February 7, 2024

Episode #120: Lowell Rolsky – Pro Care Horticultural Service

I was born in Kansas City Missouri. When I was 13 my father relocated to Indianapolis to become Superintend of Parks and Recreation for Indianapolis, IN. Three years later in March of 1972 my father quit that job and started Pro Care Landscapers. Within 3.5 years Pro Care Landscapers was doing the maintenance and landscaping for many of the downtown city parks he was responsible for as The city’s Parks and recreation Superintendent.

Pro Care continued to grow and later transitioned the company name to Pro Care Horticultural Services as the services that we offered and provided to our customers continued to expand and we grew to more of a total service provider. Since I was 16 I worked for my father as the time allowed during school and through the summers. That continued all through college. I went to Indiana University with the intention of becoming a Dentist that specialized in either Orthodonture or Maxillary Surgery.

After graduating with a degree in Biology from IU, I learned that in order to specialize after 4 years of dental school I needed to finish in the top 2% of my class to have the opportunity to move forward with 4 more additional years of specialization. As a realist I figured my chances of finishing in the top 2% of the class was not that great. Besides that I had eight more years of school ahead of me, assuming I was lucky enough to finish in top 2% of my dental class. None of that sounded all that great, and by then I was kind of sick of school. While I was offered a job by Pfizer in Pharmaceutical Sales they presented themselves in a very selfish and self centered way and I declined their offer.

Along the way, while working at Pro Care, I had the opportunity to do everything from mowing grass, being a mechanic, digging holes, building all kinds of things like walls, patios, and structures including operating all kinds of equipment. I thought of myself as a jack of all trades, but master of none. With all that being said and a god given gift to be able to draw, I returned to Pro Care full time and never looked back. There is just something so incredibly special and rewarding about taking something from nothing and turning it into something truly amazing. The personal rewards have been endless. We have continued along this path for over 50 years with the knowledge and expectation that we are going to make mistakes and challenge ourselves everyday in ways that will make us better individually as well as a company. What’s better than that????

Lowell Rolsky
Pro Care Horticultural Services
9801 Commerce Drive
Carmel IN 46032
317-872-4800 Office
317-871-5371 FAX
317-716-5293 Cell



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you’re listening to the self-made is a myth make a difference together show with your host coach Tim campsa where we talk with successful business owners to hear the stories of their Journeys in building their successful businesses and more importantly we recognize the folks who help them Excel because we know that achieving business success is not something we can do on our [Music] own hello everyone this is coach Tim camel and I’m excited to have a fellow business owner from Indiana with us today my guest has never had formal landscape design or industry schooling yet has a successful business in his downtime he enjoys spending that with his family and friends and he’s most proud of the values that his parents instilled in him like Integrity honesty and respect it is a pleasure to welcome LOL to the show today hello LOL how are you good morning Tim I’m great how about yourself I am awesome thanks for asking well hey let’s start with having you introduce yourself and tell us a little bit of your personal story like where you were born and live about your family and and any hobbies that you have sure sure sure my name is l rolski i um am the sole owner of a company called Procare Horticultural Services been around since 1972 uh my B my father started this business when I was uh in uh high school so I’ve always had uh a hand in helping out whenever it was necessary uh spent most of my spring breaks and Summers and and even through college um helping my dad whenever it was necessary which was pretty much all the time so um as far as hobbies and things like that I don’t have a lot of hobbies I’m not good at most Hobbies so it’s it’s one of those things that I um if I’m not good at it I try and T have a tendy to stay away from it yeah how about uh where you were born where do you live and about your family sure so my I was originally born in Kansas City Missouri um my father used to be superintendent of Parks and Recreation for um Kansas City um uh and um took a job offer from then mayor Richard Luger to help um renovate the Indianapolis parks department and um it was his goal to try and step away from uh the political side of things and and do things more without that kind of problems and while mayor Richard Luger’s intent was good the it wasn’t easy for him to do that so my father stepped away and started Procare in 1972 so um um I went to school um was had a plan to become a dentist and um specialized in Max surgery or orthodontia and one thing led to another I graduated from college was going to go to dental school and then became became more aware of those issues that come with specialization which basically means you have to finish in the top 2% of your class and being a realist I uh kind of felt that that that that opportunity wasn’t as great as I would want it to be uh and I didn’t necessarily want to go on and become just a dentist so um if I even if I did finish in the top two% of my class I had four years of of dental school and then four more years of specialization so I was pretty sick of school at that life went on very cool and where do you live now so I live in Indianapolis now actually in Carmel Indiana and um uh I have three grown children who all have gotten married in the last five and a half months I actually have