When looking at an overgrown lawn, many may see a mess. Jeremy Yamaguchi saw a business opportunity.
Yamaguchi is the founder and CEO of Lawn Love, a San Diego-based startup that likens itself to the Uber of lawn care. The company launched services in Las Vegas in November and is available in more than 120 cities across the U.S.
The app connects homeowners to professional lawn care workers who mow, garden, remove leaves and more.
Yamaguchi said he first got the idea for the startup in 2009.
“I realized the entire home service category was low tech and offline,” he said. “ I saw an opportunity to build something that was more scalable.”
The company launched in 2014 to change the lawn service industry.
“In the same way Uber has totally transformed the mobility market, where they are now a company more valuable than the entire taxi industry, we think we can do the same things for lawn care,” he said. “It’s a massive market, and there’s room to improve.”
According to market research company IBISWorld, the landscaping industry was valued at $93 billion in 2018, up 6 percent over the last five years.
Marcos Jacober, founder of Airbtheboss, an online training course that focuses on how to build an Airbnb business, said these types of careers are a growing trend in the U.S. He said apps like Uber and Lawn Love offer workers the flexibility to shift away from 9-to-5 desk jobs and provide a convenient connection between the contractors and consumers.
“Now, (workers) do as many things as they’d like to. They can work more hours and have more control over their lives and feel like they just became the boss,” Jacober said. “The customer is attracted because now, they have a variety of service providers to choose from.”
There are about 3,000 independent contractors using Lawn Love in the U.S., with about 60 in the Las Vegas area. Yamaguchi said contractors earn about 85 to 95 percent of the job cost, with some contractors earning more than $100,000 last year.
While lawns are often discouraged in dry climates like Las Vegas, Yamaguchi said lawn care is still a lucrative market.
“We do drought-tolerant landscaping and installations as well,” Yamaguchi said. “A lot of what you see in Vegas and San Diego still needs regular maintenance. Weed control, trimming, maintaining sidewalks, irrigation … all those things still need someone to come by and take care of it.”
Yamaguchi said Lawn Love’s average customer is someone between 30 and 50, those old enough to have moved on from apartment life to the suburbs.
“Someone who’s living in a home with a yard with greenery outside, who wants it to look great but doesn’t want to sweat it out every Sunday,” he said.
As for the lawn care professionals, Yamaguchi said the business provides the perfect opportunity for small lawn care businesses to find more customers.
“They don’t necessarily thrive or do a great job of bringing software into their business,” he said. “We go and bring them in a ton of new customer demand. … (it’s) allowing professionals to maintain their independence and be masters of their destiny.”