The some 50 employees at Fence and Deck Depot perform their daily duties while keeping the following in mind: quality, service, trust and integrity. Those four words exist in the company’s logo, were the foundation beliefs in which the company was founded in 2001 and they are what current owner, Sean Nesbit, wants to continue to build off of as the business grows.
“Treat others as you want to be treated. Do it right the first time. Do the right thing. Do what you say you’re going to do. Do those four things and you’ll have a great reputation in the marketplace,” said Nesbit. It is those exact golden rules that guide his own decision making and they are what he continues to instill in the company culture.
Nesbit was able to pull experiences from his previous jobs to incorporate the skills he has into his work at Fence and Deck Depot. He gained leadership and customer satisfaction experience while working with Cintas Corporation, where he was employed as a sales representative, a service manager who oversaw a group making deliveries each day and as a plant manager who oversaw a 24-hour facility with some 100 people working in it. He shared that the Cintas Corporation had great training and a wonderful service culture, one that has stayed with him to this day.
During Nesbit’s time working on the acquisition team at Engineering Support Systems, he noted he spent the time observing the company’s owner, Mike Shanahan. Nesbit shared how much he was able to learn from Shanahan as he watched his former boss purchase small businesses and modernize them with technology and processes.
As for the past 10 years, Nesbit worked under the Chief Financial Officer for Isle of Capri Casinos, a gaming company with 15 locations throughout the Midwest. There, his duties consisted of completing financial analysis, developing financial projections and operating analysis. He noted how his time at Isle of Capri Casinos helped him to understand cash flow, how to best reinvest back into the business and, most importantly, customer experience.
With Fence and Deck Depot, Nesbit hopes to focus more on the customer experience, ensuring that each customer receives the highest quality every step of the process. “My vision is to be known more as service company with a passion for fences and decks. There’s a difference between a service company and a contractor and I want to bring that philosophy into the DNA here,” Nesbit added.
Prior to purchasing Fence and Deck Depot just six months ago, discussions with the former owner who was planning to retire consisted mainly of how, at this stage in the cycle of the company, the new owner would need a bit of a different background. The company’s nearly 20-year track record has thousands of past customers, which is a lot of fences and decks, and 50 employees. According to Nesbit, the work is mostly outdoors and the rough winter of last year was a challenge, but the company stayed busy when the weather cooperated.
“It’s been a challenge, but I am a person that enjoys challenges. I do like getting out of my comfort zone, and I’m certainly out of my comfort zone doing this,” Nesbit shared. “I enjoy the responsibility and I take it very seriously. All decisions I make not only affect myself and my family, but the fifty other families of the employees as well.”
Nesbit’s role in Fence and Deck Depot is to market and advertise, implement policies and procedures that benefit all and integrate a uniform approach so that the consistency can help customers and employees alike. As the average tenure for employees at Fence and Deck Depot is over five years, which equals to about 10,000 hours of 40-hour work weeks, Nesbit believes in the 10,000 hour rule philosophy.
“The 10,000-hour Theory says that if you’ve been doing something for ten thousand hours, you’re an expert. Most of our employees have been here for seven to eight years, not including their other experiences in the field. Whether you’re on the phone with us setting up an appointment, meeting a sales representative or working with one of our installers, there’s a high likelihood that they are a person of nearly ten years of experience with our company alone. We have that great track record,” he stated.
He also acclaimed the 50 employees to be knowledgeable and genuine, pointing out the skills and hard work they all share. When Nesbit began his work at Fence and Deck Depot six months ago, he noted that he was embraced by the workers, and what stood out to him the most was the family feeling they bring about in the way they treat each other.
One of the biggest challenges Nesbit faces is finding employees with the right skill set, but also with the right character that actively portrays the golden rules followed by Fence and Deck Depot workers.
As technology continues to change, Nesbit attempts to keep Fence and Deck Depot up to date with the technology that best fits their needs. Several weeks ago, the company began using Square for mobile smartphones, allowing customers to make their payments more easily. According to Nesbit, this saves hours of administrative office work and boosts customer experience.
