Friday, February 3, 2012

I'm Back and Ready.....

Well, it's 2012, I'm getting a little older, getting a little grayer, and my oldest just turned 13 (She's a Girl!)  Bring it!!!!!! I'm Ready!  So I thought that it's time to start blogging again and maintain it this time.  I enjoyed it, just got busy busy.

I took some time off to fine tune the business machine Spartan Lawn & Landscape.  Everything is running smooth which enabled me to start a 2nd business in the same industry, Stay Green Turf Care, it handles strictly the fertilization and weed control portion of our industry.

I have to run now, but I'll be back to clue everyone in on how my main man, Leo, is doing!  He's the king of the household, so he thinks!


Mr. Spartan

Friday, March 4, 2011

And We're Off...

It's been a couple of weeks since my last blog and I apologize, but we've been gearing up all of the lawn maintenance contracts before the Spring season kicked in.  It's amazing that each year, and I always try and prepare myself, but just when the season starts, guess what...repairs, repairs and repairs.

All winter we've been relaxing in commercial maintenance mode with residential maintenance running every other week.  Nice, quiet and on the down low.  But when March starts, everyone is wide open from the 1st day forward.  Fertilization programs start.  Pre Emergent need to be put down.  Turf Grass needs to be scalped to let the sun warm up the ground for grass growth.  Crape myrtle pruning is completed.  So on and so forth!

So just when we kick this bad boy in gear, I get the "Hey, we have a problem with Mower #6, deck belt broke, and we're stuck at property A".  That means, time to get the repair man involved, as well as start rescheduling those next customers.  Then it's, "Blower #3 is sputtering, we need another one".  Now mind you, these pieces of equipment had full maintenance done on them during the Winter relax mode slowdown, specifically to be ready to go at the start of the main season.  Remember the "Leo" blog?, that was relax mode!  Guess what!  SPRING IS HERE!

However, not all has been a bombshell.  Good news, we upgraded and introduced a new landscape software that overlays photos to help customers visualize a new look to their property.  Just to give you a little look, below is our 6 acre piece of property at the road front.  We want the Blossom Creek Nursery driveway to have great curb appeal.

 Current Picture

Future Look

My wife handles the design portion of our company.  It's funny.  She says "It's like shopping to me".  My job is to bring the prospects to her and she designs their requests and adds some flare to it.  It's scary the amount of business we've increased this year already by using a visual imagination presentation!  

So in the end, even though we're starting this year off like the famous "Secretariat", I can promise you that we will end this year like the famous "Secretariat"!   OH HAPPY DAYS!

Mr. Spartan

Sunday, February 13, 2011

It's Funny Until It Happens To Me....

This past year, my wife and I bought a 6 acre piece of property in Cumming, GA, which is north of Atlanta about 20 miles or so with the anticipation of developing it into three portions:  The first acre is to be our future home with all of the fixins (yes southern draw..Written not Spoken!).

The next acre and a half is set for the greenhouses for our 2nd company, Blossom Creek Nursery.  We grow seasonal flowers for the landscapers, homeowners, and garden centers around north Atlanta, but also use them in my main company, Spartan Lawn & Landscape.

And the remainder of the property is for our horse stable, pasture and riding ring.  My wife is a competitive jumper on her off time, so we're bringing it all together in one place to make it easier on all of us.  Companies and Pleasure.  Our little retreat in the big city.

View from the Back of the Property

Anyhow, this weekend, I took two of my workers with me to install some fencing around the horse pasture while the grader was finishing up my wife's riding ring.  It's amazing to me that an individual in a bulldozer can turn raw land one day into a masterpiece of pasture land, ring, greenhouse land with the perfect flow between them all.  Kudos to Scott, big time. 

Back to the fencing.  To establish this storyline a little, I have to say that my workers are from the latin descent, needless to say, they're Mexican.  (Absolutely nothing wrong with that at all, it just helps with the irony) and I wouldn't change Efran and the clan for anyone else in the world.  They are excellent at what they do, and I only have to explain the directions once, in English.

