Behind every beautiful landscape design is the expert guidance of a property management division, meticulously cultivating every inch of land to ensure it lives up to its fullest potential.
In the case of Dodds & Eder, the premier landscape design and maintenance firm on the Gold Coast of Long Island, the man at the forefront of this effort is John Giannotti, General Manager.
Roles & Responsibilities
John oversees daily operations in the landscape installation and maintenance divisions, parlaying his 30 years of experience in the industry into the thoughtful and efficient execution of projects of every size and scope. His team of skilled personnel, coupled with a stable of cutting-edge equipment, guarantees that each job is performed at an exemplary level.
From providing expert weekly lawn care and weed control to undertaking seasonal planting and seeding, spring fertilizing, autumn cleanups and winter pruning, the maintenance division at Dodds & Eder brings a personalized attention to detail and unparalleled collective commitment to excellence to each and every service it performs.
Their high caliber of work is framed by a mentality, instilled by their leader, that there should be no differentiation between a small yard or sprawling estate in terms of the time spent evaluating the unique elements of each property, down to the very last aesthetic detail. This eye for quality, combined with the refined and streamlined procurement of only the best plant materials, is a prime reason for the firm’s sterling reputation.
The Early Years
John Giannotti took his first tentative steps into the landscape business prior to high school, partnering with his older brother in a small neighborhood lawn-cutting endeavor.
“It had to be local because we weren’t old enough to drive," he recalls. "I remember riding our bicycles and pulling lawn mowers behind us to get to the next house.”
By his senior year of high school, John had branched out on his own, acquiring a driver’s license and—thanks to a few substantial investments—a new pickup and trailer, along with several pieces of necessary lawn equipment to increase speed and efficiency.
Over time, the business ballooned to about 50 weekly accounts, while John enrolled in SUNY Farmingdale’s landscape design program. He grew to love this other side of the business, working his way through such grueling classes as entomology and botany, eventually earning his associate degree in ornamental horticulture and landscape design.
As the professional world beckoned, John had an important decision to make.
In an effort to combine his love of lawn care with his newfound passion for plants, he applied to several landscape design companies on the Gold Coast, striking the interest of one particularly prestigious firm. After selling his small business, he accepted a position there in March 1993 with the full intention of dabbling in the industry for a year or two, then striking out on his own again, armed with even more priceless insight into the design-build portion of the craft.
Fast forward eight years, and John found himself serving as production manager of the operation, having risen through the ranks from assistant production manager to customer service manager during his tenure, fortunate for the opportunity to work with a collection of the top people in the industry.
“It was truly a great ride,” he muses. “The knowledge and experience I received was immeasurable.”
Enter: Dodds & Eder
In 2005, John got wind Dodds & Eder was seeking an experienced professional to run its production department. He viewed this position an ideal match, the perfect blend of a maintenance company on the fast track to expanding the design-build portion of its business.
As the general manager, John wears many hats, a challenge he eagerly welcomes. His background has afforded him a wide range of experience in the industry, and his daily tasks encompass everything from scheduling weekly landscape projects and purchasing necessary materials from the most highly reputed vendors to coordinating service and repairs for a fleet of equipment, estimating, payroll—and anything else that may come into play on any given day.
Coupled with the support of a stellar production crew, John is able to hone in on the customer service component of the business, which he finds to be crucial.
“I am and have always been willing to do whatever it takes to make the business run smoothly,” he says.
This frames his love of problem solving, and his need to be out in the field daily, ensuring the productivity of the team he has so lovingly trained.
“The crews have to always be producing for us to be profitable as a company,” he explains. “This can be challenging at times, but it’s like a chess game—planning your next move, and the right one.”
The Customer Connection
As with most service industries, the ability to establish and maintain a solid relationship with clients is key. While some will claim to “know” precisely what they want, it may ultimately be a poor design concept, or horticulturally incorrect.
It’s in these instances where the professional guidance and expertise of a veteran of the industry comes into play, as John makes it his mission to take on the responsibility of educating the customer as to the recommended course of action.
“It can be awkward at times,” he says, “but we are professionals and that is what they are paying us for. At the end of the day, I have to feel that we have given our clients the best information, and quality, possible.”
Though each property brings with it a unique set of requests and requirements, there is nothing quite like the satisfaction of seeing a transformative project take shape, no matter its size and scope. Seeding a large piece of property where there was no lawn previously and watching it flourish over the course of subsequent weeks, or witnessing the culmination of an intricate design-build project—these are the finished products that fill John with pride.
As the seasons progress, there have been abundant changes within the maintenance division of the industry . Equipment has grown faster, cut quality is far superior, and reliability has increased tremendously. With these improvements, however, have come steep cost increases.
Where competitors may subscribe to the “game of speed” that has become more prevalent of late, John stands firm on Dodds & Eder’s precision and attention to detail, above all else. Whether taking the extra time to weed flower beds, or putting a bit more effort into edging, tending to these so-called minor details can prevent major flaws in overall quality over time.
“We do it the right way,” John states. “It can be time consuming, but it’s a necessary evil to maintain a happy client.”
And that, ultimately, is the driving force behind each and every task the Dodds & Eder maintenance division undertakes.
For more information on Dodds & Eder, its landscape design and maintenance services, and planning your next project, request a consultation today.