Outdoor living is no longer a luxury reserved for the rich and famous. Instead, America is embracing the lifestyle, turning what used to be a fad into a standard feature of the modern American home. And nobody’s better at creating the setting than Kline Brothers.
Transcending the traditional role of ordinary landscaping design, Kline Brothers Landscaping has seen a significant increase in the demand for beautiful outdoor entertainment areas. From fire pits and outdoor bars to kitchens, TV areas, and bocce and basketball courts, America wants to be outside, relaxing in style among family and friends.
This Manahawkin and Ship Bottom, New Jersey-based firm is a household name and the region’s leader in creating unforgettable outdoor living spaces. It serves clients throughout Ocean and Monmouth Counties, as well as along the coastline of Atlantic County. Kline Brothers also installs pools in such places as Long Beach Island, Tuckerton, Manahawkin, Toms River and even further afield.
And throughout the homes in this territory, says the company, its work is so well appreciated that it’s a common occurrence for a guest to request the company’s business card from their hosts.
Partner John Kline confirms that in his comment to us about a recent project. The company’s designers had successfully created a wonderful illusion of space by bringing to life the owner’s vision of multiple outdoor ‘rooms’ in a comparatively small area. “I have received more leads and tips from people who [this happy customer] has entertained than anyone else. Especially people who saw the space [before and after] are just blown away.”
The owner of the home was so impressed, she threw a party for the crew so that they could enjoy their own handiwork in leisure and style.
Loaded with options
Kline Brothers Landscaping is a dynamic company with a lot to offer. It has an extensive service portfolio, giving customers a huge choice of options – in design, materials, and possibilities – for creating or transforming gardens, pools, spas, and outdoor living areas.
In addition, it offers a full design and fencing service, waterfalls, LED lighting, wide-angle landscaping complete with full lawn maintenance, hardscaping and pavers, maintenance-free decking, and so on. Added to this, clients can order gardening supplies, fresh-cut flowers and bouquets from its website to be delivered with a smile by a sunny and helpful team.
With an approach that treats every project as if it were its own, the Kline Brothers Landscaping team emphasizes functionality and in-depth attention to detail in a way that distinguishes it from others in the industry. Company policy is to instill a habit within its own ranks of questioning and refining every decision, simply because details make or break the final result. With top quality work, carefully thought through, everything falls into place.
The company firmly believes that ‘task ownership’ sets this industry leader apart from its competition, with even its sales team encouraged to treat each project as if they were creating it for their own homes. Simple as the approach may appear at first glance, it offers clients layers of value and quality on all levels of the installation process, from the pre-design phase to the enjoyment of the final result.
Integrity has also been a central feature of Kline Brothers’ culture since the landscaper’s inception. The staff is known for checking their responses with themselves and each other whenever they are faced with tough decisions. Their approach is simple and unchanging: “What would I do if it was my home?”
The price is right
Naturally, price is a big consideration when installing new features, especially when the decision goes beyond utility to enhancing the lifestyle proposition of a property. Here, too, Kline Brothers Landscaping has a hard-won reputation for combining excellent service and design with remarkably reasonable rates.
The team goes all out to ensure, firstly, that it understands the customer’s desires and hopes and that, secondly, it brings these to life, matching the specifications as closely as local bylaws and budgets allow.
This customer-is-always-right approach to business has secured the company the loyalty of many clients who help grow its remarkable word-of-mouth reputation through happy referrals.
New technology, new ideas
But it is not just old-fashioned service delivery that gives the company the edge in the New Jersey market. Managing its phenomenal growth trajectory, and keeping track of multiple projects and their progress is a top priority.
To ensure great quality control, the company has four staff members dedicated to shooting photos of its progressing job sites all day, every day. These are distributed to group chats where all stakeholders are kept up to speed with each project’s progress.
To upgrade even this service, the company is currently investigating new ways to keep abreast of project developments with stationary cameras, drones, and some other hi-tech innovations. “By employing newer technology, we’ll save a lot of cost on fuel, making us a much greener company,” says John.
Decor for a sunny day
Together with the growing popularity of outdoor entertaining areas, the company has seen a marked increase in swimming pool installations – especially thanks to grandparents indulging visiting grandkids, and having a great time making good memories.
Moving away from traditional pool-floor decoration like wavy lines toward the more modern styles, current trends often juxtapose sharply-angled design elements with sophisticated pool-floor materials such as travertine and porcelain. Low-maintenance, water-wise plants are at the top of most people’s wishlists, with indigenous grasses softening the lines of harder design elements.
Despite the apparent simplicity of its approach, the company’s key to success is easier to describe than done. This team prides itself on simply outworking its competition – and its leadership is not ashamed to admit that their commitment makes round-the-clock workdays a common occurrence for them. Together, the brothers live and breathe their business.
“My brother Josh is really the driving force behind this. He never switches off and works 24/7 – all the time. He sometimes calls me at 1 a.m. with a new idea. He’s not afraid to try out new ideas,” John says, resignedly.
Consequently, this is a hands-on business and its ownership is as ready to take calls as everyone else in the company. Apparently also adding to the effort level, a few other family members have joined the firm.
“My mother runs the office for us and she’s one of the hardest-working people I know. I think our work ethic comes from her. She starts most days around 4:15 a.m.,” says John, who often reports for duty around 5:30 to get the drivers into the field.
The company’s two founding members, Josh and Jeffrey, set up shop in 1977. Together, they decided to invest as much of their earnings back into the company as possible.
The happy outcome was that in recent times of national economic downturn they were able to sustain their firm’s financial health by entirely avoiding high-interest rates on loans, as the company simply didn’t require any.
Today, Kline Brothers boasts a sizable working fleet of more than 50 trucks, several properties, other businesses, and various additional assets.
Working the weather
The brothers speak with pride of their sister, regarded as a great asset to the firm. The most recent – and youngest – addition to the company is Josh’s daughter, Ashley Kline. It is not uncommon to see the Kline family leave the office well after 9 p.m. in the evenings.
And, contrary to what one might expect, winter brings no respite for this industrious family. As it waits – on those enforced occasions – for the ground to thaw, Kline Brothers Landscaping is focused on doing maintenance and expanding its capabilities by viewing and investing in new equipment.
Of course, melting snow is eventually followed by hot, bright summers best served by sparkling swimming pools and time in the sunshine. This is when the company installs up to four pools every week. Despite their current popularity, in-ground swimming pools didn’t look like a promising development in 2004 when the company began installing them. But, it persevered and, perfecting the formula, has gone from strength to strength.
A strong and skilled team
Today, the team is well over 150 strong with women working alongside men in what were traditionally men’s jobs. The brothers started the trend over 16 years ago when it was still relatively unusual to see the two genders working side by side in the industry. The approach has worked exceptionally well for a long time now and the company is proud of its stalwart team and low staff turnover.
The company also only employs highly skilled foremen with a minimum of five years of hard-earned field experience, bringing expertise and efficiency to everything the job teams do.
Thanks to its unwavering attention to detail and aggressive growth, the company is in tremendously good shape, recently adding a 17-acre property to its portfolio. “Anytime your organization is in [America’s] top 100 in your field is always a great moment. We’re also one of the top [fiberglass pool] installers in the state of New Jersey,” John says. And the future is looking good for Kline Brothers Landscaping. “We’re transitioning from a small to a larger entity,” is how he puts it.
With this in mind, a solid succession plan is in place with the second generation of Klines preparing to step into their father’s shoes. Every indicator says that the company is set to continue its strong growth. And, with a firm focus on continuously improving its customers’ experience, we expect to see Kline Brothers continue to make American homes more beautiful for a very long time.