Bob Vickery, owner of the The Planter’s Touch in Easley, South Carolina, had just left behind a 21-year career as a banker when he and wife, Cile, appeared in Walker Talk, Volume 27. He was 44 back then. At age 62 now, Vickery has no regrets. The owner/operator, with Cile managing the business end of their company, has plenty of work. With two full-time employees, The Planter’s Touch mows 46 accounts a week with two Walker Mowers, provides turf care for nearly 100 properties, and offers landscape design and installation services to another 25 customers.
“Maintaining lawns and installing landscapes, primarily doing renovation, works well for us,” said Vickery. “Our maintenance customers often want some landscaping and our landscaping customers usually select us to do their maintenance. Yes, we could do more work today, but like most everyone else in this industry and others, labor is the biggest challenge to growth.”
The couple meets the challenge by hiring mostly younger workers. In fact, Vickery estimated that, over the years, he probably hired 30 or so youngsters, including high school and college students, homeschoolers, and other young adults. Two former employees he’s mentored have since started their own landscaping companies, and both operate Walker Mowers.
Vickery mentioned that owner/operators like himself have a special niche, one that is comprised of higher-end homeowners who want a more customized service. He never had to do any advertising; all his new work is acquired by word of mouth.
He laughed, “I received more praise from customers during the first six months mowing lawns than I did as a banker for 21 years. I have no complaints. We’ve been blessed. We’ve made a good living doing something we enjoy.”
Read the original story, Banking on his Walker