Green Industry Perspectives: Deep Roots LLC is saving time and embracing the future

Posted by Ty Deemer on Feb 5, 2020 11:25:23 AM

   

Welcome to the second installment of Green Industry Perspectives - a video series in which SingleOps' CEO, Sean McCormick, sits down with different SingleOps' customers to discuss their experience in the green industry, solutions to challenges they are facing, and how SingleOps is helping their companies win new more business, streamline operations and win customers for life.

Watch as Sean sits down with SingleOps' customers John Baxter and Ben Filchak, the President and Vice President of Deep Roots Landscape LLC, located in Gainesville, Georgia. Inspired by a business plan made during his time at North Georgia College, John founded Deep Roots LLC in 2010.  Over the last ten years, Deep Roots LLC has grown into the premiere full landscaping company in North Georgia. Listen as John and Ben talk about the challenges they face in the green industry and how they strive to exceed their customers expectations each day. 

 

Interested in learning how SingleOps could help your business like it has Deep Roots? Click here to schedule a free online demo. Want to join Sean for an interview? Shoot us an email at info@singleops.com. 

See Green Industry Perspectives Episode 1 Here

Full Transcript of the Interview Below: 

Sean McCormick:
Hi, guys. Thank you so much for joining me today. I'm here with John Baxter and Ben Filchak with Deep Roots Landscape, one of the premier full service landscaping companies out of North Georgia. I want to thank you guys for joining me today. I've got a series of questions I want to ask you guys just to kind of dive a little bit deeper about your experience in the industry, your experience with business management software, the whole deal. So yeah, I'm going to go ahead and get started with kind of a general question on how did y'all get started in the green industry?

John Baxter:
Well, thanks for having us. I've been in the green industry pretty much my whole life. I started when I was in high school, in college, cutting lawns for some neighbors and stuff like that, just making a little extra cash. Got into college as a business major there at North Georgia College State and University, as well as my business partner here, Ben.

John Baxter:
As a business major there, had to do a business plan for one of my classes. And when I got out of school we had a bad recession, and so I took that business plan and turned it into a company. That's how I got started, and ever since then we just had a lot of good time just enjoying the green industry. My business partner joined up about a year into it, a year into Deep Roots Landscape.

Ben Filchak:
I had to take a victory lap in college first, and then partnered up with John. I'd worked with him some in high school and college. We've been best friends for our whole lives and so it was a really easy fit. It was just the two of us back in the day doing all the jobs and everything, and we've slowly grown into the company that we are today.

John Baxter:
One of the things that has made Ben and I work well together is we just have the same vision for what we want to do for our customers and for our employees and for our vendors as well.

Sean McCormick:
So now you started the business, it came from a business plan while you were still in school. Did you actually begin the business while you were still in school or right after?

John Baxter:
Well, not officially, no. I was still cutting lawns and stuff on the side. So we did all the groundwork in that class. I had a group of about four other, or three other guys, and had to do all the pro formas and all of the accounting stuff, the management plan, so I took a lot of that same plan and implemented into Deep Roots Landscapes. I started right when I got out of school in May of 2010.

Sean McCormick:
Okay. Well, awesome. That's a great origin story. It sounds like school really helped you get all of the business part of it really put together.

John Baxter:
Yeah, it really did. It was one of those things I'm really glad... I think both Ben and I are really glad we went to college because we learned so much about how to communicate with people, write letters, write emails. Just have a wide variety of information available to us, and learning how to learn, so it was very, very helpful.

Ben Filchak:
Also develop leadership skills and things like that.

Sean McCormick:
Yeah, absolutely. Well, cool. Obviously it's paying off because you guys are growing really nicely. You got a bunch of happy customers. So I want to ask you, why do customers choose Deep Roots Landscape?

John Baxter:
Well, I think ultimately, from our standpoint, we want to treat our customers with respect. We want to make their properties better. We want to build relationships with these customers. We want to build relationships with employees and vendors. That's the bedrock of what we try to do, and so every day we try to live that out. So that's one of the big things. A lot of our customers trust our guys out in the field. We try to get good talent and just have people that are fun to work with and that people enjoy being around.

