See the history of our past 40 years.
My First Steps Into Custom Hauling
Starting Out On My Own
My father encouraged me to be my own boss from the age of 13. That idea sounded good to me but what kind of business to run was unclear. In the spring of 1978 I began looking at trucks to start hauling things. The hauling idea came from my high school entrepreneurial friend Rick Dasko who did some hauling and liked it – he told me about his business adventures.
My First Hauling Load On Day One
My First Days in Business
I bought a 1964 Chevy stake side truck from my teacher, Marty Brakin, and started Schmitt’s Custom Hauling. I had a hauling job the first day I bought the truck and took a picture of the very first load of junk in the bed of the Chevy in front of my Grandma Gener’s house. My childhood friend David Poitras ran the business for 3 months while I went to college in Kentucky. I left for home after the first semester and stayed in the Wheaton area ever since.
Sold The Chevy For A 1972 Ford Dump Truck
Expanding the Hauling Business
I sold the Chevy and bought, by advice from my father, a dump truck from my second cousin Dave Scheffler. That 1972 Ford One-Ton Dump truck allowed me to haul dirt and gravel for homeowners along with debris. Still in college at this time, the business only operated in the spring and summer (April-December).
Schmitt’s Custom Hauling Business Card
Growth, but Not Without Hardship
I graduated from Wheaton College and decided to run the business year round that year and see what would happen. I sold the Ford and bought a Two-Ton dump truck with a 10” plow. The larger GMC improved the business by being able to haul larger loads. Despite working year round and having a larger truck the larger bill that came almost forced me out of business.
Mark Schmitt’s Custom Hauling New Logo
Big Changes to Our Customers
I decided to learn about landscaping and start a new direction to the business. I renamed the business Mark Schmitt’s Custom Hauling. My father bought a used rototiller at a garage sale and I was landscaping. As I became more specific our marketing the theme of helping homeowners improve their property came to the surface. I also started winter snowplowing as a subcontractor. I hired my first full-time employee, a friend from college, Tim Lefly.
Landscaping Services Newspaper Ad
Continued Growth in Landscaping
Landscape construction was a lot of hard work but fun. We expanded our services to planting, installation of rail road ties, and paver walks and patios. I learned a lot on the job. To learn more I read books went to landscape and business seminars and always tried to seek out the best practices for whatever service we were attempting. I also asked others in the landscaping business a lot of questions. Many contractors and suppliers were patient and helpful.
We Started Our Own Plant Nursery
Our New North Aurora Nursery
Colleen and I bought a small farm out in North Aurora. The property in North Aurora become home to Schmitt’s Landscape Company. We work each year on projects to improve the property and make our company more efficient. The first year we planted nursery stock which we used in the years ahead.
Schmitt’s Landscape Continues To Grow
Looking Forward After 30-Years
We now have thirteen employees and six trucks. Our employees have the option for health insurance. We have organized our company into four specific crews: mowing, non-mowing, maintenance, landscape installation and hardscape installation. Each crew has a foreman, a designated truck and trailer with a set of tools and equipment that is specifically for their area of work. Everyday when we start our day at 7:00am each person gets their truck and trailer ready for the day.