Growing From a Lawn Mowing Service into KC’s Top Hardscaping & Pool Company
Hinkle Hardscapes builds pools, outdoor living spaces, and patios for homeowners in Kansas City and the surrounding areas.
They’ve experienced amazing growth over the last decade and owner Zach Hinkle spent a few minutes sharing their story with us.
We talked about how they’ve navigated a complete change of strategy, how they’ve adjusted their marketing, and how they’re serving families in the metro area.
On Scaling and Changing Directions to Kansas City Hardscapes & Pools
Hinkle first began his journey as an entrepreneur during the housing crisis.
The company he was working for was struggling and he knew he needed to make a change.
He decided to start a lawn mowing and landscaping business, calling it KC Lawn and Landscaping. As a new business, they operated out of the garage at Hinkle’s home.
A lot has changed since then.
They no longer offer mowing or landscaping services and they’ve rebranded to reflect this change.
They’re now Hinkle Hardscapes, a name that better reflects the services they provide.
They create complete outdoor living environments including kitchens, fireplaces & fire pits, custom patios and swimming pools.
“I’m passionate about building these things,” says Hinkle.
“We’re building outdoor living areas for people and families to enjoy.
So, it’s really a pleasure to be able to do this for a living and design and work with families and listen to what their priorities are for their backyard…and just being able to put that dream on paper and then bring it to life when we build it.”
On Giving Back in Kansas City
Hinkle and his team have created a non-profit called Hinkle Cares as a way to give back to Kansas City.
Recently, they held a raffle for a full backyard makeover, with a value of $60,000 to benefit a special family in Kansas City.
The proceeds of the fundraiser are being used to help fund their adoption.
“This local family had tried in-vitro and they had tried a couple different options to try to have kids, and they weren’t successful in doing that, so we raffled off an outdoor living area and the proceeds from the raffle went to help them with the expenses of adopting.”
On Making the Switch to Digital Marketing
When Hinkle first started his small business, marketing was much different. His business began in 2007 and they were mostly using print advertising with a little bit online marketing here and there.
They used print advertising services like Valpak, Home Mag, and RSVP. As the world of marketing has changed, so has their approach to reaching their ideal customers.
“Now, we’re almost all digital,” he says. “We do a lot of social media, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube…we also do Google AdWords and work consistently on our SEO as well.”
As they focus on building their reputation in Kansas City (with over 100 five-star Google reviews), they also make consistency across social media a major priority, using tools for Facebook to make sure they are targeting the right demographic with their content.
They’ve also created educational resources, like eBooks and buyer guides, to establish authority in this space and position the company as Kansas City’s go-to resource for outdoor living projects.
When it comes to starting a local Kanas City business, Hinkle advises would-be entrepreneurs to focus on perfecting their product or service. He also emphasizes the value of learning how to market in your particular industry.
Above all else, he says to prepare for your business to take off — be committed to deliver on promises to your customers, and keep working hard day in and day out.
Zach Hinkle’s Kansas City Favorites
Learn More About Hinkle Hardscapes
4124 NW Riverside St C
Riverside, MO 64150
Phone: (816) 741-2035
Podcast Interview Transcript
Blogger Local: Welcome to the Small Business Super Heroes Podcast. Today our featured guest is Zach Hinkle from Hinkle Hardscapes.
Welcome to the show, Zach!
Zach Hinkle: Yeah, thanks for having me.
Blogger Local: Sure. First, can you tell us about your company? What kind of products or services does your company provide, and what makes you stand out from the crowd?
Zach Hinkle: Well, we are a pool, patio, and outdoor living company in Kansas City, and I’m actually going on my 11th year in business and we’ve been doing this since 2007. Over the years, we’ve learned a lot of things, primarily design and functionality within the design, and then incorporating that in with the construction process that we’ve developed over the years to make sure that we’ve built a quality product at a reasonable price, and just make sure the overall experience is good for the customer.
Blogger Local: Okay, great. Could you provide us with a brief history of your journey as an entrepreneur?
Zach Hinkle: Yeah. So, we actually started KC Lawn and Landscaping back in 2007, July of 2007, and just getting ready to hit the crisis, whatever 2007-2008 was, the Housing Crisis, but just the company I was working for was feeling the cause of that, I guess, and so I decided to start a lawn mowing and landscaping business in 2007, which has turned into primarily just hardscape and then we added pools about three years ago and we don’t do any mowing now or any landscaping, but we started from at my house and my garage to a full-on design center, shop space and employ about 25 people currently.
Blogger Local: Oh, that’s awesome. Can you tell me why you love what you do?
