Weather cooperating with local lawn businesses

PLATTE WOODS, Mo. - Most neighborhoods around the metro area are humming with the sounds of lawn mowers.

The wet spring has led to a lot of growth, keeping lawn businesses like Derek's Lawn Service Inc., very busy.

"This spring I was running around like a chicken with my head cut off trying to keep up with 30 accounts a week and three to four days of rain every week," owner Derek Smith said.

It's a far cry from what he told 41 Action News one year ago. In the summer of 2012, we spoke with Smith about the lack of business and how much that was hurting his wallet.

"I haven't taken a paycheck home this year yet," Smith told us then, "haven't paid myself a dime this whole year."

When we spoke with him last year, Smith said he had just purchased a new truck with a lift and trailer, thinking about how much his business had grown. But then, the Midwest ended up suffering from a severe drought and there wasn't a big need for his services.

"It certainly doesn't pay the bills when you're getting home before lunch," Smith said in 2012.

But this spring, Smith finds himself in a new predicament, facing new challenges. Rather than no jobs, he has too many. Now, he's working long days and weeks, wondering how he's going to get it all finished.

"This year is the first year that my weekly mowing route is full," he said with a smile. "I'm actually starting to turn work away."

Even though he finds himself working around the clock this year, Smith recognizes that it's a much better challenged to be facing.

"Now, I've got a lot of work to do – substantially better than last year," Smith said.

The winter helped him out, as well. With three big snow storms, Smith got to put his new equipment to good use, even wearing out one piece.

"The snow was so good," he said. "I broke a brand new $8,000 plow on the front of my truck trying to move the deep snow."

But all the business means he's close to paying off most of the new equipment he purchased. It's a big sigh of relief, he said, after wondering when he was going to get his next paycheck in 2012.

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