Ryan Kirsch is a young entrepreneur in Charlotte. At just 10 years old, he manages his own landscaping company, Turf Warrior, and has already been in business for four years. His interests include spending time outdoors, big equipment and watching The Weather Channel. Ryan will be entering the 4th grade this year, and we were lucky enough to catch him for an interview before the school year starts.
CBRBiz.com: Share 5 fun facts about yourself.
Ryan Kirsch (RK):
- Our family has a puppy named Chloe
- At night, I like to read lawn mower and equipment product catalogs
- My lawn equipment includes: two lawn mowers (a 52” zero-turn and a push mower); a trimmer; an edger, and a ‘backpack’ leaf blower
- Even though I love to be outside working on lawns, I love to play football, baseball and basketball
- I have an 8×8 shed where I keep all my equipment
CBRBiz.com: How old were you when you first started mowing lawns, and who taught you how to do it?
RK: Since I could walk, I would follow my Dad outside and practice mowing the lawn with my pop-pop mower. Then, when I was turning 6, my parents bought me a backpack blower, and I would go door to door in my neighborhood asking if I could blow off driveways and sidewalks. Those neighbors became my first landscaping clients once I got my walk-behind mower when I turned 8. My Dad was always with me and helped me to get started and showed me how to do things the right way.
CBRBiz.com: What inspires your passion for the outdoors?
RK: I just think that being outside makes me happy. There’s always something new to see or do.
CBRBiz.com: When did you start your own business? What is it like being an entrepreneur at 10 years old?
RK: After speaking with Mr. Roberto, a landscaper in our neighborhood, I realized that I could go and ask some of the other neighbors if I could cut their grass. Fortunately, there were a few nice families that gave me a chance. Then, once people saw that I could do the job – other people asked if I could cut their lawns as well.
One thing I’ve realized is that you have to ask for business. I go door to door with my flyers and frequently approach people to introduce myself and tell them about my business and the work that I’m doing. I’ve learned that it’s a lot of hard work to get a new client, and I do my best to make sure that they’re happy so they’ll allow me to work on their yards the next time. One thing I really like is that I get to meet new people all the time.
One thing I’ve realized is that you have to ask for business.
CBRBiz.com: Turf Warrior is a wonderful and unique business in many ways, but what do you think makes your company stand out the most?
RK: People usually tell me that they’re surprised that I’m such a hard worker. I don’t think that most of my neighbors expect to see someone my age out there doing all I can to make their yards look just as good as the adult companies do.
CBRBiz.com: Have you faced any challenges with your business? What are they, and how did you overcome them?
RK: I have faced many challenges, like people telling me I’m too young and to go home. But I just keep trying to find clients until people see that I really can do the job. Once one person gives me an opportunity, some of their neighbors will see me working outside. I’ve earned a few clients who told me that they didn’t think I could do it, but once they saw my effort and results, they were willing to give me a chance.
CBRBiz.com: What time of year do you get the most business? Why do you think this is?
RK: I get more business in the Summer when I’m off school and have more time to get out and meet people to hand out my flyers and business cards. Just being out in the neighborhoods working and being seen has led to more conversations and more opportunities for people to see the job that I can do.
CBRBiz.com: How do you balance work and school?
RK: I balance work and school by doing my yard work Saturdays or, occasionally, after school. But, as a Christian, I make a point not to work on Sundays. Also, I’ve been able to learn quite a bit about math from working with my Dad and discussing my expenses and revenue and how my costs affect my profit. By looking at my costs and the time it takes to mow a lawn, I can see math everywhere. For example, when I had my 22’’ push mower, we could calculate how many passes it would take to complete the lawn. Now, with my 52’’ riding mower, I’m mowing over twice as much in each pass.
CBRBiz.com: How do you design your business cards and apparel? Where do you get them?
RK: My logo was designed by a professional marketing person who works with one of my family members. I gave him a sketch showing a rake making a letter “T” and blades of grass making a “W,” and he put them together to create my logo. My Dad gets my t-shirts made through Café Press – a store on the internet. I get my business cards made by Vista Print.
CBRBiz.com: How do you see your business growing over the next few years?
RK: So many people have been kind to me and have helped me get started. There have been a lot of neighbors who have simply given me a shot to work on their lawns, and now I’m starting to get more and more people who are willing to give me a chance. Also, now that I have a 52’’ zero-turn mower, people see that I can cut lawns just as well as the big guys do. I think that if I keep doing what I’m doing, I’ll get more clients. My motto is “Taking Care of God’s Green Earth,” and I’m having fun getting out there and mowing. Eventually, I’d like to get enough clients so that I’ll need to hire more people. My brother, Jonathan, helps me out now, but one day, I can see us cutting lawns and working together. My Mom and I pray that one day my business will be bigger than John Deere.
Thank you to Ryan Kirsch of Turf Warrior and his family for taking the time to speak with us. We are excited to see how Turf Warrior grows and how Ryan grows as an entrepreneur. Have a question for Ryan or for the CBR team? Tweet us at @CBRBiz!