Today we’d like to introduce you to Lee Morgan.
Lee, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
The story of how I got to Agape Lawn Care begins in my college years at UTSA in San Antonio. I like most people didn’t come from a wealthy family and had to find a way to support myself while in college. Originally, I found some office jobs and enjoyed the work but found myself unhappy with the sedentary lifestyle of sitting at a desk all day. I eventually found a job as a landscape technician for Quality Lawn and Tree in San Antonio. In contrast to my office job this job allowed me to be outside all day, and constantly moving. Though the Texas heat and mosquitoes were also harsh side effects of the work, I found it much more fulfilling to get to the end of a day and be so physically tired but at the same time be able to look back and visually see the fruit of all your labor for the day.
When my wife Sosina and I got married she took a job in Houston and I decided to use my several years of experience working for Quality Lawn and Tree to try and get a job at a bigger Houston landscaping firm. I ended up working for Bio Landscape as a field supervisor. In this job, not only was I able to use my skills to do landscaping work but I was able to dip my toe into the management side of the equation as well. I oversaw all of the crews working in Sugar Land and Stafford, often 4-6 crews every day. This gave me experience seeing how to organize big jobs and communicate well with customers and employees.
Eventually I decided to start out on my own and formed Morgan Landscape Services. Starting a business meant having to, in addition to managing people and performing the work, marketing and pricing work. I ran Morgan Landscape Services as a side business for several years, working on my off days from my full-time job.
At the same time, my wife Sosina began working for Agape Development, a Christian community development organization who has been working to serve the South Union community for over 15 years now. Agape’s community development model has three main components. The first being the direct ministry side: things like after school programs for kids and teens, structured homes for young adults, and job search help.
The second component is the development of affordable housing projects for the neighborhood. Finally, the third component of Agape’s ministry is operating small businesses as employment opportunities for community members. After my wife had been employed in the direct ministry side of Agape for a while and I had become acquainted with the staff at Agape I was approached by Zach Massey the director of Agape’s small business component. He had a year of success with their first small business venture at the time: Agape Property Repair Team which provides handyman and remodeling services. Following this year of success, he explained he was looking to add a second business. Since I was connected to Agape through my wife and already owned a business I was approached with the possibility of merging my business with Agape and managing it for them as their second small business. The opportunity married two things I am passionate about: seeing people mentored and developed, as well as the business entrepreneurship I had grown to love.
I accepted this offer, and Morgan Landscape Services became Agape Lawn Care in February 2017 and now operates under Agape Development to provide employment opportunities to members of the South union community. The goal is that men and women can use employment and mentoring with us as a stepping stone to a long term career, or to greater responsibilities and promotions within Agape Lawn Care.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
One of the biggest obstacles for me was giving up the ownership of my business. When you own a business, you have complete creative control, and you are free from any outside influences, time restrictions, and performance metrics. There is also a lot of pride that comes from seeing your name on a company t-shirt, or being able to tell people you are a business owner. These things were hard to give up and took a lot of prayer and deliberation before the decision was made to merge with Agape.
As hard as it was though, as soon as the idea was pitched to me, I had the feeling in my gut that it would become a reality. Everyone wants to see the things they build go on to serve not just themselves but the people around them and make the community a better place. This was my opportunity to turn my business into something that didn’t simply provide for my family but could be an agent of change and an employment stepping stone for many men, women, and families in the South Union community.
Looking back after the first six months, it was a great decision,
Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Agape Lawn Care – what should we know?
Agape Lawn Care was started in February 2017 as a business of Agape Development. The goal of this business is to use the simple act of mowing lawns into something that will transform lives. We specialize in lawn maintenance, as well as a suite of other related services such as mulching, shrub trimming, core aeration, etc to enhance the experience of our lawn care clients.
We believe that when our clients do business with us lives are changed in both directions. For our employees, they have the opportunity to gain job experience, earn money for their families, and gain mentoring toward future life goals and careers. At the same time, our clients’ lives are changed because instead of spending their valuable time of yard work they are able to invest that time into their families, their hobbies, or their own careers. Our goal with this business is to facilitate this win win relationship with our clients. We achieve that through quality work, easy worry-free billing, and good communication with our clients.
We are most proud of our employees, who are outside in the Texas heat all day to provide our customers with a lawn they can be proud of. Our employees are everything to our business and every decision we make is to provide them with more opportunities, leadership roles, training, and future ambitions.
Any shoutouts? Who else deserves credit in this story – who has played a meaningful role?
Terry C. is our first full time employee. The business would be nowhere near as successful as it is without his hard work every day. His positivity and determination to stick with a project until it is looking great is what keeps our clients happy and our business growing.
Zach Massey is the business development director at Agape Development and credit goes to him for coming up with the idea to add a lawn care business to Agape’s mission in South Union. He has also provided countless hours of support, programming, and mentoring to our employees.
Sosina Morgan is my wife, and she was my encouragement through all of these big decisions. She was by my side when I decided to start a business, and she was by my side when I decided to join Agape. She is a great sounding board for marketing ideas, and always positive and loving when I’ve had a hard day in business.
- Weekly Mowing – $10+tax per 1500 sq.ft.
- Bi-Weekly Mowing – $10+tax per 1000 sq.ft.
- Mulching – $80+tax per cubic yard installed
- Address: 6401 Calhoun Rd.
- Website: www.AgapeLawnCare.com
- Phone: (832) 301-8434
- Email: Lee@agapelawncare.com