another wedding coming up my last child’s getting married uh this weekend so wow I’ll be I’ll be off to that one um here tomorrow so um it’s been a It’s been a a ride for sure well hey well is there a funny story that your family likes to tell about you that you’d be willing to share with us today so um I don’t know you know the reality of it is is that um we are a very tight and sarcastic family and we just like to have fun with each other and at everyone’s expense so um you know it’s just it’s it’s it’s just a great opportunity to enjoy your children and and learn more about them as people and um just appreciate the kind of kids that they become yeah fantastic so you told us a little bit about how um the business came about but how did uh how did you um come about be you know being the owner and at what point did you have confidence that you could run the business so um it was uh you know it was a family business and um um I was always working with my father along with my younger brother and um eventually evolved into the situation where uh my brother left and I was forced into kind of running the company my my brother used to take care of um of uh of the actual running of the company and I really enjoyed just landscape design and installation and that’s kind of where I focused my attention on um and obviously if somebody else was going to take care of the business side of it then I didn’t have to worry about it so u i was good with that um but lives change people’s opinion of things change and and so I was kind of forced into doing the things that other people were doing and um it was one step after the other uh until we got things um squared away I’ve been a uh always been a good delegator I always had a god-given gift to be able to draw and I think sometimes the fact that I wasn’t properly educated if you if you really want to say that um sometimes makes me look at things in a different way where no nobody told me what was right or wrong uh I things because my customer wanted it or because I thought it was a good decision at the time so um that’s kind of how I got to where I am um I don’t you know I’m I’m the kind of person that always considers it’s important to make mistakes so that I can continue to learn otherwise I’m just doing nothing really so um so we challenge ourselves every day to try and um push what we what we think we’re capable of doing and to try and extend our expertise into our customers backyard fantastic well tell us uh more about the company um what’s the name what do you guys do how do you help folks so um we’re Total Service landscape design build maintenance company we also do uh snow removal services as well as irrigation maintenance and monitoring ing services and renovation um we um we have about uh anywhere from 45 to 55 employees um and that varies from year to year obviously um we do commercial maintenance as well as residential high-end residential maintenance and our landscape design build side is primarily high-end um um residential land capes um we have a very particular Niche associated with meeting those kinds of needs and and and taking care of customers who others might consider to be problematic or Troublesome or finicky or any of those like terms that you like to use um and it it actually I think it makes us better fantastic and what’s the name again of the company the name of the company is Procare Horticultural Services fantastic so for everyone listening go check out the company in the link in the description and uh go visit LA on uh LinkedIn and watch tell him let him know that you watched his interview hey L share a story where someone pushed or inspired you that you could do it even though maybe you didn’t think that you could and the impact that that person had on you so I think the person who had the most impact on me was my father who um who always kind of looked at things and said I don’t know that people would pay for this but you don’t know until you try so um I was always pushing that envelope and always U trying to um gain a better understanding of how I could meet a customer’s needs whether that be a maintenance service or a landscape service so that so that we could Excel and exceed that expectation however much was needed to require that uh uh that purpose you know for me it was always harder to determine what customers saw as an exceeded expectation sometimes we like to look at things and say that our expectation might be up here when the customer’s expectation really thought was down here and they just wanted us to be exceeding so we have all this room in between here where we’re spending money and not making the kind of money that we could because we had our own idea what was exceeded expectation when the customer’s expectation could be somewhere in down here yes so that that took a lot that took a lot for me to to understand that and to determine that we were perhaps wasting time and energy and money when the customer never saw that difference so yeah understanding that becoming better educated about what that was needed and um making sure that we weren’t creating expectations that were outside the norm of what the customer might want yeah it’s that’s that’s a critical point in terms of you know aligning up front right on what is the customers expectation so that to your point right we don’t put in time and energy and costs of doing something that is in their mind is kind of out of scope right right and I think it’s a sometimes it’s a struggle for salespeople especially who don’t who do everything in their power to try and meet the customer’s expectations and 90% of the time they’re establishing an expectation that the customer had didn’t even desire right so you’re telling the salesperson might be telling something well we’ll get to it tomorrow when in reality the customer would have said hey I’m fine you know I would have been fine if you would have got to it 10 days from now yes when question customer that the salesperson should be asking is how soon were you thinking you wanted this done