Founders Invest $150,000 to Start the Business
Three founders came together to the bootstrapped company. “There are three co-founders and we each decided to put $50,000 of our money into the business to see where we could take it,” Caballero said in an interview. As a result, the business maintained a focus on ROI. As the company grew, investors took notice. “We have since been approached by at least 25 venture capital firms and have politely declined,” Caballero said in the interview.
The Journey to the First 100 Customers
The business used traditional methods to gain the initial set of customers. “We started knocking on doors in the largest Nashville neighborhoods at first. It took us all summer to get our 100th customer after knocking on approximately one thousand doors,” Caballero commented.
The company growth story for GreenPal is similar to the founder’s work ethic that helped Airbnb off the ground. The founders of the business, which earned $3.4 billion in revenue in 2020, raised the initial $25,000 they needed to start the company by selling election-related cereal boxes. Brian Chesky and Joe Gebbia, founders of the billion-dollar company, also personally took photos for some of the first listings on the website.
GreenPal Expanding Beyond Nashville
From its base in Nashville, the lawn care startup company has expanded to more than one hundred cities across the United States (US). In California, the business operates in Los Angeles, San Jose, San Diego, and Sacramento. The business also services multiple cities in Arkansas, Florida, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Utah, and New Hampshire.
According to 2016 data, the lawn care business model is alive and well. LawnStarter states that there are more than one hundred thousand lawn care companies in operation in the US. Furthermore, more than half a million people work in a lawn care company in the US.
The Critical Technologies the Business Uses
The startup company relies on a few technologies for growth. “With Google Maps, we can provide the vendors with the aerial and street view of the properties so they can bid remotely, and those bids can be delivered to the homeowner faster,” Caballero said in an interview.
“Stripe allows us to easily and securely handle transactions and eliminates the need for the homeowner to have to pay the company with a check under the mat,” said Caballero. Stripe is a fintech payment company with approximately two million business customers, according to Forbes.
Contactless Business Model Supports Startup Growth
The pandemic has not hurt demand for lawn care services. “we have seen our growth double during the pandemic. No more meeting a vendor at the property to get quotes and no more exchanging cash as payment are both reasons why we have been able to thrive during these tough times,” Caballero told Startup Savant.
Contactless digital payment is growing in popularity with customers. In 2020, there were more than $5.47 trillion in global digital payment volume, a significant increase from 2017 when there were $3 trillion in digital payments.
About the Author
Bruce Harpham is an author and marketing consultant based in Canada. His first book "Project Managers At Work" shared real-world success lessons from NASA, Google, and other organizations. His articles have been published in CIO.com, InfoWorld, Canadian Business, and other organizations. Visit BruceHarpham.com for articles, interviews with tech leaders, and updates on future books.