Keith Goding had been happily retired for three years when his son, Drew, came to him with a business proposition. “He’d worked for a small, summers-only landscaping outfit since his college days,” recalls Goding. “It was just three guys trying to earn a little spending money.” But the business grew fast, and Drew took over the company while he was still in school. “As the business continued to grow, Drew was doing everything from submitting bids to handling customer service,” Goding says. “By the time he graduated, he said he was overwhelmed, and asked for my help with the business end.”
That’s how Goding, a healthcare industry veteran and former chief development officer with RehabCare Group, became co-owner of The Hard Work Yard Work Company and its subsidiary, Hard Work Home Work. The business, now in its 10th year, “does absolutely everything related to the yard and the exterior of the home,” Goding explains. “People really appreciate having a single source they can rely on for things they can’t do, don’t want to do or simply don’t have enough time to do. Not everyone wants to spend evenings and weekends maintaining their yard and home.”
Hard Work Yard Work provides a full range of traditional landscape services, from design to maintenance, with both chemical and organic options available for yard care. “Whatever you need, we have an expert crew that can handle it,” Goding says. The company also offers hardscape services, including stone and brick walls, patios, sidewalks and borders. Hard Work Home Work, the Godings’ subsidiary, provides master carpentry services with an emphasis on exteriors.
The Godings maintain a staff of as many as 18 people during the spring and summer. But it’s definitely a year-round business. “Our high season runs from March through November, spanning everything from spring bed servicing and planting to leaf removal,” Goding says. “But we also specialize in decorative holiday lighting, so we’re busy throughout December. January and February are mostly devoted to stone work, snow removal, and tree and brush clearing.”
Arrangements with clients vary. “We’re flexible,” Goding says. “Some people sign contracts for ongoing yard maintenance, which means we’re there every week or 10 days. Others call us per job, on an as-needed basis.” The company has been awarded an ‘A+’ rating by the Better Business Bureau, he adds, and a large percentage of their new business comes from referrals. “That’s an exciting affirmation of our philosophy,” he says. “No matter what, we perform every job as if it were our own house and yard. We furnish written estimates, show up on time, communicate well with clients, complete the promised work, guarantee the results and never compromise on quality. Drew and I have found when you go that extra mile, your path will not be crowded.”
When his son first turned to Goding for help, he asked for only a few hours a week, knowing how much his dad was enjoying retirement. “Now I’m there six days a week,” Goding says. “I thought the career parade had stopped, but I guess it was just getting started in a new direction. I enjoy the landscaping business, but what I really love is working with my son. Not many fathers have that opportunity.”
Drew Goding says it can be frustrating at times, working with his dad. “We’ve had some classic father-son battles,” he admits. “But his business expertise has definitely brought the company to new heights. Just like when I was a kid, he’s always encouraging us to do better.”
On the Cover: Since 2001, The Hard Work Yard Work Company has been providing complete residential and commercial landscape, hardscape and yard maintenance services to St. Louisans. A subsidiary, Hard Work Home Work, provides a wide range of exterior carpentry services. . For more information or to arrange a free estimate, call 422-0241 or email email@example.com.