Five Questions: Peter Roberts

July 23, 2019 -  By
Photo: ManageMowed Franchising

Photo: ManageMowed Franchising

Peter Roberts

ManageMowed, Edmonds, Wash.

1. How did you get into the business and then start up ManageMowed?

I’ve been doing landscaping since high school. Like most landscape business owners, I worked my way up through the ranks. My partner James (Jakobsen) and I considered ourselves the residential landscape specialists. We ramped up pretty quickly, and then we got hit hard in 2008. We were 80 percent design/install … that 80 percent went to zero in a day. We didn’t give up. James and I grabbed mowers, and we went to work and refocused on commercial maintenance. On top of that, James and I had a vision — we wanted to be unique and start something different. So we started working on a subcontractor model where we would hire independent owner/operator landscapers to do the actual labor. We would sell the work, manage the client relationship, manage the relationships with the vendors and manage the quality control. That’s how we started ManageMowed, and for the past 10 years, we’ve been perfecting the subcontractor model.

2. What is your career highlight and career lowlight?

Definitely the lowlight was moving into 2008, the (Great) Recession. It was tough, but it was a blessing in disguise. We really had to work. But it built a lot of grit inside me, and it helped us adapt our business model. So that lowlight we turned it into a highlight. As far as highlights, it’s a real exciting time for us right now. I’m looking forward to scaling nationally. If you’re franchising, it’s real exciting. We now have a branch in Denver and a branch in Portland, Ore.

3. Tell me about your family, and what you all like to do?

I’m married, and we have two daughters, Charlee (5) and Haven (3.) We do a little bit of travel, but mostly we like to hang out with our family and friends. On a more personal note, over the last three years of our lives, my wife (Apryl) has been battling stage 4 breast cancer. Three years ago, she was pregnant and was diagnosed, and they gave her two years to live. She’s now getting clear scans, and we consider her cancer-free. Our daughter who was in her belly while she was getting chemo is now three and perfectly healthy. It’s pretty amazing — we have a tough family.

4. What’s your favorite tool for getting the job done?

I think it’s the phone, for me and my employees. It’s the best tool. We have a culture within our company — forgive my language — we get (stuff) done. Our clients need that. I tell my team, whenever someone has a request or an issue, get on the phone immediately and make that call.

5. If I’m ever in Edmonds, Wash., what’s one thing I should do?

You should come and meet with me, and we can go grab a beer at the local brewery, Salish Sea Brewing Co.; it’s a nice environment. Also, I like to hop on the ferryboat — there’s a ferry right next to our office. They serve beer on the ferry. We like to walk on there and take it to Kingston; it’s beautiful. We call it a ‘ferry beer.’

This article is tagged with , and posted in 0719
Seth Jones

About the Author:

Seth Jones, a graduate of Kansas University’s William Allen White School of Journalism and Mass Communications, was voted best columnist in the industry in 2014 and 2018 by the Turf & Ornamental Communicators Association. Seth has more than 19 years of experience in the golf and turf industries and has traveled the world seeking great stories. He is editor-in-chief of Landscape Management, Golfdom and Athletic Turf magazines. Jones can be reached at

1 Comment on "Five Questions: Peter Roberts"

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  1. Mark says:

    Awesome guy and an incredible family!!