A Cut Above: Maintaining a Business during Trying Times

. June 16, 2020.
Luke Gerlinger, 17, received an Outstanding Student Award in Botany from South and West
Washtenaw Consortium. Image courtesy of David Mellor
Luke Gerlinger, 17, received an Outstanding Student Award in Botany from South and West Washtenaw Consortium. Image courtesy of David Mellor

Award-winning Saline FFA Student operates lawn service.

Luke Gerlinger, 17, had a rough start to his lawn mowing business this spring. When the COVID-19 pandemic began, Governor Whitmer ordered that non-essential businesses cease operations, which included landscape companies.

“It was just the starting season. I was actually able to get equipment ready,” Gerlinger said.

Shortly after orders were lifted and repairs to mowers were made, Gerlinger was back in business.

“I was definitely very busy picking up the slack, from the clean up to getting flower beds looking pretty to mowing the lawns,” he said.

Gerlinger, a junior at Saline High School, has been the owner and operator of LG Lawn Service since 2017. He has slowly been building his business, adding more jobs to his resume.

“This year, I’ve been blowing it out of the water, doing everything from flower beds to mowing lawns to power washing houses and patios. I’ve been at it for three years as of this summer.”

Saline High School student Luke Gerlinger, 17, received the 2020 Michigan FFA State Bronze Proficiency Award for Turfgrass Management at a ceremony at Michigan State University in March. Image courtesy of David Mellor.Saline High School student Luke Gerlinger, 17, received the 2020 Michigan FFA State Bronze Proficiency Award for Turfgrass Management at a ceremony at Michigan State University in March. Image courtesy of David Mellor.

Michigan FFA Award Winner

Gerlinger has been a member of Saline Future Farmers of America for the past two years, and was the recent recipient of the 2020 Michigan FFA State Bronze Proficiency Award for Turfgrass Management. He received his award at a ceremony at Michigan State University in March.

As a young entrepreneur, Gerlinger has learned a lot about running a business. He cited the importance of keeping records of finances, clients, and billing, while also remembering to take photos to promote the business.

“No matter the conditions, there are going to be ups and downs. You just have to learn how to get through. You’ve got to make sure you have money put aside so you’re not running out of money. You’ve got to make sure that your equipment is maintained when you’re slow. Just make sure if you have any slows or any challenges, just keep on pushing. There’s a reason for those challenges.” 

Luke Gerlinger, 17, is a Saline High School junior, as well as the owner and operator of LG Lawn Service.

Luke Gerlinger, 17, is a Saline High School junior, as well as the owner and operator of LG Lawn Service.

A Bright Future

Gerlinger recently received an Outstanding Student Award in Botany from the SWWC, the South and West Washtenaw Consortium. He hopes to continue his education in the field beyond high school.

“My plan after high school is to go to Michigan State into the turf management program, get my certificate, and then join the military,” he said. “I want to be a horizontal construction engineer with the Army.”

For more information on Saline FFA, visit the website at salineffa.com. If you’re interested in Gerlinger’s services, contact him at lmgerlinger@gmail.com or by phone at 734-680-9627.