Growing a Business in Omaha: Insights from the Owners of Groundscapes
Starting a business is hard. Growing a business into a multi-million dollar venture is even more difficult. Groundscapes owners Nick and Lori Heimann have done both, in an industry that is typically not associated with luxury living: landscaping.
Groundscapes started in the early 2000s as a landscaping, design and build company. Its success over the years has been based upon the mindset and business philosophy of Nick and Lori - Today they were willing to take a couple of minutes to share some of their thoughts on the evolution of Groundscapes, Landscaping, and their new multi-million dollar facility set to open next year!
Interviewer: Thanks for taking the time to sit down and talk today. To get started, why don’t we talk a little bit about what got both of you interested in landscaping and starting Groundscapes in the first place.
Nick: The independence and freedom of running your own business is something that both Lori and I prioritized early on. I had previously gained experience working in a number of other industries, but thought that landscaping was the most applicable to families and living experiences.
Lori: The creativity and design involved in each landscaping project, and then the ultimate reward of creating it for a family or a couple is what really got me to start and stay in the landscaping business. We’ve been in it for almost two decades now, and still love it as if we just started.
Interviewer: How did you want to differentiate yourselves as a landscaping company within Omaha? What kind of a philosophy did you take to growing your business?
Lori: We always knew that Groundscapes was a different kind of landscaping company, because of our focus on creativity and building unheard of and unimaginable home improvements. I think that is where the notion of ‘luxury landscaping’ really sprung from. Of course we can take care of lawn care and maintenance and snow removal, but what really makes us special are the private infinity swimming pools, the stainless steel outdoor kitchens, and the stone fire places (among other features)....
Nick: To add to that, we wanted to make landscaping about the customer and the customer’s experience of their backyard or work space. So I think the focus was slightly different as well - it has always been less about the look or standard lawn view and much more about the personal experience and the way a customer wants to be able to use their backyard.
Interviewer: And regarding business philosophy, how were the early years of getting Groundscapes off the ground?
Nick: Stressful, like any new business. Both Lori and I worked long hours, and at the very beginning it was a matter of going door to door - speaking with homeowners about the projects we could offer and understanding what kind of improvements they were interested in. Starting a business is a lot of work, and comes with a number of hurdles, but it is also immensely rewarding.
Lori: The key mindset that Nick and I agree has been crucial for our success, is that we have always prioritized the quality of our service above everything else. A lot of companies change their names from time to time, because of bad reviews or experiences with customers. We took the opposite approach from the very beginning: Stand by a product or service that you believe in, and then take the time to make sure that your customers believe in your product and service as much as you do.
Nick: And for us, that is exactly what we did. Every time there was a problem, or a malfunction on any of the features we installed, we made it an immediate priority to show up, fix the problem for free, and speak with the owners about how to make sure it doesn’t happen again. Over time word gets around that you do a good job, you’re a hard worker, and you stand by your work.
Lori: In Omaha and La Vista that kind of personal engagement really goes a long way. People around here still care about a handshake and a job well-done, and in many ways it’s what Nick and I both grew up believing in.
Interviewer: It’s been almost 20 years since you started. Groundscapes is thriving, it’s won multiple design awards, the staff is growing, and you have new projects and clients coming in all the time. What is next on the horizon for both of you?
Nick: Definitely the new facility.
Lori: Yes, in 2020 we will be opening our new facility in Valley, Nebraska. It’s one of the most exciting things to happen at Groundscapes: We are going to be offering not only all of our existing services and products, but we are also adding on a unique do-it-yourself (DIY) component that currently does not exist in the luxury landscaping world.
Nick: So the facility will actually be a much larger space for our staff and mechanics and fleet of trucks. It will have a modern design, full cafeteria, spacious design and work rooms, and of course, galleries for do-it-yourself landscapers.
Interviewer: And what’s the basic idea behind this concept of Do-It-Yourself Landscaping?
Lori: The goal is to give our customers (old and new) the opportunity to build small landscaping improvements in their own backyard with the exact same materials, tools, and designs that our teams use. So in many ways it’s about making luxury landscaping accessible to the average homeowner.
Nick: Overall, the way we see it - since the very beginning - is that your backyard should be a place where you can reconnect with what you care about the most: your family, your friends, yourself, nature - you name it. By opening up Groundscapes for do-it-yourself landscaping, we are better positioning our brand for the next ten years.
Interviewer: Nick and Lori - it has been a pleasure hearing about the early days of Groundscapes and how you both have managed to build it into such a successful company. Any final lessons for other young entrepreneurs in the Omaha Metro or La Vista Area?
Lori: Make sure you decide to do something that you really are passionate about and that you enjoy doing when you show up to work every day (and on the weekends as well!). That passion is what keeps you going and keeps things moving forward even when there are ups and downs.
Nick: Be prepared to give it 110%. Once you have decided you want to do the company you have in mind, you should be willing to do whatever it takes to bring it to life - working weekends, 18 hour days - etc. It’s hard work, but it all pays off in the end.
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Growing a business in the Omaha Metro / La Vista Area is ultimately about your work ethic, the underlying mindset you take to your work, and the passion you bring for the service you provide. As Groundscapes approaches their 20th anniversary, they remain a testament to luxury landscaping across the entire midwest.
To start your project today, don’t hesitate to fill out Groundscapes unique design consultation form. For interested observers wanting to hear more about the new facility a specific press release can be found here! For any questions or comments please do not hesitate to get in touch with the Groundscapes Team!