May 29

From Tree Spades to Fire Engines: How Gavin Lingo Grew His Landscaping Business to 50 Employees

For over four decades, Gavin Lingo has poured his heart and soul into building the thriving business The Lingo Group, Inc. What started as mowing lawns for his uncle has grown into a full-service landscaping company with 50 employees, 45 trucks, and a 22-acre nursery. That growth did not come overnight. Instead, it was the result of a commitment to quality service and purchasing some great government surplus.

Fulfilling the Job with Family

The Lingo Group is versatile in what they do, handling just about every aspect of outdoor projects - design, build, maintenance, plant installation, irrigation, lighting, and audio systems. The diversification has allowed for steady growth.

“And we do some other stuff, too. We have some dumpsters and camera service and pipe cleaning and stuff like that.” - Gavin Lingo

At the core of The Lingo Group is the Lingo family itself. Gavin and his high school sweetheart wife have been side-by-side since day one building the business. Eventually, that included raising four children too. Now grown, three of their kids work in the company. Family provides much of his motivation in life, obvious when he spends time with his five grandchildren. Much to Gavin’s glee, there’s a sixth one on the way!

One of The Lingo Group's fleet vehicles at their nursery, complete with an audio setup.

One of The Lingo Group's fleet vehicles at their nursery, complete with an audio setup.

Gavin Lingo in the office, sitting in front of a company sign.

Gavin Lingo in the office.

“I think early on we built the family and raised the business and the kids and everything, and I think that was always mine and my wife's dream. Like, oh, eventually the kids will come into the business. Now they are and we're trying to take it to a different level for them and what they bring to the table now.”

“In the last 10, 15, 18 years, things have changed a lot because we've grown that much. And it's been good. It's been very good.”

“For me, I put my heart and soul into it, and my kids do, my wife does, it's our name, it's our business. And it means a lot to us.” - Gavin Lingo

Running a seasonal business does make balancing work and family time challenging at certain points in the year. Spring through fall are especially busy as the phone rings constantly. Clients are eager to get on the schedule for outdoor projects. Winters can get busy with commercial snow removal work and the occasional hardscape project if conditions allow. 

The Lingo Group has scaled up considerably from its humble beginnings. Their 22-acre tree nursery has doubled in size from where it was two years ago. Today, Lingo grows many of the trees and plants used in their landscaping installations. Norway spruces, which often grow up to 26 feet tall, are a company specialty. Their nursery also produces arborvitae, holly, boxwoods, and other plants that are used in their projects and sold to other regional landscapers and garden centers.

Lingo hard at work during the winter season.

Lingo Group hard at work during the winter season.

Transporting Trees on Trucks

Moving landscaping material from the nursery to job sites requires an extensive fleet of trucks and equipment. Lingo makes use of tractor trailers, dump trucks, hook trucks for dumpsters, tree spades, skid steers, and more. Keeping all of that running smoothly requires good upkeep. 

“I have one full-time mechanic. We have one part-time mechanic. So as far as keeping everything, we're really big on maintenance. We're huge on that. You know, PM wheel changes, greasing, power washing the machines when they come back from job sites. Really just keeping everything in tune and ready to go for the next job. So every time someone comes back into our shop, it goes through maintenance.”

“Right now, we have a wheel loader in the garage and that just got power washed and it's clean. It'll be going out next week to another job. Because again, that's what makes us efficient and helps the guys do the job and get it done safely, properly, efficiently, all that, all the above.” - Gavin Lingo

While Gavin's wife thinks he may have too many trucks, he insists they help make the company more efficient.

A Lingo fleet truck transporting landscaping materials to a worksite.

A Lingo fleet truck transporting landscaping materials to a worksite.

Another Lingo fleet truck transporting landscaping materials to a worksite.

Government Surplus Builds Small Businesses

Purchasing government surplus has been a savvy way for The Lingo Group to cost-effectively add to their fleet. One of their buys, a 1991 Vermeer trencher bought on Municibid for under $8000 (compared to $90,000 new), paid for itself in just one large irrigation and lighting project. Lingo also scored a deal with some used fire trucks, which they currently use for promotional purposes and watering plants. The trucks, complete with 750 gallon tanks and high power audio systems, are a hit at local parades and birthday parties. 

This is Lingo's 1991 Vermeer trencher that they won on Municibid.

