it should be

Neff Grayhouse 317
John Neff may use the latest landscaping equipment, but his approach to customer service is straight up old school.

By Ken McEntee

In an age of rapidly changing high technology, John Neff is proud to call himself “old school.”

“I’m old school as far as quality and attention to detail are concerned,” explains John, who started Neff Landscaping 40 years ago.

“There are some things that are better today than when I started. For example, the equipment I use is better today. But good quality and hard work still mean the same thing today that they did in 1978. Maybe you just don’t see it quite as often.”

This may explain why most of John’s new customers aren’t brand new to the landscape maintenance market, but rather are looking to replace their current landscapers.

“Reliability—and making sure the job is picture postcard perfect before you leave—solves a lot of the problems customers have with yard maintenance services,” John says. “A reputation for reliability is especially important in lawn maintenance because it’s the only business customers have scheduled at their homes every single week as opposed to maybe once or twice a year.” 

John started mowing lawns before he could drive a truck.

“I was 13 when I began riding my bike around the neighborhood mowing lawns,” he recalls.


“After pursuing other interests during high school, I returned to landscaping to work my way through Cleveland State University. I was taking business and computer classes, but realized that I enjoyed landscaping more than what I would likely be doing in the business world. I love working outside. So I changed it up, took horticultural classes at CSU and The Ohio State University and started up my business in my grandparents’ garage in Cleveland Heights.”

John now runs several maintenance crews of employees—not sub-contractors. And he’s usually a member of one of the crews.


“I would rather be outside working so I rotate among the crews every day,” he says. “That allows me to make sure they are keeping up with my quality standards, and lets me interact with my customers.” 

John even rewards his employees based on the quality of their work.

Being old school, John insists, doesn’t preclude keeping up with the latest knowledge. He received his Ohio pesticide applicator’s license over 30 years ago. Plus, he participates in continuing education with his crews and crew foremen because “knowledge is equally as important as experience.” 

“There is a lot to know about lawns and landscapes and there is more to lawn care than taking a mower off a truck,” he says.

John's premium maintenance package—he calls it “corner to corner service”—includes weekly mowing services, a six-step lawn treatment program, core aerating, shrub and beds maintenance, mulching, and more. He also offers lawn and landscape renovation and installation as well as designing services.  

“We don’t cut corners,” John emphasizes. “One example of our quality work is the fact that we use a professional edger with a steel blade, not a weed whip with a plastic string. It’s more effort, but it creates a straighter, finer edge. We understand that our customers are often in friendly competition with their neighbors and we want them to win. We want them to have the best looking landscaping on the block.”

Valuable Online Coupons
You’ll find a rotating seasonal selection of money-saving coupons at

For more information or to schedule a free property analysis and no-obligation estimate, call John Neff at 440-449-3050. His company is a Member of the Ohio Lawn Care Association and has an A+ Better Business Bureau rating.

Categories: Eastside Home & Garden