Laying the groundwork for a small business success story8/24/2023
Starting a small business in a small community takes entrepreneurial spirit and a lot of confidence. Building one that runs successfully for over a decade takes skill, creativity and dedication. Chad Carter of Rhino Designs & Landscaping is proof of just that.
Based in the village of Lumby, near Vernon in the BC Interior, Rhino Designs & Landscaping is a proudly Métis-owned and operated business supporting roughly six employees and is also active in the local community, recently participating in collecting food for the food bank.
Chad isn’t from the region around Lumby, in fact he originally studied Landscape Technology at the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology. After completing his program, he was recruited to work for a residential landscape company designing and learning how to do landscape construction.
This led to Chad working for a landscape architectural firm in Edmonton where he spent seven years honing his skills designing, planning and implementing landscape projects as part of a team. There he gained the experience that would eventually give him the tools to become a successful entrepreneur in the industry.
The perks of being an outdoor entrepreneur
Rhino Designs & Landscaping provides planning and implementation across all aspects of landscape design. Inspired by his passion for nature, Chad’s personal landscape designs are the foundation of the business. He not only creates the designs but also works on the tools, building landscapes. In fact, being outdoors and working with plants and trees is a major perk of the job.
“An average day involves a group of likeminded nature-lovers with tools in hand, covered in sweat and dirt, machines rumbling around as a new landscape takes shape,” says Chad. “Being outside is a perk, as well as seeing a client get excited about their new space.”
The business expanded to include full construction during the COVID-19 pandemic. “Being a small crew working outdoors made it easier on us than other kinds of businesses during the pandemic, actually making it easier to establish my landscape construction branch as more people stayed home and focused on upgrading their space.”
Despite the ease of pivoting into a new area for the business during this time, they faced challenges with sourcing a steady supply of materials.
“In 2023, I feel the opportunity to breathe a bit easier as my business expands, and I also see opportunities in becoming more organized and developing a stronger team of employees.”
Drawing up the design for a successful business
Managing landscape companies over many years has given Chad’s business a professional edge, while being an entrepreneur allows him the flexibility and freedom to pursue interests outside of landscaping. Like many small business owners in BC, Chad knew that being self-employed would be a better fit for his lifestyle. However, self-employment comes with its own set of risks.
“Being an entrepreneur means not being afraid to take risks and most importantly you have to be confident and believe in yourself,” says Carter. “Challenges include lack of clients, lack of health care, the stress of keeping bills paid and being able to get the work needed to keep it all afloat. My region is a hard market to break into as I was not raised here. It took many years to earn a reputation with the local market.”
Planning for the unexpected
BCAA Small Business Insurance has been able to alleviate many of the concerns for Carter’s business, so he can focus on the day-to-day running of Rhino. “The work we do is strenuous and dangerous. Machines we use can cause damage to property and people. Having liability coverage was a priority.”
In addition, theft and vandalism have been issues in the community, which can be devastating for a small business. “It was crucial to have coverage in case equipment and tools were stolen.”
And it’s not only equipment and vehicles. With the value of raw materials increasing over recent years, construction sites have become soft targets for criminals looking to steal resources like lumber. Estimates put the cost of construction theft at up to $1 billion across Canada annually.
Customize the coverage for your small business
It’s always a great time to review your current insurance policy to ensure you have the right coverage in place. BCAA Small Business Insurance offers you customized coverage with online convenience, so you can quote and buy online whenever it suits you. Plus, if you have a personal BCAA Membership you’ll save up to 10%.