24 Year Old Software Consultant Turned Mowah's Ark Captain

CarterRoy

LawnSite Member
Howdy Everyone,

First of all, I would like to thank LawnSite in its entirety for all the information I’ve scoured over the past 5 weeks. This may be my first post, but I’ve been lurking in the shadows much longer. I appreciate the community and team mentality of this industry.

I’m a 24 year old software consultant who had never touched a lawn mower up until 5 weeks ago. I’ve always been fascinated by lawn mowers, but never had the real opportunity to use one or get “hands on”.

I was born and raised in Scottsdale, Arizona. Yes, we had grass – albeit not a ton. My parents bought the house I grew up in two weeks before I was born, and have had the same lawn (and landscape) provider since the day I was born – Ted. When I go back and visit my parents I always chat with Ted, and I can’t wait until the next time I do.

I’m not a prissy *****, and nor is my dad (most of the times!), but the backyard was always something we never worked on. Ted took care of everything. We didn’t own a single piece of yard equipment. And to be honest, I never really paid much attention to the industry. Up until 5 weeks, I was as green as they come. Total virgin to the lawn care industry. Now you can find me tent at full mast reading anything and everything about lawn care.

Moved to Nebraska for school in 2012 (Go ‘Skers), graduated in 2016, and have lived here since. I started working as a traveling business processes consultant (software) a few months before I graduated. I travelled the globe with my boss helping a wide range of clients implement ERP systems. It was an incredible experience to see under the hood of so many different industries.

If requested, I’ll expand on this little tid bit - In March of this year (2018), I was jumped downtown after drinking heavily. As a result, I had to get two of my teeth extracted (front left tooth and the tooth next to it). Unfortunately, CEO’s of SpendBigMoneyOnConsultants Corporation aren’t as fond of my new smile as my dentist is. So, until my smile is fixed, I get to work from home. Lots of free time.

I really started to take notice of how many lawn care trucks I saw. They were everywhere. In the Facebook (insert city name) buy/sell/trade groups, I noticed how many people needed lawn care. I saw how many people were bidding via the comments. In my mind, that means massive supply and massive demand. That doesn’t mean quality supply – usually quite opposite. In my mind, that means there are PAIN POINTS, FRUSTRATIONS, AND NEEDS of customers that aren’t being filled.

Think about it – any jack off with a lawn mower can “start a biz” today. But he’s a cash strapped, uncommitted flake who will undoubtedly screw up.

Low Barrier of Entry – I liked that a lot about the business. It meant I could start a company for dirt cheap, and it meant a vast majority of the competition was trash.

I offered to mow my bosses lawn. Very anal about his lawn so the vote of confidence was flattering when he accepted my free sweat. That was my first time ever lawn mowing – 5 weeks ago.

The same day I responded to a facebook post about someone needing their lawn mowed. I messaged the lady and told her I would take care of her lawn service needs for $40 and could be there immediately. She accepted. I got on craigslist and bought a Toro Super Bagger with a Honda Engine for $100 and drove straight to her house. Maybe I’m different, but I can’t explain the mix of feelings I got when I arrived, introduced myself, and mowed her lawn. Totally ******* nervous, almost totally ******* clueless, and 100% erect with excitement. Heavily overgrown lawn, dog **** everywhere, but I didn’t care. I spent a lot of time on that yard and went the extra mile. Knocked on the door when I was done, and got my two franklins. I also got a selfie with the woman – it’s on my website today.

Now that I had “experience” in the deliverable product/service, I applied my business mentality to the project.

My opinion is that if you listen to the customer in any business you will have a successful one. If you want to make money, solve a problem for someone.

I searched all over the US for lawn care companies and read the raving reviews – but mostly I read the negative reviews. Didn’t take long to have a top 10 of what my business wasn’t going to do, and an action plan to solve them.

COMMUNICATION. PRICING. EASE OF BOOKING. EASE OF PAYMENT.

My solution? Online Hassle Free Booking in 60 Seconds.


I built a website. A stupidly simple black & white website. Literally I made my website black & white. Because that was my differentiator.

I offer 3 prices. Small Yard, Medium Yard, & Large Yard. I offer frequency discounts. I offer add on services. But no need to wait around for a bid. People don’t want to pick up the phone, people don’t want to wait for you to give them an estimate, people don’t want to wait for you to get too busy and forget about them, and most of all people don’t want to play phone tag with you when you’re busy mowing lawns and could give two shits about a new client.

People want to not ******* worry about their lawn.

So, I let people pick a date they want their service. I let people pick their yard size (and I tell them to guess if they don’t know). I let people pick the add-on services they want. I let people pick their frequency of the service. And I let people get the service confirmed and pay online.


So I built the said website and put about $100 into Google Adwords. And **** me running – someone booked. $45 every two weeks and the house was near me. (still have this yard – and a traditional LCO would probably charge $25. My margins are stupid. But so is my travel distance and routes - pain point i need your help with!)

