A-1 Landscaping: Maintaining properties while maintaining relationships

John Shirley Jr

Nathan Robinson, owner of A-1 Landscaping

A-1 Landscaping LLC enthusiastically alters and maintains properties while also working hard to build and maintain relationships in the community.

The main jobs they advertise are spring clean up, sod installation, laying down mulch and rock, land clearing, lawn care and snow removal.

Owner Nathan Robinson Jr. first worked for another landscaping company for about 10 years and learned everything needed to beautify Duluth yards. When his employer moved the company to another state, Nathan decided to start his own company.

At first, he worked really hard to find a few customers.

“When I first started, I actually went door to door to about 200 doors,” Nathan said. “The  thing about it is for about 200 doors we only got one customer, which is kind of funny.”
Instead of getting discouraged, Nathan laughed off this slow start and worked even harder to find new ways to generate leads and customers. Nathan knows you won’t get any customers by sitting around dreaming.

“You can know how to do anything but the whole thing is you have to learn to connect with people,” he said. “When you own a business you have to go out and get the work. It is not handed to you like when you have a job.”

Nathan was eventually able to get more customers. Part of this improvement came from simply doing great jobs for the customers he already had.

“Honestly I think the best kind of advertising is word of mouth,” he said. “Your good work speaks for itself.”

One big way Nathan has promoted A-1 Landscaping LLC is through the use of “merch” and social media. They have A-1 Landscaping shirts, cups, pens, hats and more. These items all have great-looking Duluth-themed art, along with the name of the company.

A lot of people have asked to buy one of the shirts proudly displaying an artistic representation of the Lift Bridge, Enger Tower and the company name. Nathan prefers to give them away throughout the year and use them in contests.

A-1 currently has one of these contests up on its Facebook page, a giveaway for a t-shirt or a caterpillar hat. To enter the drawing a person simply has to share the post on Facebook.

Nathan understands in these days when people live on social media, customer interaction on a Facebook page can do a lot to spread the word about a small business.

“Every like counts. Every share counts. Every compliment counts and every review counts,” Nathan said.
Nathan believes he is doing a good job spreading positivity and goodwill to the community.

“Lots of companies in town here and everywhere seem like they are greedy. They don’t really do anything for their customers,” he said. “They just keep all the profits for themselves. You have to show appreciation because appreciation goes a long way.”

As a businessman, Nathan understands the benefits of following up between jobs.

“I do touch base with customers,” he said. “I will send them a t-shirt or a gift card. Like on Mother’s Day we gave out a handful of flowers to some elderly customers that are kind of neglected by their children, which is kind of sad. We like to do things like that.”

During his previous years as a landscaping employee and in other jobs, he learned the importance of forming relationships with his employees. He strives to be a good boss, although he avoids that word.

“The only time you will hear anyone call me ‘boss’ is if they are new just because I don’t like that word,” he said. “I have had over 30 jobs in my lifetime and I liked about two of my bosses. I told myself ‘If I am ever a boss I am going to be the best boss possible’ because it makes people want to work harder.”

As part of spreading employer-employee goodwill, Nathan always buys his teammates lunch on workdays.

“You can’t work on an empty stomach,” he said

For more information go to a1landscapingllc.com/ or visit A-1’s Facebook page.