However, every once in a while, I'll ask a detailed instruction of the guys and I'll get this happy smile from their faces and the answer "yes or ok" and that's it.  It cracks me up because in the building and landscape industry, many will say that workers who don't understand your language will simply smile and say "yes".  So, I find it funny when it happens.  It looks like a guilty child's face when they got caught.  That innocent smile with their eyes searching for an answer.  ha!

So as we were installing fence posts, I mentioned that I wanted the poles to be 55" out of the ground with fence lines at every 12" up the posts.  And what did I get, but a smile from the guys and Efran simply saying "yes".  I knew right then that I put them in la la land and lord know what would have happened to the posts if I didn't simplify my directions at that moment.  Which I did, and the day went off perfectly.

When the day ended, and I was taking them back to their car, we started laughing and talking about soccer and players in the Mexican league.  As Efran was telling his story, he added some spanish words to it and looked at me with anticipation of an answer.  I, all of a sudden, became that guilty child's face searching for an answer with nervousness building up around my eyes.  But in the end, all that came out was...A friendly smile and the word "Yes"...... Who's the fool now.  Time to work on my Spanish.

Hasta manana my friends, hasta manana!

Mr. Spartan

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Need I Say More.......

With the winter months upon us here in Atlanta, Lawn Maintenance slows down and major Landscaping projects commence, which in turns, gives me time to reflect back at how last year went business wise and what we can do to progress upward in the future.

But along with those thoughts, I still have time to enjoy the pleasure moments....And here he is!

 Leonidas Adrenalius aka "Leo"

The Master of our Domain, The Head of the Household, The Ying of our Yang!  Yes, I went out, found the newest member of our family and bought a Boxer.  What the heck was I thinking!  I guess nothing, since it is the winter time and my industry is in relax mode.  But, nonetheless, he's here to stay.

Let me explain how this happened: 

My wife called me up one morning while I was out looking at properties that we service.  But, really I was at Starbuck's picking up a Low Fat Grande Latte w/ two Equals and eating one of those huge blueberry muffins.  Insight - My wife is a personal trainer and makes it a point that this family eats well and avoids getting out of hand with the junk food and I would have been shot dead chowing down on that "Awesome" delight.  So I had to hide it, go figure.  "She's a cheater, too, don't let her fool you!"

Anyways back to the story.  I was out and about and I get this call from her saying "Hey, do you ever wonder if Princess gets lonely since Hogan is gone", We lost one of our labs to cancer last year (R.I.P Hogan, you were the King of the tennis ball.  We Love you always!).  And I knew at that moment, she wanted another dog.

We were contemplating the thought of a new member before then, but life was moving fast with 3 kids and all and we put it on the back burner.  But, being in Landscaping, there's downtime and downtime means, "Clete, we have the time during the winter to buy, deal with night sweats of no sleep, block off every room he's in, watch ever move he makes so that he doesn't pee or poop, go inside outside inside outside every 20 minutes and train a puppy before the Spring rush kicks back in".  So, I said "Honey, if you want Princess to have a buddy, I get to pick the breed".  She agreed.

She knew that I wanted a Boxer and also knew that he would be a great running partner for her on her every other day jogs.  So, I made a few calls, checked on the internet and finally, one day after her initial phone call, went and found this adorable little flat face box of sunshine that became Leonidas Adrenalius aka "Leo".

And that, my friends, is the story of Leo.  Thanks for reading, But I have to go clean up POOP!  Yee Haw!

Mr. Spartan

P.S.  It's February, and in Atlanta, it's time to cut back the Crape Myrtles.  Be sure to tell your lawn care provider whether you want them cut back or just snipped BEFORE starting the job!  If you don't have one and you're here in Atlanta, by all means "Request A Quote" from us.  Mention "The Blog" to get a good discount!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Is it Business or Pleasure?

So 3 years after starting my company, Spartan Lawn & Landscape, I'm finally getting around to start a blog!

Here's my question:  Should I talk about business topics and tips only?  Or mix it up and add personal experiences, as well?

My wife says to add some personal stuff "with limitations" obviously!  And my kids say "Dad, just blog something so that we can see it on the internet!"  Go figure, no substance from them, just facts!  ha!

So, I'll leave it up to the community.  Yes or No!

Let's get this thing going.

Mr. Spartan