VOL. 129 | NO. 173 | Friday, September 05, 2014
Crenshaw’s Lawn Care Business Celebrates 30 Years
By Andy Meek
Thirty years is a milestone worth celebrating for almost any venture, and for a small business especially, it’s a hard-won anniversary that comes thanks to a combination of luck and hard work. And there’s also the realization that such a milestone is the exception, a contrast to the large number of entrepreneurs out there who tried but came up short.
Lawn care company Herbi-Systems president and owner Kenny Crenshaw (kneeling), checks up on longtime customer John Linder. Crenshaw’s company is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year.
Kenny Crenshaw, president and owner of lawn care company Herbi-Systems Inc., is one such entrepreneur.
For years he’s been known as the “Lemme Kill Your Weeds” guy, that being the tagline that accompanies his stern face on billboards and in advertisements around the area, where Herbi-Systems boasts more than 8,000 clients. That look, though, just helps tell the story – an indicator of the determination that goes into building and sustaining a lawn care company and earning trust and customer loyalty.
Customers like Bartlett resident John Linder, for example, see more than the tagline. Linder is the company’s longest-known customer, since 1985, and Crenshaw stopped by recently to pay him a visit and check on his lawn.
Crenshaw has been doing that for years and developed a reputation as a hands-on business owner who kills weeds, beautifies lawns and is known to make management inspections personally if customers ask for it.
“We consistently provide good, quality service and have almost no turnover of employees along with a loyal client base,” Crenshaw said, summing up what he sees as the core strength of the business.
In 2013, the company added new employees, going from 32 to 39, and also added irrigation system service and repair. All but three of the company’s 31 trucks are paid for, and as the company designs, builds and services much of its own equipment, savings get passed on to customers.
In some ways, owning a business is, for Crenshaw, not unlike the life he once pursued as a rodeo cowboy. Only now, of course, he’s working to lasso sustainable success for a company that’s still growing – he wants to move it into a new facility in 2016 – but that also wants to maintain a small, close-knit feel with customers.
That means paying attention to the little things, like Herbi-Systems technicians remembering to close the gate where pets are kept, for example.
Two managers, Carl Quick and Lee Barclay, have been with the company for more than 20 years and own a piece of the organization. Herbi-Systems also makes 60,000 calls per year to every customer after every service to make sure they’re happy, in addition to an annual overall customer feedback survey.
Clients served by the company include homeowners as well as industrial, government and commercial entities. Herbi-Systems specializes in weed control and fertilization of turf and ornamentals and also handles industrial and right-of-way weed and brush control.
The company treats everything from roadsides to athletic fields and industrial sites as part of its work, and lawns it treats range in size from zero lots to several acres.
It’s a far cry from Crenshaw’s early days in business, when he mowed lawns during college for Taylor Pest Control and was later asked to join forces with Taylor to launch a new business in lawn spraying.
Herbi-Systems was founded in 1984, the year Crenshaw graduated.