And again. And again. And again. And still. ($165 yard tomorrow – anyone have tips on how to edge?!).

I have taken every single lawn myself and I will hire my buddies to help me because I am always learning from others. I want to learn every single screw, nut, and bolt of this industry. I’ve already learned a ton that I couldn’t have read anywhere and I learn a ton more every day. I’ve learned where this business can kill your profitability. I’ve spotted serious inefficiencies in operations and I am developing ways to solve them. And I’ve learned how seriously important the customer is.

I would really appreciate having someone who has been doing this for years and years to talk with about the business. I want to hear your expert advice, your stories and fables, and I’d like to bounce some ideas off you. I suppose I’m looking for a mentor, and if that’s you please respond. Even if you’re retired or not from Nebraska. I will ask you stupid questions and I will ask you questions you’ve never thought of. I don’t have anyone out here to talk with about lawn care. And as a token of my appreciation, I will send you the Mowna Lisa of Christmas Gifts. And if you’re mowcal, I’ll pay for dinner.


I may do a write up on my experience thus far, I’ve been taking pretty detailed notes of everything for a case study I plan on making of this. If that’s something anyone would find valuable or comical, let me know. I literally didn’t know how to hook up a trailer 5 weeks ago, none the less back one up. I’m also decently versed with video production, so I may just start filming my toothless journey to my LCO Mownopoly and posting it to YouTube (helps with SEO a lot).



Sorry for the long read, probably put too much in that and probably left too much important stuff out. Not sure what policy is here but I’m not here to promote my brand (although I’m sure It’s a bumper sticker on my avatar or something). If you’re interested in my website and I’m allowed to post it, I will. Would very much appreciate input on it and especially would like you guys to critique my pricing model and scheduling oversights.

Any questions for me, please ask. If I need to **** off, please tell. I do listen to my competitors too ;)

Let's give the earth a good haircut today boys.


Warmest Regards,
Carter (Mow Name) aka Clark (civilian name)
"Live Fast, Mow Grass"

IMG_0413.JPG Clark Team Bio.jpg Highest Quality.jpg
 
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CarterRoy

LawnSite Member
My apologies Charles - I watch the mowfanity. Any advice on what type of edger I should buy? Don't trust myself quite yet to do it with a trimmer. Bought a RedMax Trimmer new and I love it. But RM's dedicated edger is so damn expensive.

Keeping my eye on the used market but no luck.
 

knox gsl

LawnSite Fanatic
Location
knoxville, tn
My apologies Charles - I watch the mowfanity. Any advice on what type of edger I should buy? Don't trust myself quite yet to do it with a trimmer. Bought a RedMax Trimmer new and I love it. But RM's dedicated edger is so damn expensive.

Keeping my eye on the used market but no luck.
Hold your trimmer upside down and now you have an edger.
 
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CarterRoy

LawnSite Member
Hold your trimmer upside down and now you have an edger.

A lot of guys can watch a Bruce Lee movie, doesn't mean they can do karate!

Would love to give it a whirl but not going to do that at a clients yard - especially tomorrow since client will be home.

Might be able to find a practice spot - I'll keep you updated.

Any additional tips? What if that lawn hasn't been edged in a while?
 

knox gsl

LawnSite Fanatic
Location
knoxville, tn
A lot of guys can watch a Bruce Lee movie, doesn't mean they can do karate!

Would love to give it a whirl but not going to do that at a clients yard - especially tomorrow since client will be home.

Might be able to find a practice spot - I'll keep you updated.

Any additional tips? What if that lawn hasn't been edged in a while?
 

SFL

LawnSite Member
Go to a local equipment dealer, grab whatever brand you like best. They all perform well. I prefer echo/shindawa.

Sounds like you’re off to a great start. If you want great accounts, go for a more professional appearance. Canvas the crap out of the neighborhood you’re already in repeatedly to decrease drive time.
 
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CarterRoy

LawnSite Member
Knox - awesome video. Thanks for the share. I like his approach. I definitely need a dedicated edger but man its hard to shell out close to 5 Benji's for something I don't use all that much. Do you have any personal experience with edgers? Any insight on a stick edger vs a rolling one?
 
OP
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CarterRoy

LawnSite Member
Go to a local equipment dealer, grab whatever brand you like best. They all perform well. I prefer echo/shindawa.

Sounds like you’re off to a great start. If you want great accounts, go for a more professional appearance. Canvas the crap out of the neighborhood you’re already in repeatedly to decrease drive time.

You have nailed my biggest pain point on the head. Right now I am using my bosses Toyota Tundra to haul stuff around and the gas mileage makes me want to vomit. I am hemorrhaging money at the pumps but a free truck is a free truck... maybe only up until a point.

Do you have any insight on a totally lean option for a one-two man residential crew truck?

I have a 1997 Ford Ranger down in Phoenix I may drive up here. I know the gas alone to get up here is probably what the car is worth, but it's been family owned and I trust it a lot more than if I bought the same thing used.
 

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