D.A.D.’s offers landscaping with quality

Neil Dunkle has a pretty simple philosophy when it comes to operating D.A.D.’s Landscaping, his business located along Route 220 just east of Jersey Shore.

“If we do our job well, they keep us around. If we don’t we are gone,” he said.

Fortunately, business has been good in recent years, he said.

The natural gas drilling boom of recent years has helped, but Dunkle doesn’t depend on the up and down swings of that industry.

He has a large number of individual and commercial clients who have been coming back to him year after year.

“We have clients we’ve had for 20 years,” he said.

The business was established in 1973.

About 80 percent of the business, he said, consists of landscape maintenance – mowing, trimming, fertilizing lawns and properties.

There’s weed control, mulching, flower planting, and insect control.

The business also keeps busy with installation and design work – walls, planters, patios and walkways.

Dunkle said he doesn’t sell any lawn equipment or materials.

“We got out of the retail business a number of years ago,” he said.

D.A.D.’s Landscaping employs about two dozen full-time seasonal employees.

“A lot of these people have been here a number of years,” Dunkle said.

The landscape business poses its share of challenges.

“There’s some qualified landscapers who are very good,” he said. “There’s also the fly-by-nighters.”

A lot of people who decide to start their own landscape businesses, Dunkle said, soon find out it’s not as simple as they anticipated.

There’s a lot to consider with the business, including maintaining the large fleet of trucks and mowers.

He employs a full-time mechanic.

Given the nature of the work and the equipment involved, Dunkle emphasizes proper training and safety with his employees.

“We try to be OSHA compliant,” he said. “Safety is becoming a major, major issue.”

All employees go through first aid training.

Dunkle said it’s important to know the proper use of insecticides and other chemicals used on lawns

In addition, employees must use proper safety gear when working.

With spring here, the business is entering its busiest time of year.

Dunkle said his business will soon be partnering with Davis Landscape to take advantage of some of the bigger jobs to be found in the area.

It will usher in a new and exciting era for the company.

“It will be interesting to see what happens,” Dunkle said.