"We are extremely pleased with the creativity, quality and reliability of Tim's Lawn and Landscape Service. The staff at Tim's worked with us to understand our likes and dislikes to create outstanding landscape designs that are both beautiful and serviceable. Our regular maintenance work is always performed on schedule and to the highest standards. We especially like the fact that Tim's stands behind its work and always puts the customer first."
-Joanne and Pete Harrigan,
Spring Ridge, Frederick, MD
Young Entrepreneur Trims a Career Out of Lawns Frederick News-Post -- April 15, 1999 -- By Kimberly Stup
While mowing the lawn is typically a troublesome, time consuming job, for Mount Airy entrepreneur Tim Slane Jr., mowing the lawn has turned from a childhood hobby to a lucrative career.
Until he was 11 years old, Tim didn't think much of mowing his parents' lawn either, but then something changed. When his neighbor asked his dad if Tim would be interested in mowing their lawn, the friendly gesture turned into a job.
Now, five years later, Tim has established a lawn care business, Tim's Lawn Service (TLS). He is a certified pesticide applicator and is pursuing an education in landscape design at the Frederick County Career and Technology Center. Tim explained that the business developed steadily almost on its own.
"I would get more customers by word of mouth," the Linganore High School junior said. "We bought a new mower, then kept getting more equipment and it just grew from there. I was not planning it as a career when I started, but I am now."
Photo courtesy of the Frederick News-Post
Tim Slane Jr. fills a wheelbarrow with mulch recently as his father, Tim Slane Sr., prepares a bed to receive the mulch in the background.
Tim is not alone in his endeavor. Although the business is his, his father is a driving force in their success, according to Tim. "My dad helps me with the billing since I am still learning," Tim said. "Friday is his day off and he mows all day while I am in school. He also helps with equipment maintenance. Dad helps a lot with the business."
Last year, TLS had 17 regular lawn care customers, but this year they hope to increase that number to at least 20, plus a few landscaping jobs. "With me still in school, we cannot take on too many clients yet," Tim said. TLS provides mowing, mulching, trimming and small planting along with spring and fall cleanup and snow removal.
Recently, Tim decided to take steps to improve and promote his business. Tim became one of the youngest members of the Frederick Association of Landscape Contractors and Nurserymen (FALCAN).
"I wanted to be a member of a professional organization," Tim said. "When you belong to organizations, customers have more faith in your work. It gives me a chance to learn about new products and techniques, and since FALCAN is a smaller, local organization, it gives me a local network for the business."
One of Tim's mentors, Dr. Carroll Shry, influenced his decision to join the professional organization. "Dr. Shry is a member of FALCAN and he thought it would be a good idea for me to join," Tim said.
"FALCAN is an organization primarily focused on the landscape and nursery business," Dr. Shry, FALCAN vice president, explained. "At the meetings we offer different programs the highlight what is happening in the industry. They present timely topics relating to the industry. The meetings offer an opportunity for people employed in the industry to share ideas, sharpen their skills and develop a more professional landscape business."
Tim is involved in the Landscape Management 2 program at the Frederick County Career and Technology Center under the instruction of Dr. Carroll Shry. The instructor explained that Tim was not a typical student coming into the program.
"It is unusual to pick up on a student in the program that has that many years of experience prior to joining the program," the teacher said. "The program will help him expand his work knowledge of the industry. Tim was primarily into yard maintenance. The program expands on that, giving him insight into plant selection, landscape design and patio and walkway design."
Dr. Shry also explained that FALCAN will be sponsoring Tim as an applicant for the student Agricultural Entrepreneurship Award. The winner of the Maryland award will go on to represent the state at the national level.