Chris Joyce, The Joyce Companies
Like many of today's landscape company owners, Chris Joyce got his start as a kid mowing lawns around his neighborhood. He was really good at it—so good that he ended up working for some established landscape companies as he got older. Chris loved what he was doing, but deep down he wanted to run his own company.
"By the time I started college, I did have a small mowing business again," Chris says. "But my goal was to have my own landscape contracting business. So I got an associate's degree in landscape contracting, as well as a bachelor's degree in urban forestry from the University of Massachusetts."
Armed with all kinds of knowledge, Chris bolted down the path of entrepreneurship. It was 1994. "I still had my business where I was mowing grass and cutting down trees, but it wasn't much to speak of," Chris recalls. "I did whatever I could to make a buck. Within a year, though, things got real serious."
Chris wrote a business plan and started going after more clients. Some growing pains ensued. "It took about 10 years to really figure this thing out to where we were doing things efficiently and profitably," Chris says. "We thought we had it dialed in pretty well because we were growing. But there's more to success in business than just growth."
Chris had been a member of some local associations. That's where a peer suggested he join a national organization like the NALP. "We joined in the fall of, I think it was around 1999, and immediately signed up for their fall educational conference (LANDSCAPES). That really opened my eyes. This was a much larger industry with more opportunity than I'd realized."
Attending NALP conferences and seminars has helped Chris transform from landscape contractor to business owner. "I remember one seminar I'd attended years ago," Chris says. "A consultant named Frank Ross was talking about financials. That was my aha moment. I continue to take advantage of as much education as possible, including online webinars. NALP is constantly addressing the hot issues in this industry, whether that's dealing with labor issues, fleet management, or whatever."
Chris also learns from other NALP members. "There are so many great people in this industry who are willing to help you," Chris shares. "I have many close friends from all over the country who I first met through NALP. Our families even vacation together.
"Other NALP members should do what I've done," Chris continues. "Go to seminars, GIE+EXPO and LANDSCAPES, the Leader's Forum—and meet as many people as possible. Doing so has helped me become a much better businessperson."
Chris Joyce has transformed into quite the businessperson. The Joyce Companies in Marstons Mills, Massachusetts, includes Joyce Landscaping, Always Green of Cape Cod (lawn, tree and shrub) and Grassroots Irrigation. "I got into this industry because I had a passion for landscaping," Chris says. "But never in my wildest dreams did I think this would create the exciting career that it has."