absolutely. Thank you, Ryan.

Jeremy Talboy:

Yeah. So, first of all, the only reason we’re successful is because of everybody around. We’re a team like he said. They make my life easy. My only job is to make sure that the phone rings and that they can go do their job. They’re the reason we are successful. It’s not me. I’m just a marketing guy essentially. But my goal, Ryan touched on it and he’s right, I’ve mentioned this to him several times. I want to grow but I want to grow at a healthy rate. It’s another thing that Marcus Lemonis has talked about. I watch a lot of those episodes and I kind of take everything in because he knows what he’s doing. I’ve grown slow before and I’ve grown fast before. When you grow fast and you grow at an unhealthy rate, it is counterproductive, you take on too much, you can’t handle it, you make yourself look stupid and you make yourself look like you can’t handle it and then you lose all those contacts. So, we really try to make sure that we grow at a steady, healthy rate. But my goal is to have several branches. I want to be regional. Is that 15 years from now, 20 years from now? I don’t really know. But I would like to be in Florida, Georgia obviously, North and South Carolina, Tennessee and Alabama, just as a southeastern regional company. Ryan has made it very clear that he would like to move to Panama City eventually and that that would be a great place to have a branch. So, we’ll try to do that. We go to Panama City every year much like everybody in Atlanta. You see there’s a lot of grass down there. Everybody needs landscaping and there’s a couple local companies that have since branched out into the panhandle of Florida and I don’t see why we can’t do that also. So, that’s my goal. Again, as far as the timeline, 10-15 years, something like that. But we’ll start with a branch on the west side of town, maybe over Kennesaw area, Marietta. We get a lot of leads over there and I think it just makes sense to open a satellite branch over there where we can have some crews so we’re not making that drive every morning. And we get a lot a lot of business over there and I’m not going to turn it down. I’m here to grow, I’m here to be with the big boys. If they’re not going to turn it down, I can’t turn it down. So, that’s the more immediate goal. Let’s start with branch number two over there and kind of just replicate what we got here. 

Ty Deemer:

Yeah. Well, that’s awesome. You definitely have the right road map for it. Guys, I really appreciate the time today. 

Jeremy Talboy:

Thank you. 

Ty Deemer:

Loved hearing about your business, the things y’all are doing well, the lessons you’ve learned along the way and really excited to see what you all do in 2021. 

Jeremy Talboy:

Yeah, thanks for having us. 

Ty Deemer:

Yeah. Thank you. Talk to you guys soon.

Conclusion:

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