Terra hasn't always been firma

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself' started by Terra Firma, Oct 16, 2006.

  1. Terra Firma

    Terra Firma LawnSite Member
    Messages: 18

    We are a company about 5 years old. We started with $8.23, a Ford Taurus Station Wagon, a rake, a box of bags and a copius amount of drive and determination. We were of a company of two working out of an apartment back then. We now have our own shop and yard, 5 trucks, 2 trailers, 12 employees, and enough equipment to maintain 5 crews full time all year long.
  2. zim bob the landscaper

    zim bob the landscaper LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,706

    wow thats cool. what kind of mowers u got? have any pics of your equitpment?
  3. RedMax Man

    RedMax Man LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,051

    Are you making money or just growing out of control?
    Whats the name of the company?
    You have come along way.
  4. Terra Firma

    Terra Firma LawnSite Member
    Messages: 18

    I started to explain our company in great detail but I didn't think a three part saga was of interest to anybody. I would like to develop our bio a little bit more but I will save that for a rainy day.
    The name of our company is Terra Firma,LLC.
    Our company is made up of three depts. Turf Maintanence, Bed Mantanence, and Landscape Design and Install.
    We are sthil lovers at TF
    We own: 4 4 mix weed eaters
    2 4 mix edgers
    8 BR340 backpack blowers
    1 extintion hedge prunner
    2 hand held hedge prunners
    3 chainsaws (one echo)
    1 earth auger
    4 honda comercial push mowers (we cut grass for a lot of residencial clients who actually prefer and pay extra for us to push their lawns)
    2 48" lesco walkbehind mowers
    1 Catepillar frontend loader
    That is our main amount of eqiupment our landscape dept. has it's own set of stuff and we do a lot of renting of tools in that dept.

    Are we making money? Yes and no. We are making money, but we are are also spending money on past mistakes we have made. Unfortunately, we had very little education on pricing, organization, and running a business. We were definitely a trial and error company the first three years (we did learn from our mistakes, now we just have to pay for them). Once our past mistakes our taken care of we will make more money. We aren't spending all of our money on past mistakes. We also pay our bills, taxes, employees, purchasing new equipment, some savings and then our debt. I think we are growing at a comfortable rate. The hardest part about growing I have experienced was starting a second crew in my turf dept. (we got through with only minor set backs). We started out the company with 6 clients in one city and today we have collectively in all depts. about 165 clients in 5 cities. 100% of our growth has been word of mouth.
  5. RedMax Man

    RedMax Man LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,051

    What got you into the lanscape business?
    What does Terra Firma mean?
    "100% work of mouth" thats great! Does that mean you don't do any advertising?
  6. Terra Firma

    Terra Firma LawnSite Member
    Messages: 18

    When I was a kid I hated to clean the house and my mom had to do the white glove test. Anything I could do to get away from taking away 4hrs from my friends on Saturdays I tried. I would sneak outside before my mom turn into Hitler and get to my dad. My dad would make me cut the grass and rake up the pine straw in the back yard (about an hour and a half job) and then I was finished.
    Cutting grass and yard work really did not bother me. I guess I really started to enjoy it. It wasn't until my dad got remarried that I fell in love with plants. My step mom was a master gardner. She had all this crazy stuff she brought to the house (peat pots, perlite, vermiculite, magazines, books, etc.). After spending hours pouring over everything I started to think "hey this could for me". I talked to my stepmom about and we agreed I would probably be happiest as Landscape Architect. I told my dad of that I was thinking of going to school for Landscape Architecture and his reply was "you could make a lot of money doing that". Instantly I was sold.
    Unfortunately I didn't make it to college for that, "I" just couldn't afford it and financial aid would give me money because my dad made too much money (what that has to do with me I don't know). My grandmother suggested I go and work at a nursery. That was the best advice I ever got. I spent 2 years working for a local nursery. The amount of information I recieved and the exposure I received was pricless. Still there was something missing, I came to realize that running my own business was what I wanted to do (if only I knew then what I know now).
    My first attempt at running my own business consisted of 1 job. My girlfriend (my wife now) got pregnant (by me). I had to think about my family. I got a job with this other guy (who didn't know how to financially keep his business oiled) but 2 years later it was over. I decided that no matter what happened I was going to run a business and so my cohort in crime I met at this job and started Terra Firma.
    Terra Firma is latin for solid ground. When we were coming up with a name we wanted to stick to the binomial nomenclature. We had a plant classification book and were looking thru it. We put a couple of latin words together but was until we said the name Terra Firma that we were sold. As soon as we said it seemed to echo in the room.
    I guess we have done a little advertising now that I think about. We had done some work for DJ on NPR and we had a 5 min. question and answer on her show. That was it. I think we may have gotten 4 clients from that.

    Sorry to be so long winded,
  7. Az Gardener

    Az Gardener LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,899

    Excellent, now this is how you build a business. Congratulations, now just hold on because it wont slow down. I would suggest you get a good business mentor or coach it will be money well spent. As you are finding out you can pay for education sooner or later and later is always more expensive and sometimes embarrassing. Great name by the way.
  8. Terra Firma

    Terra Firma LawnSite Member
    Messages: 18

    I actually have a mentor/coach and I never really looked at him that way until reading what you said. He is definitely someone whom I tell all the good and bad things to and I generally run business ideas by him. He is definitely business savy. Also, I am currently enrolled in college (community college with the intentions of transferring to a 4-year college) working on a business administration degree. I finally have enough personal money that I can pay for it.
  9. RedMax Man

    RedMax Man LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,051

    Very unique Co. name. I like it now that i know what it means. Keap up the hard work.:waving:

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