360-697-3215
Happy Holidays 2024

Happy Holidays 2024

As 2023 comes to a close, we can’t help but reflect on the structural changes within our business that marked this year.

It’s been a mix of challenges and triumphs, each sharing a common thread of propelling us toward the next iteration of our business.

The past three years have transformed us.

This year, in particular, underscored the necessity of adapting and evolving. The call for change can be daunting and uncomfortable but also exciting.

New expressions reveal new opportunities. And when we say yes to change, we become something new.

But first, it’s time for a well-deserved break. Like many of you, we feel the weight of these years.

This winter, we’re embracing a period of rest.

We’ll still be open and caring for our clients, but we’ll invite more downtime and space in our days.

We are part of nature and need a season to recharge – to come back in the spring refreshed and ready to bloom with renewed energy and ideas.

So, here’s to a restful winter, a season of replenishing our spirits and energies. We look forward to emerging together, vibrant and revitalized, ready for all that lies ahead.

Wishing you a peaceful and joyous holiday season.

Meeshka

Thanks for reading our blog.  Northwest Construction & Landscape, LLC is a Kitsap County landscaping company that offers landscaping, decorative concrete and lawn maintenance services to homes and businesses across Kitsap and Pierce counties.

Labor Shortage & What It Means for You

Labor Shortage & What It Means for You

Unfortunately for us, 2022 has brought incredibly challenging economic conditions of high inflation and the continuation of labor shortages.

Our team is small but mighty, but our maintenance team in particular consists of only seven team members in the field. So last October, right before the peak of leaf season when we lost four maintenance team members in one month, we had no choice but to shut down our landscape construction division and devote all of our resources to maintenance.

Winter provided the down time we needed to hire team members and train them to our standards.

We hired two maintenance team members in January, one in February and two in March. For varied reasons, all five of those team members are no longer here.

Irrigation training

One moved to Olympia for personal/family reasons. One had very poor attendance, was repeatedly late and, at the end, did not show up at all. One moved back to his hometown, also for personal/family reasons. The two hired in March who had never before worked professionally in this industry, decided it wasn’t for them.

Sometimes I got a two-week notice; sometimes I did not. Yet again, we’ve had to pull human resources from our landscape construction division in order to fulfill our maintenance schedule.

Even after all of the aforementioned losses, just this week, we were put in the position of having no other choice than to terminate an employee. And I learned on Monday that another is moving back to his home state.

After two hard years of all things Covid-related, this is by far the hardest time.

I am exhausting all resources to hire employees, but I cannot hire and train them quickly enough for the scheduling demands of this anxiety-inducing, wildly unprecedented moment in which every industry is in the same predicament of lacking an employee pool to hire from.

Restaurants are opting to close for lunch or dinner or take an extra day off. We’re also making hard decisions about how to move forward. Colby and I are fighters, and so we will fight to make things work. But even so, we cannot perform as if it is “business as usual” when it is not.

So what does this mean for our clients?

Spreading bark at Village Green Community Center in Kingston

For our maintenance clients:

  • It means that there will likely be weeks when we show up on a different day of the week, as opposed to the consistency you’ve come to expect from us.
  • It means that we may have to prioritize high visibility areas in your landscape, at the expense of other areas in your landscape. This would be done temporarily, until we’re fully staffed. And once we’re fully staffed we will move as quickly as we can to get your entire site back in great shape.
  • It means that you might see me at your site from time to time, QA’ing and doing what I can to provide additional labor.
  • It does not mean that we will lower the standards of the type of employees we hire.

For our construction clients:

  • It means that even when we’re able to provide a timeframe for a start date, that timeframe is “set in jello,” so to speak.
  • It means that the projected timeline for your project will likely be longer, due to the uncertainty of our labor.
  • It means that you will see Colby on your project, sometimes in the role of owner/foreman, but also in the roles of laborer and equipment operator.
  • It does not mean that we will cut corners on your project.

Colby working on a water feature in Port Orchard

For our potential clients (people waiting on a bid appointment or an estimate to be sent):

  • It means we’re taking much longer to get bids sent off, primarily because Colby is our estimator and working in the field as a laborer much more than he’s had to in previous years.
  • It means that we’re setting up fewer bid appointments and setting them up further out on the calendar.