“We've watered everything from sod to trees to shrubs. We use them for washing down facilities. We do some cleanup and maintenance on the other facilities when they ask us to come down and wash down an area.”

“We've done a bunch of birthday parties with them. And surprisingly, the three-year-old and five-year-olds love it. And so do their 40 and 50-year-old parents. They love it even more. It's really funny.” - Gavin Lingo

Gavin advises others considering surplus auctions to do their homework. He says to look carefully at photos and descriptions, call and ask questions, and set a max budget to avoid getting carried away in the excitement of bidding. Some municipalities maintain their equipment very well, which may make you want to spend more money.

The Lingo Group in the community with a fire truck.

The Lingo Group in the community with a fire truck.

The Lingo Group in the community with a fire truck.

How Quality Service Leads to Reputation

Lingo’s community-oriented approach is a reflection of the company’s values. Gavin estimates that 95% of their business comes from referrals and word-of-mouth. Despite their current size, he, his family, and staff all still believe in the importance of personal relationships. They answer the phone directly, meet with clients on-site, and follow through on their promises in a world where that level of service is increasingly rare. These examples are a testament to the quality and reputation of Lingo, and the reasons why they are booking sizable, multi-faceted hardscaping and landscaping projects. 

“We've done some pretty large projects, so there's been some interesting ones. We've done a large, very large cobble driveway on a farm project. So, that was very involved. It's actually a cobble lane that they can drive on, but it's like the old Germantown roads, you know? They had their actual real cobbles, so it was a really massive project.” - Gavin Lingo

Lingo adding cobblestone to a client's yard.

Lingo Group team hard at work on new landscaping.

Lingo adding cobblestone to a client's yard.

Successfully coordinating these complex projects requires constant communication between crews, subcontractors, suppliers and clients, especially when unexpected issues crop up like bad weather or unmarked buried utility lines. It's not uncommon to encounter shifting project scopes and timelines as well, which is why flexibility amongst his team has been key.

The most rewarding projects, he finds, are complete backyard transformations, taking a nondescript grassy space and crafting a beautiful, fully-functional entertainment area complete with a pool, patio, lighting and audio. He relishes the process of guiding a project from initial design through installation and seeing the resulting joy on a client's face.

Conclusion

If you’re considering starting your own landscaping business, Gavin suggests patience and controlled growth. Resist the urge to expand too quickly at the expense of quality service. You can even follow his mantra.

“And I don't want to be a little bit good at it, I want to be really good at everything we do.” - Gavin Lingo

As for working with family, Gavin feels blessed to have his wife and children as an integral part of The Lingo Group's continued success. After 38 years, they show no signs of slowing down. They plan to keep doing what they do best - providing intimate and quality service. Now, with a second generation increasingly involved, the company is well positioned for the future. The little company that started with a teenage boy pushing a lawnmower has grown up, but it sure hasn't forgotten its roots.

Transcript »

[Gavin Lingo] (0:00 - 0:10)

You're going to guarantee my wife doesn't hear this, right? If she was here, she would tell you we have way too many trucks, way too much equipment. She's not a big fan of Municibid when I'm on it.

[Greg Berry] (0:12 - 0:30)

Join us as we dive into the wild world of government auctions and take you behind the scenes to uncover the cool and unique ways bidders from across America are utilizing the items they've won on Municibid. Like an ambulance repurposed into a work truck, to a city bus converted into an RV, and so much more. Welcome to the Municibid Podcast.

[Sophie Eden] (0:31 - 0:39)

Hi, Gavin. Thank you very much for joining us today on the Municibid Podcast. How are you doing?

[Gavin Lingo] (0:39 - 0:41)

Good. Excellent. Thanks for having me.

[Sophie Eden] (0:42 - 0:46)

And can you start us off by introducing yourself and what you do?

[Gavin Lingo] (0:47 - 1:20)

Sure. Gavin Lingo, the owner of The Lingo Group, Incorporated. We're a landscape nursery operation.

Pretty much every outside aspect we handle. So design, build, maintenance, nursery stock, installation, tree spade. We do underground irrigation, outdoor lighting, and audio systems.

And we do some other stuff, too. We have some dumpsters and camera service and pipe cleaning and stuff like that.

[Sophie Eden] (1:20 - 1:30)

Wow. That's a lot going on. What spurred you to start The Lingo Group business?

