Brian Schwartz starts free landscaping service amidst pandemic
Brian Schwartz, fired from his role as digital advertising manager at the height of the pandemic, didn’t take long to realize he needed to find something to both fill his unexpected free time and reduce the stress in his life. So the Wayne, New Jersey resident started thinking about how to get to work.
“I knew if I sat around all day I would just get depressed,” he says
Schwartz’s goal was to stay busy and active, and he was surprised to find that mowing the lawn was therapeutic. That got Schwartz thinking about how he could help older neighbors who also had to mow their lawns.
Schwartz then created the I Want to Mow Your Lawn website and started sending out some local press releases. They explained how Schwartz was willing to mow lawns for people 65 and over for free, and inquiries came in. Media coverage also increased.
“This has resulted in increased media coverage, which has led me to other people like me who have been laid off or on leave looking for something to do with their time,” says Schwartz. “That helped us expand to other parts of the country.”
An opportunity for professionals
With the help of volunteers, I Want to Mow Your Lawn currently serves more than 100 clients in six different states. Schwartz admits he didn’t expect it to grow that much, but he wants to capitalize on the momentum.
Many customers are veterans, so the effort is now also serving veterinarians. Schwartz says he also has plans to expand the services to cancer patients and single mothers. I want to mow your lawn has been officially registered as a 501c3 non-profit organization.
Schwartz wants landscape architects to know that he doesn’t want to take a business away from them – he sees this as a great opportunity for professionals to grow their businesses.
“I think there are a lot of landscape architects who would like to help and volunteer more,” says Schwartz. “It’s worth giving something back to the community, but it also gives landscapers good visibility.”
Schwartz has just introduced “Version 2.0” of its online platform, which enables landscapers to volunteer and receive customer ratings and visibility. As a digital advertising manager, Schwartz found a creative way to bring together his knowledge of SEO and his drive to help others.
“I’m really working on a lot of the front-end marketing engine, trying to make it easier for people to volunteer and get some business benefits from it – which makes it a profit,” Schwartz explains.
While some landscapers might worry about people using the system, Schwartz (who runs both clients and volunteers on gentle background checks) has so far found that only those who are really in need have signed up.
In the future, he could see that it would also expand to other services.
“We got some inquiries about other services like snow removal or tree work,” he says. “I want to create some referral partnerships where we can connect those in need with other services that they may need.”
Schwartz says this could be a great opportunity for landscapers to get involved.
“It’s a great feeling to help someone who is really in need,” he added. “Although I am often offered tips, this is not the point. This really was an effort to help out in difficult times. “