Because we’ve never been in this position before, and because we’re managing uncertainty, most of the details of how things will work for us schedule-wise are to be determined. We’re waking up each day and making the best decisions we can for that day, based on our available human resources.

And if we’re scrappy enough, there’s always the possibility that you don’t even notice a change in our service or quality.

It brings some small sense of relief to know that we are not the only landscaping company experiencing this labor shortage. We’re friends with other small business owners in our community, and it’s not just our industry but all industries experiencing this same problem.

This situation cannot last forever and so we must be nimble and flexible with the necessary changes to get us through to the other side of this madness.

Thanks for your understanding.

Meeshka

Thanks for reading our blog.  Northwest Construction & Landscape, LLC is a Kitsap County landscaping company that offers landscaping, decorative concrete and lawn maintenance services to homes and businesses across Kitsap and Pierce counties.

Working in times of COVID-19

Working in times of COVID-19

Being a landscaping company in Kitsap County – where COVID cases are relatively low – it’s fairly easy to work safely.

Of course, there are guidelines put forth by the Governor’s office specifically defining what it means to work safely. Colby and I are rule followers when it comes to business. And we believe in doing what’s best for the greater good of our community.

Since our clients include senior living centers and medical offices, it’s incredibly important that we do all the things we can to keep our employees safe and our clients safe.

Our employees wear gloves when operating shared equipment.

This means that tracking down Clorox wipes, nitrile gloves and other PPE has become my part-time job. If you’re tasked with this responsibility in your household or business, then you know these highly coveted items are not widely available like they once were. On more than one occasion, I’ve had to go to three different places in order to procure necessary supplies.

But we manage to stay stocked, sanitized and gloved. We now have weekly health policy meetings so that all employees know what practices they must follow.

Employees are required to:

  1. Show up for work wearing a mask or face covering
  2. Wear a mask or face covering all day
  3. Use hand sanitizer before touching company property
  4. Keep hand sanitizer on them throughout the day and use hand wipes and hand sanitizer every time they return to their vehicle
  5. Wear gloves when operating shared equipment
  6. Wear a mask and gloves when getting gas or taking lunch at gas stations or going inside of stores
  7. Stay 6-ft away from one another, and all people throughout the day, including and especially clients
  8. Wipe down or spray inside of truck and all shared equipment at the end of the day
  9. Contact me immediately if they or any household member is sick

We provide hand wipes, masks and cloth facial coverings, gloves, and hand sanitizer to all employees. “Staying safe” has always been an important part of our company culture, but now these words have new meaning in light of COVID-19.

Our employees wear face coverings on every job site.

Despite the strangeness of interacting while wearing a mask, we’ll continue these practices as long as we need to during this unprecedented time.

And we very much look forward to once again living in a world where we can knock on clients’ doors and see when a smile breaks out on someone’s face.

Take good care,

Meeshka

A message from Colby regarding COVID-19

A message from Colby regarding COVID-19

I hope all of you are doing well right now despite these very strange times.  It’s easy to get lost in the panic and fear – both warranted emotions.  Some of you are concerned about pre-existing conditions that may not interact well with this virus, in the still – at this moment – unlikely event that you are exposed to it.  Some of you are concerned about your business and livelihood, and I sympathize with your worries. I share them with you.

Meeshka and I have reflected a lot on this moment.  We have employees with conditions that do not do well with this virus, like asthma, and as employers we have a responsibility to keep our employees safe, which in turn keeps all of you in our community safer as well.  We also have a job to do and we take that seriously too.

Your landscapes may be a place of refuge for you in the coming months, even more so than they have been in the past.  We are thankful that we may be able to provide you with some joy despite these strange times.

We all have skills and talents to contribute during hard times, and we believe the best thing we can do for you is to continue to provide you with a beautiful landscape to spend time in and engage with.  Our landscapes can be very healing and the perfect place to escape from the world around us.  We just finished installing a beautiful landscape in Bremerton, and as I walked it with our clients, both of them had ear-to-ear smiles.  As we admired our surroundings I mentioned how easy it was to forget about all the chaos and uncertainty of the moment, simply by being outside. For us, this is what it’s all about, and we intend on preserving that respite for you.