[Gavin Lingo] (1:31 - 2:18)

Just started as a young boy, you know, 12 years old, 15 years old, landscaping. And I went to work for an uncle that had a maintenance business. And then just worked my way up and then graduated high school in 82.

I went to DelVal College (Delaware Valley) at the time for a short, like two and a half years and left and just continued building the business. And today we probably peak out at 50 employees and 45 some trucks, maybe. And we have 22 acres of nursery stock.

So we've built it up. And now I have two of my sons and my daughter working in the business as well, and my wife alongside of us. Now we're in the midst of spring.

[Sophie Eden] (2:19 - 2:22)

Your busiest season, I take it.

[Gavin Lingo] (2:23 - 2:28)

Yeah. It's been good. We're fortunate.

It's been very busy.

[Sophie Eden] (2:29 - 2:39)

Yeah. Good to keep everything, all those wheels turning, everything going. With your nursery, what are some of the things that you're growing?

[Gavin Lingo] (2:40 - 3:18)

A big thing for us, we have a lot of Norway spruces and then we grow those on. Most of those are peaking at like 24 to 25 feet, 26 feet, and they're probably 16 feet wide. So we have a 90 inch tree spade truck and then we tie those up and dig them.

And the reason we're digging them so large is because a lot of customers, you know, they want to block out a neighbor or an adjoining building or something like that for privacy. Then we have a lot of arborvitaes, American hollies, boxwoods, some shade trees with some oriental spruces, but a lot of evergreen type material.

[Sophie Eden] (3:19 - 3:30)

And, are you using these trees and plants in your landscaping projects or is it more so customers are buying the plants direct from you?

[Gavin Lingo] (3:30 - 3:49)

So it's mostly our own stock for our projects, but we have a handful of people that we do sell to, you know, other contractors that I'm friendly with. There's a couple of garden centers that will call me and they need a piece or whatever and then we'll dig it and sell it direct to them.

[Sophie Eden] (3:49 - 4:00)

And, of all the different landscaping projects, lighting, you mentioned audio setup as well, what's been your favorite project?

[Gavin Lingo] (4:01 - 5:00)

We've done some pretty large projects, so there's been some interesting ones. We've done a large, very large cobble driveway on a farm project. So, that was very involved. It's actually a cobble lane that they can drive on, but it's like the old Germantown roads, you know? They had their actual real cobbles, so it was a really massive project.

So we just completed that this early spring. That was large in that it was complex, a lot of different elevations and grades, and it came out really well. Then we did a lot of hardscaping on it and then a lot of lighting on the project, so when all in all came together, then once we sodded it, they put the finishing touches on, so it's working out well. That was a nice job and we've done a couple big ones, a couple big pond jobs with walls and big retaining walls, same thing, the lighting and audio was built into it.

Those are probably the most interesting ones.

[Sophie Eden] (5:00 - 5:08)

That's fantastic. And, what would you say is the most challenging part of projects like this?

[Gavin Lingo] (5:08 - 6:01)

Just logistics, you know, to do, so we have a landscape architect on staff. He starts with a design build, you know, from scratch, puts it on paper and then develops it all the way through to the end. And it's just, it's logistically just making the job happen as it was designed, as, you know, there's as-built things that happen along the way to the project and then, you know, the timing. Everybody has a function and a deadline that we're shooting for. Knock on wood, it's worked for us, but we do pull some late nights. As we speak now, it's 6.30 and our crews are still out going at it. We started doing our annual flower installation two days ago. Now's the big push to put in thousands of annuals in the flower beds.

[Sophie Eden] (6:01 - 6:02)

Wow.

[Gavin Lingo] (6:03 - 6:05)

Yeah, it's, it's, tis the season.

[Sophie Eden] (6:05 - 6:15)

That's outstanding. Yeah, that's a lot of work and a lot of moving pieces going on to coordinate and keep running all together.

[Gavin Lingo] (6:15 - 6:54)

And like every business, it was a challenge, you know, with COVID when that, when that hit and you, you wouldn't think our industry was as affected, but every industry in the world was affected. You wouldn't think that we were because like plant material, everything, but everything else, like everything else in the supply chain, plant material was a shortage, hard to get, you couldn't get the sizes you wanted or the material you want to see. You really have to spend a lot of time, you know, shopping around, looking and coordinating, so it complicated things, but we made it through and I think everybody's feeling better now and hopefully we get to move on in a positive direction.

