For more than a decade, Marty Hammond worked for landscaping companies in Niagara Falls before deciding to strike out on his own.
He wanted to provide superior service to customers and focus on quality over quantity.
So in 2009 he took the leap and started his own company, Ace of Spades Landscaping.
Ace of Spades provides year-round services including lawn care, gardening and snow removal.
Hammond did everything by himself for four years before hiring one full-time employee.
“Running my own business is one of the most stressful things I’ve ever done,” Hammond says. “I have lost sleep over anticipation of contracts being approved or not - and I wouldn’t have it any other way. It’s totally worth it. The stress drives me and pushes me forward.”
Hammond keeps busy every season of the year.
In the fall he’s setting up his winter contracts while cleaning up leaves.
Once winter hits, he’s constantly observing the weather forecasts and keeping an eye on the sky for the next snow fall.
In the spring, he’s watching for ice and snow events while preparing for the summer season and spring clean-ups.
When summer rolls around, the days are long and full of landscape maintenance jobs - mostly from repeat customers.
“I was lucky to start my first year with a steady customer base and every year it grows,” Hammond says. “I buy bigger and better equipment to improve my efficiency to be able to take on more work.”
He plans to expand to two crews in the next decade.
That way he’ll be able to float between his office, on-site meetings with potential customers and the actual ground work: “I love what I do and I intend to keep doing the ground work for as long as I can. When the time comes that I can’t, I will manage a couple of crews from the office.”
His “small business win” is the happiness he sees in a new homeowner after transforming a neglected and overrun yard into a beautiful one full of life: “They are overjoyed after I’ve gone in and cleaned it up for them - rejuvenated old flowering shrubs, rediscovering beautiful perennials and redefining the shape of the garden it was intended to be. Their joy is a win for me.”
In the beginning his biggest challenge was finding clients who would take him seriously instead of looking to his competitors who’d been around for much longer.
But it didn’t take long for word of mouth to boost his business.
His advice to small business owners is to make allies with your competitors to learn from others in your field, instead of closing yourself off to other businesses.
Hammond likes being able to call FBC anytime he has questions: “FBC is an invaluable asset to me. From bookkeeping tips to tax advice they have helped me so much. I call them regularly with questions and they always come through with an answer.”
He turned to FBC for support while navigating a tough year with Emily, his wife, and Griffin, their 9-year-old son.
“My son is a cancer survivor. When he was out of treatment we had a lot of receipts and paper work that we needed to file for our taxes that year. This is when we signed up with FBC. They were incredible at taking our mess of records and making it usable. That was mine and my wife’s hardest year, let alone tax year and FBC made our life less taxing. We use FBC’s slogan every time we talk to them because it is always true.”
When Hammond isn’t working, he's sitting down for game night with Emily and Griffin, or staying active by taking karate with Griffin.
FBC is a third-generation family company that works with Canadian small business owners to minimize their income taxes and maximize their assets. Contact us today to find out how we help your business year-round with tax planning, preparation and consulting through our unique, industry leading Membership model.