Owner And CEO, Seiler’s Landscaping, Cincinnati, Ohio
1. What should I know about Seiler’s Landscaping?
We’re second-generation, family-owned, started in 1978. I purchased the business at the end of 2019. We’re all high-end residential. This year, we’ll finish right around $4 million (in revenue), with about 35 employees. We’re probably around 65 percent design/build, and the other 35 percent reoccurring maintenance. We are focused on building the residential maintenance accounts to get closer to 50/50. We’ve grown from about $1.5 million to $4 million over the last four years, so we’re on a nice trajectory. Our goal is 10 million by 2030.
2. You live in Boulder, Colo., but the business is based in Cincinnati. How did that come about and is it difficult?
It’s definitely a challenge, but we’re getting better at it each year. I started working in the business in 2009, but I first put this remote ownership plan together in February of 2019, so I had 10 months to get organized and move forward with purchasing the business. That first year, I spent a week in Cincinnati, a week in Boulder, a week in Cincinnati, a week in Boulder. It was a lot. Now I spend about three or four days in Cincinnati a month. We do a company “all hands” meeting where we recap the last month and forecast what’s ahead. It’s working out well. We’re building a nice foundation, we have a good team and I empower them to really own their roles.
3. What is your favorite tool to get the job done?
We use Aspire for our software needs, which gives us access to a bunch of data. The trick is choosing the right data to share. I’m a part of Jeffrey Scott’s Leaders Edge Peer Group, and he shares a rolling budget template with all his clients. Before I joined the group, I didn’t really use a rolling budget tool. It felt like quite a bit of work when I first started, but now I check it out two or three times a week. It’s always open on my desktop. There is an incredible amount of value in the benchmarking analysis.
4. Tell me about your family, and what do you all do for fun?
(My wife) Erin and I have two kids, Emmett just turned 2 and our daughter Avery is 6 months old. We like to explore the Colorado mountain towns. There’s so much here within a three-hour drive. The hobby muscle is one we flex easily. I fly fish, we hike, ski and play golf. There are so many opportunities to enjoy Colorado. I’m looking forward to sharing that with our kids.
5. Do you have a most memorable day at work?
The most memorable day for me at Seiler’s Landscaping was when I presented the idea of remote business ownership to my parents, the bank, our CPA and the attorneys. This business meant the world to my dad, and initially, the pitch felt strange and uncomfortable for everyone in the room. But it ended up going well, and I can vividly recall the expressions on their faces. I was able to get them to buy into the vision. I remember it as a dark and rainy day, and we were at the top of PNC Bank’s office tower. They showed confidence in me, and I signed an SBA loan with my house as collateral. Afterward, we celebrated with a beer. This day stands out as the most memorable in my journey with Seiler’s Landscaping.