[Sophie Eden] (6:54 - 7:06)

Did you start your nursery because of issues that you were having with sourcing plants or had you had the nursery when you first started the business?

[Gavin Lingo] (7:06 - 7:40)

No, so we started the nursery, we probably had it now 15, 16 years. So we acquired a larger property and then it was sort of, you know, rolled into it. We had the larger property and then we were able to start to do our own material. And just for that reason, the sources for our jobs, our jobs, our customers.

And then we recently added on just the last two years and then added, we had 11 acres and then we doubled it and now we have 22 acres. It works out. It's convenient for us.

[Sophie Eden] (7:40 - 7:50)

Absolutely. That sounds great. And, can you tell us more about what your fleet and what type of vehicles and equipment you're using for these projects?

[Gavin Lingo] (7:51 - 7:54)

You're going to tell, you're going to guarantee my wife doesn't hear this, right?

[Sophie Eden] (7:56 - 7:58)

I can't make that promise.

[Gavin Lingo] (8:00 - 9:02)

She's definitely going to, if she was here, she would tell you we have way too many trucks, way too much equipment. She's not a big fan of Municibid when I'm on it. But as far as our fleet goes, we have, we have a mix.

We're big Ford truck people. But we have Mack trucks, Internationals, freight liners, and we have a big mix. So we have tractor trailers.

We have hook trucks, which are dumpster trucks that carry all our materials, topsoil, stone, mulch, plant material. Then we have a lot of trailers. So EB is one of our big manufacturers that we’ve probably been dealing with for 30 years now.

They build and design. Started out doing custom truck bodies for us and we still deal with them today to this day. And then we have a whole array of equipment, you know, wheel loaders and excavators and skid loaders and mini skid loaders, all that stuff.

[Sophie Eden] (9:03 - 9:12)

What piece of equipment or vehicle do you think has been the most valuable for growing your business and taking on more projects?

[Gavin Lingo] (9:13 - 10:28)

It's a good question. I mean, they're all sort of interface and interact. So it works, but like we started using the hook trucks for the dumpsters for moving material.

And it was, it's gotta be 20, 25 years now. And those have been detrimental because we can move equipment, we can move materials, equipment. We work out of the dumpster.

So it keeps our job sites clean. So we don't have to dump our material on the sites and make a mess. We work out of those dumpsters.

So they've been really helpful. Obviously the tree spade, because we move a lot of trees and you have to have the tree spade to pick up these big trees and move them. And, and I would say they're the most detrimental, you know, everything else is, it all pulls together.

You know, we use the wheel loaders on job sites and we're doing a job now where we have, we have to, we have a stand on, we have a couple of stand on skid loaders. And that's the only thing we can get into these properties where we have a steep slope and where we have to go. And so that's what we're using the access.

So they all sort of intermingle and, you know, function and make the job more efficient and we get things done quicker. At least that's what I tell my wife.

[Sophie Eden] (10:29 - 10:45)

I'm sure it's true. With running and maintaining all these different vehicles and equipment, what do you think is the most challenging part of overseeing all of that?

[Gavin Lingo] (10:46 - 11:49)

You know, we're fortunate. So we have, I have one full-time mechanic, we have one part-time mechanic. So as far as keeping everything, we're really big on maintenance.

We're huge on that. You know, PM wheel changes, greasing, power washing the machines when they come back from job sites. Really just keeping everything in tune and ready to go for the next job. So every time someone comes back into our shop, it goes through a maintenance.

Like right now, we have a wheel loader in the garage and that just got power washed and it's clean. It'll be going out next week to another job. Because again, that's what makes us efficient and helps the guys do the job and get it done safely, properly, efficiently, all that, all the above.

So that's the big thing to keep it, just keep it all moving. And if you have downtime, we get downtime, you know, we have machines that go down, you have to get a part. And we just had parts shipped in on one of our Volvo's and the part comes in from Germany.

So it took like a week and a half to get here, but, you know, we got it. And so that's probably the most difficult part, you know, trying to make sure you have all that.

[Sophie Eden] (11:50 - 11:57)

And are you still seeing issues with supply chain about getting the parts that you need?

[Gavin Lingo] (11:57 - 12:21)

Oh, absolutely. There's still, I would like to sit here and say, it's over and we should move on as a country, but it's, there's still issues with getting, not nearly as bad as it was, but it's, there's still people that don't have something in stock and then you have to shop it around. But yeah, it's still, it's still out there.

