Kingstowne Lawn & Landscape recently provided a peek under the hood as to how they operate during the virtual On Tour event. To view the whole On Tour video, click here.
The company is based in Alexandria, Virginia, and has grown into an $8 million a year company. Krisjan Berzins, his wife and COO, Mayra, and a team of 70, manage 3,500 suburban residential clients’ maintenance and design-build needs.
Different Organizational Structure
At Kingstowne, they do not have project managers. Rather than having the landscape designers hand off the client to a project manager, Berzins says their designers handle the project from the initial consultation to managing the installation of the project.
Alan Macbeth, senior landscape designer, says they handle every aspect of the project and he is responsible for the project from “cradle to grave.” The company opted to do this starting out simply to reduce overhead by not having to hire project managers, who are not generating revenue.
The average design/build project for Kingstowne is in the $15,000 to $25,000. Berzins acknowledges having a landscape designer handle everything on much more complex jobs would be difficult and his structure doesn’t fit all companies.
“It can be a little stressful at times on staff but generally our designers are well over seven figures as far as sales go,” Berzins says.
As the company has scaled up over the years, Berzins says one of the ways they have successfully done so is to bring on team members who are very capable and very driven.
He says it’s important to stay out of these employees’ way and let them do their job.
“Don’t micromanage them,” Berzins says. “Don’t have to approve and look at everything they do because all that’s going to do is stunt growth. It’s going to stunt your ability to scale.”
Achieving Employee Tenure
Kingstowne boasts of having a number of employees who have been with the company for 20 years.
Berzins says he is extremely proud of and grateful for their employee tenure. He notes that recruiting the right people can help reduce turnover. He says it can pay significant dividends to opt for the new hire that has intangibles such as a good attitude over someone who simply already has some skills in the industry.
For administrative personnel, account managers and design personnel, Kingstowne has been using the KOLBE personality test as part of the interview process to determine if someone is a good fit for the position.
“It’s not foolproof but it’s another tool to put in the toolbox and it can be quite powerful when you utilize it,” he says.
The employees say they enjoy what they do every day because it’s always something different.
“I think it’s all about the respect,” Mayra Berzins says. “We try to make it as easy as possible for them. Translating route sheets, having a staff that can speak Spanish and I think respect is number one.”
Don’t miss the next On Tour event on Sept. 15 at 2 p.m. ET as NALP goes behind-the-scenes with Rossen Landscape. Click here to register.