From a young age, Eli Franklin ’21, along with his brothers Ethan ’17 and Gavin ’23 have mowed lawns for neighbors and friends. But the Franklin brothers have a knack for business, and soon their small enterprise became a full-blown business. Recently, the Franklin Brothers became an official LLC, complete with business bank accounts and brand-new equipment.
But those who know Eli well know that his first passion is not well manicured lawns – it’s the environment. It’s no surprise then that he was able to merge his business with his passion, making the Franklin Brothers a sustainable, fully electric business. With the addition of two, new, electric, commercial-grade mowers, as well as electric blowers and edgers, the Franklin boys are making the world a greener place – in both meanings of the word.
Tell us about your business Franklin Brothers Landscape, LLC.
My brothers, Ethan, Gavin, and I have mowed lawns and other small yard work for years for neighbors and friends. This year we decided it was necessary to establish everything as an LLC and do all of the other legal stuff so we can grow. In the business, I do all of the business operations side of things and my brother is more in charge of each job and the specifics of that.
How and when did you get started?
We started mowing lawns probably when I was in 4th grade, and in 2020 we met with attorneys and established everything as an LLC. I’ve been talking with a CPA and insurance people and all sorts of other things. The time off from school due to the coronavirus has allowed my school work to be very flexible, and I have been able to work on developing our business significantly. For example, on a day that we would normally have school, I was able to go to the bank and set up a business bank account and figure out how to pay for all of our new, electric equipment.
Your business is entirely electric. Why is that something that’s important to you?
Something that is super important to me is the environment, and if you know me very well you know that I always have my reusable silverware and cups and I’m always trying to reduce my impact on the environment. Last fall, I heard about a company that makes electric, commercial lawn mowers, and I was super intrigued. I did more research and found that a single commercial mower, if replaced by an electric mower, is comparable to taking 140 cars off the road each year. After hearing this statistic, I knew that I wanted to make the switch to electric mowers as it would not only provide numerous benefits to us, but it would provide an enormous benefit to the environment.
How much time do you spend in a typical week working on Franklin Brothers? How much time have you been spending since moving to E-Learning?
Typically, I would probably spend about 10+ hours working on the business in a week, most of that time being on the weekends. However, recently since we have moved to E-Learning, I have been able to do a lot more of my typical job, which is bookkeeping, marketing, talking with clients, organizing everything, and I have been able to work more on developing the business since E-Learning days are so flexible. For example, although we were supposed to go to Florida over spring break, I ended up working most of Spring Break, and I was probably working 8 hours a day.
You recently acquired some new equipment for Franklin Brothers, tell us about it and the environmental impact it will make.
We just got two electric, commercial lawn mowers from a company in Ohio. We also just purchased two electric, commercial Stihl blowers and edgers. This equipment is extremely exciting as not only do they not use any gas, but they are at least half as quiet as comparable gas equipment. We are calling this line of our company Quiet Cut as the mowers are insanely quiet. So while normal gas equipment can cause hearing loss without ear protection, our electric equipment is simply the noise level of a slow car driving by. Although it depends on how much we mow, I estimate that with our current customers, our electric mowers and equipment will prevent at least 50,000 lbs of greenhouse gas emissions from escaping into the atmosphere, which is extremely exciting for me.
What impact do you hope your business will have on your life, your clients and the community?
I have no desire to continue running the day to day operations of this business for the rest of my life, but I do look forward to learning more about running a business and how to do so sustainably. My hope is that our switch to electric equipment will make our customers more aware of the environmental impact that every single decision in their life makes, even how one cuts their lawn. In general, Quiet Cut, what we are calling the electric service, is being well talked about in our community, and we are connecting with other communities and organizations who love the fact that we are working to address an issue – emissions from lawn equipment – which most people wouldn’t even think about.