Lawn Buddy Blog

About Lawn Buddy: Software for Lawn & Landscape Professionals

Dec 26, 2022 7:00:00 AM / by Billie Selichnow

This is Steven Werner, CEO and Founder at Lawn Buddy. Here’s the story of how Lawn Buddy came to be.

 

Now, I live in Wichita, Kansas with my gorgeous wife and adventurous 4 year old son. A lot has happened in the past 7 years. My time was not without its struggles, but I am always thankful that I am still alive and well to tell the tale. After starting Lawn Buddy, life was a roller coaster. There were insane ups - as well as insane downs. When I think of the individuals and brave entrepreneurs Lawn Buddy serves, I just want to say one thing: doubting yourself is normal on the path to success.

 

Lawn Buddy did not start out the way it is today. In 2015 I had a full-time job working nights and went to school full time during the day. I pulled into the driveway one afternoon in my wife’s blue Toyota Corolla and banged my head against the steering wheel (it was one of those nights). My fence was falling apart, shingles were missing from my roof, my yard was overgrown, and I was overwhelmed. After a few good hits to the head and a light concussion, I got out of the car and picked myself up from the boots straps and chose to tackle life one task at a time: “let’s start with the yard.” That’s was when it hit me, “there’s got to be a better way than Craig’s List to find a reliable company to mow my lawn.” 

 

In my business class we had been dissecting Uber’s business model and at that moment in my driveway, it all came together. “Why is there not an Uber service for lawn mowing?” “Great thought Steven,” I said to myself, “but the lawn still needs to be mowed.” So what did I do? I walked straight into my garage, right past my lawn mower and inside to my stunning wife to tell her my great idea. We made a business plan for the first phase of Lawn Buddy that night (the lawn was mowed days later).

 

By 2016, I was in need of guidance. I had spent the last year taking one of the biggest risk of my life – starting my own business. I was working full time, going to school full time (thank you GI bill) and trying to gain momentum for my new software company, Lawn Buddy. Despite the challenges I was faced with and the temptations telling me to take the easy route, I truly wanted to build something meaningful and make an impact on people’s lives.  I believe that is the only true way to make a difference in this world. So, I set out with door hangers, flyers, and business cards - and got to work.

 

I canvassed my neighborhood with door hangers printed with the link to Lawn Buddy’s first website - a GoDaddy website. At the time, GoDaddy’s slogan was, “It’s Go Time!” and that was me, all gas, no brakes. The first phase of the platform was for homeowners to book lawn services through the website and I would connect them with a lawn care provider. The only problem was, I did not have any lawn care providers that would partner with me yet, so I was that lawn care provider. The requests were comin’ in hot so I quickly recruited two of my neighbors to help me mow and the neighborhood kids to continue hanging door hangers for me. A call would come in, I would schedule it on my desk calendar, book it with one of my neighbors, and then try to collect payment when the homeowner was home. My dream was turning into a nightmare real fast. 

 

Why should you never hire a running back as a landscaper? Because they’re known for rushing yards. Well, I would like to consider myself a running back, but you can’t rush a yard with a push mower. This major tension point in the Lawn Buddy journey was crucial for the success we have today. In June of 2016, I found my co-founder, Chief Technology Officer, and all around bestie Phil Matthew. Phil turned our dumpster fire of a GoDaddy webpage into a functioning app that could connect customers to Lawn Care service providers and lawn care providers with customers seamlessly. Moral of the story is Phil is the man, the myth, and the legend!

 

Lawn Buddy was working! At the click of a button on our app, my lawn was being mowed! But I was still overwhelmed and a decision needed to be made. Should I keep my full time job and stay in school full time  or go all-in with Lawn Buddy. I closed my eyes, put my hands up and yelled, “It’s go time!” A great mentor of mine, Ron Swanson, famously said: “don’t half ass a bunch of things, whole ass one thing.” Starting and owning a business never gets easier. You’re going to work more than 40 hours a week, people are going to count on you for everything, and you are never 100% sure if you’re going to pass or fail. But the risk is worth the reward. So, I made the decision to go full time with Lawn Buddy. 

 

A year down the line, in 2017, I was waiting for a $100,000 grant to come in and I was just 1 month away from our annual shareholders meeting. By this time, we had launched Lawn Buddy in 4 different states, and Phil and I had hired our first employee. I knew we were not growing at the exact metrics we needed, but I was feeling hopeful. Then, I got a call. The grant we had hoped for fell through, and I had 1 month to come up with $100,000. The shareholder meeting did not go well, I had a round table full of high caliber individuals taking me to town and halting my imaginary momentum. I had every reason to believe I was an imposter, I felt like I had no right to be chasing the dreams I was chasing. But, focusing on life sucking makes it easy to believe life really sucks. I had self-doubt, no money, and no time. 

 

Alas, I decided, you can’t polish a turd, but you can throw it away and start over. After many sleepless nights, that is what I did. With the information I had from mowing countless lawns, and the connections I had made with lawn care professionals using our app, we were able to feed Phil valuable information about the tensions and stresses of a managing lawn care business. With this information, Phil was able to translate those tensions into technology solutions we have today: a fully functioning app exclusively for lawn care professionals. 

 

We threw away our customer centric focus, and chose to focus entirely on building features that made a meaningful impact on lawn care entrepreneurs spending countless hours managing and growing their business. Since 2019, the average Lawn Buddy user is able to grow their business 10x year-over-year. That means our providers are able to streamline their operations, giving them additional time to take on more jobs, hire more employees, and focus on the growth of their business. With our digital payment feature, providers no longer need to wait for customers to get home to get paid. That means, they get paid 5x faster, and have even made an average tip of $20 per job. 

 

To increase the value our business owners experience with Lawn Buddy, we’ve even partnered with Robin Autopilot to integrate a robotic mower tracking system in our software. That means, if you’re working expanding the jobs you can service without additional crews - our software is there to support you. We’ve even partnered with Husqavarna out various other brands on our Lawn Shop to give you brand name equipment at wholesale prices. Our most recent partnership is with EVO payments, allowing you to offer ACH payments or keep cards on file. This gives your customers more ways to pay, and provides them with a seamless solution - keeping you and your customers happy.

 

We’ve come a long way as a business. Without the ups and downs we experience, we would have never made it to where we are now. We understand where you are, where you’ve been, and how it feels to own and try to grow a business. Even now, years later, owning a business is still a roller coaster. Doubting your every step is normal, its what you do after that doubt that will make all the difference. We at Lawn Buddy believe in you. We believe in the bravery you have in building your company, and following your dream to a new beginning. Our support for you is omnipresent in every feature we release, every partnership we make, and every action that we take.



 

Tags: How-To, Mowing Customers, Lawn Care Apps, Lawn Buddy Customers, Lawn Care Marketing, Green Industry Customers, Landscaping Apps

Billie Selichnow

Written by Billie Selichnow

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