President and owner, Greenscape Lawns, Montague, Michigan
Jon Minnick: First off, what year was the company founded?
Drew Standfuss: It was 2010 when I officially formed as an LLC, but I’ve been doing it since I graduated high school in 2007.
Minnick: What attracted you to try this, and what was that moment where you decided this is what you want to do?
Standfuss: The day our school hired a lawn care company, I remember being in math class staring out the window just watching these guys rip around on these mowers thinking, what a life, they’ve got freedom, they're outside and in the nice warm weather. Little did I know that there's a heck of a lot more that goes into it than just putting on tunes and driving a mower.
Minnick: How did COVID impact your business?
Standfuss: The pandemic hit in early 2020, and everybody's freaking out. Our governor shut us down for a month. Then panic set in: Is there going to be work? I thought for sure it was going to be a rough year, but it ended up being a decent year. 2021 was just off the hook, and we couldn't keep up with work. Because of COVID, people were home more. They valued family time and were at home to spot things they wanted to enjoy. That was very good for this industry. On that same note, it was tough because you we had trouble as far as finding people.
Now, our profit is higher, and the amount of volume of work we're doing is still there, so that showed me that we needed to cut fat. Our employees are happier, and across the board, everybody got raises. It made me realize who in this company is valuable and who's not. The ones that were valuable, they're still here and grinding it out.
Minnick: What makes you stand out from your competition?
Standfuss: A lot of it has to do with branding nowadays. Our logos on our trucks are huge. To me, it speaks of professionalism. I feel like people value that more than Johnny in a pickup truck with a sticker in the back window or on the door.
Our other thing is customer service. If we goof up, we are there that same day. We are not having excuses. A lot of our customers have been with us for a lot of years. That speaks volumes about us as a company.
Minnick: What parts of the job keep you up at night?
Standfuss: Everything, everything. March and April are tough because you're worried about renewing contracts. In the fall, you're renewing for snow. The other one is just employees. How are we going to find employees? How are we going to keep employees happy?
Minnick: What advice would you give someone thinking about getting into the industry?
Drew: Put your head down and grind. The way I started was cold calling. Everybody thinks you get some business cards and throw a name on your truck and the phone just starts ringing, but it doesn’t work that way. And if it does, you're not getting the customers you want; you’re getting people that are just looking for the cheapest price. That’s a hard mistake to overcome, because once customers get used to your prices, it's a nightmare to try to bring them up to where you can be profitable. Also, if customers call with an issue, fix it that day, don't wait. That will take you a long way.