Aiming for Absolute Success
What started as a teenager’s way to earn extra money, has turned into a successful business for Josh Milne.
Milne is the owner and president of Absolutely Outdoors and has grown the company from lawn care company to one that provides everything a homeowner or business would need for its outdoor space. The company’s approach considers all the different phases of construction necessary in creating a perfect outdoor atmosphere with everything from landscape, pools, waterscapes, wood structures, outdoor kitchens, pottery and lighting.
Located off Kuykendahl-Huffsmith on a seven acres, the company maintains a nursery, stone yard, features landscape displays and includes a new design center for customers to visualize their projects.
The company has 27 trucks and 60 employees but Milne said what has been key to his success is treating all his customers as a priority no matter how big or small the project is.
“It has been important for me to never lose sight on those smaller projects,” he said. “I’m happy to do a $3,000 job, that’s what gives us structure.”
A family tradition
Milne said his father was in the landscape business and it was natural for him to follow that path.
“I grew up in the business, working with him in the field,” he said.
In 1996, after graduating from high school, Milne created his company Clean Cut Lawn and Landscape. He continued to operate that company while he attended Texas A&M University. Following his graduation in 2002, Milne began to grow the company in The Woodlands and surrounding area and was able to purchase four trucks.
“I still have a few of those (original) customers today,” he said.
In 2007, Milne brought on Gary Hoffman, vice president of the company, and said that is when the company really launched into more of an all inclusive outdoor company. Before long, they renamed the company Absolutely Outdoors and the Clean Cut Lawn and landscape became the maintenance division of the company.
“Every year it has grown,” he said. “A few years ago, a $50,000 was a big project, now we are finishing up a $1.6 million project. It has grown as my team has grown.”
Part of Milne staff includes a landscape architect, landscape graphic designer, irrigation and chemical specialists.
“We have a high quality group of individuals,” he said. “Anyone can by plants from Lowe’s and tell you they are a landscaper but there is a difference in having a degree and knowing where things go.”
Milne said one reason the company expanded to include all services for a total project is to be able to manage a project from start to finish. He added that helps the different aspects of a project come together and ensures the quality of the work.
In fact, in 2011 the company received three landscaping awards for excellence from the Texas Nursery Landscape Association.
“Josh moves at the speed of light,” Hoffman said. “I think that is why he is so successful, his work ethic. What he does, he does extremely well.”
While Milne has focused on the growth of the company, he said controlling that growth helps strengthen the business.
“I have always tried to focus on a team aspect and put people in position for what they do best,” he said. “I enjoy looking at production and the finances to make sure we are growing properly. Gary loves working with the clients. Having the right people in the right place … has worked out well.”
Hoffman said he hopes to become a leader in the industry and believes the company is in a good position to do that. He added he and Milne hope to see the company add additional locations in the area in the future.
Milne said the company’s continue work in the area will help them toward that goal and hopefully became a go to contractor for homeowners.
“We look forward to people seeing our work,” Milne said. “It’s always fun to come to work because you never know what project will come and how creative we can be.”
Originally published at The Villager (click to visit)
By Catherine Dominguez