From Lawn Maintenance to Sweeping It All

Contractors continue to encounter clients that look for a company that can do it all and offer several different services. After cleaning up garbage by hand, Joe Capobianco decided to take that route by becoming a one-stop-shop, and he added another service to his already successful lawn maintenance company—sweeping. Now, Capobianco has built West Haven Street Sweeping, located in Milford, CT, into one of the area’s top sweeping companies.

Capobianco began his lawn maintenance company in 1982. While completing lawn maintenance, crews were approached by one client about the garbage in the parking lot. “Before we owned the sweeper we hand-picked the garbage,” Capobianco says. “We were cutting grass for a client, and they asked if we could pick up the garbage in the parking lot. In 2000 we finally decided to purchase a sweeper.”

As a full service company, the breakdown of services include full-time snow plowing with a 14-member crew, lawn maintenance services with a 9-member crew, and a 12-member crew for the sweeping segment. WHSS completes sweeping for parking lots, roads and helicopter pads.

“We have full crews that go where we have the sweeper,” Capobianco says. “Crews will go out and complete the fine hand-picking that the sweepers can’t do. We do lawn maintenance work for the same companies that we sweep the parking lot.”

With both lawn maintenance and sweeping services available at WHSS, Capobianco offers a full package of services pricing each service individually. Capobianco also snow plows for 30-40 percent of his sweeping/lawn maintenance clients.

Sweeping Synthetic turf

Every surface, regardless of material, must receive the proper maintenance and clean up in order to maintain a quality surface. WHSS has found success in the niche market of synthetic turf clean up, and it gained experience by sweeping the synthetic turf at Branford High School’s football field.

The company that hired WHSS was unfamiliar with how to remove the rubber pellets, and first had WHSS complete a test sweep. “There was a problem with the synthetic turf itself,” Capobianco says. “The company was hired to remove and replace the synthetic turf. The company believed it was less expensive to have us remove the rubber than completely replacing it.”

Sweeping synthetic turf is necessary when the rubber is packed down deep resulting in a harder surface. “Inside the synthetic turf is a bunch of black rubber pellets that make the synthetic turf soft,” Capobianco says. “So, as the company removed the synthetic turf we kept sucking the rubber out to be removed. Once the company replaced the synthetic turf the old pellets were placed back in the surface.”

Using a single Tymco 435 unit with a turbo engine, WHSS swept a few hours per day picking up 20 tons of material. “We could have used three units on this job, but the company only wanted one,” Capobianco says. “We used the 435 because it has better suction and a turbo motor. For the job, we ran up the football field for a certain time until they saw the pile. Then, they had an idea of how much material would be picked up and how much would be left because the synthetic turf is low.”

While this is a niche market, Capobianco does communicate with high schools and colleges the benefits of sweeping synthetic turf. “Our machines can go on high school and college synthetic turfs, fluff it up, and return it back to the luster and high quality grass,” Capobianco says.

A guarantee of quality

Capobianco takes several steps to ensure his clients receive top notch service through a professional staff and proper equipment maintenance. “Our equipment is almost as good as the day we bought it, and we are sure to maintain it that way,” Capobianco says. “Our vehicles are maintained 24 hours a day. Every driver has to wash it and pressure wash the hoppers. When people look at my equipment they can’t believe the age of the units.”

Another important part to the maintenance of the fleet is keeping it smoke free. Capobianco does not allow his employees to smoke in his vehicles.

Essentially, Capobianco makes sure to give his customers the best service he can provide. “What our customers pay for, we deliver,” he says. “We follow every contract and never deviate from it, but there are times when we do deviate from it and it’s only for the customer’s best interest. For example, if there is garbage left behind that isn’t in our scope of work we’ll take pictures, we’ll remove it and after the fact we’ll make the customer aware of the work we completed. Not too many people go in and do the job we do.”

Another important aspect of WHSS is the importance of giving back to the community, and that is achieved through the team Capobiancos by raising money for the Smilow Cancer Hospital.

Capobianco credits his family and employees for the success of WHSS. “Without my guys I wouldn’t be anything today,” he says. “That’s the bottom line. Family and employees made WHSS Street Sweeping what it is today. The loyalty our customers have had throughout the years has been phenomenal.”