As a company, we have instituted very strict measures, to do our part in quelling this pandemic: 

  • Employees no longer enter our building to clock in. Clock in and out is done in an open air space that is sprayed down multiple times a day.
  • Employees are required to use hand sanitizer before touching company property.
  • Employees work with the same person each day, in an effort to minimize employee interaction.
  • Equipment and trucks are wiped or sprayed down with Clorox at the end of each shift.
  • Employees are instructed to wear disposable nitrile gloves when getting gas or taking lunch at gas stations.
  • Employees are given hand sanitizer, nitrile gloves, Clorox wipes and hand wipes in every truck.
  • Employees are to call Meeshka if they or a household member feel ill.

Both of us talk with our employees regularly about how to stay safe, and have gone over very detailed practices to protect them and their families, including: handwashing demonstrations, not touching surfaces or their faces, staying informed about the state of the pandemic so that they can change behavior accordingly, social distancing, coughing dos and don’ts, and more.

Rest assured that we take this event very seriously and are making responsible choices to keep us safe, our employees safe, our clients safe and our communities safe. We can’t control what’s happening “out there,” but we can control our practices and how we conduct our business.

If we can be of service to you, please give us a call at 360-697-3215. After all, we work outdoors and can absolutely work safely.

We wish you and your family good health.

Many thanks,

Colby

2009 – 2019 Celebrating 10 Years in Business!

2009 – 2019 Celebrating 10 Years in Business!

The end of this decade marks the end of our first decade in business. That’s right. 10 WHOLE YEARS in business. As the saying goes, time flies.

Our 1st water, feature constructed in 2010

I can still remember the rush I’d get from early successes, like landing our first apartment complex to maintain (the manager generously gave our low baller proposal back to us along with two other proposals she received and said, “Raise your price”), working from a small desk at the corner of a spare room next to our washer and dryer.

I remember the anxiety I felt on occasion during those early days, when Colby would leave our job site to go to Bangor for swing shift, to do the job that was actually giving him a paycheck.

The energy of a new, young company is fresh, nimble and fluid. Also, eager, naïve and willing to say yes to just about anything.

landscapers moving large rock

How we moved large rocks before we had an excavator.

Now, we’re tired. Kidding, not kidding! Jokes aside, we’re more structured, more seasoned, more confident in who we are, and, frankly, pickier about what jobs we take on.

It’s taken 10 years to develop our portfolio and our processes, some of which we’re still refining. As we enter into our second decade of business, we want different things than what we wanted in 2009. We have new ideas of what we want to be, how we want our business to feel, and what traits define our company culture.

In decade number two, the definitive word that will guide and shape us is this:

Solid.

What a difference 6 years makes! This water feature was constructed in 2016.

We’ve built equity, sharpened our systems, and developed strategies for keeping good people when the economy is strong. And, perhaps most importantly, we’ve done good work in our community for a decade now.

Having had some of the same maintenance clients for 8 to 9 years, we’ve shown our reliability. When our landscapes and concrete projects still perform after many rainy seasons, aging with integrity, we’ve demonstrated our craftsmanship.

Now, it’s time to bring it all together, and simply be and feel like a solid company – built to last.

Being partners in marriage and business is a challenge! But we love what we do.

To all of you who have helped us build this foundation – through business, referrals, words of encouragement and words of criticism when necessary – we can’t thank you enough. Your support is invaluable.

Onwards and upwards.

Meeshka

Thanks for reading our blog. Northwest Construction & Landscape, LLC is a Kitsap County landscaping company that offers landscaping, decorative concrete and lawn maintenance services to homes and businesses across Kitsap and Pierce counties. Subscribe to our monthly newsletter here.

GIE + Expo 2018 – Our Industry’s Biggest Trade Show

GIE + Expo 2018 – Our Industry’s Biggest Trade Show

After nearly a decade of running this business, it was only a matter of time before we headed to Louisville for our nation’s largest industry tradeshow, the GIE+Expo.

Colby’s main goal was to test battery powered equipment to see and feel the quality of this technology first-hand.

Many companies are moving in the direction of operating battery powered equipment and we very likely will too.

Thanks for reading our blog.  Northwest Construction & Landscape, LLC is a Kitsap County landscaping company that offers landscaping, decorative concrete and lawn maintenance services to homes and businesses across Kitsap and Pierce counties. Subscribe to our monthly newsletter here.