Today we’d like to introduce you to Henry Wulfekoetter.
Hi Henry, we’re thrilled to have a chance to learn your story today. So, before we get into specifics, maybe you can briefly walk us through how you got to where you are today?
I own Verdant Blades Sustainable Lawncare.
I previously worked at Garmin in Olathe as a mechanical engineer. Garmin is a good company filled with great people. However, 2020 provided a lot of time for reflection, during which I decided effectively designing toys for people with expendable income wasn’t a fulfilling job. Further, while the world was full of people doing great things in addressing the pandemic, systemic racism, poverty, hunger, LGBTQ rights, etc. . but very little was seemingly being done about arguably the biggest issue the world faces: Climate Change. In large part, even those claiming to think climate change is the biggest (or one of the biggest) issues facing the world today were typically doing little more than trying to recycle and keeping climate change in mind when they vote. Sadly, for most people an issue has to truly hit home before they take it seriously, and by the time climate change hits home for MidWest USA, it will be far too late to do anything. So what could I do about it? I considered applying for a job with Tesla (I previously designed steering systems for Honda in Columbus, OH). However, our entire family, both my side and my wifes, live with 45 minutes of the KC metro so we felt strongly we wanted to stay here.
Instead, I decided to leverage my time and experience doing golf course maintenance throughout high school and college and start a fully sustainable, zero-emissions lawn care service. Replacing one typical commercial Zero-Turn Mower with our electric commercial mower for an entire season is equivalent to removing 141 cars off the road for a year, assuming the unit’s battery is solar powered (our’s are, 100%). That seemed like a solid way to put a heavy dent in the KC carbon footprint. Surprisingly, no one in the KC area provides such a service. In fact, the commercial electric mowers can’t even be bought here, I had to travel to Tulsa to purchase ours.
Our mowers are less than half as loud as our gas competitors, and our prices are extremely competitive, especially considering we don’t have to purchase gas and maintenance on our electric equipment is negligible compared to our gas competitors. The low noise and cost has brought in a lot of customers, regardless if they aren’t sure what to think about human effect on climate change. As a result, our client base has ramped up extremely quickly. Our business officially started ~March 1, and before the grass was long enough to cut, we had over 30 customers already, and our client base has ramped quickly since started a few months ago.
Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way. Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
A major benefit of starting a lawn care business is the low start-up costs.
However, with us being truly zero-emissions, this required 1.) We buy all electric equipment, of which there is little-to-no used market for, and new equipment is ~%30-%50 more expensive than gas and 2.) We had solar panels installed for charging all our batteries.
Start-up costs were still low, but not quite as simple as and straightforward as is the case with our gas powered competitors. A lot of them start with whatever they already have in the garage for their personal use and slowly build from there. This wasn’t an option for us.
Weather has made this year tough as well. There have been week(s) straight of rain, resulting in the cancellation of most of not all cuts for those weeks. In between, dry spells have had customers questioning just how often they need to be cutting their lawns.
For the most part, the ramp up of the business has gone smoother than we anticipated.
As you know, we’re big fans of Verdant Blades Sustainable Lawn Care. For our readers who might not be as familiar what can you tell them about the brand?
Sustainable With our solar-charged electric equipment, we’re the only zero-emissions lawn care service in the Kansas City metro.
We offer the best professional prices in the city, guaranteed. Most properties at or under 1/2 acre will be $35 a cut. We welcome you to compare quotes!
Our electric mowers and equipment are less than half as loud as our gas powered competition. If you are in your house, you won’t hear us, and neither will your neighbors.
With a cut quality and service reliability second-to-none, our work is guaranteed. If you aren’t satisfied with our service, we come back until you are.
We live in a world of constant change, and our business plan reflects that. We have no long-term contracts. Any of our service plans can be canceled at any time, no questions asked.
We’re your neighbors! We call Kansas City our home and thoroughly enjoy making it a more beautiful place to live, work, and play.
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While I currently run a sustainable lawn care business, I’m a Mechanical Engineer by training. I graduated from Baker with a degree in Math and Physics and from KU with a degree in Mechanical Engineering. I then went on to design steering systems for Honda in Columbus, OH. I designed the steering systems in the current Odyssey, Pilot, and Ridgeline. I then went on to design outdoor products for Garmin in Olathe.
- Most Lawns 1/2 acre or less, $35
- We have seasonal ($300) and one time ($30) options for snow removal
- Email: email@example.com
- Website: https://www.verdantbladeslawncare.com/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/VerdantBlades