Roy Harris and Alex Kocker know all about the big business of lawn care. In fact, it’s how they met, and decided to start their own company, Partners in Green, in 2014.
Prior to that, both men worked for different companies. But, when those companies merged, Harris and Kocker actually became office mates.
“We became friends,” Harris says, “and then we started talking about the things we would do if we started our own business. We were like, ‘Hey man, we can do this job just as good or better than what people were doing and offering at the time.’ That’s what made us decide to go into business together.”
Located in New Tampa, Partners in Green now has more than 1,000 clients and, despite that growth, is still run like a small business. Harris and Kocker now have seven employees — five field technicians, one sales and marketing employee and an administrator — and continue to attract new customers eager for better lawn care.
“We just felt like if we bring good customer service, use high quality products, don’t cut corners, are honest and try to protect people’s investments, we would be able to take a step above the rest of the competition,” Harris says.
While volume is a crucial for the larger companies, Harris says focusing on doing thorough work and building their business through word of mouth and is the key to their growth. That personal touch is where they felt they could compete in a highly competitive, nearly $100-billion industry.
“We have been very happy with their services,” says customer Joanna Brown. “The regular monthly technician is knowledgeable and takes great care in his work. We recently had some challenges with the lawn and they took care of fixing things quickly.”
Partners in Green focuses on what Harris says the company does best —fertilizing your lawn, shrubs and trees while keeping the pests at bay. It leaves the lawn cutting and tree trimming to other companies.
“We won’t change,” Harris says. “We’ll stay with this concept because it’s been working. It’s what we do.”
Some of the services Partners in Green offers include:
• Fungus control
• Pre- & post-emergent weed treatments
• Chinch bug and general insect control
• Granular lawn, shrub & palm fertilization
• General insect control
• Spraying of beds & pavement weeds
When it comes to fertilizing lawns and administering herbicides, Harris says every precaution is taken. His technicians are appropriately protected and clients are kept abreast of the applications and when children and pets can be allowed to get back on the lawn.
“We follow only the Best Management Practices (BMP),” Harris says. According to the Partners in Green website, the BMP is a guide produced jointly by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services and the University of Florida, to name a few.
Partners in Green does not use banned chemicals or provide services outside of what is recommended in the BMP guidelines.
Partners in Green, named for the expected relationship between the company and the customer — “it can be a team effort,” Harris says — also will take care to treat your yard only when it is needed. The company’s technicians use only the amount of fertilizer, herbicide and insecticide recommended by the manufacturer, and will not douse a yard in an effort to complete a job more quickly.
Many times, a spot treatment at the beginning of a fungus outbreak or a budding insect invasion is all that’s required.
“We make sure to use only the treatment on the area (where) it’s needed,” Harris says. “And, we make sure everything we use is safe. We’re very careful not to contaminate any water supply or make anyone sick.”
Partners in Green offers free estimates, and will work with each customer to identify their lawn care needs.
And, the company won’t hesitate to recommend another course of action for your lawn. Honesty is a big part of what Harris says helps keep customers happy.
Sometimes, lawns are so overridden with weeds that spraying won’t help them. If Partners in Green can’t turn the lawn around, the company won’t take the job or your money. In times like those, the technician might suggest getting your irrigation system fixed or your yard re-sodded first. “Then, give us a call back, and we can help preserve that,” Harris says.
Of course, the No. 1 tip Harris suggests for keeping your lawn, shrubs and trees healthy is water, water, water.
“If you really want to maintain a healthy and beautiful lawn, you have to water the lawn the proper way,” he says. “Make sure the irrigation system is up to par, all of the zones are running properly and efficiently, and that everything is getting enough water — but not too much water.”
If all that is done, Partners in Green can do the rest, with treatments that can stop emerging problems in their tracks. Issues, like crabgrass, can be dealt with using pre-emergent treatments and pesky and painful fire ants can be treated by applications that can protect you for a year.
In between treatments, Partners in Green will be there to deal with any problems as well.
“In our industry, at the end of the day, all companies are trying to make money and be successful, and believe me we have the same goals as well,” Harris says. “We just feel we do it a little differently. The quality of work is important to us. The customer service is important to us. That’s why we’re growing.”
Watergrass resident Frank Santarelli and his wife Jessica are among the company’s satisfied customers. “We genuinely don’t have enough good things to say about Partners in Green! We tried 5 different companies before we finally found Partners in Green – our only regret is that we didn’t find them sooner! Every other company would show up spray some generic formula and leave never really caring about the health or condition of our yard or landscaping. One company even cost us thousands in sod replacement because they simply weren’t treating our yard properly.
For more information about Partners in Lawn lawn care or to get a free estimate, visit PartnersinGreenFL.com or call (813) 451-7330.