yes so it’s it’s all learning curve and and it’s all experience and it’s all um feeling comfortable in that particular moment to be able to um talk yeah rationally and reasonably with a customer who sometimes can be have an expectation that’s crazy yeah and you have to have the opportunity you have to have the the strength and the and the opportunity and the the relationship to say I can’t do that but I can do this right yes so what’s been your biggest learning as a business owner so I think I think what where we learn more than anything else is from our customer just trying to understand and truly listen to what their needs are you know sometimes uh people have a tendency to list to not to hear what they want to hear and not hear what they’re actually being told so that’s always a a that’s been a good opportunity for us to become better aware of the customers needs and to create a better relationship with that particular customer and to not pull any punches and try and being open and honest about that so you know the customer teaches us every day what makes sense and what doesn’t make sense and it’s never the same for each customer you have to you have to do the due diligence you have to invest the energy in the work to to try and get to that that point where everybody’s on the same page and everybody feels comfortable with everybody you mentioned it a couple times but the importance of of asking questions instead of assuming and you know there there’s the the fun phrase that we have two ears and one mouth right so we should you know listen twice as much as we talk but you know but in a sales position it can be tough to right to not want to assume and not want to jump ahead right but to your point right slowing down and making sure that we’re asking the questions and we’re really understanding what the the customers wants and needs are and then tailor the right program or the offering to to what they’re looking for as opposed to what we’re assuming it’s it’s huge in in any sales role to be able to make sure that we’re we’re getting that clarification up front well and I think that there there you know there’s a lot of pressure on a salesperson’s side to sell something uh you know from my perspective I’m always telling my customer I don’t want you to buy I don’t want you I don’t want to sell you anything I want to buy I want you to buy something yes but if it if we’re not a fit we’re not a fit and you’re not gonna hurt my feelings I’m not here to hurt your feelings I I just want to make sure that everybody can move forward in the appropriate way and get the appropriate results without having to lie to people or tell people what they want to hear or you know and then and then make yourself look worse because you can’t meet the expectation that you right it’s just a it’s it’s not a win-win it’s a lose lose yeah so we in our sales training we teach the idea that selling is professionally helping people to make a decision that’s right for them right goes back to what you just said about you know not selling somebody but you know helping them to buy and and I like what you said that you know if if we’re not the right fit we’re not the right fit and that’s okay right at least we helped to to determine that together and we can both move on yeah we spent the appropriate time to determine if there was reason to move forward yeah and sometimes there’s no reason to move forward it could be a pricing issue it could be a design issue it could be um philosophy issue there’s so many things that get in the way so um working with that particular customer and understanding and listening and um meeting that need is is everything and they’re going to respect you know us for that and if we’re not the right fit they may know somebody that is and remember how well we treated them and maybe maybe later they come back and have somebody else they want to introduce us to right no absolutely and and there’s been situations where we have had a situation where hey maybe we jumped to conclusions we maybe our maybe we didn’t have a realistic expectation of how things should be or any number of things like that but there there’s always going to be that other customer who says hey he was right but he’s never going to know because I don’t want him to know that he was was right so sure we get into this situation all the time where we tell customers you know we’re here to educate you we’re here to make sure you’re not making mistake but it’s still your mistake to make you come back to me and say hey you should have never let me do that the first thing I’m going to say is yeah absolutely I should have never let you do that I should have been better at trying to emphasize my point so that you wouldn’t have made this decision they don’t want to hear that they made a mistake yeah they want to know you’re on their side so yeah for sure yeah hey we know that down business success doesn’t happen in isolation so tell us about one of your biggest challenges during the years at running the business and and maybe a fellow business owner or colleague that came alongside you and helped you through that so um our biggest issue has always been and always will be finding qual good quality heal uh that’s not going to go away um the government is not necessarily helping us because um the average American doesn’t want to do what they say they want to do okay um so uh having somebody that else that we can turn to or having somebody else that will help us grow somebody uh somebody that cares as much about what what’s happening and where we’re going and how can he differentiate himself from others that might be doing the same task are are are our always going to be our problem the last thing I want to do is put bodies in people’s yards and and um that just doesn’t that’s not helpful it’s not useful we’ve been lucky to have an average uh employee tenure of 13 years um right now and um I have employees who have been with me for over 25 years so over 35 years actually so so you know we’ve been good at respecting