Accent Landscape Contractors stays aggressive amid fast-rising costs, lowered project volumes.
Business will slow somewhat this year, but revenues have climbed rapidly in recent years for Accent Landscape Contractors, Albuquerque, N.M. In 2005, work-in-place reached $9.3 million. In 2006, the number jumped to $12.2 million, then hit $13.4 million last year.
Cameron Stevens, Accent's owner and president, aggressively seeks out new sources of landscaping projects, especially as the economy slacks off. "We work all over the state of New Mexico, southern Colorado, eastern Arizona, and West Texas," says Stevens. "When things dry up here in Albuquerque, we hit the road."
Stevens employs two estimators who bid 15 to 25 projects a month - and that's about 25 percent more this year, because the economy has slowed. "A year ago, if we would see a $100,000 job in Clovis, New Mexico, we might not have bid it because we were too busy," says Stevens. "This year, we'll bid on it."
Accent employs 12 landscaping crews that range in size from five or six workers up to 12 or more. Crews are kept hopping on as many as 15 projects. Typically one crew will install an irrigation system, do some finish grading, plant trees and lay down sod. The more experienced crews get the larger, more complex projects, and each crew finishes the jobs it starts.
Volvo A Key To Success
"Volvo equipment has definitely helped with our growth," says Stevens. "The machines help us get more work done faster." Since 2005, Accent has purchased five Volvo BL 70 backhoe-loaders and 10 Volvo skid steer loaders - both MC90 and MC90B models.
"We owned Bobcat loaders for years, and then bought some Case models," says Stevens. "Then we tried Volvo skid steer loaders. The guys seemed to like them better than Case or the Bobcats, so we made a decision to stick with the Volvo machines.
Volvo. The Performance Standard
"We standardized on Volvo for a couple of reasons," says Stevens. "For one, you can operate and train people on the same equipment. For another, we have one dealer, Golden Equipment. We show them loyalty and expect the same loyalty in return. And they deliver for us. If a machine goes down, they give us a loaner. We don't miss a beat. And that's a key to success in our business."
What's more, Accent's work force likes the way Volvo machines perform. "I like the breakout power on the Volvo backhoes," says Neal Tanner, a project manager for Accent. "I like the all-around strength of the hydraulics. The hydraulics are responsive and they're fast. Like when you're loading something, you can start lifting and moving forward at the same time - when you get there the bucket will be up there, not to worry!