Eighteen-year-old prepares for college after building successful mowing company
Time is everything to Jarret Krueger, as it is to most businessmen. But, as an 18-year-old entrepreneur who has run his own lawn care and landscape business since he was 11, Krueger seems to be in a hurry to grow up.
Jarret Krueger can mow large residential properties and commercial sites with rough terrain much faster with the new zero-turn mower.
PHOTO COURTESY OF JARRET KRUEGER.
The owner of Krueger Lawn Care Service in Wellington, Kan., Krueger started small when he was small, just mowing lawns for neighbors and friends. “I quickly branched out into landscape and tree work,” he adds. “Then I went to classes and became certified to do fertilizing and pest control. I guess I just knew early on what I wanted to do.”
A fast learner, Krueger quickly conquered the various skills required for building his business, including managing products and equipment, as well as handling customer service and public relations. He then turned his attention to hiring employees.
“I have three seasonal employees and they are all older than I am,” notes Krueger. “But, if you handle yourself maturely, you’ll be respected as a manager, no matter how old you are. My employees don’t look at me as someone who just graduated from high school, they respect me as their boss.”
Having employees allowed Krueger to expand his operation beyond the Wellington area and into adjacent towns. He covers additional properties in Wichita and Emporia, towns that are nearly two hours apart. Krueger services several aircraft facilities, as well as commercial properties like banks, hospitals and nursing homes, and numerous residential customers.
“We handle quite a few large residential properties, many of them 5 acres or more,” adds Krueger. “Because of that, I wanted to step up my equipment inventory this year. I began looking around this spring and demoing various mowers. I was especially looking for mowers that could take the rough terrain, ditches and slopes of my larger industrial properties.”
Krueger’s equipment dealer, Dale Hutchison of Trailers N More in Wichita, suggested he try the new diesel TANK S commercial zero-turn mower from Cub Cadet. Featuring four-wheel power steering, the TANK S provides improved stability on hillsides. In addition, it replaces the traditional lap bars with a steering wheel and dual foot pedal operation. “Everyone thinks of Kansas as flat, but you are always going to come across properties with berms, retention ponds and drainage ditches,” explains Hutchison. The four-wheel-steer diesel-powered mower was “a little more expansive” than Krueger had originally budgeted, but he’s confident the extra investment will more than pay for itself in fuel and time savings. The mower burns a gallon or less per hour, about half of what he had used with his previous mowers.
Mower saves time and energy
By upgrading his mowing equipment and fine-tuning his systems, Kueger has been able to take on more work. “I’d say we’ve increased our business by 35 percent just in the past few months,” he says.
Starting this fall, time will be even more of a factor for Krueger when he starts college full time at Wichita State University. He is one of two recipients of the University’s Harry Gore Memorial Scholarship. Awarded annually, the prestigious scholarship recognizes leadership and academic skills. The highly competitive award provides a full-ride to four years at Wichita State for the two winners.
“My main focus is business management and entrepreneurship, but I’ll also study banking and finance,” adds Krueger. “Of course, I’ll definitely be working at the business nearly full time, as well.”
Krueger’s experience as a small business owner will make an interesting example for his fellow students. Though his parents both worked in the aircraft industry, his grandfather is a farmer, who still works every day at age 75. “He can’t sit still for five minutes,” notes Krueger. “So I guess I have his genes – working hard is in my blood.”
The author has written articles about the turf industry for more than 15 years and is based in Ambler, Pa.