everybody’s needs and wants um you know we’re never going to lie to our employees just like we won’t lie to our customers um we’re GNA do what we can but I’m the first person to tell them hey I can’t do that and if this doesn’t work I get it I understand uh I think they appreciate the open openness and the honesty and and the willingness to be there for them otherwise they wouldn’t be here as long as they’ve been um I don’t know necessarily that I had anybody help me with that you know um but um it’s it’s you know you watch I don’t know that anybody necessarily helped me but you still watch what other people do and what other companies do and and you don’t want to try and reinvent the wheel when somebody else has already solved that particular problem so yes you know being involved in the um um in National landscape Association um helps us a lot because we can speak with other people who aren’t necessarily in our Market you know the people in our Market U always have a tendency to say well I don’t want to give you something that you might use against me which is which is absolutely unheard of there’s plenty of business out there for everybody why can’t we all help each other why are you so afraid of your little bit of the market that yes that I’m going to steal it from you because that’s not what I’m after what I’m after is to make the industry better what I’m after is to is for everybody to win uh I don’t want your work I want my work and I want it to be as best as possible and you should want your work and yeah you know 90% of the time we’re not even selling the same product so right yeah it actually it brings up a the whole philosophy of scarcity versus abundance right so when we have a scarcity mindset we’re protective of and and end up you know just looking at the the the opportunity as it’s fixed amount of opportunity and we’re just trying to steal from one another versus that abundance mentality there is more than enough to go around and if we get better right and and and differentiate ourselves we’ll have different Target markets and we can right to continue to grow and develop our target market and our competitor can grow their target market and and that abundance mentality ends up attracting more opportunities right no absolutely it’s unfortunate that that people don’t understand that more or it maybe it’s not taught well but um it’s critical in trying to take Community like Indianapolis or any place else and work together as a as a as a group to create a platform where everybody can can win as opposed to worrying about hey I don’t want him to know this or I don’t want him to know that yeah because he’s gonna do something with it well I’m gonna put you on the spot here a little bit I’m GNA ask you to pick three people in your business owner Journey that you’re most grateful for them being there to help with your business’s growth so who are those three people and how they help you so um even though my brother’s no longer involved in the business he was very uh he was very helpful to me um even though he was younger he had a great handle on things my father of course um was um was I can’t I can’t express the words um but um just just the people I’ve learned I’ve met along the way who have who have treated me with respect and and and um realize that I’m not the enemy you know are are worth their weight in gold I love that awesome well let’s shift gears a a little bit here think about the next one to three years what is your number one um point of growth or development or challenge that you see uh in achieving your goals so I believe that our goals have been hindered over the last four maybe 10 years because of uh of of Labor issues um you know um I think that it’s important that we always continue to grow in some way shape or form whether that’s in adding uh other opportunities to make money or in just growing those individual opportunities so um it’s a very competitive market especially from the maintenance side uh where customers aren’t necessarily interested in what you bring to the table outside of the dollar amount you know where people would change might have had a relationship with a cust customer for 10 or 15 years and they’ll change for $10 a month you know I mean that’s really not a relationship that you ever had or they’re extenuating circumstances that get in the way so for us it’s it’s still trying to continue to grow on a year-to-year basis as as much as we can without overextending ourselves and creating issues that are going to come back to bite us because we couldn’t meet a need or or we weren’t or we lost our quality control or or any number of other things that that are going to get in the way I don’t see that going away until uh the government allows us to U bring in um Hispanic Workforce or uh outside workforces that are that are more than willing to come make a decent wage in this particular industry or in any number of other Industries where they where the government with all their Infinite Wisdom says we these are these are jobs for Americans when Americans don’t want these jobs so you know you can talk about this all day long and it can be a republican issue it can be a democratic issue it’s just an issue yeah and it needs to be dealt with and you have to put all the other crap aside so that you can look at things realistically otherwise you’re not GNA have a plumber you’re not gonna have this guy you’re not gonna have a a carpenter you’re not gonna have anybody and you’re going to go and all you’re going to do is be paying and waiting more for more you’re going to be paying more money for the service that should cost less and you’re going to be waiting longer because the person that you want to do the work can only do so much work at any given time so it’s a big problem it’s not going away uh and all these people who have a better idea of things that I do you know are lost in their own little worlds so I’m sure there’s a lot of people out there who would agree yeah and I like that you you made a a specific point to say it’s