After working five full seasons as a professional landscaper, Gerhart E. Arndt IV decided to become his boss, and, at the same time, give back to the environment.
Seeing the environmental benefits from fewer cars traveling during the pandemic, Arndt, of Conshohocken, used that as a catalyst to launch his eco-friendly landscaping company, Sustainable Land Solutions in August 2020. Through his business, Arndt provides many of the same services as other landscapers: spring cleanups, snow removal, leaf cleanups, flower bed maintenance, and lawn maintenance.
The big difference between Arndt’s company and traditional landscaping is: He uses electric landscaping tools and push mowers instead of their gas-powered counterparts.
“I provide a cleaner alternative to conventional landscape gas companies,” Arndt said. “I want to do what I can to heal the world.”
In addition, Arndt said customers prefer electric-powered tools.
“It’s three to four times quieter,” he said. “They don’t have fumes lingering outside their house. It’s a win-win all around.”
The initial investment for electric-powered tools was a bit more, but Arndt said he’s saving more money in the long run and doesn’t have to worry about fluctuating gas prices.
Arndt worked part-time in his business last year, but as 2021 began he looked to take it full-time. In January, he began mentoring with Steve Wolfson and Marvin Deitch of SCORE Bucks County, a local chapter of a national nonprofit organization focused on guiding Bucks County and Montgomery County business owners and entrepreneurs throughout every stage of their business venture.
Since founding his business Arndt has worked primarily for residential customers in Plymouth Meeting, Lafayette Hill, King of Prussia, and Fort Washington. However, he has set his sights on incorporating more commercial business and using Sustainable Land Solutions as a springboard for franchises.
“I knew I needed to get real business advice from people who have done it,” Arndt said of his collaboration with his SCORE mentors. “If I have business questions, I just reach out. It’s very comforting … I’ve got people who’ve got my back.”
Wolfson and Deitch, both long-time business owners with an expertise in launching a business, helped Arndt find an accountant to ensure his financials were on track. The mentors also helped make sure he had the appropriate insurance and advised him to hire a lawyer as well. Wolfson and Deitch also provided him with business management and customer relations insight, as well as the confidence to take his business full-time in April.
“Gerhart is innovative, hardworking, and always looking ahead on how his business can improve,” Wolfson said. “Customers are so impressed with his landscaping skills that he's gained a loyal customer base within select neighborhoods. Gerhart has developed into an entrepreneur with a bright future.”
With his first full-time season wrapping up, Arndt is now looking to hire an employee to join him next season. Whether Arndt or his employee provides the landscaping services, Arndt said customers can expect the same level of care and service.
“It’s going to be someone in a uniform to provide the same quality all the time,” Arndt said. “I want to provide a very professional, quality product that is just better, better for the world, better for consumers.”