Native Cape Codders, Chris and Virginia Smith, have found a way to grow a successful business on Cape Cod—by doing it together. The business, full-service landscaping, started as a “side business” for Chris who has a horticulture degree. In 2008 he transitioned it into a full time business—Cape Cod Tree and Landscape. Within a few years, it became clear more hands were needed in the day-to-day operations. Virginia, who was working as a teacher at the time and caring for their young child, decided to join her husband and the rapidly growing business. They incorporated in 2013 and have been on an upward trajectory since, now employing 9 individuals.
The Smiths’ customer base is primarily on the Lower Cape. They provide their customers with a wide range of complementary services, including landscaping, mowing and yard maintenance, tree work, gardening, and plowing. According to the Smiths, the business has grown via word of mouth, Virginia’s efforts with online marketing, and Chris’s networking skills through his BNI group. A cloud-based contact management system has also been critical, creating greater efficiencies within the business. But with this rapid growth, challenges surfaced.
The business faced constant repair and maintenance issues with equipment, particularly a work truck. These issues resulted in mounting expenses. In the spring of 2015 the Smiths approached the CDP about a Micro Loan. After working with CDP staff to present a compelling business plan, they were approved for a $25,000 loan to buy a newer dump truck. With 4WD, the new truck has expanded their season, enabling them to continue to plow and tackle tree work in the winter. “The loan bridged the gap for us to take our business to the next level,” said Virginia. “Our costs for equipment maintenance and repairs had become too burdensome. With the new truck those have been reduced.” As they contemplate the future of the business, the Smiths are quite optimistic.