AUSTIN & SAN DIEGO — LawnStarter, a provider of on-demand lawn and outdoor care, has acquired Lawn Love in a cash-and-stock deal. Financial terms were not disclosed.

As people spend more time at home, they seek easier ways to manage upkeep and improve their homes, and they are more comfortable doing so on a mobile app. Combined, LawnStarter and Lawn Love will benefit providers of outdoor home services by enabling them to take on more jobs, thereby boosting the revenue of thousands of small businesses across the country.

“The combination of LawnStarter and Lawn Love will further propel growth of the on-demand economy for lawn care and other outdoor services,” said LawnStarter Co-founder and CEO Steve Corcoran. “Joining forces enables LawnStarter and Lawn Love to be even more disruptive together as we continue to revolutionize the outdoor services industry.”

LawnStarter and Lawn Love are graduates of two accelerators, Techstars and Y Combinator. The companies have benefited from the rise in on-demand marketplaces dominated by companies such as Uber, Lyft, Doordash and GrubHub, where PwC predicts the global value of the sharing economy —driven primarily by millennials — will reach $335 billion by 2025.

Lawn Love Founder and CEO Jeremy Yamaguchi says his company’s acquisition by LawnStarter allows both businesses to better capitalize on the growth of on-demand, tech-enabled services since the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic and positions the combined company as a clear market leader.

“This deal effectively teleports both Lawn Love and LawnStarter years into the future,” Yamaguchi said. “It’s a dramatic acceleration toward our goal of empowering small business owners by providing the technology and tools to help them grow their businesses, compete with the big guys and ultimately thrive.”

The home services market has seen a flurry of activity in the last year. Home service marketplace Porch, which has been building market share through acquisitions, went public via SPAC and has a market cap of $1.7 billion. Thumbtack raised $275 million, nearly doubling its valuation since its last fundraise in 2019. Earlier this month, private equity firm KKR announced plans to acquire home services platform Neighborly from Harvest Partners. Contractor-management software provider ServiceTitan has raised a total of $1.1 billion with a valuation of $9.5 billion.

LawnStarter and Lawn Love will operate as separate brands, led by Corcoran as CEO. LawnStarter’s headquarters will stay in Austin. Yamaguchi is remaining with the combined company.

NaturaLawn opens new national sales office

The office is an extension of the company’s headquarters in Frederick, Maryland.

FREDERICK, Md. — NaturaLawn of America hosted a grand opening ceremony for its new national sales office in downtown Frederick, Maryland, on Wednesday.

The office was developed in response to NaturaLawn’s continued growth and provides digital and traditional sales support to franchises across the continental U.S.

The office, located at 135 W. Patrick Street, is an extension of NaturaLawn of America’s headquarters and their 30-year history of being located at 1 E. Church Street. The sales office currently employs 21 sales support specialists and is seeking to grow its sales force to up to 42 full-time, benefited positions within the next three to five years. Together, the NaturaLawn of America headquarters and national sales office will employ over 75 full-time employees in the heart of downtown Frederick, helping develop local jobs and investing in the Frederick city economy. In 2020, NaturaLawn reported over $80 million in annual revenues, a record for the company and an increase of 11% over the previous year.

The new sales office is an extension of the company’s headquarters in Frederick, Maryland.
Photo courtesy of NaturaLawn of America

The national sales office team uses a variety of techniques to support the sales efforts of NaturaLawn service locations across the country. Currently, the office supports two-thirds of all existing service locations, managing customer relations utilizing email campaigns, SMS engagement software and phone outreach.

“We’re pleased to give our growing sales force the space and resources it needs to continue supporting our locations and customers across the country," said Phil Catron, president and founder of NaturaLawn.

In addition to Frederick city housing the company’s national headquarters and sales office, the local franchise owner, Roy Good, employs nine additional individuals and serves Washington and Frederick counties. The NaturaLawn Frederick franchise provides homeowners with lawn fertilization, aeration and seeding, grub control, mole control and comprehensive tick and mosquito control programs.

