Leaps and Bounds
A fast-growth attitude from the get-go set the stage for significant revenue jumps at Moscarino Outdoor Creations
Chas Moscarino is busy. Real busy. His company grew 800 percent in four years and hard-driving Moscarino addresses this economy by asking. “Why take a step backward? We are taking steps forward so we can blow up even faster than we did in the past two years once this thing is over.”
To prepare, Moscarino Outdoor Creations is breaking ground on a 36-acre facility that will house offices for staff and provide space for landscape material and supplies – more room to grow. The new locations in a neighboring community will poise Moscarino Outdoor Creations to attract more business.
“We are jammed tight on a few acres now,” Moscarino says, admitting that he second-guessed the decision to expand this year. At first, “We almost pulled out of the project four months ago, but our numbers were strong enough to be approved by the bank, and we’re taking advantage of interest rates that will save us money down the road,” he points out. His accountant and consultant agreed.
Moscarino is a sponge when industry mentors offer advice. He started the company while in college, and after graduation when he decided to build a career out of his side job, he pursued growth aggressively. “I got involved in every industry association that I could, and I talked to as many people as I could,” he says.
Before long, Moscarino was bidding for the same projects as the companies that gave him advice. In 2004, his company boomed from a $300,000 firm that did mostly residential work and some winter snowplowing to a $700,000 company managing commercial accounts. People became a priority, and so did marketing. “We place a priority on company image and we do a lot of home and garden shows – we stay out there,” Moscarino says. “We are watching our dollars, but we are still going to market more aggressively than we ever have.”
Aggressive is a word Moscarino uses liberally when talking about growth. “You have to go for it, that’s my philosophy,” he says. “I don’t know how much fun I would be having at this point in my life if I stopped where I am today and said, ‘We are at $2 million, Let’s just stay here.’ My drive is in growing the company.”
So Moscarino continues to soak up information, particularly from an outside adviser who helped the company establish an organizational chart – job descriptions, basic systems, rules, all the ingredients to get Moscarino out of the green room and into the director’s chair.
These efforts were mission critical after the company jetted past the $1 million mark. That happened in Moscarino’s third year in business.
“We had to hire secretaries and get a bookkeeper,” he says, noting that the company employed eight people in 2005 when revenue was $300,000. Today, 40 people work at Moscarino Outdoor Creations, including two in-house designers, a design assistant and a personal assistant for Moscarino.
“You have to set up systems, and something as simple as an organizational chart, I didn’t have,” he says. “People need to see how they can grow in the company. Now that is in place.”
And now Moscarino knows exactly how much revenue to expect from one truck and three laborers. “Before, we were guessing; we’d go out and buy a truck,” he says.
While Moscarino admits to working best in an environment of organized chaos – “I like it out of control” – he says the keys to managing the company’s fast growth have been hiring the right people, delegating operations and bringing on quality sales people.
Even this season, the phones haven’t stopped ringing. Spring broke early in Ohio. That could be why, Moscarino muses.
While 2009 is “a big question mark,” he is optimistic that the company will achieve at least 30 percent growth. “We are selling a lot of work right now,” he says.