Ben Filchak:
Yeah, I'll add to that. All of our business comes from word of mouth, and it's from that relationship we build with that initial customer and then they go and tell other people about it. That speaks a lot, like John said, to our guys, too, and how it's not just whoever sells the job. They have a good relationship with them, it's through the whole process and the whole team carries that out, and that's what helps keep all the customer retention that we have.

John Baxter:
And one of the things that when we started the company, we wanted to make sure that... You know, anybody can do a job, but it's about those finer details at the end of the job that make the job a job well done. That's why we're always stressing to our guys, make sure you're always going above and beyond to find those things that make the job well done, that customers are pleased and excited to come home to something.

Ben Filchak:
Exceed expectations is what we always say.

Sean McCormick:
Yeah. That's awesome. Well, it sounds like you've built a great team and they're rallied around that vision that you mentioned earlier. And you've been able to do that in light of your challenges with labor, so that kind of leads to my next question. I often hear that, and I see this firsthand, that obviously getting good labor and a good team together is the biggest challenges facing the industry. What would you say are some of the biggest challenges facing the industry today?

John Baxter:
Labor. Yeah, labor.

Sean McCormick:

How do you guys overcome that?

John Baxter:
By far that's probably our number one challenge. So obviously trying to provide a company that people enjoy coming to, having a purpose greater than just themselves, that's some of it. We also use a visa program where we bring people in from a different country to come work for us during the peak time of the year, and that helps kind of alleviate some of the stress of some of our crew leaders and crew members, and just kind of provide a little bit better atmosphere for everybody.

Ben Filchak:
We offer health insurance for people that have been with us over 90 days, which we don't have to. We only have have 30 employees, but offering perks like that, paid time off, sick days. Making it a place that they feel like they have a career, not just a job, somewhere they want to be for a long time, has helped us get new people and keep the people that we have.

Sean McCormick:
Yeah, totally, that retention side of things. What you guys are saying, offering that health insurance after 90 days, a lot of those other perks, I don't see that as being very common in the industry. So you're certainly on to something with offering that, both with recruiting and with retention.

John Baxter:
For sure. That's one of those things, you know, we want to care for our employees. It's not just about us here. If we don't have our employees happy, then we're not going to be successful and our customers aren't going to be happy. But we just want that whole thing to kind of come together and everybody join up and be successful.

Sean McCormick:
Awesome. Well, good stuff, guys. So that's one of the biggest challenges that you see today. What about moving forward into the future? Any challenges that you see on the horizon and any kind of ways that you guys are planning on addressing them?

John Baxter:
I think for sure technology, as it progresses into the future. The green industry has been... Some of it's been pretty... Technology has been somewhat absent in that industry. We were at a trade show last week, and just seeing all the things that are moving towards electric. I mean, the technology's starting to make its way into the green industry, so staying on top of that kind of stuff. Making sure we're able to add value to our customers that way, just kind of slowly getting them caught up to where they are on the rest of their lives as far as their landscapes are concerned. So that, and what else would you say?

Ben Filchak:
Regulations-

John Baxter:
Yeah, regulations.

Ben Filchak:
-are always a possible threat. Right now it seems to be okay, but who knows what could happen, and things could get... Especially like fuel and things like that. Emissions could start getting heavily regulated and you have to switch out the type of equipment you use and all sorts of things. So at least being kind of in touch with what's going on or what could happen so you don't get blindsided by it.

Sean McCormick:
Yeah, staying prepared is huge.

Ben Filchak:
Yep.

Sean McCormick:
Well, awesome responses. So you kind of already mentioned, John, technology is being something that you see both as a challenge, but also be a solution moving forward in the future. How does your business address challenges that led you to look at this management software?

John Baxter:
We started out years ago using just QuickBooks, and so all of our invoices were coming in, but as we progressed, as we added more crews in place, we just knew that keeping paper records of everything was just not going to do the deal. We also do turf treatments as well, so we have a number of things that need to be... You know, chemicals need to be kept track of as far as what we put out on people's yards. So we determined pretty quickly that if we want to move forward and be able to communicate with our customers effectively and keep accurate records, we need to have some kind of software that would provide a vehicle for that. So that's kind of where we started to search for that kind of platform.