Senske Services acquired assets of Fit Turf in Colorado

KENNEWICK, Wash. — Senske Services acquired assets of Fit Turf with locations in Broomfield and Centennial, Colorado. Senske is a family-owned provider of premier lawn, tree, and pest control services throughout the Western United States.

Founded in 2008, Fit Turf has provided lawn and tree care services in the Denver metropolitan area. Services will continue uninterrupted from both branch locations, and the current team of employees will carry on doing business as Fit Turf.

“I love this market, our staff and our customers; I wanted to find the right company like Senske with the core values of Fit Turf to carry on, develop and grow this market while giving our current staff more opportunities,” said Paul Wagner, Fit Turf founder.

“I have known Paul for many years knowing he has a great company,” said Senske President Chris Senske. “Each and every individual is dedicated to making Fit Turf a great family-oriented place to work and that is the kind of culture we want to be a part of and build on. I look forward to continuing the Fit Turf legacy of superior service.”

Former Hunter VP of sales Huston dies at 83

Chuck Huston, the former vice president of sales at Hunter Industries from 1983 to 2004, passed away on July 29. Huston leaves behind a profound legacy of excellence that Hunter Industries continues to build upon to guide the growth of its business.

Dick Hunter, co-founder and former CEO of Hunter Industries, hired Huston to join the organization in its earliest days, when the company entered the market with the PGP Rotor.

“He came here and started building,” Dick Hunter said. “Chuck worked with me through the worst of times, Rain Cat and the best of times, Hunter Industries. For 25 years, Chuck was my best friend.”

Huston built the company into a trusted partner for customers of all walks of life, from day laborers to the owners of the company’s largest distributors. He strived to elevate every interaction from transactional to meaningful.

Ann Hunter-Welborn, co-founder of Hunter Industries, remembered Huston as a hard worker with consistent values, a wonderful sense of humor and a natural ability to drive conversation.

“We could talk about anything — the books we were reading, last night’s dinner, yesterday’s customers, politics, our kids,” she said. “Whenever he was there, I knew I had a friend. I miss him deeply.”

Huston was so adamant about making genuine connections that, to this day, Hunter Sales associates turn to well-known and highly quoted “Chuck-isms” for inspiration and motivation. While there are many, here are a few of the team’s favorites:

  • Practice Lombardi time: Arrive 15 minutes early.
  • Do the right thing.
  • Talk less, listen more.
  • Be a good teammate.
  • You have been hired because of your distinct abilities. It is good to look to mentors but be genuine in who you are.
  • Make mistakes. Learn from them.
  • Appreciate where you and others are from. Respect different cultures and backgrounds.
  • Read. Be well-rounded.
  • “It’s only black plastic; don’t let it wreck your day/life.”
  • The last call of the day is at/to home. Don’t ever neglect your family. They are what we are doing this for.

Greg Hunter, current CEO of Hunter Industries, emphasized Chuck’s lasting impact on the company and the industry at large.

“Chuck’s deep sense of professionalism and fierce dedication to our customers set Hunter Industries on the path to success,” Greg Hunter said. “He is a part of our DNA, and we owe much of our market success to the impact Chuck had on the organization.”

Cornerstone Solutions acquires Be-Mac Services

The Tampa-area companies finalized the purchase at the end of June.

TAMPA, Fla. – Cornerstone Solutions Group, a Tampa Bay commercial and residential landscaping business, recently acquired Be-Mac Services.

Cornerstone owners, brothers Scott Meister and Eric Meister, finalized the purchase of Be-Mac Services, headquartered in Odessa, on June 30.

“Both companies are local, long standing, privately owned companies with decades of experience serving the Tampa Bay market,” said Scott Meister. “We are proud to lead our landscape niche in the Tampa Bay area, providing unparalleled service to our clients. Be-Mac’s focus on high-end landscape maintenance for residential and commercial properties compliments Cornerstone’s existing service lines that include commercial and residential landscape installation, hardscapes, construction, environmental services and property maintenance. Joining forces just makes sense for both of us.”

