DC landscaper goes from green seller to green industry pro

December 21, 2016 -  By

Twenty-five year old Jerell Brown, owner of SML Services in Washington, D.C., has always been in the green industry—just not the one you’re thinking of.

After getting arrested for selling pot and serving eight months under house arrest, Brown decided to turn his business acumen into something legitimate, a year-round, full-service landscape company, The Washington Post writes.

“The only thing going through my mind at this point was, ‘I need to get money to support my daughter,’” he told the Post. “I got a little taste of D.C. jail and how it worked. I didn’t like anything about it.”

He says the fastest, cheapest way he could think to start a legal business was to “get a lawn mower, a weed whacker and a blower and go to work.” He made fliers and handed them out door-to-door. He attended business classes during the day and cut grass at night. He even started hiring employees. Brown hustled, and it paid off. Eventually he was offered a full-time job as a landscaper, but he turned it down. He wanted to build something himself.

It wasn’t overnight success, however. In 2014, his company lost $6,650. The next year he went positive, making around $60,000. This year, he’s tripled his 2015 revenue, bringing in $180,000 in revenue and taking home $50,000 for himself.

SML, or “Save My Lawn,” has about 80 residential clients. The company, which performs lawn maintenance and snow management services, even took on two commercial contracts this year.

“Jerell is the real deal,” said Emily Price, an administrator for one of his commercial jobs. “He is in­cred­ibly smart, and his business instincts are amazing.”

About the Author:

Dillon Stewart graduated from Ohio University’s E.W. Scripps School of Journalism, earning a Bachelor of Science in Online Journalism with specializations in business and political science. Stewart is a former associate editor of LM.

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