Fields of Green
Whether on the field or off, football coach turned business entrepreneur Owen Wilson, Jr., says he will make sure the job’s done right. “I teach my employees that it’s important to do things right, and not be in a rush to finish.”
“I love to coach football, and I love the game,” Wilson says. “I love teaching technique and the right way to do things.” It’s a mentality that carries over from the football field to lawns. “It’s important to do things right and not be in a rush to finish,” he says.
A native Oklahoman and football player in high school, Wilson went on to coach football in Oklahoma City and Edmond until he became an assistant coach for Santa Fe High School’s football team in 2001. Now, Wilson is also owner and president of the aptly-named Mowin’ Owen Lawn Services.
“The name kind of stays with you,” says Wilson. “You’re not going to forget Mowin’ Owen.”
It started in 2000 when the school football coach decided he couldn’t go another summer day at home not working. He went out that very day, bought a lawn mower, a weed-eater and designed and printed flyers. His foster son “rounded up a few of his buddies” to help pass the fliers out and Mowin’ Owen Lawn Services was born. Now, he has over 70 customers and business is booming.
Each year business picks up in the spring, when Wilson’s weekdays and evening practices are still crammed with coaching football. Thankfully, he is able to draw upon some of his own players for help. They are always ready to trade in their football for a lawn mower to earn some extra cash. By picking up four or five guys a weekend, Wilson cycles through his team to give everyone a chance to work for him. The best workers get to stay on and help him throughout the summer months.
It’s about honest work for an honest dollar, Wilson says. He still gets the occasional call from young men who used to play for him, now in college, asking to work a weekend or two.
His own foster son, once reluctant to get out there and work, now can’t wait for lawn season to come, which also gives him the chance to supplement his allowance money.
Wilson takes pride in the business and its ability to teach young men responsibility, hard work and learning how to make and save money, which he says is another factor that makes his business unique. “It’s helping teach young people how to work. People notice that.”
Hard work creates a sense of accomplishment and pride for the boys and shows them that with extra effort, they can have a good quality of life.
The hardest part, Wilson says, is “teaching young men that just because they have money in their pocket today doesn’t mean they’ll have money tomorrow.” The solution? Keep working.
When the boys understand the value of a dollar and how much work it took to get that money, they’ll value their purchases far more.
Even more important than money earned, though, is pride in a job well done and in giving back to the community. Among Wilson’s many paying customers are a few elderly ladies who benefit from Wilson’s services for free. While the paycheck is important, Wilson also stresses to his young employees that they truly are more blessed to give than to receive.
“Don’t look to get paid on everything,” Wilson tells them. “We’re not going to make money on this one, we’re just giving back.” By teaching the boys to do something for someone for the public good, he’s instilling values in them that can’t be taught in the classroom.
Seeing the job well done is the biggest reward, Wilson says. “Once you get a yard done, it’s like artwork. It’s great to pass by later and see how happy the kids are about what they’ve accomplished. They can say, ‘Yeah I did that—it looks good doesn’t it?’”
With strong standing, a stronger work ethic and a little bit of money to invest at the start anyone can have the same success in starting their own business. Wilson adds, “As long as they keep building houses, the lawn care business will always be around.” And if you can get a few helpers to occasionally deluge a yet-untouched neighborhood with your flyers, well, that wouldn’t hurt either.
“With just word of mouth and a sign on the back of your truck, you’d be amazed what you can do,” Wilson says.
Owen Wilson resides in Edmond and can be reached at 314-1466 for lawn service.