The Makings of a Maintenance Company
Landscape Online, LC/DBM Magazine, September 2016
Successful landscape maintenance companies come in all sizes, but no matter their differences, they all have one thing in common: to do well, they must have the proper equipment. Four companies that provide maintenance services (TDH Landscaping, Greenscape, Inc., Gachina Landscape Management, and Canete Landscape) gave us some insight into what equipment they have, how it contributes to their success, how they take care of it, and how they transport it.
Gachina Landscape Management Founded in 1988 by John Gachina, this California Bay Area company has grown from two employees to 350. Rafael Gonzalez, the shop facilities manager, has worked there for 21 of the company’s 28 years. In terms of maintenance, Gachina offers landscape, irrigation, drought and water management. Gachina started out with three trucks and trailers; now they have almost 200. Most of them are single cab trucks, and each is outfitted almost the same. The bed of each truck has a custom tool holder for rakes, shovels, picks and the like. The side boxes hold hand tools and chemicals. Each truck has a trailer, some open and some enclosed, with two blowers, line trimmers, hedge trimmers, an edger, and a 21″ walk-behind mower. Each crew has a gas card for fuel. Gachina only rents equipment when their own equipment is down – which is infrequent. “Almost everything is running in this company,” Gonzalez explained. “I got a pretty good shop team.” On that team is one mechanic in the San Jose branch, one in the Fremont branch, and three plus himself in the headquarters in Menlo Park. Their biggest headaches, according to Gonzalez, are caused by California’s emission control mandates, which he blames for fuel system problems as soon as 10,000 miles and engines not lasting as long as they should. Recently, one completely failed at 20,000 miles. And it is not just the big engines that have shorter lives.
“Small equipment used to last forever, but now we get two to three years at most,” said Gonzalez. Already this year, they have had to replace about 20 carburetors. With John Gachina’s passing last year, the company still strives to maintain the image he created. For example, an employee wanted to put a chemical tank in the front of a trailer, but Gonzalez told him it did not fit Gachina’s style: if something didn’t look good, John didn’t want it. “Even though John is no longer here, we are still his company and we have to keep continuing to do what he would do,” Gonzalez said. That includes letting a school in Menlo Park borrow a tractor every year to aerate its campus.
Tags: landscape equipment