Consumed with curiosity about how something as small as an acorn could grow into a colossal oak tree, Chaz Smith attended a local community college to obtain a degree in horticulture. While at school, he also worked for Ultra Touch Landscaping and built sea- walls along the shores of Lake Anna. This helped to fuel his interest in – and love for – all growing things.
While approaching the completion of his horticultural degree at J. Sargent Reynolds Community College, Chaz signed up for a few business classes. This opened up an en- tirely new avenue of interest, and that’s when it hit him; he wanted to start his own land- scaping business.
In 2012, Chaz purchased his first work truck. It was an older model Ford and cer- tainly not in its prime. He then learned that as long as he was still in school he could take out a student loan, even with a non-ac- ademic purpose in mind. So, he did just that.
With this loan he purchased the first of his own landscaping equipment, initially a mower and then a trailer. Thus, Local Landscapers was born, and that first year paid off very well. With a little advertising, a lot of determination, and the reinvestment of every dollar he made being put back into his business, he paid off his student loan that very same year.
In 2015, Local Landscapers purchased Little River Lawn Service from Bill Dunham, who has since retired to Florida.
“It was about spotting an opportunity and jumping on it,” Chaz recalled. “It was crazy; I purchased it the week before the mowing season started and had to learn these all- new properties very quickly. Looking back, it was one of the best decisions I have made.”
At this point Local Landscapers added an important new service to their list. Chaz pur- chased a large sprayer so his business could offer better weed and feed services.
“We were getting a lot of calls about that, and I wasn’t getting the results I wanted from all granular applications in the previous years,” Chaz explained. “So, we subcon- tracted it out with even worse results. Since then it’s been a learning experience, but I am very impressed with the improvements we’ve seen so far.”
Recently, Local Landscapers has purchased a mini-excavator. When the company started to offer hardscaping in 2016, they had to rent the machines in order to dig out their patio and wall projects. If a machine was unavailable when they needed it, the work was done by hand.
In the end, it was cheaper and far easier to just buy the equipment outright. These hardscaping and excavation projects are run by a crew of two: Cody Davis and Shawn Stevens.
“Cody and I grew up together,” said Chaz. “He is our man for these excavation and hardscaping projects; his attention to detail is outstanding. Shawn – a military veteran and father of two – brings a remark- ably cheerful and positive attitude to the work. Put these two on a project together and your cheeks will be hurting from all of the smiling and laughter.”
Our mowing crew leaders are Collin Kronander and Jonathan Evans. Collin has been mowing with Local Landscapers since July
2016, and he plans to become a Louisa County police officer. Jonathan just started with the company at the start of the 2017 season.
“These guys know how to get the work done and aren’t afraid to work long days to ensure that everything is completed before the weekend,” Chaz emphasized.
Local Landscapers has moved and is now based right beside Mill Run on Kentucky Springs Rd in Mineral, Virg. They can get bulk deliveries of mulch and rock for local projects and also have a large compost pile from all of the leaves that were collected in 2016.
Since the beginning, Local Landscapers has grown at an impressive rate. In the less than five years since paying off his first loan, Chaz Smith has taken his idea that started with just himself and one old truck and turned it into a highly successful business. And the numbers don’t lie: Local Landscapers has doubled its revenue every year since its beginning.