Takeaways from On Tour with Blades of Green - The Edge from the National Association of Landscape Professionals

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Takeaways from On Tour with Blades of Green

Blades of Green recently shared some of the things that make their company tick during the virtual On Tour event. To view the whole On Tour video, click here.

Blades of Green, based in Edgewater, Maryland, serves more than 10,000 clients with more than $12.5 million in revenue. The company started in 1989 as a landscape company with mowing and then moved into lawn care and pest control.

Budget Billing

Blades of Green has 70 trucks and serves customers in Maryland, Virginia, and DC. Co-owner Brad Leahy says they count both customers and programs so on average each customer has 2.17 services. The company’s core services include lawn care, organic lawn care, aeration & seeding, plant health care, pest control, mosquito and tick control, mole control, termite baiting and commercial pests.

Leahy says the number one thing that has made a vast improvement for their company over the past five years is their budget billing. This is where they take their client’s yearly total and divide it into 12 even payments. He says they started doing this after seeing companies in the pest control industry using the model and it was successful.

“Our accounts receivable and bad debt is exactly the same dollar amount as it was four years ago and we’ve grown 120 percent,” Leahy says.

Leahy says that the budget billing has helped with better customer retention and better upselling. It also helps Blades of Green use their multi-application trucks the most efficiently.

Company Culture

Leahy says they’ve been working on their company culture for years but when you boil it down, it comes down to gratitude.

The company uses the software Awardco to track their hashtags and developed a BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goal) to receive 40,315 ‘thank yous’ by 2029, which is their 40th anniversary.

Blades of Green has also been inspired by the book The Fred Factor: How Passion in Your Work and Life Can Turn the Ordinary Into the Extraordinary by Mark Sanborn, which tells the story of Fred, a U.S. postal worker who passionately loves his job and cares about the people he serves. Angela Hieronimus, director of engagement and success, says they empower their people every day to live the Fred principles.

Leahy says for years they chased after just monetary goals, but now they work to build people as well. One way they grow their employees is with the program P.O.P.P. (personal one-page plan) where employees list both personal and professional goals. Team members also list a bucket list item on their P.O.P.P form.

The employees that meet all of their P.O.P.P. goals and then some are then treated to their bucket list item. One of the bucket list items for instance was sky diving. Another employee wanted to see an NFL game in every stadium. Blades of Green bought the employee tickets to a stadium he hadn’t been to yet and paid for his entire weekend.

Leahy says this has resulted in better employee retention and more upselling, as the longer an employee is with the company the better they can upsell their services.

Recruiting and Retention

Blades of Green has 110 employees currently and recently hired 42 new people at one location in 2020. Hieronimus says they have the mentality that it is everyone’s job to help recruit new hires.

Blades of Green also reached out to candidates who had recently updated their resumes on Indeed rather than waiting for people to apply on their site.

Hieronimus says they are very focused on the candidate experience and making sure they fully understand the company’s culture as soon as they walk in the door. Blades of Green has reserved future team member parking and has integrated a job shadow into the interview process.

She says it’s been instrumental in letting the candidate see if what they think they’ll be doing is what they’ll actually be doing. She says frontline employees can be candid and tell the leadership team if a candidate is a good fit or not.

When new hires are about to be onboarded, they receive a welcome to the family package with a Dominos gift card to celebrate the new job. Blades of Green tries to have one event a month to engage their staff during COVID-19 with everything from family meal nights catered by local restaurants to game nights on Zoom.

Stay tuned for more information about the next On Tour event.

Jill Odom

Jill Odom is the content manager for NALP.