It's still happening. And again, not as bad, but it's still there.

[Sophie Eden] (12:21 - 12:39)

Well, I'm glad it's getting better, but it's definitely a bummer to hear that it's still a problem sourcing some of the things that you need to operate. With regards to government auctions, what's been your favorite auction win at Municibid?

[Gavin Lingo] (12:40 - 15:08)

So we do underground irrigation and lighting and we had a really large project out in the main line. So for example, we looked at a new machine, we're going to purchase it. And that machine was right around the $90,000 price range.

And of course it has all the new bells, whistles, gadgets and computers and all the things that are expensive when they break. So we saw that there was a trencher, an old Vermeer trencher. It only had 300 and some hours on it.

I think it was Ephrata that we bought it from. We bid on that and we ended up winning the bid at like $7900 or $7,800. We used it on that one job, which was a large project.

We were there for a few months, paid for itself on that job and we've used it on five other jobs after that. And it's been a real asset because it wasn't that old of a machine, but old enough that it was mechanical. So it wasn't computerized, everything on it was built to last.

It worked out really well. So that was probably one of the bigger ones. We've had a lot of smaller ones, bought a couple of fire trucks.

We use those for watering. So we do a couple of things. We advertise with them.

We use them in parades in our local town. We give out candy to the kids. And then we have audio systems on the fire trucks.

So we can play all the music and they're high-end audio systems. So they're loud. And so we got a kick out of that.

A lot of the employees go into the parade with us and do it. And then everybody says, why do you need a fire truck? And then we literally use the fire trucks.

We've watered everything from sod to trees to shrubs. We use them for washing down facilities. We do some cleanup and maintenance on the other facilities when they ask us to come down and wash down an area.

So we'll take those trucks in and wash them because they both have 750-gallon tanks. So we can use them for that. They've come in handy.

We've done a bunch of birthday parties with them. And surprisingly, the three-year-old and five-year-olds love it. And so do their 40- and 50-year-old parents.

They love it even more. It's really funny. So it's been interesting.

But we bought a lot of hoes on Municibid, nozzles. I don't know. I keep looking at the list and it's starting to get a little long on what we purchased.

But it's interesting how it works.

[Sophie Eden] (15:09 - 15:39)

Well, you're a big company with a lot of projects going on. So you definitely need to have all the vehicles and equipment and tools to get the work done. That's pretty cool about the fire trucks.

So the fire trucks, are you using them within your nursery too? Or is it mostly you're driving them out to job sites in order to water and clean down?

[Gavin Lingo] (15:40 - 16:15)

Yeah. So we do both. The one fire truck, it stays here pretty often.

We have a water source nearby. So we pump from there and then we fill the truck there. We use that to water a lot of the nursery material and stuff we're digging.

And then the other truck we do take out on the job sites. Again, that project where we did the cobbles, we had the truck up there for a few months. Because we're between washing down and watering the sod and the trees, we were using it constantly.

So we do both. We take them on the job site and then they stay here.

[Sophie Eden] (16:16 - 16:21)

That's fantastic. What's the maintenance been like on those? Because that's a big fire engine.

[Gavin Lingo] (16:22 - 17:25)

Yeah. It's funny you say that because when we do, we've done the parties and some birthday parties and they say, well, you know, that'd be great if you can bring a fire truck. And then we bring the fire truck.

Wow, that's a real fire truck. That's what we told you we're going to bring. But we've done some maintenance, but nothing knock on wood, nothing catastrophic or major.

The crazy thing is they spend a lot of money on these trucks to buy them initially. And a lot of times they sell way cheaper than you would think. And they have low miles on them and big diesel engines and transmissions.

So again, we've done some minor stuff to it, but nothing. We clean them, we wax them. We did a few things on the pumps service-wise, but again, nothing major.

And they really work well.

[Sophie Eden] (17:26 - 17:42)

What advice would you give to someone that was considering buying a fire engine or new to government auctions and considering starting to bid in government auctions for some vehicles and equipment?

[Gavin Lingo] (17:42 - 18:58)

You have to do a little bit of homework, but I think most of the departments or municipalities that are selling stuff like that, it's usually pretty well-maintained. And it's obvious when you start to look through, when you look through the photographs and the descriptions. And Municibid does have it set up pretty well.

You can call into the people and ask the questions and make the phone calls. So if you spend some time and a little due diligence, do your homework and check out the pricing and set your bid. And I think I've listened to a couple other, what do you call these, podcasts or whatever that you set up.

