Our Level Up series shares the strategies that help landscape and lawn care companies get to the next level.
GoldGlo Landscapes, LLC, based in Millersburg, Pennsylvania, was founded in 2002. President Steven Stoltzfus was just 21 at the time, but he had worked in residential construction for five years as a general contractor.
Stoltzfus’s father was an entrepreneur and business owner and encouraged his son to start his own business. He decided he wanted to grow trees and installed 1,500 15-gallon pots in a pot system and sold wholesale trees. As friends and neighbors wanted to buy trees, they started selling a few. By 2003, Stoltzfus had opened a retail garden center.
“Our clients were asking us if we can install trees and shrubs for them, so we decided to start landscaping as well,” Stoltzfus says. “Requests for patios and walkways became more frequent.”
While the company grew early on, net profit was not, so he sought out the advice of industry consultants who encouraged him to close the garden center and implement a job costing system. Stoltzfus closed the garden center in 2009 and was able to fully focus on their landscape and hardscape installations. GoldGlo Landscapes serves high-end residential clients looking for complete outdoor living spaces.
“Our niche is that we are the general contractor for our clients’ outdoor spaces,” he says. “Our clients like to have one point of contact for their entire project.”
As the company has grown over the years, they added on services like landscape lighting and landscape maintenance. Stoltzfus says while they use subcontractors for structures and masonry, they are starting to do some masonry in-house and plan to expand on it in the future.
Stoltzfus says they are more focused on quality than quantity when it comes to an ideal company size they are trying to reach.
“This is quality of life for our team and the quality of our projects,” he says. “The reason we grow is to serve our clients better and to provide a career path for our team. Steady top-line growth that is sustainable with consistent and growing profits year over year is more important to us as we plan for future growth.”
Keys to Success
While GoldGlo Landscapes has had steady growth in the years past, they have experienced sudden growth in 2020 and 2021.
“I would say we took advantage of the opportunity in 2020 and 2021 and scaled our company during this time,” Stoltzfus says.
He says while 2022 will not keep up with the percentage of growth that they have experienced over the last two years, their goal is to maintain the percentage of profitability. Stoltzfus credits his company’s success to their team, their clients and good old-fashioned hard work. He says they have learned a lot through their NALP membership as well.
He says the Trailblazer program and Field Trip have been valuable to them as they learn from other companies in the industry.
“The networking through the NALP events and programs is one of the benefits of being an NALP member as you make connections with peers in the industry who understand the challenges you are facing,” Stoltzfus says.
GoldGlo’s team is known for their professionalism as one rule they implemented 15 years ago is a firm no smoking, no music, no foul language policy. He says they also provide in the field and hands-on training for their staff. The company pays for industry-specific training, certification and continuing education credits.
“Our clients comment on the professionalism of our crews,” he says. “They care who is working on their property and appreciate these policies.”
One of the ways the company draws in new prospects is through their blog, which directs them to their website, where they become new leads.
“We outsource this to a 3rd party however we are very involved with the photography and videography content that is used in the blogs,” Stoltzfus says. “We only use photos of our projects for the blog posts.”
GoldGlo Landscapes is primarily a design/build company, but they do maintain relationships with residential home builders, pool companies, and a few architects.
“We recognize that bid/build may be an opportunity for us to grow into and we are networking to establish those relationships,” Stoltzfus says. “Our motto is to ‘Build Relationships for Life’ with our team, clients, vendors and subcontractors so it is important to us that any relationships that we establish with landscape architects and builders is a fit and a win for all involved.”
Recruiting and Retention Methods
Stoltzfus says scaling up their systems to stay ahead of their growth was a challenge, but their company culture has improved as they’ve developed. He says it created excitement and gave opportunities to their team to grow in the company.
“It also allows us to be more selective in the hiring process as we have developed a culture where people want to be a part of our team,” he says.
GoldGlo Landscapes has a team of 25 currently and they recruit mostly through employee referrals. Stoltzfus says they will use Indeed and online job boards for management positions if they do not have someone to promote from within.
“It is important to us that prospective employees fit our culture and embrace and promote our values,” Stoltzfus says. “We are very upfront with our expectations for potential employees, and we want to be a great fit for them and the company. Retaining employees starts with hiring selectively.”
The company also has team-building events like fishing trips, annual summer picnics and a Christmas banquet. These times outside of the work environment allow them to build relationships.
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