Sunday, May 26th, 2019

Landscape Plus Story


Giving people their Saturdays back

by Rob Lauer

Mark Taylor, owner of Landscape Plus

Mark Taylor, owner of Landscape Plus

It is 8:00 on a Monday morning and as on most days, Mark Taylor, owner of Landscape Plus, has been in the office for hours. The Administrative Coordinator has also been busy at her computer, in addition to manning the phones and greeting visitors with an energetic smile. Otherwise, the offices at this moment are empty and quiet. But this was not the situation just an hour earlier.

“We start our days early around here,” Mark explains, taking a sip of coffee. “On most mornings, I’m usually here at six. Our crews are in by seven for our morning huddle. We review the schedule for the entire day; we go over details, get everyone excited about their assignments for the day, and then send them out to the yards. The lawn mower blades are usually running by eight. Later, throughout the afternoon, our managers drive out to the yards, checking on our crews and speaking with our clients to make sure that they are completely satisfied with the job being done. The next day is Ground Hogs Day: we do the same thing all over again.”

“We all work endlessly and tirelessly, following up on every single job,” Administrative Coordinator Elayne Summerell adds with a grin. “If we’re laying down fertilizer, we don’t just open up a package, dump it on a client’s lawn or flower bed, and then leave. We talk to the client; ask if they’re pleased with the way the job is being done. We are one hundred percent committed to giving great customer service. Even when our managers are out checking up on our crews, we always have someone here in the office answering the phones. When our clients call, they know they will talk to a real person in the office—not to a computer.”

“Not only are we easy to work with, but we’re actually very easy to communicate with,” Mark observes. “Besides myself, we have three fantastic women as our office manager, sales manager, and operation manager. They pay attention to details; they are great communicators and they serve as the liaisons between our work crews and our clients. Sometimes in this line of work, a client will call the person they’ve hired to care for their lawn, and they’ll get him on his cell phone while he’s mowing someone else’s yard. That’s not how way we operate at Landscape Plus. Our clients will always talk to a manager.”

The staff of Landscape Plus<BR> includes seven lawn maintenance crews and three installation crews.

The staff of Landscape Plus
includes seven lawn maintenance crews and three installation crews.

This approach to customer service has obviously worked: Landscape Plus has enjoyed a growth of about 20 percent annually—evidence of which can be seen on Mark’s computer screen: it is a photograph of a veritable army of lawn crews —ten in total, each composed of up to five men—dressed in company uniforms, posing with the company’s fleet of mowers. Seven of these crews are lawn maintenance crews, and three are installation crews. “Our bread and butter—about half of our business—is commercial and residential lawn maintenance,” Mark explains. “The other half is landscape renovation and installation.”

The company’s growth prompted a recent move. “For years, our office was in Virginia Beach,” Mark says, “but now we are in the Greenbrier area. We’re very excited about this new location and how it will help us continue serving all of Southside Hampton Roads.”

As the owner of Landscape Plus, Mark often finds himself behind his desk or in a meeting, but he is no stranger to mowing and lawn work.

“Like a lot of kids,
I earned money mowing lawns.
You can’t get more American
than cutting grass.”

—Mark Taylor

“Like a lot of kids, I earned money mowing lawns,” he recalls with a smile. “You can’t get more American than cutting grass. I was always entrepreneurial-minded and I liked being outdoors. Later, in high school, I worked in a garden center.”

After graduating from college in 2003, Mark worked as a finance manager, but he found few options for other jobs in the field. For a while, he sold insurance by day while working in restaurants by night. Eventually, he began working as a landscaper, opening Landscape Plus in 2006.

“If there is anything that needs to be done outside—whether we’re talking about someone’s yard or a business property—we can do the job,” Mark says. “We design landscapes, hardscapes and outdoor lighting; take care of drainage and irrigation issues; do pressure washing, mulching, spray fertilization and weed control—as well as lawn and bed upkeep.”

“Say there are homeowners whose lawns are  overgrown,” Mark continues. “They want their property to look good, but either they hate doing yard work, they’re physically unable to do it, or they have difficulty finding the time needed to do the work themselves. That’s where we come in.”

Mark maintains that Landscape Plus’s services are not only affordable but can also be something of a lifesaver for seniors.

“Older folks are ready to pay in order to stay in their homes longer,” he points out. “Having a company like ours come out and do their yard work, allows them to continue living independently without the worries of outdoor upkeep.”

As the winter season passes, there is a growing demand for the services offered by Landscape Plus.

 “We have a saying in this business: ‘Spring is king,’” Mark declares. “With the warm weather, people start spending more time outside. As summer moves in, there are cookouts, kids’ birthday parties, weddings, visits from friends and family, Memorial Day, Fourth of July and Labor Day celebrations—and all of these tend to take place outside in backyards.”   
“This is the perfect time of year for people to give us a shout-out about getting their yards ready for summer parties and cookouts—no matter where they live on the Southside,” Mark concludes. “On a beautiful summer weekend, being tied down to yard work is the last thing most of us want. There’s no better feeling than driving home on a Tuesday or Wednesday evening and seeing that all of the yard work for the week has been done. For a little bit of money, not only can people have beautiful yards, but they can also have their Saturdays back.”

Landscape Plus

822 Professional Place, W
Chesapeake, VA 23320