Steiert Landscape Service

GLEN COVE, N.Y., CONTRACTOR HAS AN EYE FOR MAKING THE NEW LOOK OLD

Mar 25, 2014

Komatsu wheel loaders - great all-purpose machines

Making the old look new is commonplace when it comes to construction and landscaping. Doing the opposite takes a talent that few possess, and Mark Steiert is one of the exceptions.

“Oftentimes, our clients want their new landscaping to seem as though it’s always been there, like it’s established rather than just recently installed,” said Steiert, Founder and Owner of Steiert Landscape Service. “I like that challenge because it takes a great deal of creativity and planning to make it happen. I have to know the right plants, stone and other products to pull it off. I guess I’ve developed a knack for it over the years.”

Steiert has more than 30 years of experience in the landscaping industry. After working for another company for several years, he struck out on his own in 1981. At the time, he started with just a pickup truck.

“Everything I owned fit in that truck,” recalled Steiert. “I almost exclusively focused on lawn maintenance, basically cutting grass. I supplemented that with snow removal in the winter. I couldn’t afford a plow, so I shoveled driveways. It was hard work, but I was determined to persevere.”

The hard work, determination and perseverance translated into success. Today, Glen Cove, New York-based Steiert Landscape Service is considered one of the premier landscaping contractors in the Long Island area with a list of services well beyond mowing and snow removal.

“We still do both,” said Steiert, who also offers firewood for sale year-round and is a certified pesticide applicator. “In addition, we do complete lawn maintenance; site development; tree planting, pruning, spraying and removal; retaining walls; soil amendments and other services. Most of our work is high-end residential projects that involve a package of services.”

Collaborative design

The largest percentage of Steiert Landscape Service’s projects are done from design collaborations. “We primarily work for architects who work with homeowners and contractors to develop their ideas into plans,” said Steiert. “We’ve built a good reputation with both the architects and the general contractors we work with. They appreciate that we can blend the landscaping into the design and basically handle everything ourselves with very little subcontracting.

“They also recognize our attention to detail, and know that we won’t cut corners,” he added. “For example, if we believe additional drainage is needed on a site, we address that up front. I’d rather be honest with the client and tell them they should spend more to have a job done right the first time. It’s better than doing inferior-quality work at a low cost that will likely lead to problems later on and end up hitting them harder in the wallet down the road.”

Steiert estimates the company usually has three or four jobs going at any one time. Steiert Landscape Service is currently working on a large project in Old Westbury that highlights its capabilities. The work involves reshaping the existing terrain, excavation, drainage, grading, planting new and moving some existing trees, driveway and Bluestone hardscape.

Steiert completed a project in Oyster Bay that involved bringing in about 3,500 yards of soil and grading the yard. The company also installed septic and drainage systems and a new driveway, as well as planted trees.

“That was a particularly interesting project because it was right on the coast, and we had to get permits from the Department of Environmental Conservation because the terrain needed to be altered,” said Steiert. “A tidal surge from Superstorm Sandy caused extensive damage, so we raised the grade and amended the soil to reestablish the lawn. It turned out beautifully.”

Experienced staff

Steiert credits a staff of about 20 for the ability to complete such projects on time and with the utmost quality. His sister Jeanne Grella is Steiert Landscape Service’s Office Manager, and his son Mike recently came on-board full time. Other key individuals include Head Foreman Benjamin Garcia, Tree Crew Foreman Jose Portello-Cruz and Francisco Garcia and Will Caliz who are in charge of maintenance.

“Everyone contributes to the success of the company, and much of the company’s growth is a direct result of their efforts,” said Steiert. “Experience plays a big role too. Some staff have been here almost as long as me, so they know what needs to be done, and they make it happen. They understand our reputation is on the line with each and every job. The staff is as much the face of the company as I am, and I attribute much of our success to the pride they take in ensuring customer satisfaction. I believe I have the best employees in the business, both in the office and in the field.”

Confidence in Komatsu

As Steiert Landscape Service’s projects have grown, so has the number and size of its machinery fleet. Today, much of it is comprised of Komatsu wheel loaders and excavators and a D39EX-22 dozer purchased from Edward Ehrbar, Inc. with the help of Sales Representative Dan Stanton.

“Because of our Komatsu equipment, we are confident that we can come to work each day and not be hindered by downtime,” said Steiert. “Most of the hours on our machines are put on our Komatsu WA150 and WA480 wheel loaders because they’re great all-purpose machines. We use them for snow removal, stockpiling materials, moving trees and logs and other applications. I know landscapers typically use skid steers, but we find the Komatsu loaders to be a superior alternative. They have better visibility and offer greater reach, so we can get more done without moving the machine, whereas you often have to reposition a skid steer. Overall, they increase our productivity.”

For excavation, drainage work, digging tree stumps and moving large boulders, Steiert Landscape Service turns to its PC35MR-3 and PC160LC-8 excavators. “The PC35 is ideal for working up close to obstructions and shallower digs, and the PC160 works well in heavier applications such as boulder walls,” said Steiert. “For their size, they’ll move a good amount of dirt quickly, and the PC160 has plenty of power to lift heavy rocks.”

The company services its Komatsu equipment with parts from Edward Ehrbar, Inc. “Ehrbar has been very accommodating, such as letting us demo a machine before we rent or buy to ensure it’s the right fit,” said Steiert, who has also purchased Rogers and Felling trailers and JCB products from Edward Ehrbar, Inc. “Their parts availability is excellent. We have longstanding relationships with Dan and Ehrbar. This is why we continue to buy and rent Komatsu equipment from them.”

Continued slow, steady growth

Steiert said the company is not done growing, and he would like to see it evenutally double in size.

“I believe it can be achieved, but not quickly,” said Steiert. “I won’t jeopardize our ability to take care of our customers just so we can grow. We’ve built the business to this point through slow and steady growth, and that will remain the model going forward.

“Michael coming on board made me take a more long-term view of the company,” he added. “Hopefully, one day he can take the reigns and continue building Steiert Landscape Service. I truly believe that the sky’s the limit.”