Landscaper finds success after career change | Business News

Otego native and Wells Bridge resident Thomas Simonds is digging into his entrepreneurial side.

Simonds, 28, owns Simonds Landscaping, launched in 2014. Simonds said the business and his interest in it span decades.

“I’ve been doing this since I was in seventh grade,” he said. “The gentleman I purchased it from, I started working for him in seventh grade. I was walking through Otego, and he was moving, and I said, ‘Can I work for you?’ He said, ‘The weedwhacker is taller than you, so that’s not going to work,’ but I kept bugging him, and finally he hired me. I used to ride my bicycle from my parents’ house down to his house, just to go to work. Then, in 2014, I bought the business from him. When I bought the business, I was working full time for a commercial ambulance agency … and doing it on the side, then it got to the point where I had to do this full time.”

Simonds said the business operates year-round, though spring, summer and fall see him in full swing.

“I do snow-plowing in the winter … but 90% of what I do is weekly lawn maintenance,” he said. “I also do flower beds, plantings and stump grinding, and that’s gotten huge. I just got into that last year, and my phone rings for that daily. My uncle was getting ready to move and he’d done it for years and said there’s a lot of money in it, so I bought a new stump grinder last year. People are always cutting down trees and they don’t want their stump sitting there in their yard. It’s amazing. I also do hedges and, during the spring, I sell a ton of blueberry bushes. Basically, anything you can think of, we’ve done.”

Simonds said his years of experience and expertise have cultivated a mix of sites and customers.

“I have some commercial properties and I would say it’s a wide variety of client base,” he said. “I have older people and people who have their weekend homes up here. I go from Oneonta to Sidney and almost all of my customers, I’ve been doing for eight-plus years. I have all (the former owner’s) customers, because I retained everybody, plus I more than tripled my clients. It’s all word-of-mouth and I don’t advertise much, but that word-of-mouth goes a long way.”

Simonds said he hopes to add employees, facilitating acceptance of more jobs.

He said recurring jobs are booking out “about a month and a half,” with other services booked continuously.

“I have a wait for my regular lawn maintenance, because I have so many — over 40 a week,” he said. “But my other landscaping jobs — stump griding, brush hogging, rototilling — I’m always taking those jobs.”

Simonds said the business and the freedom it affords has continued to satisfy.

“I just always wanted to work; I get up and I go to work, that’s what I want to do,” he said. “Maybe it was the entrepreneurship of wanting to own my own business one day, but I just love being outside. I went to nursing school and then said, ‘I just can’t work inside all day. I just can’t do it.’ It has just grown from there.”

For more information or a free estimate, call 607-435-6606 or find “Simonds Landscaping & Stump Removal” on Facebook.

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