Bob Jones
President, Landscape Construction Division
Ruppert Landscape
Laytonsville, Md.

Our company has expanded from one central office in the Washington, D.C., metro area to having 18 branches along the East Coast, so we know from experience that the first step in considering expansion is to test the water. You have to evaluate pricing, labor availability, and existing client and vendor relationships. We often expand into areas where we have recently won a large job because we have a good feel for the area and what it takes to work there. Every market does business a little differently, so we have to be conscientious and open to adjustments. It helps to consult with local businesses that can help you navigate the rules of that market.

Most importantly, you have to have the right people on board who know your values, processes and procedures. Culture is a huge part of our business model. If you’re able to maintain that and have team members who can share what your company stands for the better your chances of success in a new market.

David Walls
President & CEO
Austin Industries
Dallas

Three key lessons we have learned are the value of relationships, the importance of understanding the local market and that our objective for being in the new market must be clear.

Any endeavor in a new geographic market is always made easier when you are doing it for those who already know or value your service. Relationships with local subcontractor partners and those you will be working with are also key. Simply put, friendships have often taken Austin further than we could go by ourselves.

Having a local partner is important. This alliance and shared knowledge of subtle nuances in a new geographic area—such as working with building officials or other influencers—can often impact your success.

Finally, we have found that ensuring our employee-owners have a clear understanding of our purpose for entering a new market and the difference we offer via our strategy, our people and our experience is critical to our long-term success in a new geographic market.

Todd Kelchner
CEO
Kelchner
Springboro, Ohio

Before entering a new market, we do our best to ensure that we are entering an expanding market for our services—namely site preparation for land development of commercial, energy and industrial properties. We try to find economic data that indicates sustained growth, not just a surge related to a single event that will be short lived.

We also evaluate competition. It is a big plus when a market is expanding and short of quality site contractors.

When going into a new region, we do our best to hire management and craft personnel from the local area. While the new hires have valuable local knowledge, we do “Kelchnerise” them from the beginning. Our brand and our strength come from great people with a purpose that is aligned around our mission, vision and core values.  

Make sure your systems and controls work well and that your staff at the satellite locations are trained such that safety, quality and financial reports give feedback to all management—local and corporate.