The Young Entrepreneur
Jared Crouse, Gravely Ambassador
I started mowing lawns when I was 13 after my neighbor needed help with his yard. My brother, Austin, and I offered to take care of it for him. We slowly began helping other neighbors with their lawns and started to grow a business. We made business cards to hand out and with our big extended family and network through our church, we began to grow outside of our neighborhood. By the second year, we had to ask two friends to help us keep up with demand.
As a young person, lawn cutting was an easy business to get into. We borrowed equipment from our parents and saved up to get a vehicle. Our dad, grandpa and uncles all taught us how to work it — and social media became a huge resource for us. A lot of people share online what they’ve learned to help benefit of the whole lawncare community.
By the time I was a senior in high school, I realized this was what I wanted to do as a career. Once I graduated and I was able to work more than just evenings and weekends, the business practically doubled in size. Today, we offer a whole range of services, including mowing, landscaping, mulching, hedge trimming, gutter cleaning, decorative stonework, and small retaining walls — and I’m giving back to the online community through my JC’s Lawn Tips accounts on Facebook, YouTube and Instagram.
Tougher than it looks
I love my job — being outside every day is a big perk — but it can be tough sometimes because of the long hours and competitors in the area. As a business owner, there are so many behind the scenes tasks — taking phone calls, booking appointments, meeting with suppliers etc. — that take more time than anyone can estimate for. You have to be organized because you’re more likely to make a mistake if you’re not. Another important lesson is to know what your costs are and not be afraid to charge what you are worth.
I would say the number one thing is to be honest with your customers. Do the job you told your customer you would and if that’s not possible, be upfront with the customer about what’s going on. The same goes when posting on social media. Be authentic, respectful, and professional because whatever you put out can be seen by anyone.
Open for opportunities
I’m very excited for the future. I know that if I keep working hard now, the opportunities will keep coming because there is so much potential waiting for us. One great opportunity has been to join the Gravely ambassador program last year. I was aware of Gravely when I was 13 — all I did was look up equipment — and I bought my first Gravely mower, a Pro Stance 52, when I was 16. I’m also from Wisconsin, where Gravely mowers are made, and it’s been pretty cool getting to know all the people from the company and trying the new machinery before anyone else. Everyone at Gravely is interested in our feedback and really cares. My guys and I are all very passionate about what we do and having Gravely as our main mowers makes our job easier.