MJB Services, Elkhorn, Wis., has built a thriving landscape-services business in southeastern Wisconsin by skillfully attending to its customers' needs and by focusing on providing an extra measure of service that grows long-term customer relationships.
Owners Michael J. Boyd and Kathy Krubert, partners both in the business and in the rest of life for 20 years, lead a team of extended family members and employees that provides a wide range of landscape-related services to customers in the area.
The family members involved in the business include three sons from their blended family, as well as experts from their extended family.
The company has three full-time and four seasonal employees, with additional temporary help added as workload demands. Many of the full-time employees have been with the company more than seven years.
Says Krubert, "We are grateful to have such excellent and loyal employees. Without them, MJB Services would not have grown into the business it is today."
MJB's work is about 25 percent commercial or municipal and about 75 percent residential. Nearly all the work is done within 15 miles of MJB's headquarters just northwest of Elkhorn in rural Walworth County.
The company's key market sits in the heart of a recreational area dotted with lakes and flourishing with vacation homes.Broad Range Of Services
The company's range of services covers a broad spectrum of landscaping needs, including: lawn mowing; landscape planning and execution; fertilizing; hydro-seeding; hedge trimming; cleanups; small excavating; waterscape creation and maintenance; deck building and maintenance; gravel-driveway installation and maintenance; delivery of mulch, sand, gravel, stone, and dirt; and installation of landscape lighting. In winter, the company also provides snow-plowing, salting and sanding services to commercial and residential customers.
One of the larger jobs tackled by the company is designing and putting in complete waterscape systems, including ponds with waterfalls, streams, fountains, and walkways all around.
Another larger job is terracing and installing stairs in steep hills that lead from vacation homes or resorts to lakes below.
When the company needs additional expertise, says Krubert, MJB calls on its extended network of allied expert specialty contractors who can provide concrete, carpentry, plumbing, construction, and painting services needed to complete projects.
Says Krubert, "Many of our customers, particularly residential customers who have vacation homes in the area, want to have the landscaping and maintenance of their properties taken care of so they can enjoy the days they spend at their properties."
"We address that need by making everything as low maintenance as possible," she said.
"We can put in low-maintenance native plants that require little tending," said Krubert. "We can install underground irrigation systems that handle watering. For many clients, I even water the houseplants while they are away, and also turn up the furnace or air conditioner a day before the owners come, so the house is comfortable when they arrive."
That kind of personal attention helps cultivate long-term clients, many of whom have remained customers of MJB for nearly 20 years.Equipment Fleet Helps Get Jobs Done
To help get its jobs done efficiently, MJB operates a fleet of equipment that includes: three John Deere 425 all-wheel-steer mowers, a Deere 640 zero-turn-radius mower, a Deere 727 mower, two Deere 757 zero-turn-radius mowers, a John Deere tractor with post-hole digger, a Kubota KX161-3 mini excavator, a Vermeer wood chipper, a cement mixer, a Bobcat 843 skid-steer loader, and a Bobcat MT55 mini-track loader.
All of the company's leaf blowers, chainsaws and trimmers are from Stihl.
And all of its truck-mounted snow plows come from Western or Boss.
Krubert explains, "Mike is a skilled mechanic who personally maintains all of the company's equipment, from the mini excavator to the back-pack leaf blowers. Standardizing simplifies maintenance and reduces the inventory of parts we need to keep on hand."
Krubert calls MJB's Bobcat MT55 walk-behind mini-track loader the most versatile and useful tool in the company's fleet.
"Although we have lots of good equipment from top-notch manufacturers in our fleet," she says, "we use the MT55 all year round. And its attachments let it do so many jobs."
"The stump grinder, hydraulic breaker, post-hole digger, landscape rake, pallet forks, and two buckets enable us to put it to work on nearly any project," she says.
MJB uses the MT55 in areas inaccessible to larger equipment. "If we didn't have the MT55," says Krubert, "we'd have to do a lot more work by hand, which would make us slower, less cost-effective, and even unable to bid some jobs competitively."
"It cuts completion time in half on about 75 percent of the jobs where we use it," she said.
The MT55's rubber tracks and relatively light weight, she says, enable MJB to run the unit over grass without leaving marks in customers' lawns. "We handle materials ranging from mulch, to sand, stone, gravel, and dirt in summer, and the MT55 hasn't had a problem, no matter what we're carrying," she said.
In winter, MJB uses the unit to clear snow, spread sand, and load both salt and sand into its fleet of 10 snow-plow trucks.
By combining know-how with the right equipment and a passion for customer service, MJB Services continues to cultivate loyal customers for its growing range of landscape-related services.