Ben Filchak:
Pretty early on, too.

John Baxter:
Yeah, pretty early on. Probably what, a couple of two, three years?

Ben Filchak:
Into it, yeah.

Sean McCormick:
Into the business, that's when you started searching for it?

Ben Filchak:
As soon as we got more than one crew, basically.

John Baxter:
Yeah.

Sean McCormick:
And that's probably when you decided to do that, because you were starting to feel the pains that the business management software could address? Is that why?

John Baxter:
Yeah. I mean, it's one of those things we want to keep more organized. As we grew, we knew that we could either hire a lot more people to keep us organized, or we'd have software that could help us stay organized. And so that was a pretty big part of just figuring out how we could create a strategy around the software being a pretty central integrated part of how we operate every day.

Ben Filchak:
And as we grew, the ease of it for new people to come in on, to be able to use and figure out and then keep rolling with it.

Sean McCormick:
That's awesome. So you found it to help your business scale. That's part of my next question, which you guys already started to provide some answers to. How have you improved your business using SingleOps? So scalability sounds huge. Any other areas of the business that you've seen improve using SingleOps?

John Baxter:
For one thing, I think both of us can agree that just the streamlined nature of SingleOps is really phenomenal, because it takes it from a lead all the way to the approved job, and it's super easy to navigate from either one of those, and the customer kind of knows what's going on in the process. Also, as far as communication is concerned, just base level communication with customers is pretty standardized. You can modify things so that you're putting out the same message to a lot of your customers, and so you're not just getting a different answer from different people in the company. So that's another huge part of it. And I think you would say the same thing.

Ben Filchak:
Oh my gosh, time, just time saving has been massive. I used to dread doing proposals because they were so tedious. They would take forever. With SingleOps it is so quick. I can do probably twice as many in a day that I used to could. And then the templates are already set up for you, even the email templates. There's times when you need to go in and edit emails, but a lot of times you just want to send them. Two clicks and you're sent. So whether it's proposals or invoices, it's just so much faster.

John Baxter:
And you have a record of sending it.

Ben Filchak:
Yeah, exactly.

Sean McCormick:
Though the customer says you didn't. At least you know. You might not want to say [inaudible 00:11:25].

John Baxter:
Yeah, for sure.

Ben Filchak:
Also ease of use for our employees. Our account manager uses it, our administrative assistant, and then crew leaders. We've had crew members who can get on and use it really quickly.

John Baxter:
Another huge aspect of that is being able to integrate that in with QuickBooks. That's a huge thing for us. Being able to see it from a cash base accounting to a accrual base as well. In our QuickBooks software, we're able to see both of those sets of data now, which has really helped out a lot, just being able to make informed decisions about where we want to go and what we need to do to address certain financial things.

Sean McCormick:
Yeah. That is awesome. Great feedback, guys. So we talked a lot about challenges, talked about technology. But about your business, what are you guys most excited about moving forward with Deep Roots Landscape?

John Baxter:
I think we have a lot of different opportunities out there. I think as we progress over the next couple of years we're going to see a lot of those things and figuring out where we want to go with that, kind of dialing some things in with that. Just having a better basis of communication with all of our customers and really forming that up.

Ben Filchak:
Yeah. I mean, I would agree. There's a lot of opportunities we have listed and have at least in the back of our minds of where we could go and what we can do. And then it's up to us to navigate and kind of figure out what works for us. But just the potential of growth that is present now is pretty exciting.

Sean McCormick:
That's awesome, yeah. So growth, something you all are looking forward to, and then you're being smart about it in terms of prioritizing all the ways that you guys can realize that potential growth.

Ben Filchak:
Trying to, anyway.

John Baxter:
Yeah.

Sean McCormick:
Right, right. It can be tough. Well, guys, those were all my questions, so thank you so much for joining me today. John, Ben, I really appreciate your time, and so have a great rest of your week and look forward to seeing you all soon.

Ben Filchak:
Thanks so much for having us.

John Baxter:
Appreciate it.

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