Faces of the Industry: Alexander Manueles - The Edge from the National Association of Landscape Professionals

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Faces of the Industry: Alexander Manueles

Alexander Manueles, president of White Gator Lawn and Landscaping, based in Slidell, Louisiana, started working when he was 19 years old and has now spent six years in the industry. He says he had always wanted to own his own company.

“That has always been something that ever since I was younger I always knew that I didn’t want to work for anybody,” Manueles says. “I wanted to do something for myself. It just came to be landscaping. I love it so far.”

When Manueles was younger his father did landscaping and he helped him for a few jobs. When he came back to Louisiana, his father was still doing some landscaping on the side.

“I saw the difference it made, and I was like ‘Oh wow, I want to do that,’ and I just ended up doing it,” Manueles says.

He says he was surprised he could make a career out of the landscaping and orginially didn’t think there was good money in it. He thought it was more of a side hustle for people rather than a career.

“Once I got into it, I started understanding everything and the process and how important profit margin and all that comes to be,” Manueles says.

He says his favorite thing about working in the industry is the satisfaction of the job.

“When something was nonexistent and the client had a vision and we create that vision for the client,” Manueles says. “I think it feels great to know we were able to accomplish that.”

As for the company’s name, Manueles says he was having trouble thinking of something at first as he wanted a name that sounded different so he could eventually trademark it as his own.

He had gone to the Audubon Zoo in New Orleans and saw a white gator. The sign mentioned that they are considered good luck by Eastern mythology. He says that’s how he picked the name for the company.

Manueles says he thinks their customer service sets them apart the most. He says his clients have complained in the past about crews not having manners or taking the time to greet them in the morning.

“We focus on that,” Manueles says. “We focus on everyone saying hi and listening.”

His crews wear uniforms so they feel united as a team and it’s easier for their clients to identify themselves. Manueles says he wishes the public had a better understanding of the process and how production rates matter.

“We have a lot of clients that assume we’re just trying to make a quick buck on everything and they think a lot of the prices are too expensive,” Manueles says.

He says he hasn’t had a mentor besides Google and forums. He says he reads publications like Lawn & Landscape and other reputable sites to learn best practices.

He says the biggest challenge so far is employee retention. He says in 2020 he had 23 employees leave whether it was due to them being fired or not following company standards. He says he has 36 employees on staff right now.

In the next five years, he says he sees White Gator being a $1 million company and bringing in more clients.

Jill Odom

Jill Odom is the senior content manager for NALP.