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Meet Phillip Vanarsdel of Handsome Lawn Service

Today we’d like to introduce you to Phillip Vanarsdel.

Phillip, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
Born and raised in Arlington, Texas, I started out with a career in technology and design and acquired a company called Polka Dot Design. I wanted to add something to my repertoire that allowed me to exploit my design background as well as further my lust for always being active and sweating. I saw a lady, Ayesha, post a request for leaf cleanup on NextDoor. On a whim, I reached out to her and quoted her a price. She accepted and thus began the idea for a new lawn service.

As I chatted with the people in my life, I began to mold the core values for this company. Some would complain about communication breakdown and disrespect with their current company. Many employed companies that were not dependable and they couldn’t trust. As I conversed with everyone I could, I began to build a business around all these values they were coveting.

I wanted to be a respectable, dependable, full service landscaping company that customers could count on and feel safe with. I didn’t want to be the cheapest in town. I wanted to be the best. I wanted to create a brand. My desire was to be a place where young men could come earn cash while learning the art of manual labor and morals, a couple of things that are lacking in the newer generations. Chatting with my life partner, Kristen, she helped birth the name Handsome Lawn Service.

For me, being “handsome” doesn’t necessarily have to be about looks. It’s a package. That package includes manners, moxie, dependability, chutzpah, common sense, communication, etc. This is what we bring to the table. This is what I work to mentor young men and women with. I’m thankful that I’ve had some pretty good crews over the past couple of years. I’ve had one that’s gone off to study Industrial Design at The University of Houston. I’ve had another go off to Harvard. While I cannot take the credit for all of this, I do believe I’ve watched them grow in what little time they’ve been with me.

It’s not about selling lawn service. Most anyone can mow a yard. It’s about selling yourself. It’s the presentation.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
You know, it’s not all that easy starting a business from the ground. Pun intended. For the most part though, I would say that when you do something you love which also inspires you, it’s hard to lose. We have gone about this organically, so we’ve rolled with a lot of punches.

In the beginning, it was just me. That was a little hard, for sure. Being outside in the elements of Texas can take a toll on your body. I am lucky that my business began to grow enough to hire the next guy and the next, etc. Now, it’s mostly young men trying to keep up with the 39-year-old man. They try real hard too. It’s cute.

Another thing that can be a bit discouraging is running across individuals who do not respect the art of manual labor. Getting outside to work when the heat index is 120 will rip you up. It’s no joke and it takes a special kind of strength to get through with a solid attitude. On the hottest days of the year, I would work the schedule to get my guys back in by 1 or 2 pm. That helps out tremendously.

I have learned a lot about my body and how to push its extremes. Staying hydrated can be a tough lesson to learn. Water is good for the most part, but at some point, it’s just not enough in these extremities.

I’ve learned a lot of lessons here at Handsome that I’m grateful for.

We’d love to hear more about your business.
The things I’m most proud of with Handsome Lawn Service are our values and how quickly we have grown. I feel like the reason we continue to grow are our core values and how we treat others.

When you’ve got a great core, great things happen. Many people are attracted to greatness. That’s what keeps them coming back for more. Do someone dirty and Karma is sure to come back and slap you around.

It may sound a bit cliché, sure. In this current day though, people are beginning to be made accountable for their actions. Accountability is key. I am accountable for everything my crew does and most all our customers can text me at any time if they need to chat about anything at all.

This is the type of community I really enjoy building. One with tight-knit communication where we know exactly how to cater to their needs at any given time. I feel like we’re in a niche area. A specialty, if you will. We specialize in cleaning up properties and making the customer’s vision come to life.

Sometimes, people just get overwhelmed. We all do. When that happens, we step in and help you get back to a manageable position. That’s where the reward comes in for us. Seeing that smile and that “OMG” in our customer’s eyes. We’ve seen many a tear, gotten plenty of hugs, and so many sighs of relief. That’ll give you the goosebumps.

Who else deserves credit – have you had mentors, supporters, cheerleaders, advocates, clients or teammates that have played a big role in your success or the success of the business? If so – who are they and what role did they plan / how did they help.
I’ve got a lot of cheerleaders in my life. It’s nice to be supported. There are way too many to list here when it comes to Handsome Lawn Service. However, here are a few…

Kristen, my partner in crime. She is one of my biggest cheerleaders and believes in me so much. Even when I don’t want to, she smiles. It’s because of Kristen that I kept moving forward with this business. She is the golden child and I am lucky to have her.

Ayesha Jones, my first customer. She believed in me enough to hire me. Completing that first job and seeing how huge her smile was, let me know we had something here. I hear the excitement she brings every time she texts me. Thank you, Ayesha.

Blaize & Bryce, my crew leaders. These guys came to me young and I’ve watched them grow so much. They have solid attitudes and a strong work ethic and I am proud of what they’re becoming.

Caleb, my nephew. This kid has grown with me so much. He has pushed me to be better in a lot of ways. I feel lucky that I’ve been a part of him evolving into the young man that he is.

Carol, Stef, & Zoe. You can’t get by without your mother, sister, & daughter being so proud of you that they tell everyone. Thank you, Ladies.

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4 Comments

  1. Kristen Alexander

    January 17, 2018 at 2:43 pm

    So proud to be a part of this story. Handsome Lawn Service truly is more than just lawns, it’s a way of life. Handsome Lawn = Handsome Life. Thanks for making all of us smile, Phillip. You are one exceptional human being.

  2. PV

    January 23, 2018 at 11:10 am

    Great article! Thank you for your support and the time you spent with us, Christian!

  3. Kelly

    January 23, 2018 at 11:11 am

    Hey, I know them! Great article, guys! I am so proud of you all. Keep up the solid work and the even better lifestyle! Stay handsome!

  4. Peter Viktor

    January 23, 2018 at 11:13 am

    I really dig Handsome Lawn Service and what it’s all about. This is a great article and I hope everyone in Arlington, Texas will know about them now!

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