A boy and his mower make it big

Area’s largest residential mowing service turns 30

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Thirty years ago, Johnny Erbert was a 12-year-old boy with a dream of owning a remote-control car. Little did he know that by finding the means to fulfill that dream, he would set a lifelong career in motion.

Raised by parents who “considered anything above and beyond the basics to be extravagant,” he was instilled with the understanding early on that if he wanted something, he would have to work for it.

“I thought, ‘I’m 12 years old and I can’t get a job, but I think I can mow lawns,’” Erbert recalled. “It started with the neighbors, going around the block as most kids do.”

It wasn’t long before Johnny started thinking that it would be nice if he could travel a little farther from home and pick up more jobs, and he asked for his father’s assistance in building a sidehack — a third-wheel contraption — for his bike so he could haul his mower on an attached trailer, and place the gasoline and trimmer in the sidehack.

Word spread quickly around Johnny’s Lakewood neighborhood, and business started to boom. No longer could he do all the lawns himself, and he began to hire friends to help out. He made enough money that by age 14 he purchased his first Toyota pickup and hired an older friend to do the driving, while now hauling multiple mowers.

Fast-forward to 2013, and Erbert runs the largest residential lawn-mowing service in the Denver metro area, servicing all of Douglas County, most of Jefferson and Arapahoe counties and recently adding some of the newer suburbs to the northeast.

Based out of a garage and office on Titan Park Circle in unincorporated Douglas County, Erbert has a staff of 40 working for him that attends to thousands of lawns per week, some of which he was cutting as a 12-year-old boy.

There was a time, though, after receiving a computer degree from Metro State in 1994, that Erbert almost put his mower away. Yet he found working in an office so incredibly boring, he instead decided to get even more serious about what he already knew he could be successful at. 

“I like the grass and I like being outside,” he said, “but almost even more, it’s the people. I love our customers and I love our team, I love cultivating the family atmosphere that we have here.

“We are kind of weird and wacky and like to have fun. We are obviously professional at people’s homes, but I want my staff to come to work and act just like they would at home. If they act differently at work, they are not being really who they want to be.”

For more information on services and costs or to learn about the company, visit www.ErbertLawns.com or call 303-948-6631. 

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