Fence and Deck Depot invests in a tremendous amount of advertisements, from print ads to digital ones. “We’re getting our name out there in any form or fashion,” Nesbit shared. Recently, Fence and Deck Depot joined Facebook and Instagram, where photos of their jobs, employees, fence and deck humor and other relevant images are shared with the public.
As for the next six months to a year, Nesbit projects responsible growth with the business. He would like to add additional opportunities for his workers as well, such as developing their careers and the ability to allow them to try new things.
To learn more about Fence and Deck Depot and the quality fencing and decking work they perform in the St. Louis area, check out their website at https://www.fencedepotco.com/
While serving some 300 clients a week in St. Louis and St. Charles counties, Stuart Lawn and Land provides personal, quality landscaping and hardscaping services. With their 15 years of experience in the field, they offer nearly 15 different services, which includes maintenance on areas such as fences, docks, concrete, retaining walls, patios, junk removal and hauling and more.
When owner Gordon Stuart began Stuart Lawn and Land in 2004, the business focused mainly on turf care such as lawn mowing, fertilizing and other basic lawn care needs up until 2013. Stuart shared that he and his employees at the time grew tired of performing the same tasks everyday, so they ventured into providing hardscaping services to their clients as well.
According to Stuart, his interest in the landscaping field came about after his time working with a similar company in St. Louis county, where he was employed through his college years and for two summers. “I really enjoyed the lawn care aspects of it,” he noted.
When Stuart Lawn and Land first began advertising their services while he was in his early twenties, Stuart recalls that his young age made an already competitive field even more difficult to secure clients.
Now that he has 15 years of experience under his belt, he feels that clients are more confident and comfortable hiring Stuart Lawn and Land. He also strives to provide potential clients with an insight into his operation through his business website. His excellent ratings on Google and the BBB help as well.
Stuart ensures that his clients consider him to be reliable, professional and personal by meeting with them prior to beginning a contract, where he introduces them to Stuart Lawn and Land’s products and shows them a physical portfolio that contains images of his previous work.
He also communicates with his customers entirely by cell phone, unlike other landscaping companies that utilize call services. “You have to make yourself available. I can be reached all the time,” Stuart said.
Craigslist and word-of-mouth ended up not being an effective way to market Stuart Lawn and Land during its infancy, but Stuart found that Google Ads, Facebook and Instagram worked well and they continue to be successful in bringing in more business. In fact, in 2017, Stuart Lawn and Land’s gross revenue doubled due to an effective Google Ads campaign.
Stuart manages the Stuart Lawn and Land social media accounts himself, and usually posts photos of a completed job that displays their products. “Digital marketing has been the most effective way to bring in more sales,” he stated.
While his business is on the job at a location, they will place yard signs until the work is completed. Stuart notes that this has brought in clients as they stop by to ask for a business card.
“You can’t please everyone,” Stuart shared. While he is very satisfied with the superior ratings he has received from clients, he admits that he may take the occasional bad review personally.
Another struggle he faces with his business is finding several long-term, passionate employees to add to his team. “You can only have a good company if you have good leaders along with it,” he added.
Unlike many other landscaping companies, Stuart chooses to pay his employees a percentage of each job. Stuart strongly believes in supporting, building up, and rewarding his team for the high quality work they perform. He knows without his team members, his business wouldn’t continue to provide exceptional products and services to his customers.
Over the years, many people have told Stuart that lawncare and landscaping work is recession proof. However, Stuart knows first hand this isn’t true. The recession of 2008/2009 almost caused Stuart Lawn and Land to go out of business. He believes this was likely due to landscaping services being more of a luxury, with home owners and businesses being unable to afford lawn care services during financially difficult times.
He notes that he is worrisome that another recession may occur, but knows that his business will recover, as they have done it once before. Regardless of any recessions, he plans on continuing his work in St. Louis with Stuart Lawn and Land for 15 to 20 more years until he is ready to retire.
To learn more about Gordon Stuart and his business Stuart Lawn and Land, give him a call at 314-828-1115, or visit his website at https://www.stlouislawnandland.com