And I think the common thing is, well, you get caught up in the bidding and sometimes you do pay a little more than you want to pay. And I'll be the first one to agree to it. It's happened to me a couple of times, but I do try to stay somewhat focused.

And once I pick my number and I'm going to do it, I try to, but I've also bought, I've also paid more than I want to do for a few things, but it's worked out well for us. So at least I have that, we do utilize it and it's really, it's worked out well. So I'm happy with it.

[Sophie Eden] (18:58 - 19:37)

Wonderful. Yeah. There's definitely a lot of excitement with the auctions.

Are you going to win? Seeing the last hour, the last few minutes, which way is it going to go? Yeah.

It's a pretty contagious feeling. I think across the board, you're not alone. And, for starting a landscape business, for listeners that might be considering themselves getting into the space for the first time, what recommendations would you give to them, someone who's just starting out with building their own landscaping company?

[Gavin Lingo] (19:37 - 20:35)

Well, I mean, nowadays it's definitely a different market. I think just start slow, steady, you know. A good control growth is a good sound way to go. I think there's a lot of guys and women that get into it and they just, they want to, you know, blow it up and be the biggest.

And for me, I think it's, I like to be more controlled. I like to say that we're really good at what we do. And I don't want to be a little bit good at it, I want to be really good at everything we do.

We try to really focus on that, you know, and my thing here is I tell all my employees, focus on the attributes that we provide for our customers. You know, I'm not really worried about the guy down the road or the nursery down the road. Like I'm, I'm concerned about us, what we provide for our customer base, how we do it.

That's our biggest concern.

[Sophie Eden] (20:36 - 20:55)

Definitely keeping the human side and understanding the needs of your customers and what they're looking to accomplish with what would be the end result of, you know, beautiful landscaping and audio systems and lighting systems.

[Gavin Lingo] (20:55 - 22:00)

I think it still does matter to people today, even with the tech world we're in, that you have that personal side. 95% of our business is all referral work and it has been for years. So, you know, when they call this office, they speak to myself or one of my sons or one of the people in the office.

And, you know, we answer the phones. We have an after hours service. You know, if they want to meet with me on the job site, I'll meet with them on the job site or that personal side.

I think for anybody starting a business, if you lose that, and we get a lot of their work from other companies because, you know, just for that reason, we call, they didn't get back to us or whatever. And, you know, we didn't hear from her. We didn't get to meet.

And I think that's sort of sad today's society, because there's a lot of people that just don't want to, you know, there's companies that want to email us and we'll get back to you and we'll get you an answer. And like, I think there still is people that want to deal, you know, one-on-one personal.

[Sophie Eden] (22:00 - 23:10)

Yeah. And it's surprising, you know, like in my own life working with other companies or like sourcing, trying to source vendors, how many don't respond or like get back to you or like how difficult it can be to talk to a person. So it would seem like in this modern day that technology is the advantage, but I think it's flipping around where people and the person-to-person interaction is really the advantage as emails get lost in inboxes, you know, or a robot is dealing with voicemails.

So no, that's wonderful to keep that personal connection. And when you first started Lingo Group, was it originally focused as the family running the business or was it something over time that, you know, your kids and your wife became more interested in supporting the business?

[Gavin Lingo] (23:10 - 24:34)

Actually, today is my 38th year anniversary. 

[Sophie Eden]

Oh, congratulations. 

[Gavin Lingo]

Thank you.

And so we've been together since high school and she's been with me by my side the whole way since we built the business together. And then we had four children and three of those children are now with us working in the business. And now we have five grandchildren with a sixth one on the way

[Sophie Eden]

Wow. Congratulations.

Yes. I think early on we built the family and raised the business and the kids and everything, and, you know, I think that was always mine and my wife's dream. Like, oh, eventually the kids will come into the business. Now they are and we're trying to take it to a different level for them and, you know, what they bring to the table now.

In the last 10, 15, 18 years, you know, things have changed a lot because we've grown that much. And it's been good. It's been very good.

I mean, I have no complaints. And, you know, any business, if you own the business, just be prepared. You know, it's great to have your own business, but there's a lot of hours involved.

For me, I put my heart and soul into it, you know, and my kids do, my wife does, like, it's our name, it's our business. And it means a lot to us.

