Jun 03, 2016 | Vote 0 0

Flamborough's Gelderman Landscaping reaps success with business awards

Gelderman's reaps business awards

In the 61 years that Gelderman Landscaping Services has been operating, they have learned that through happy employees, businesses grow.

The family-oriented company so far has had a successful 2016. After winning Employer of the Year award during the Burlington Chamber of Commerce’s Business Excellence Awards and the Outstanding Business Award at the Flamborough Chamber of Commerce OBA Gala, the team of 120 are riding high.

“At the end of the day, how do we view our employees…they’re assets not liabilities in that, we have to focus on our staff because they in turn will take care of our clients,” said Nathan Helder, company president.

He explained that even though his company is in the landscaping industry, he doesn’t like to think as a landscaper.

“My biggest competitor is other industries, because people leave the landscaping industry and go into something else,” he said.

During the OBA Gala on April 1, which recognizes and celebrates the best in “corporate excellence and community service,” the Waterdown-based company not only won an OBA but also took home the Gold Judges Choice and Silver People’s Choice awards which they won for the 2015 Waterdown Blooms display.

“If you take care of the staff, they will go to bat, they will actually propel much farther than any owner can intend,” he said, noting that it was this company vision that led to the awards.

Since taking over Gelderman 10 years ago, the business has grown to the point where the staff is pushing Helder to work harder.

“ I don’t see the growth stopping…it’s great, it’s excellent to be in this position where they act like owners now themselves,” he said.

The company, which also now serves Kitchener-Waterloo, Guelph, Cambridge, Oakville, Burlington and areas, started out humbly. According to the Gelderman website, in 1955, a Dutch immigrant with $7 worth of tools and an old Jeep began a business doing landscaping. Jan Gelderman’s vision grew into a company that not only does the original owner’s trade but has also expanded to include maintenance and the condominium market.

Helder said he’s proud of the company that he has been a part of. Gelderman now has four branches and they hope to continue their outreach. “When we do it right every day and try to do it better for the (next) day, good things happen, you actually do get better. Our goal at the end of the day is to be more grass roots to our clients,” he said. We know what’s in our wheelhouse, what do we specialize in, we know exactly what that is,” he added.

Due to the expansion, Helder said it has allowed employees to grow and that in turn has helped the company and because since the team works as a family, he explained that is the reason for why they have succeeded.

“To me that’s really rewarding when I see growth and development in people,” said the president, noting that a few team members who began as crew developed into branch managers within a period of five to 10 years.

The company also works on strategy sessions twice a year to discuss how to tackle upcoming tasks and work on the collective vision along with making sure everyone has a say in where Gelderman is heading. “Once you have clarity and vision, people want to work for those kind of companies.”

For now, however, he’s looking forward to the next thing. Now that they have received the accolades, it is going to make them work even harder.

“It’s a feather in our cap, we just have to learn to be less Canadian, we need to be more U.S. about this and brag about it. Canadians don’t brag so well,” Helder joked.