Oliver from Acres Landscapes was kind enough give up some time to chat to us about his business.
We began by asking how he is coping with what’s happening at the moment. He commented: “As a team of gardeners/landscapers we are trying to keep everyone we work with safe so we have made changes to the way we work and tried to visit one supplier for materials to help stop the risk of infection. As always, we are spending time in our gardens when we’re not busy to help keep fresh ideas in our minds. We are also looking for more local council work [like flower beds and tree planting] for public gardens that invite locals to spend time with nature. I have lots of long term ideas tht I’ve put to my local council and others to try to improve the local areas and to teach children to grow from trees and protect the bees from pollen.”
We also asked what they are doing to help out their customers and if they are providing additional services. Oliver explained: “We offer a 10% discount to all health care workers, and will continue to do so. We think it’s important to ensure that the people who find it most stressful at this time can have a chance to find some peace in their garden. We always offer a service that is incomparable to others; we bring relevant knowledge to each and every job, collect any required materials and we also always ensure we take any waste so it’s as easy as possible for you to do the easy part, enjoy your outside space.”
He continued, “We are providing garden waste clearance as an ‘extra’, that does come at a charge but because we can recycle most garden waste it’s easy for us to help out. In fact it’s important to mention that that we undertake any exterior work, including exterior household refurbishments and upkeep.”
The future may be unpredictable but we asked Oliver to consider the likely demand when things resume to normal. He said: “We are very organised when it comes to what we can do in one and we try to be as productive and efficient as possible. It’s very rare that anyone would wait more than two weeks for a job to be booked in. When we are busy I take on local workers to help with the extra workloads.”
Oliver was keen to tell us about how the business started. “I have always been attracted to the simple things in life; nature, birds, flowers and home grown fruit/veg. I like the thought of green gardens rather than concrete. I also think we can learn a lot from nature as it helps us to remember how perfect our planet is. I wanted to help other people recognise that you can find peace in your garden (big or small); it’s about utilising the space you do have to get exactly what you want.”
Oliver’s uncle is the company carpenter and has more than 40 years’ experience. He makes sheds and summer houses and helps with any woodwork jobs (i.e. decking and fencing). Ada, Oliver’s brother, is great at paving, fencing and heavy digging on landscaped projects and Will specialises in brickwork and building. Oliver is the horticulturalist visionary behind it all so likes to place everything where it should be and is very knowledgeable about plants. He says, “I enjoy working on every job because every job gives you new challenges to overcome; I very much enjoy turning dreams into a reality.”
Oliver is confident about the future because he takes the time to understand what every customer wants to achieve: “Landscapers and gardeners who give the best possible service, take pride in what they do and focus on giving every customer their perfect reality will always be in demand. Customer service is critical for my business; if something isn’t right I will fix it. We visit lots of new customers who have had work done that may have cost less than what I would price it at but it’s not great workmanship and not long lasting. For example, if you have a fence put up you want it to last as many years as possible. We use materials and plants that have longevity and quality as otherwise you end up paying for the job twice. I don’t know of any monthly maintenance schemes that are offered by other people in my industry, because we offer a personal package for each client it works for them.”
It’s no surprise then that a great deal of Oliver’s business comes from word of mouth: “Every customer is a long term customer because we are often called back because the first job was a success. We’ve never really advertised but we do want to reach more customers and help more homeowners to make the most of the space they have.
“I quote for every job and can confidently say that we have completed every job I have quoted for. I’m realistic about time scales but if a job takes a little longer than expected, we never cut corners or rush to complete. Getting it right is always the priority.”
It’s this commitment which Oliver believes homeowners are looking for and that’s why he’s keen to tell them about Acres.
“We do the job right and pay attention to the details. A gardening or landscaping job designed with longevity in mind is a job well done. I love to think big and to give customers what they want. Sourcing the right plants, wood, fencing, masonry or whatever the job requires is a wonderful challenge and we have the knowledge, skills, experience and elbow grease to make it happen. We also love the process which isn’t lost on our customers who quickly pick up on how committed we are to giving them exactly what they want.”