Mastery Through Apprenticeship
Our success didn’t happen by accident; it happened by intention.
Maffei Landscape uses a unique apprenticeship model in which each worker becomes a specialist in a particular landscaping discipline, and subsequently trains others to do the same. The result is that every lawn, every bed, every patio, every landscape is delivered with perfection, consistency, and efficiency every time.
You see, at first we did things the way most landscapers do them; we divided up the customers, and each worker performed all of the different jobs, such as mowing, mulching, planting, and edging.
I quickly realized, however, that the workload was simply too big. The challenge was for us to guarantee consistent quality and perfect results, while offering competitive pricing. Because I’d trained a variety of recruits by this point, I could see that the answer would be to capitalize on each worker’s unique skills and expertise.
Apprenticeship: Becoming a Team Member
That’s when it hit me! Why not develop my workforce into practiced teams of specialists? Building on that concept, I developed the Maffei Master Landscaper Program.
At Maffei Landscape, our crews and trucks are separated according to the tasks they perform, whether it’s mowing, edging, mulching, installation, or bed maintenance. Crews are organized within specific divisions, and each crew is assigned a truck which hauls a trailer outfitted with all the necessary tools for the work performed. Every crew consists of a master craftsman, a craftsman, and an apprentice.
Here’s one example of how a crew team works. The master craftsman in the Edging Crew uses a power edger to cut the contour of the bed edge; the craftsman works behind him, using a stick edger to refine the contour, and finally, the apprentice cleans up behind the craftsman to guarantee a perfect result.
This division of labor and specialization of craft follows the age-old tradition of master apprenticeship and teamwork. Each landscaper becomes an accomplished expert, and, in turn, trains the individuals working for him, so they can move up the chain of command.