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“Striving for Precision, Excellence & Accuracy” – Interview with Hidden Creek

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Success Stories

INTERVIEW with Hidden Creek Owner Jason Cromley

While taking classes together in Landscape Architecture at Ohio State University, Jason Cromley and Matt Seiler recognized their mutual respect for hard work and creativity. From here, it was only a short period of time until Hidden Creek Landscaping was formed.

Day in and day out, this Ohio-based company places a strong focus on going above and beyond their client’s expectations. Jason Cromley, Owner of Hidden Creek Landscaping, shares his insight and talks about the success of his company:

Q: How has Hidden Creek Landscaping been able to achieve the success it has today?

A: The success of our company comes down to the people we have working for us every single day; both in the office and out in the fi eld. My business partner takes great pride in who we hire and how we are represented to all of our clients. We listen to their needs in order to give them the best opportunity for success.

One of the best ways we have seen our business grow is within the high-end residential market, within our Design/ Build division and HOA’s for our maintenance division. Both of these markets take a high level of communication with clients and following through on your promise is key.

Q: Can you give us a specific example of how technology has boosted your company’s success?

A: LMN is a simple online tool that made a huge impact instantaneously on our business. When we fi rst started using LMN, it was all about budgeting and how important it was before any sale could be made. I remember watching the videos on www.learnlmn.com and reading all the budgeting documents; I didn’t know what a budget was, let alone how to create our first one! We were in business for over ten years and never knew just how valuable LMN was.

We were able to lay the groundwork for new equipment and understand what our production levels should be set at. We walked away from bring a fl at company based on sq. feet, to setting a price based on our company overhead and expected net profit.

Q: Can you describe an ‘LMN success story for us’?

A: There have been countless times when LMN was the reason for our success, and that was due to the time we invested in creating the exact work templates that fit our company. We have now become diligent in tracking hours on many different types of installs – and this is great, because any new sales staff can come in and use the system within the first week.

When our largest residential project was before us, we knew our numbers were correct and that at the end of the day, we would have the job that we could be proud of and make the money we deserved. We nailed it on all the hours and in fact, we just won a Grand Award at the 2015 NALP Awards of Excellence dinner for that same project!

Q: Most companies struggle with accurate billing in our industry. How has Hidden Creek dealt with the subject?

A: We were a typical company that utilized QuickBooks but always struggled when it came to billing. This ended when we discovered LMN. Once they made the two compatible, and estimating could go right into QuickBooks, a significant amount of time was saved by the front office and money has been collected faster than ever before.

Every year, we have grown our business by a significant percentage and LMN has been there for every step of the way. The budget we do every year is our most important in-house meeting, where we discover and dive into where we had success, and where there is room for improvement.

Q: Have you used other resources from LMN?

A: I have attended two different LMN workshops at OHIO Cat locations. One was when we first signed up back in 2012, and the other was in 2014. We attended because we really wanted to understand some of the new software changes and we wanted the Hidden Creek team to get the best training possible – that way we could have the success we desired.

I have been able to reach out to the LMN ‘superheros’ on multiple occasions for support – whether it is technical or benchmarking my numbers. Mike Lysecki, the Chief Operating Officer of LMN, has become a true asset to our company; he has been instrumental with our growth and has given us a better understanding of the software.

He still helps us with IT and big picture thinking and that’s why I recommend LMN every day, to any company I come across. LMN truly supports their users and wants to see everyone have the same success they had in mind when they created it. There is nothing better than wanting to share your ideas and see others have the same success.

Q: With the upcoming snow season right around the corner, how will LMN help your company thrive during this busy time of year?

A: LMN Time became a key component in our snow operation before the snow season of 2014/15 – and the timing was perfect because this ended up being our largest snow season to-date. So many hours were caught that had been previously missed. Since we run a time-and-material snow operation here in Columbus, OH we can bill for everything and the paper sheets were simply not cutting it for us. With LMN Time, everyone was accountable for where they where and when.

Q: If you could ‘forecast the future’, what do you see down the pipeline for your company?

A: For us, there is nothing more exciting than the future right now. We feel our industry is making some great strides towards better installation practices and estimating. I always recommend other companies to use the same estimating software I use, because that way, our bids can be in-line with each other. Today’s market is tough with staffing, so making sure your numbers are right before you start a project gives your sales team the confidence they need to keep selling. On top of this, the install team will be happy with the hours they have for each job.

We recently just built a brand new facility which was designed to bring our clients to us instead of always being on their turf. I wanted to speed up the sales process and knew we could do that if we could get them to commit to our location. We built a headquarters that will allow us to keep growing for the next few years without having to make any changes. Now, we have better control of overhead, allowing for better margins every year moving forward.

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