Curtis “Bobby” Showalter may have eight employees and tackle a variety of landscaping and hardscaping projects now, but he still remembers how he got his start.
Showalter, the owner of TriCounty Landscape Creations, has been interested in improving property owners’ outdoor spaces from an early age.
“When I was 12, I just started mowing everyone’s grass, and it just kind of took off from there,” he recalls with a laugh. “I just started going around door-to-door and getting as many customers as I could. And I created a little monster.”
He went to vocational school for horticulture in high school, working for his instructor’s business during the summers and graduating at the top of his class. He officially started TriCounty Landscape Creations in 2006, and it’s grown from there.
He started out mowing the lawns of a small base of customers, as well as mulching and landscaping for them. Gradually, that base grew, and he began taking on bigger and bigger jobs, including commercial work. He added hardscaping, hired more employees and divided them into two crews – one to focus on hardscaping projects and the other to concentrate on landscaping, though they often help each other.
Now he has begun to focus most of his efforts on the management aspects – overseeing operations, doing estimates, much of the accounting and generally running the business – because it now takes so much time.
He misses the work at the job sites that he used to be able to do every day – “And I gained weight,” he says with a chuckle – but he acknowledges that it has allowed him to become more involved in customer relations, his favorite part of the job.
“We really take pride in our work,” he says. “All of my guys take pride and really care about everything we build or maintain, and we just want to make sure our customers are absolutely, 100 percent happy. We will not leave a job until the customer is 100 percent happy.”
Keeping his employees educated and knowledgeable about their work also sets his company apart from other landscaping crews.
“I also take at least one or two of my guys every year and we renew our certifications, and we go to school for certain things,” he says.
It may be fall, but there’s still time to do hardscaping projects, such as patios, walkways and walls. Now is also the time to set up major construction projects for the spring, especially water features, he says. Those who want such projects completed by the end of the season next spring need to start planning them out now, he stresses. It’s never too early to start thinking about spring.
Now is also the time for fall cleanups, including trimming of certain shrubs and perennials, leaf cleanup and prepping of landscape beds for winter.
“For us, there’s no job that’s either too big or too small,” he adds. “We will take on any job, any size. If for some reason we don’t have the right contacts or equipment to help do the job, we’ll steer the customer in the right direction or we’ll get somebody to help us get the job completed.”