Johnny started Erbert Lawns in 1983 in Lakewood at the age of 12. He grew up in a family where if you wanted the extras in life, you had to earn them. He wanted the extras but was too young to get a “real job,” so he started mowing lawns. He started with one lawn mower and a trimmer that was purchased with borrowed money from his father.
Johnny soon realized that his service area was limited to just a few blocks. To solve the problem John and his dad built a bicycle with a side hack and a trailer so he could mow more lawns and increase his service area. With his new service area John was able to pay off his father and start his entrepreneurial journey.
Wanting to expand the operation, Johnny hired friends to drive before he was able to legally drive. He ran his business aggressively through high school and college, always trying to schedule early classes so he could be out of school by noon to start mowing lawns. While other students were relaxing and socializing after school, Johnny was rushing home to load up the trailer to cut grass.
After college, he remembers someone asking him “When are you going to get a real job?” This was a turning point for John, when he realized he’d already found his passion and “real job” — as an entrepreneur running a business he loved. He was inspired to take the work more seriously, learning all he could about the industry, and he hasn’t stopped since.
But Johnny will tell you today that his company is not in the lawn care business – it’s really in the business of saving people time. Unlike money, once you spend a day, you can’t earn it back. The time you save by using our lawn service can be used for priceless time with your family or other activities you truly enjoy in life.
Now with a few more team members and a lot more customers, Erbert Lawns continues to grow and serve hundreds of people and lawns every week. As John says “the fundamentals are the same when I started at age 12. Take care of the customer, take care of the team and the rest will take care of itself.”
After joining Nick on a few shows of Cultivating Small Business as first a guest, and then a guest host, Johnny was asked to be a regular part of the show. Upon realizing what a great team they had become, Nick and Johnny decided to re-brand, and go for broke.