While both businesses will be owned and managed by Cornerstone, they will each retain their individual names and identities.

“Because of Be-Mac’s impeccable reputation, the Be-Mac name and logo will continue to represent the company externally,” Meister said. “Clients can expect the same great service, uninterrupted, under Bruce McClendon’s (Be-Mac’s) watchful direction, and existing Be-Mac landscape crews will continue servicing this client base, ensuring continuity on all properties.”

Be-Mac Services, a company with nearly 50 years of service to the Tampa Bay area, services high-end residential properties. The company also owns and operates a tree farm in Spring Hill, which was not included in the merger with Cornerstone.

In the last three decades, Cornerstone Solutions Group has established itself in the Tampa Bay area as a high-end commercial and residential landscaping specialist providing landscaping, hardscaping, construction, property maintenance and environmental services.

In addition to Cornerstone and Be-Mac, the Meister brothers also own and operate Annabelle’s Fine Furniture and Interior Design, located in Odessa. Scott Meister also owns Russell’s Western Wear, which boasts eight current locations throughout the state and a ninth set to open in the fall.

WorkWave acquires Real Green Systems

While Real Green will remain separate, additional product offerings that support customer growth will merge.

HOLMDEL, N.J. — WorkWave has signed an agreement to acquire Real Green Systems.

“It marks the beginning of a new chapter where WorkWave will help our customers focus on the future, helping them to go beyond service to create effective, fast-growing, highly profitable service organizations that also deliver the best service experience possible,” said David F. Giannetto, CEO of WorkWave. Real Green believes in this same mission, and together we will allow every solution in this expanded WorkWave product portfolio to deliver greater value. We have tremendous respect for the Real Green team, and the goal of this acquisition is to not just allow them to continue to lead the green industries forward, but to help them make an even greater impact.”

Real Green and WorkWave share a common background as two companies created by industry professionals nearly 40 years ago. The merger of these two companies will allow WorkWave to combine the best parts of each organization, allowing Real Green to advance more quickly and WorkWave to embrace their depth of expertise in the green industries. While the Real Green solution and PestPac will remain separate, additional product offerings that support customer growth, including Coalmarch and WorkWave Agency groups, will combine forces to maximize their development and value.

“This acquisition is one of the most impactful combinations in field service, merging two forward-looking companies who helped shape their respective industries,’’ said Darren Roos, chairperson of WorkWave. “The board of directors, along with EQT Partners, are honored to support WorkWave’s commitment to empowering its customers through strategic acquisitions that make a positive impact on its customers and the field service industry overall.”

Serent Capital, the former investor in Real Green, and Real Green Founder Joe Kucik will roll significant equity and join TA Associates as minority owners of WorkWave.

“After years of watching WorkWave develop alongside Real Green, we’ve long known that the combination of these two companies would create something special,” said Bill Nunan, president and CEO of Real Green, who will stay on as the head of Real Green operations within WorkWave.

LMN acquires Greenius

LMN has acquired an online training software for the green industry — Greenius.

Together, Greenius and LMN will create a fully integrated system offering end-to-end training together with comprehensive business management software. Greenius will also continue to be provided as a stand-alone offering to customers.

“The addition of Greenius to the LMN family is huge for our customers, and the industry,” said Mark Bradley, CEO, LMN. “We know just how important training is to landscaping leaders and their teams, and with Greenius, we can provide the best available training to help customers meet and exceed their needs.”

Greenius bolsters LMN’s training capabilities. The company offers hundreds of courses in both English and Spanish each year on a variety of topics to the green industry, including but not limited to maintenance, construction, snow, safety, equipment, supervisor training and more.

Many companies continue to be challenged by skilled labor shortages. With the addition of Greenius, landscape owners using the LMN platform will now have more opportunities to develop team members within their organizations to foster growth and retain employees.