What started as a side hustle to pay for gas turned into a full-fledged landscaping business for Conner Watts of the Slaton FFA Chapter in Slaton, Texas.
Conner started his mowing business at the age of 15, and with lots of rain came more demand for his services, he said. The demand plus his love for being outdoors helped him grow his business and his supervised agricultural experience (SAE).
“When I first started, basically I only had a push mower, a weed eater and a blower, and all I did was mowing small yards,” Conner said. “As I got more money I bought more equipment, and I kept on growing from there.”
Now, Conner’s Lawn Care and Landscaping provides more than just lawnmowing services—Conner said his business offers sod installation, concrete patio paving, and pesticide spraying for lawns.
He employs three full-time employees and two part-time employees under the lawn maintenance arm of the company. His business partner, who has 30 percent equity in the company, handles the concrete work.
In his experience as an FFA member, Conner said what helped him the most was the nursery landscaping CDE.
“I did the nursery landscaping CDE and I took the landscape class that went along with that, and that really taught me a lot about the industry—learning a bunch of different plants and their names and how to grow them and how to take care of the soil, too,” he said.
Conner said he takes pride in people reaching out to him as an entrepreneur for advice on starting a business. His advice is to stick with the business through the ups and downs.
He is now a student at Texas Tech University studying agribusiness and plant and soil science, utilizing the academic experience to enhance and grow Conner’s Lawn Care and Landscaping.
“I just love being an entrepreneur,” Conner said. “It’s my whole livelihood now, it’s my income.”