Rather than turn business away, the owners of a landscaping startup have made the venture a full-time endeavor.
Eric Ellington and Will Lane left their full-time jobs this year to focus on growing Glen Allen Grounds Management, which they launched in 2013. Lane previously worked for Industrial Commodities Inc., and Ellington was formerly with Carter Machinery in Ashland.
Ellington, 27, who did electrical work and customer service at Carter Machinery, said the decision to go full-time was made on the fly.
“We had a lot of stuff sell in a short amount of time,” Ellington said. “I just had to do it. We needed an extra hand.”
Glen Allen Grounds Management does typical lawn care tasks like mowing, mulching, and leaf removal, and also builds yard amenities like patios, fire pits and walkways. The company works on about 40 residential properties a week and manages 35 properties for Virginia Premier Investments and Urban Core Development.
About 75 percent of its business comes from signing on year-long ground maintenance contracts, which consist of 32 visits over 12 months at $40-$45 per visit.
“The first year we (were in business), we had a very small profit margin,” Ellington said. “We’re hoping for 18 to 20 percent this year.”
Their road to going full-time with Glen Allen Grounds Management was paved with lunchtime emails and phone calls and putting in hours on the weekend, Ellington said.
“When we were both employed, everything would happen after 5 o’clock,” he said.
Ellington said since bringing in $26,000 in sales in 2013, the company has grown and is looking to finish 2015 with $190,000 in sales. He would like to hire at least two more people to help the five-person company grow.
“Our big push this winter is to crank up the marketing,” he said. “It’s very hard to retain employees in this industry, and my goal is to change that.”