Carter Florence might only be 14, but he’s already experienced the thrill of starting a business and seeing it grow.
His landscaping company, Yardex, was born in the spring of 2022 out of a love for business and yard work, which, it turns out, he’s pretty good at.
“In the summer, you know the yards that he's taking care of because they look great,” said his dad Nathan Florence.
His entrepreneurial spirit was inspired by Nathan, who has been in sales and business for 30 years.
“Carter and I have an awful lot of business conversations about taxes and customer retention, and how do you find new people for contracts,” Nathan said.
But this isn’t Carter’s first venture into the business world.
Wanting to make some extra spending money at the start of the pandemic, he and a friend started a business called Yard Boys, lugging all their tools around in a wagon behind them.
However, they ended up parting ways as jobs were getting too difficult to coordinate since he lived in a different neighbourhood.
In 2021, he would hand out flyers on his own every now and then, getting an occasional job. But in the spring of last year, he decided to invest more of his time into the business.
“I enjoy being outside and I enjoy doing yard work, so why not give it a shot?”
So, re-branded as Yardex, he got to work making business cards and handing them out. Then he launched a website, which he designed himself. Most recently, he uploaded himself to Google Maps.
“I just began my journey, and I eventually started to grow throughout my neighbourhood,” he said.
Jobs typically consist of lawn mowing and watering plants, but he will also do edging, mulching and weeding. He also offers shovelling when his clients are away. But when they're home, he loves taking the time to talk with them.
Yardex currently has five contracts with neighbours to regularly tend to their yards, and he’s looking to scale up even more this summer, expanding beyond his own neighbourhood.
But it’s not just about the money for Carter.
“There are some elderly people on (our) street, and Carter will go out and proactively cut their grass or shovel their driveway with no expectations,” Nathan said. “But from a business standpoint, I love the fact that he's willing to put a risk out there because it's how you get ahead, right?”
More than that, Carter said running Yardex has helped him meet interesting new people and learn new skills.
For instance, how to effectively make a website and schedule bookings and consultations; he’s even started outsourcing to friends when he needs to.
After learning about customer retention and the importance of regular communication, for Christmas he made everyone gift baskets that included branded mugs and chocolate, “just to show them my appreciation for them.”
“Carter takes it very seriously,” Nathan said.
Last year when they were away on vacation, for example, he had a friend making sure all the jobs were taken care of.
“He was on the phone with the customers at night making sure everything was done to their satisfaction,” Nathan said. “So it's really cool to see him grow and develop, and I'm excited to see where he goes. We're super proud of the big guy.”
He plans to add power washing to his list of services this summer. You can learn more here.