Zach Hinkle: I’m passionate about building these things. We’re building outdoor living areas for people to enjoy or for families to enjoy, and I just love the outdoor. So, it’s really pleasure to be able to do this for a living and design and work with families and listen to what their priorities are for their backyard and just being able to put that dream on paper and then bring it to life when we build it. It’s amazing. It’s fun.
Blogger Local: We have one question here about how you’re involved in Kansas City. Is your business involved in any local charities or causes, or are there any kind of ways that you try to get involved in the community?
Zach Hinkle: Yeah. We have a non-profit called Hinkle Cares. We actually just did a backyard giveaway where we sold raffle tickets and proceeds went to a family who had been through … They had tried in-vitro and they had tried a couple different options to try to have kids, and they weren’t successful in doing that so we raffled off an outdoor living area and the proceeds from that went to help them actually with the adoption expense of adopting a kid.
So, yeah, and if you want more information about that, it’s Hinkle Cares. We have a website called HinkleCares.com, but if it’s something that interests you, you can visit that website and get more information about it.
Blogger Local: Okay. So, as you know, we’re really interested in the internet and marketing online and how that changes businesses. So, can you share how you feel the internet has changed the way you do business, or the way your customers do?
Zach Hinkle: Yeah, yeah. I mean, when we first started back in 2007, we were doing Valpak and Home Mag and RSVP and a lot of print. Doing online too, but not as much, and now we’re primarily all digital. We do a lot of social media, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube. So, we’re involved in that. We do some Google AdWords and then we also have a Work for Us website and do some SEO with that as well.
Blogger Local: How do you market to local consumers in Kansas City?
Zach Hinkle: I’m sorry. What did you say?
Blogger Local: How do you market to local consumers here in Kansas City? What are your primary … Do you have any special strategies you’re using to reach people locally?
Zach Hinkle: A lot of it’s just being consistent in your social networks. They have a lot of custom audience stuff that you can narrow your audience down into to make sure that you’re showing your services only to a portion of people that may be interested in that. So, that’s good, but yeah, just relatively being consistent in what you’re doing.
So, a lot of people think that they do that stuff, get busy and stop, and then … It’s better to just be consistent and in front of people, and if you can provide also a downloadable, some kind of content that’s downloadable, that’s another good way of starting a relationship early, and then some way to follow up with them through that process till either you get them scheduled for a lead or they become a client.
Blogger Local: Okay. Do you have any advice you’d like to share with would-be entrepreneurs who want to start their own business?
Zach Hinkle: Any advice I would give them?
Blogger Local: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Zach Hinkle: Just I would make sure you have a good product and make sure that you’re marketing it correctly, and then making sure that you’re turning those leads to sales and then make sure your fulfillment’s there, and just be ready for a hard day’s work every day.
Blogger Local: Right. Okay, so, we have a couple of fun questions, too, about Kansas City. What are some of your favorite things about Kansas City?
Zach Hinkle: I’m a huge fan of Sporting Kansas City, the soccer club.
Blogger Local: Yeah?
Zach Hinkle: I have season tickets there and really enjoy going to games and tailgating and that kind of thing, and then any kind of extracurricular activities that they may have are usually … Their watch parties or whatever, I really enjoy watching soccer.
I love barbecue. Some of my favorite places are Q39.
Blogger Local: Oh, we love Q39.
Zach Hinkle: Yeah, that’s an amazing barbecue. I love Mexican food. I’ve got a favorite place up here off I-29 on Barry Road. It’s called Ixtapa.
Blogger Local: That’s my favorite, too.
Zach Hinkle: It’s really good.
Blogger Local: Yeah, my husband and I go there like once a month. It’s so good.
Zach Hinkle: Yeah.
Blogger Local: Are there any local companies here in Kansas City that you admire?
Zach Hinkle: Let’s see. That’s a good question. I haven’t really been paying too much attention of. I’ve been pretty focused on our business. We have some … All the vendors we pretty much work with, I have good relationships with them and I think their customer service and helping us get better is great, but Phil over at … Is it Kansas City Web Design?
Blogger Local: Yeah.
Zach Hinkle: I forgot what his name is, but Phil is great to work with. He’s been a joy, but yeah.
Blogger Local: Okay, great. Well, those were the questions I had for you. Thank you so much for taking the time to talk to us and for your contributions to Kansas City and the local economy here.
Zach Hinkle: All righty.
Blogger Local: Great. Well, have a nice day.
Zach Hinkle: Yup, you too. Thanks.
Blogger Local: Bye bye.