Mark & Brad Leahy
Owners, Blades of Green
“They get right into your system and get it done"
Blades of Green
Mark Leahy and Brad Leahy
“A few years back, one of the self-help books I was reading said, ‘If you go in to see your accountant and he picks your file up off the floor, you need a new accountant.”
Getting it done
Maryland-based lawn care company Blades of Green has grown considerably since it was founded by 1989 by Mark Leahy. Soon after starting up, he was joined by his brother, Brad Leahy, and the two have been focused on improving their company one idea at a time, including launching sister brand B.O.G. Pest several years ago.
For most of the company’s history, Mark and Brad managed their books with an internal bookkeeper and the help of a local accountant.
Meanwhile, Dan Gordon, managing member of PCO Bookkeepers, was on Brad’s radar from speaking engagements at industry conferences like NPMA’s Pest World and the Real Green user conference.
“We kept asking him more and more questions and eventually we got to know him pretty well,” Mark says. “But we kept saying we couldn’t afford him.”
PCO Bookkeepers works with more than 300 pest control and lawn care companies across the U.S. to provide accounting, bookkeeping and CFO services; tax preparation and planning; and accounts payable management. PCO Bookkeepers also provides in-depth monthly benchmarking reports that compare clients to other firms in the industry.
When there was a shake-up within their company nine years ago, Mark and Brad were in a bind in the accounting department, so they called Dan.
“He said, ‘I’ll drive down (from New Jersey to Maryland) tomorrow and get you started,”‘ Mark says. “He did. And he’s been someone we’ve gone to since. When we finally pulled the trigger to work with him, we were like, ‘Why’d we wait so long?'”
Today, Blades of Green has two staff members focused on finances. One is retiring in June, and they’ve brought in someone to replace her. PCO Bookkeepers provides continuity in the process. Some companies their size – they have more than 100 employees – would have more staff devoted to accounting, Mark says, estimating that outsourcing accounting services to PCO Bookkeepers has allowed his firm to eliminate at least one position.
Mark also appreciates PCO Bookkeepers’ expertise with pest control and lawn care software programs. This knowledge is another thing that cuts down on labor and tedious
back-and-forth communication that might be required to get an
outside-the-industry accounting firm the information they’d need to manage the books.
“(PCO Bookkeepers) knows how to use all of them,” he says of the software programs. “They get right into your system and get it done.”
In addition to labor savings, Mark is a big fan of the monthly benchmarking reports PCO Bookkeepers provides its clients.
“The reporting they spit out every month is key,” he says, noting gross revenue, net profit and labor are themetrics he relies on month after month, along with expense data. “Any categories where you’re way off, whether it be vehicle expenses or rent or insurance, Dan can tell you ‘You should be paying X amount.”‘
Initially, this data helped Blades of Green pay closer attention to the details and kick start a budgeting process, both of which quickly translated into a better bottom line, Mark says.
The reporting continues to help the company’s leaders make key decisions with its easy-to-digest format. Mark says, “It breaks all your information down and includes the previous two years, so you can compare year to year and month to month, which helps you make decisions, like ‘We better get some extra guys in here because our sales are going to spike in April or May,’ or whatever the case may be.”