it’s you know it’s politically agnostic right it’s not one party or the other because both are are having the same challenges it’s just it is it’s just what the industry is facing right that there are a lot of jobs that a lot of my clients are in the same boat where they’re all looking for more employees and there just isn’t enough people in the workforce that to to satisfy those needs so every you know lots of people are struggling it’s holding a lot of people back and and again it’s not a it’s not one political view versus another it just is a a challenge and an issue that small business owners have right and and you know like I say it’s it’s not going to go away it’s um um there’s no when when compromise is no longer term utilized in in in the process uh and when the greater good is something that isn’t you’re not looking down the road you’re just looking at how can I use this issue to create and to get something else that I want then it’s you know it’s all they’re all they’re all hindrances really so you know you got to get past that so last question here Jim ran uh an awesome business Guru once said that we become the average of the five people that we spend the most time with so as you think about that quote what advice would you have for you know business owners who are trying to do it on their own who who don’t be part of like you mentioned earlier an industry group or you know aren’t aren’t getting involved in a chamber or you know not reaching out to other people to ask for help and guidance what what would you say to them so I think uh I think if you can get past this uh idea of well I don’t want to fail and you look at the reality of moving forward and trying to have a successful business then you grasp at whatever straw happens to be there and you hope that that’s a straw that holds so whether that’s a chamber group whether that’s the National Association of landscape professionals whether it’s any number of of regional or uh local professional organizations you want to try and take advantage of those things so that you can extend your footprint uh become better aware of how people might have attacked a particular problem and you know it may not happen in your own particular industry where you’re not talking to that particular person sometimes you’ll find the problems associated in most businesses are the same regardless you know you’re G to have this problem you’re gonna have this problem how can I retain my employees how can I how can I get better how can I get more efficient you know you you look at things and and you and and you try and value what’s important at that given moment and then you move to the next thing you know if you’re trying to fix 400 things pick one or two things move forward know you’ve got a list of things that you want to improve upon and focus on how I can get better in in smaller increments um so that you can continue to succeed and don’t overextend yourself and don’t make the same mistake that everybody else seems to make it’s it sounds simple but it’s not well it’s so true that the you know the fundamentals or the best practices of running a business are the best practices right so you’re right everybody tends to go through the same challenges and and the same you know learning curves and if we can ask other businesses that have you know maybe been been there already and get their tips and advice that’s you know that’s always helpful and what I found is that most business owners are more than happy to gift their time to a fellow business owner and you know and share some of the the learnings they’ve had because they’ve been there right they get it and then and there’s no reason you know there’s no reason for somebody to gravel or go or crawl through the mud to try and get an answer to a question you know why not just help them you know why you know it’s so easy just to say yes then it is gosh I don’t have the time or you know because there’s always a hidden agenda there you know the reason I don’t have the time is because I don’t want you to know what I know yes yes right so yeah it’s crazy L it sounds like you’ve been blessed with some amazing people throughout your journey that have helped you with the business if they were all here on the show today what would you want to say to them thank you I you know I couldn’t have gotten where I am without them uh you know I’ve had over 4,000 people go through come through my door over the course of the 53 or 54 years that I’ve been in this business and every one of them is brought something important to the table so um it’s been wow what a number that’s amazing yeah there’s been an experience okay you know uh we used to be a lot we used to be a lot larger back in the day um you know where we might have we would have had 200 people working for us and um you know my taste towards things changed my brother’s philosophy on things were different than mine um um we could have been even a lot larger back in the day but it wasn’t wasn’t a choice that my brother decided to make because he wanted to try and focus on a particular type of customer when in reality everybody’s that type of customer you just you just need to take advantage of those particular situations and and get rid of the ones that don’t work and add others that do and yes so so it’s been it’s been an interesting history associated with this particular with brare and I’ve enjoyed every minute of it and I plan to enjoy every more minute that I have so fantastic well L it’s been a pleasure speaking with you today thank you so much for being on the show no thank you I appreciate you reaching out and having me on the show thanks for listening to the self-made is a myth show with your host coach Tim campaw please help spread this Movement by liking and subscribing to our show and following us on Facebook and Linkedin or wherever you listen to your favorite podcast to join our movement go to bead together.com okay folks that’s a wrap please pay it forward and be sure to tune in next time to the self-made is a myth podcast