With a little help from our friends
Meeting with fellow landscape business owners on a regular basis is one of the ways Frontier Landscaping and Tree Service strives to be the best.
Owners Steve and Tina Pash meet with a handful of others as one of the industry peer groups facilitated by the National Association of Landscape Professionals.
They belong to a self-governing small group composed of a handful of landscape business owners from across the country. With support from National Association of Landscape Professionals the groups – whose members stay the same – engage with each other on a regular basis. This builds trust and creates lasting, business-building relationships in a safe, confidential setting. The result is a long-term strategic alliance of company leaders who share skills, strategies and best practices. This year Tina and Steve attended a two-day meeting hosted by Heidi’s Lifestyle Gardens in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
“We get to know each other pretty well,” Steve said. “It’s a safe way of being able to put our heads together with others who share the same types of issues, which is harder to do locally when often they are your competition. It’s just a really good way to talk about the different things involved in our business; to share what’s worked and what hasn’t worked; brainstorm ideas and hold each other accountable.”
Group members take turns hosting the meetings – Alaska, California, back East and of course Vancouver, Wash., where Frontier will host a gathering in 2017.
“It’s pretty cool; we get to see each others’ facilities and talk about issues ranging from office policies to safety to production techniques – all the green industry needs in running a business,” Tina said. “It’s also a mentoring group and we’ll have things come to light that hadn’t occurred to us before. For instance, we realized we needed a manager to oversee all the team managers. This frees us up to spend more time on the administrative side, working on the things we learned in peer group and through our annual company retreats.”
“A lot of times as an owner you get stuck in the day-to-day process, taking time from the big picture,” Steve said. “It’s been very valuable for both of us; it helps us build a stronger team and put new things in place that allow us to focus more on things like customer service, community involvement, improving communication and marketing.”
Other ways Frontier Landscaping works to build a strong team of employees include an emphasis on education and training through workshops, certification opportunities, tailgate meetings, fun family events with the community and yearly retreats for employees and their families. This year they held a management retreat at Sunriver with two days of meetings and the rest free time for employees to enjoy with their families and each other.
A peer group helps each other through difficult situations; namely, the recession of 2008. In fact, as a group they were better able to see it coming and put their heads together on plans for weathering it through until the economy improved.
Photo of Steve and Tina Pash by Paul Quackenbush Photography