HEBRON | Dean Ricci investment in employees and equipment has made his business a leader in its field.
A professional landscaping company, Ricci’s Landscaping Management Inc., has gross sales of more than $3 million annually, Dean Ricci said. The company works throughout Lake and Porter counties on both residential and commercial accounts.
Ricci, who formally opened the business 20 years ago April 1, began his landscaping career by mowing neighbor’s lawns as a 10-year-old.
“I eventually saved up enough money to buy garden tractor and bought trailer, and pulled it behind our family suburban,” said Ricci who grew up in Lakes of the Four Seasons.
The company has 22 year-round employees and more than 30 employees during the growing season, plus 14 trucks. The business does custom landscape design, landscaping construction, commercial and residential landscaping and lawn maintenance, lawn fertilizer and weed-killer applications plus design and installation of irrigation systems.
During the winter months, nine of the trucks do double duty snowplowing.
Ricci, who is a member of the National Landscaping Association, said he annually reinvests about 5.5 percent of the company’s gross sales back into the business through the purchase of new equipment.
However, Ricci contends buying equipment is easy compared to the challenge of finding good employees.
“My biggist challenge is people,” he said. “Employees are a company’s biggest asset and the biggest liability. You grow business based on employees. It’s easy to get work if you do good work, but it’s not easy to get good employees.”
Without good employees a business will fail, said Ricci, who has a degree in Business Management from Indiana University Northwest.
“That gave me the knowledge to run a business and helps with the business aspect of operating,” Ricci said. “I consider myself a landscaper, but I’m more of a business owner than a landscaper
All the company’s foremen are Indiana-accredited horticulturists, with three having a master accredited horticulturist certification. Other workers are licensed as chemical applicators and several are trained and licenses in paver installation. All employees are insured, and all wear uniforms that identify them as professionals.
Having trained and qualified employees is one of the ways that differentiates a professional landscaper from others in the business, Ricci said.
“There aren’t many professional landscapers,” he said. “The difference is a professional is able to propose something and then do it. … A lot of guys that do landscaping work will give a good price, but they don’t do the job right.
“People, when they buy something and compare only on price, don’t get a better deal if they don’t get what is promised and needed,” Ricci said. “We always do that.”