Outback Landscape started out with Chase Coates mowing lawns to earn some extra cash in high school. Now, almost 10 years later, Outback Landscape is a full service maintenance and landscape installation company in Southeast Idaho. Heather Pierce and Joel Kent, both graduates from BYU-Idaho's Horticulture department, gave us their insight from being employed at Outback Landscape.
Heather is the landscape designer and office manager for Outback Landscape. She's living proof that moms can still have the career they work for in school. She talked about how, when working for a company, you have to be willing to pick up different responsibilities and "do a little bit of everything". Even though she's involved in designing, she still has to do a lot of office work, like invoicing, estimating, etc. She mentioned that only so much can be learned in school and you should take advantage of any opportunity you can get for hands on experience. She also talked about her experience in advertising. Being a Horticulture major, that's not something we think about a lot, but she said that students would benefit from taking graphic design or other multi-media classes, because companies these days are investing a lot in their marketing and advertising.
Joel talked about the sales part of business. As far as advertising goes, he said, "Reputation is key". The best referral is word of mouth. He also talked about always being ready to upsale. Meaning, figure out what the customer wants, and be willing to sell them the best you have. Even when they have a 'smaller' budget, when they realize what you have can benefit them, their budget may expand. He said that as students, we should take advantage of networking opportunity we can; whether it be in seminar, at competitions, or even other students. He also mentioned that subscribing to industry trade magazines or websites has been really beneficial to him. It keeps him on top of the game and always seeing new things the industry is coming out with.
One thing both speakers talked about was being flexible, from life in general and even narrowing it down to doing a job for a client. Sometimes things come up and you have to be able to cope with those things and work around them. Having a strong team makes that possible for Outback Landscape.
Our aim for the Department of Horticulture at Brigham Young University-Idaho is to nurture understanding of both the art and science of Horticulture. Students learn experimentally in the classroom, laboratory, greenhouse, and ten acre Thomas E. Ricks demonstration garden as they pursue an Associates or Bachelors Degree. Using the medium of plants, students develop habits of hard work, enlightened minds, and healthy living that assist in gainful employment opportunitues.