Noblesville-based EMPire Outdoor Solutions, founded in October of 2019 by 19-year-old Michael Podzielinski, offers residential and commercial lawn care treatments including fertilization, weed control and irrigation maintenance, as well as holiday lighting during the winter months.
“Growing up, my dad always said you can do whatever you want, but whatever you do, be the best at what you do,” Podzielinski says.
EMPire was founded by Podzielinski in honor of his father, Eric Podzielinski, who passed away last May. Before he launched EMPire, Podzielinski worked at a youth sports business called Ultimate Tournament Series (UTS) through his middle school and high school years. The business ran youth baseball tournaments in Cicero, Indiana, and Podzielinski was in charge of maintaining each of the baseball fields.
He started working for UTS in eighth grade as an umpire, and through high school he helped to run tournaments and maintain fields. Outside of this job, he also gained lawn care experience by mowing 35 lawns every week as a side business.
After graduating from high school, Podzielinski decided to quit UTS and start a lawn care business with his father. When he approached his employer about quitting, his employer asked him to join UTS as a partner.
“I passed up the opportunity to start a business with [my father],” Podzielinski says. “I was a [UTS] partner for about a year, and then of course my dad passed away, and that partnership just didn’t work out.”
After leaving UTS, Podzielinski decided to pursue his love for landscaping and open a business to honor his father. In October of 2019, he started EMPire Outdoor Solutions. According to Podzielinski, the “EMP” in the company name is a nod to his father Eric, himself, and Podge, the family nickname.
Podzielinski started by looking for potential clients on Facebook and creating social media ads. He began to gain clients via Facebook ads and word of mouth. The approaching winter season made landscape work difficult, and Podzielinski decided to offer holiday lighting as one of his services. He kicked off the winter season with a huge workload of 65 clients with holiday lighting needs.
According to Podzielinski, a key selling point of his holiday lighting service is the fact that he is able to show clients a specific home design prior to any actual light installation. First he captures images of the front of a client’s house, in any areas where lights are requested. Then he enters the images in a Photoshop software program, and designs a virtual lighting scenario for clients to review.
“For some people, they just don’t know what they’re going to get, and they’re nervous,” Podzielinski says. “But once I was able to get out pictures of what it looks like, I just started getting calls immediately, and the look on people’s faces following a job – they were excited with how well [the lights] looked.”
During the warmer months, EMPire focuses on lawn care treatments. Podzielinski’s business serves more than 75 residential and commercial clients around Hamilton County. Podzielinski uses a software program in which he enters all lawn care applications and customer information.
When Podzielinski meets potential clients for an estimate, he enjoys educating each one in any way possible. He strives to make sure each and every client knows their yard and can take care of it, even after EMPire is finished with their applications.
Podzielinski’s business is also unique because he uses safe, high-caliber products, while not charging top-tier fees. He only applies a few fertilizing treatments throughout his five lawn care applications, while competitors might apply five fertilizing treatments using five applications. According to Podzielinski, this approach tends to yield slower, more controlled growth over time, and is much better for the environment and for lawns than many conventional approaches.
“My favorite thing is getting to see the customer’s reaction when the results are delivered,” Podzielinski says.
While tending to his various lawn care jobs, Podzielinski makes sure to correspond with all clients and future clients in a timely fashion. He also works to meet with as many clients or potential clients as he can. His office is located at his family’s Noblesville home in his father’s former workshop.
According to Podzielinski, he could not have started his business without his many past mentors, his aunt, his mother and his many clients.
EMPire Outdoor Solutions is located at at 414 Oxford Drive in Noblesville. To learn more, visit empireoutdoorsolutions.com or call 317-697-5071.