[Sophie Eden] (24:35 - 24:36)

That's fantastic.

[Gavin Lingo] (24:37 - 25:16)

But it all works out. You have to manage the family time, the business time. And I don't know if it's more difficult than other businesses, but it's a seasonal business.

So, you know, the big pushes, it's now, it's the fall, it's you know, every season, it seems like every season is a push. And I don't know anymore with the climate, you know, we've, our winters weren't always as busy. We do a lot of snow work, but anymore, like the last couple of winters, we worked all through the winter.

So we didn't really have a downtime, which is a good thing, you know, no complaints.

[Sophie Eden] (25:16 - 25:23)

And is that you're getting more snow, or you're getting more snow removal work, do you think?

[Gavin Lingo] (25:23 - 25:49)

We've always had. So our snow removal really consists of just commercial accounts, and there were always large commercial accounts. So that's been pretty consistent.

It's just, you know, the weather, a couple of seasons, we didn't have really big snows. So that tapered off. And then with not having the big snows, we were lucky that we had some of these big projects working.

So we were able to keep working throughout the winter, because we didn't have to deal with the frost and the snow.

[Sophie Eden] (25:50 - 25:51)

Right. So a plus side there.

[Gavin Lingo] (25:51 - 25:53)

Yeah, exactly. Worked out both ways.

[Sophie Eden] (25:54 - 26:04)

What recommendations would you give to people thinking about bringing on their family to work as a part of the business?

[Gavin Lingo] (26:05 - 27:08)

That's a good question. You know, we're, unfortunately, we're, you know, it's a family business. So like every family, there's, you have your ups and downs.

And my big thing is, we all try to communicate and communicate well, you know, like, make sure we all understand what's going on, what we're trying to accomplish. We try to review that stuff constantly, you know, just, that's the biggest thing is the communication. Because communication, when that starts to fail, it seems like everything just sort of tumbles down behind it.

So I think it works well with us. And again, we have the technology now, we have the, we have two-way radios, we have the cell phones, the email, the texting. So I think that's the, I think that's the biggest hurdle, you know, if you can keep the communication flowing, and everybody knows what the plan is, and where you're trying to go and what you're trying to accomplish.

With that being said, there, you know, there is still those days when there's issues and things that have to be dealt with and changed around. But we make it work.

[Sophie Eden] (27:08 - 27:47)

So yeah, but good communication, it sounds like sets the foundation, right? If something changes on site of a project that's different than what the original drawing, you know, scope was for just communicating that in real time. So you can be able to adjust accordingly.

Because I'm sure once you're on site, there's sometimes things that you find out, I'm imagining, like, when you have to dig, maybe cables or pipes buried underground or something that weren't on any maps.

[Gavin Lingo] (27:47 - 28:09)

I would say that happens about four or five times a week. Cables, septic lines, well lines. Yeah, it happens.

It happens very often. But yeah, you're right. It's, it's, if everybody on the team knows what's going on, and we communicate it, and it works well.

[Sophie Eden] (28:10 - 28:33)

Well, thank you so much, Gavin, for sharing your story and telling us more about The Lingo Group and all the exciting projects that you have going on. I think just one final thing to ask, is there an upcoming project that you're really excited about kickstarting?

[Gavin Lingo] (28:34 - 29:34)

We just finished one project, and we're starting two larger projects. So there are new swimming pool installations for the owners, and then the whole package. So we're doing the design build, so it's everything, you know, the drainage, the hardscape, the audio system, the lighting.

So I particularly like those projects because it goes from a dirt, flat dirt grass backyard to a whole living space. So we take something that's nothing and make it a whole entertainment center in the backyard for those people. And when you see the end results, and we went out today and demoed the audio system for the people, and you know, when they heard that they were just blown away, and they can't wait to get started.

That's exciting to see the job from design build all the way to the end. You know, it gives you a lot of satisfaction.

[Sophie Eden] (29:35 - 29:57)

Wow, very nice. That's super cool. Well, thank you so much, Gavin.

It's been a pleasure chatting with you today, and look forward to seeing more of the new projects that you have coming up. You're doing a fantastic job, and congratulations on your anniversary. Thank you.

[Greg Berry] (29:58 - 30:08)

Thank you for tuning in to the Municibid Podcast. If you'd like to learn more about the world of government surplus, be sure to subscribe to this podcast wherever you listen to your podcasts.

Last Updated on May 30, 2024


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