LawnServ Caters to Any and All Groundskeeping Needs
Lawn Serv is a subscription box startup that delivers folks all sorts of products and tools to take care of their grass.
We spoke with Lawn Serv’s Co-Founder Troy Scarbrough to talk about the company's origins at Babson College and what problems they are solving with their month-to-month boxes. Scarbrough also shares advice to aspiring entrepreneurs who are looking to get into the subscription box market.
Colin Barry [CB]: Every entrepreneur has a story to tell behind their business. How did Lawn Serv come together? Does everyone involved have experience landscaping/groundskeeping?
Troy Scarbrough [TS]: We originally met at Babson where we were getting our MBAs, and we became firm friends. A few years down the line we were hanging out, talking about the weekend, and yard chores. We were frustrated with our options! Nick was using a local service for his lawn care but the price was high, and he enjoyed doing it himself so was about to start. I was already doing it myself — guessing about what would be best for my lawn each year, going to the big box store and relying on promotions and advertising to figure out what products to use — and dreading having to drive back and forth to get more. We came to the conclusion there has to be a better way.
Nick was working in the agricultural industry as a strategy consultant, and saw the amount of soil science that goes into every harvest, and wondered if that technology could be taken directly to consumers. My background is in tech marketing and eCommerce consulting. We married the two and Lawn Serv was born.
Lawn Serv Co-Founders: Troy Scarbrough (left) and Nick Morwood (right)
CB: What kinds of lawn-related problems can Lawn Serv’s products help tend to?
TS: Lawn Serv was created to help with a handful of very common lawn-related challenges. First, Lawn Serv focuses primarily on soil health — we make sure that the growing environment is well-tuned to give your grass the best chance to grow rather than just making the grass green for a short period. Next, we provide our customers with the right amount of product for their lawn — many folks think that more is better, but that’s not true! Adding too much can harm the grass, cause run-off, and can be costly. Another key benefit to the Lawn Serv service is timing: our deliveries each month make sure our customers are getting the right product at the right time — and we adjust throughout the season to make sure we’re accounting for weather patterns, bug activity, etc.
CB: Do customers pick the items that go in or does the company? If the company does, then how do you know what items to put into the box?
TS: The customers’ soil tells us what it needs! They send a sample to us, we analyze it and then base their treatments on what the results tell us. In addition to soil testing, we use our custom-built yard sizing tool — www.myyardsize.com, weather data, weed, and bug databases, and customer location to customize plans for customers from Arizona to Vermont. We also offer our customers the option to use 100% organic and all-natural products.
CB: Who are some of the typical subscribers? Have there been any use cases that have stood out to you personally?
TS: Lawn Serv has subscribers in every state (outside of Hawaii and Alaska), including homeowners with very large to very small lawns. We’ve also had landscapers and commercial customers sign up to take advantage of our custom soil science approach.
CB: The name Lawn Serv is perfect for what your startup does. How did you guys come up with the name?
TS: We actually had a number of potential options for our company name, but this one just felt right. We wanted something clear and simple — the magic is in our service, not just our name!
CB: The subscription box business model is exceptionally popular. What advice could you share with other startups who are looking to get involved in that space?
TS: We couldn’t begin to dig into all of the things we’ve learned, just in our first year or two in business! And, we have plenty left to learn. But one thing is clear: You need to make sure you’re offering true value in your product. Take a step back and ask yourself if you would use your product month after month. If you can say “yes” to that question and can offer your customers a compelling service each month, then you’re off to a great start!
CB: Any other additional comments you’d like to make?
TS: It’s been a lot of fun, and we’re really excited to see what the future brings. Startups are more work than you can imagine when you get started, but they are equally as rewarding when you have satisfied customers. We’re working hard every day to make sure our customers can enjoy their lawns!