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Business Owners & Managers

Women in the Industry - Kristen Graczyk

"No one chooses Graczyk's over the other guy landscaping because I am a girl selling them lawn care and vice-versa. They choose Graczyk's because I educated them and followed through."

We're excited to introduce you to Kristen Graczyk, our latest featured professional in our 'Women in the Industry' series. Together with her husband Josh, Kristen owns Graczyk Lawn and Landscape, Grindstone Hardscapes, and Curb-it in Nebraska.

And if that wasn't enough to impress you, the Graczyk's also have 4 children, ages 7, 5, 2, and 6 months. So, how does Kristen do it all? What inspires her? We had a chance to ask her - enjoy!

1. What was your inspiration to get into the landscaping industry? How did it all start?

Josh started Graczyk Lawn and Landscape in 1998. He began by mowing for a few friends and family members in our town. After college, he added fertilizing and landscaping along with a couple of employees. I came into the picture in 2008 when we began dating (I have an accounting degree so I am certain he targeted me!).

In 2008 we began Hardscaping and in 2011 we purchased Curb-it, Inc. Now we have 25 employees and are a full service outdoor/lawn care company.

2. I understand that your main job duties in Graczyk Lawn & Landscape are office management. What part of your job do you enjoy the most?

I enjoy the fact that although I am in the office 95% of the time, there are things that come up where I get to still work outdoors. Prior to the office being as busy as it is now, I used to also do 100% of our landscape maintenance.

Nowadays, if something comes up and I need to go plant a tree, I go plant a tree. I also do several lawn care estimates/measuring and Curb-it estimates. Everyone here works together as a team and if there is a fire that needs put out, we all adjust our day to make that happen!

3. What is the best part of a family lawn care business with your loved one, and what is the worst?

The best part is having the same passion and skin in the game for one common goal. At the end of the day we are working so hard because we believe in what we do, and we care about the people that work with us.

The worst part might be the inability to completely disengage. There is always a part of us that can take one "quick" phone call or email no matter where we are or what day it is.

As the years go on, we have gotten better, but it will always be a part of us. There is no 100% shut off.

4. Tell us a bit about balancing business and having four children! How you do you manage to do it all?

My lists have lists! I am very good at prioritizing. We have amazing child care and office support. I take it day by day. I know at the end of the day; our family comes first because the work will still be there tomorrow!

5. Together with your husband, you've build a great "one-call-does-it-all" company with a strong team and a huge variety of services. It's a dream come true for a lot of our readers! What's the main piece of advice you would give solo pros who are looking to grow their business while also working in the field?

Put on your seat belt, it is going to be a wild ride! In all seriousness, learn/know your numbers. You can be your company's biggest asset or hindrance if you don't know if you are truly making money.

6. Would you still consider working in this industry - or even starting a lawn care business of your own - if your husband wasn't into it?

That is hard to say. Over the years my education of the industry has aided in my passion but if he had never planted the seed I probably wouldn't have started one on my own. If he disappeared tomorrow would I continue? Absolutely!

7. Do you follow other lawn care pros online, and have you considered sharing your experience on social? For example, starting your own YouTube channel?

We belong to a nationwide consulting group called Prosult, as part of a tight-knit peer group of other Landscape/ Lawn Care businesses all over the United States. These guys are the best of the best. We are all at each others disposal to bounce ideas off of, hold one another accountable, etc.

I am definitely all for any type of social media interaction and we are getting out there more with social media but in reality once spring hits, we are nose to the grindstone and often forget to video things!

Kristen Graczyk

8. Do you think the culture of women empowering movements of the last few years has had an impact on the landscaping industry?

I think it has always been easy for women to get into this industry. You just have to want it and then DO it. I am all for "Go Women, we are great, we can do anything" because we can, but it is not a crutch.

No one chooses Graczyk's over the other guy landscaping because I am a girl selling them lawn care and vice-versa. They choose Graczyk's because I educated them and followed through.

There are certain things in life that are just hard and every great payoff comes in time. It is not going to happen overnight.

9. What advice would you give women who are interested in entering the landscaping industry?

Work hard and don't get tired. My Grandma always used to tell me that. Whether you want to work in the field, design, sell, or answer the phones, educate yourself and go out there and DO IT!

About Kristen: Kristen and her husband Josh own Graczyk Lawn and Landscape, Grindstone Hardscapes, and Curb-it in Kearney, Nebraska. Kristen works as the office manager, does all of the marketing, some sales, and more. See more from Kristen and the Graczyk's on Facebook.

Are you (or do you know) a woman professional in the lawn care and landscaping industry, or know a women-owned business? We'd love to hear your story - you can share it with us by using the "Tell Us Your Story" section at the bottom of our home page.