by Dennis Dalman
At the age of 15 – soon to be 16 – Parker Jordan of St. Joseph is already an entrepreneur, having started his own business almost four years ago.
The business he calls simply and directly Parker’s Lawn Care. He mows lawns, all summer long, lots and lots of lawns – an estimated 500 of them just in the past two years, all in the St. Joseph area.
Parker can often be seen on St. Joseph streets and roads, pulling his trusty red Toro Super Mulcher push mower on a carrier behind his bicycle. Some years back, Parker and a friend made the carrier with parts from a baby stroller along with a wooden platform to hold the mower securely.
At that time, Parker had a business partner, Soren Harland of St. Joseph, who is now involved with other pursuits.
“It’s easy to pull the mower on my bike,” Parker said, “unless there’s a wind.”
Why did Parker decide to start a lawn-mowing business? His answer is immediate, and an easy one.
“I love mowing lawns,” he said. “I’ve always loved mowing lawns.”
Parker said he always gets pleasure when seeing the freshly cut rows on a lawn of ragged, overgrown grass. And when he finishes the job, he likes to stand there, sometimes wiping sweat from his brow, to observe how nice-and-new it all looks.
“I like the way it looks pretty,” he said. “And I love the smell of fresh-cut grass.”
Any downside to the business?
“Oh, yes,” said Parker, laughing. “Mosquitoes! And when it’s too hot and humid. This summer so far has been a killer with the humid heat or too much rain.”
To beat the heat – or at least to endure it – Parker has learned to drink lots of water he carries in his backpack.
He knows his Toro mower like the back of his hand. It goes through about two gallons of gasoline every three weeks and takes about a bottle of oil every month. Parker cleans and maintains his machine scrupulously and even sharpens its blades by himself.
The Toro is in prime shape, but Parker has thoughts of buying a new mower for smart business reasons.
“It would be good to have a bigger one and a wider one that would mow the lawns quicker, more efficiently,” he said.
When Parker and Soren started their lawn-mowing business, about four years ago, they distributed lots of fliers in their neighborhoods and throughout St. Joseph. They had a lot of responses, but now Parker has more than enough jobs because of happy customers and their good word-of-mouth.
“My customers are really nice,” he said. “That’s another reason I like the job.”
Parker is a student at Rocori High School and has lots of hobbies, including woodworking and music. He plays cello, piano and guitar and is a member of the high school orchestra. He will graduate in 2021.
When asked what he intends to major in, he said, “I don’t know yet.” Then he paused and – laughing – said, “Lawn-mowing maybe?”