“I began noticing many of the professional companies were doing a haphazard job--leaving a lot of grass behind and sloppy trimming. I knew I could do a better job at a decent rate,” he said. That was when the seeds were planted for his 2010 business start-up.
It took Chris two years to get his Bagley Lawn Services running smoothly. Just as his dream was ready to become reality, he faced twin disasters--a severe accident coupled with divorce. “Not a good time to be in business. It was tough,” he added, looking back at those early years..” I was physically damaged. And then, there was the emotional upset of the divorce.”
Rather than buckle in the face of disappointments, they became motivators to succeed. Equipped with a push mower, he began building his business. One yard at a time. Equipment was added and upgrades made as money began coming in. Eventually, his lawn service business grew to the point that he could quit his job at Baldor and devote his energies to the growth of the business.
Chris talks about that process. “Wearing all the hats can cause burnout. In order to allow myself time to focus on other aspects of the business, I had to hire help. My biggest challenge has been in knowing when to take the next step.” When and how to grow a business is unique to all new ventures.
Chris’s story is not unusual. It becomes a real juggling act when you are wearing all the hats--CEO, CFO, HR, marketing and sales director. And Chris is right--wearing all those hats can cause burnout. It can be exhausting.
Chris’s journey and other stories like his help young entrepreneurs see what lies ahead. And how they can learn as they propel their own dreams forward. It took Chris two years to grow his business to success. His goal is to always do his best work.
He is motivated by the feedback he gets from his customers, “Knowing the customer is happy makes all the sweat and pain go away. My landscaping makes their property appealing. And that’s a good feeling.”
Chris contributes his success to steady growth. “I’ve watched competitors come and go. They take out a fat loan, buy a nice truck and lots of equipment. It’s debt that their new business can’t meet. I didn’t do that. I bought equipment as needed--from company earnings. I grew at a pace that my business could sustain.”
Chris quietly reflects on his customer relationships. “Loyalty and respect go a long way. You give it and you get it. We become more than the lawn guy. We become friends. We sit in their kitchens. Eat watermelon and drink lemonade. Bad days? Yeah, I have some of those. But they are far outnumbered by the good. I love it.”
Bagley Lawn Services currently cares for 200-250 yards a month with a 2 man crew. That’s a lot of hours in the hot August sun. Chris continues to build his business one yard at a time. He continues to build. Now, six years later he is once again faced with the challenge of taking that next step toward continued growth and adding to his crew. Reach Chris directly at 479 221-4460.
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