Author: John McKinnon, BSU student
Jeff McKinnon is the sole owner of J McKinnon Company Inc., a hardscape, landscape, and excavation company that operates out of Hanson, MA. Soon after graduating from South Shore Vocational Technical School in 2007, Jeff decided to start his own landscaping business. Strictly because he wanted to be his own boss. “I wanted to work for myself. I wanted to be able to make money based upon how hard I worked and how much time I put into something.”
Of course, running a business at such a young age was not easy. Many challenges arose as he was attempting to grow his business. “Acquiring employees”. Jeff stated, as was one of the many challenges he had in the attempt to grow. It was not always easy finding someone with a similar amount of work ethic as Jeff had. There were money issues in the early stages. Jeff explained, “Trying to run a business with limited money was difficult. I wrote a check for $1500 to a company when I only had $800 in my account.” He has always worked at a very fast pace. He mentioned that there were a lot of lessons to be learned starting a company at such a young age. Jeff explained, “I would’ve put more thought into the structure. I would’ve had a business plan. 2-year, 5-year, 10-year. The most difficult challenge was saving money and maintaining cash flow to reinvest in the business.”
It’s easy to dwell on past mistakes within a small business. But Jeff takes those lessons and implements them into his everyday decisions. Jeff explained that running a business in Massachusetts is one of the challenges while running his business in 2020. There are many rules and regulations especially involving excavation. Not only does J McKinnon Company Inc. offer outstanding work…they have also implemented a new design software that allows potential clients to see a 3-dimensional layout of the finished product. Jeff stated, “Definitely our design services that we offer are not common in the industry which I believe puts us in a whole new level. We have great infrastructure everything we do is in house we do not subtract. We also have the experience. I have a great crew of seasoned veterans, who go above and beyond for the customers. We offer more value and again, the experience.” 12 years’ experience to be exact. While some of the work force has even more years under their belt than Jeff.
Interesting fact, J McKinnon Company Inc. has spent virtually no money on advertising while being in business. All of his work comes from referrals, which is extremely impressive. When Jeff and I spoke about the companies 6-12-month goals, his expectations seemed very high in regard to increasing revenue and dialing in on the design software. Jeff said, “I think we need our design team to be full time. I’d like to continue to work on our infrastructure and tightening up our financials and have some sort of cost analysis. We have to refocus on the foundation of the business. We would like to grow the business by 15-20% in 2020. Proportional growth. We want to make sure our profit margins are greater, and I would like to Increase all of our aspects by 15%.” I asked Jeff whether he wanted to run this business until he retired. Jeff explained, “Ideally, I would like to sell my current business in the distant future and start another business. I would like to invest in property specifically commercial or industrial.” Jeff also began to state that it is not an easy decision to sell his company. He worked an outstanding number of hours to build it to what it is today. From starting with a dream, a one-man crew, and a single trailer to now owning 12 trucks, 4 dump trucks, 4 excavators, and 3 bobcats. It would not be an easy situation to step away from. In the meantime, his current focus is to build the company as large as he can and create and execute projects better than the competition.