He jumps out of bed bright and early. He needs to beat the sweltering heat before the sun rises.
Young entrepreneur Caleb Shafer does this for a living.
Shafer, a 17-year-old junior, started his own lawn-mowing business called Shafer and Bros despite having two years of school ahead of him.
Not only does Shafer have the stress of his job but also the everyday pressures of school, extracurricular activities and a social life.
“I started my own business in March of last year,” Shafer said. “I would like to say I’ve done pretty well, but I think I could always do better.”
Shafer didn’t have to start with everything from scratch, as his grandfather gave him his lawn equipment.
“Everything I started with came from my grandpa’s existing supply,” Shafer said. “He had a shed full of equipment so I didn’t have to buy anything new. But since, I’ve gotten a riding mower as well as a trailer. I’ve also bought little things like edgers and I’m making progress, which is all part of the business.”
Shafer received more than just his grandfather’s help as he was faced with the arduous task of opening his own business with little experience.
“I was still relatively new, I was probably three months in when I went to Frenchy’s website to get ideas for my own website,” Shafer said. “I e-mailed him, and the next day he called me and offered to take me around town to check on his jobs in one of the Frenchy vehicles. He taught me the ins and outs of running a lawn business.”
One obstacle Shafer has to deal with is a passion deeper than his family can understand.
“They don’t really see it as something as serious as I do,” Shafer said. “They think, ‘Oh, yeah, he does lawns in his spare time,’ but I have taken it pretty seriously and I’m trying to develop it. Yet, they kind of see it as a small thing still.”
Shafer is meeting his goal of developing his company more and more as time goes on by being organized.
“I can go and set up an appointment for a job after I get a call from the client,” Shafer said. “I go in and set it from my phone and send it to all my workers, saying where they can then take this job and accept the invite, which contains all the necessary information like the client’s name, address, phone number, estimated time to complete, time to arrive, what they need to do, the tools needed for the job and how much they will be paid.”
Shafer has even organized his inventory to make it easier to access for everyone involved in the business.
“All the equipment is at the house and now I keep most of the necessary equipment in the trailer,” Shafer said. “I just tell Manny [Cardenas] where the key is, and then whenever he needs to do the job, he comes by, takes what he needs, puts it in his truck and goes to the job site.”
Shafer and his employees continue to work together to try and make their lawn business nationally known.
“I want to run the business into the nation’s eye and franchise to become the nationally known name in America when it comes to property management,” Shafer said.
TANNETH OXFORD is a sophomore at Denton High School and AMBER COWLES is a senior at Denton High. Both students are participants in the Record-Chronicle’s “Speak Out Loud” writing program for student journalists.