Apr 08

Lawn Care and Snow Removal

Recently I had the opportunity to interview Michael surgeon of ABC lawn care in Davenport Iowa. Throughout

my travels I have the opportunity to interview small business owners in various locations not only nationally but internationally as well. As any good reporter interested in this story I try to ask the 5 W’s who what

where when and why.


Michael is a second-generation landscaper and has owned a small family business now for 20 years. The

where the what and the why are all things that are completely intertwined when I had this conversation with

Michael. The work for him started when he started off at 15 years old pushing his small lawn mower around the

neighborhood picking up small jobs for ten and fifteen just for his need for extra spending



Today Michael says that his business grew from a very young age to now over a $500,000 a year business. He

said that his attention to detail and taking care of customers has been one of the things that has served him

well throughout his customer oriented service career. I asked Michael what was one of the most important

things that he’s learned as a small business owner over the years? Michael said the most important thing to

him or the most important lesson that he has learned is do what you’re going to say you’ll do.


He said often people will offer these contracts or agreements and tell you about the service that they will offer

you. But often contracts and agreements aren’t even worth the paper they’re written on. Michael stayed at

being a man of his word and just doing what you’re going to say is something that’s worth its weight in gold. I

have to tend to agree with Michael I believe in all the small business owners that I’ve had the opportunity to

meet they operate with that same basic understanding. If we could all just honor our word Michael said we

would move much faster and have a much higher level of trust.


I asked Michael what his biggest challenges are in his business. Michael stated that one of his biggest

challenges is having to live in the Midwest and basically shut his business down for 3 months out of the year.

So nine months out of the year he has to really hustle and work hard in order to have a business that still in the

black and making money. Michael said having those three months of not being able to work can be a real

blessing and his family and him will go down to Florida during that time.


Michael said that he is also trying to find ways to supplement his income as he does not like to be off during

this time period I asked Michael what would be a natural area that he would focus on and he said that the area

he would focus on would be snow removal because he already has connections in landscaping and a lot of

these cross over.


I asked him what his intentions were and how he intended to grow. Michael stated that growing for him means

knocking on doors and just letting his customers know that he has this new service. However one of the

uncontrollable factors is we may not have snow or we may have a very big snow year. I asked him how he

would deal with that and he stated that he’s trying to get his customers to go on a flat rate fee. It’s a good

gamble for hand and some years are going to be worse than others but if he keeps on the long term he can get

him locked into a contract much like energy companies do with stabilizing your energy rates throughout the



I really enjoyed my conversation with Michael and I learned a lot about his philosophy of business. It doesn’t

surprise me that he’s had a successful business for this long and his customers obviously like him. I would

highly recommend that if you are ever looking for a great landscaper to contact Michael directly. His 35 years

plus experience definitely speaks volumes about his character.