Before Andrew Motter was old enough to drive, he made money by dragging the family lawnmower out of the garage and cutting the neighbors’ grass.
Then he went to the Walton College, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in finance and began a career in financial consulting and advising with major firms. Though his job took him to his home state of Texas, “Fayetteville is way more my scene,” Motter says.
And so is lawn care. After dabbling with a couple of startups, Motter has finally found one that is gaining interest with Lawnly, an Internet-based business that serves Northwest Arkansas in the same spirit of Uber, a transportation company that allows customers to get taxi service by using a smartphone app.
With Lawnly, people log on to lawnly.com, fill out a questionnaire and receive an instant quote that is automated through a satellite map of the property needing work. If the estimate is agreeable to them, they can order service, which is provided by an insured professional with whom Lawnly partners, usually within 48 hours. “They’re local guys that do good work,” Motter says.
But the force behind Lawnly is Motter and his part-time developer. Motter’s office is his laptop at a local coffee house where the baristas know him by name and where he conducts business meetings. “This is me, full time,” he says, perched at a table.
Motter grew up in Plano, Texas, with an innate ability to find ways to earn cash. Besides mowing lawns, he began trading stocks when he was only 16. He chose to attend the University of Arkansas after visiting a friend and being impressed with the Ozarks’ scenery. He majored in finance but didn’t discover his true calling until he took an entrepreneurship class taught by instructor Jeff Amerine, who engaged his class with stories of his personal work experiences.
Yet after graduating in 2010, Motter put his entrepreneurial endeavors on hold and worked for a couple of years with investment firms in Arkansas and, later, Texas. When he returned to Northwest Arkansas, he switched gears and worked with Internet-based companies. He was vice president of sales for EquityNet, a business crowdfunding platform, and as an account manager for Movista, which powers a workforce app for managing field employees.
A diagnosis of testicular cancer in November 2013 changed his outlook on everything. Though doctors successfully treated his cancer, Motter began contemplating what he really wanted out of life. Throwing caution to the wind, he quit his job and struck out on his own, trying his hand at creating online businesses. While it didn’t go smoothly at first, he didn’t let it get him down. Through perseverance, and the support of his wife, Jacqueline, he is hitting his stride.
He taught himself a basic foundation on front end coding and learned to use WordPress. He became skilled enough to help a friend with his business, Elite Lawn and Landscaping Co-op. The two brainstormed about the challenges that surround lawn care and came up with Lawnly.
“Failure is not failure,” Motter says. “It’s a learning opportunity.”
Yes, sometimes he’s able to venture out and enjoy the outdoors, whether it’s playing disc golf, backpacking and camping – The Butterfield Hiking Trail at Devil’s Den State Park is a favorite. But, for now, he’ll be at a coffee house, growing his company.