Company: Horizon Landscape
Location: Wyckoff, NJ, serving Bergen county, north of New York City
Horizon Landscape has been serving northern New Jersey for over 45 years. When it comes down to it, it’s a family business. Shawn’s dad, Michael, started the company in 1976 with one lawn mower and a pickup truck. Now, their 50-person team tackles everything from residential landscaping and pest management to commercial snow removal and irrigation. They’ve won numerous awards for fantastic service, including New Jersey Landscape’s Contractor of the Year award.
Frost: What’s a typical week look like for you the week before a storm hits?
Shawn: I start monitoring the storm about 7 days out. Once we get a little closer, about 3 days out, that’s when I first notify my team. We use Yeti software to send a text out to our employees and subcontractors. 2 days before the storm, when we have more information about it, I will start to communicate plans with both my team and my customers. In the final 24 hours, we start to make sure employees know exactly when and where they need to be, and this is when I start monitoring pavement conditions on the Frost dashboard. Once the storm is really close, I activate Storm Mode (which downloads new photos to the dashboard every 20 minutes). At this point, all my employees, subcontractors, and even some clients are logging into the system independently.
Frost: What about after the storm?
Shawn: I typically check the Frost pictures and data every 2-3 hours after the storm to check for re-freeze. Different customers have different windows of time after the storm where we are responsible for any re-freeze.
Frost: How are your customers using the Frost system?
Shawn: The clients mostly use Frost during the storm to make sure the work is being done. Giving them access also prevents them from calling us and asking where we are, especially if the weather is different at their site versus their home versus what they see on the weather forecast. Frost is really a way for our customers to get full visibility and feel more in tune with what we are doing.
Frost: We hear you have some customers who share the cost of the units with you. How does that work?
Shawn: I’m not trying to make money when I ask my customers to share the cost; it’s a tool in our toolbox that helps all parties. I typically say it is a reliable record, with photos and data, of what was going on with the site. If you are at risk of any slip-and-fall liability suits, this can really help, too. You can never come to a lawsuit with too much information. If you combine truck GPS, Frost images, humidity/air and pavement temperature, you have a pretty killer setup to walk into a courtroom with. I’ve had lawsuits just go away because of it.
Frost: Is there any risk of your customers being able to monitor the site (and inevitably, your work) all the time?
Shawn: You have to get over the idea that the client can see everything you’re doing. I had to eventually say forget it, they watch what I’m doing anyway on their security cameras. If I am afraid of them seeing my work, I’m not doing the job right anyway.
Frost: So can you use Frost units as a selling point to win new accounts?
Shawn: Yes– I got two sites on board this year by pitching a combination of Yeti and Frost for customer visibility. I also have had the opportunity to bid on a portfolio for two million square feet based strictly on the offer of giving more visibility to the customer. It’s important if you genuinely want to deliver quality work and professionalism. It holds you to a higher standard.