Not many middle school-aged kids know what they want to be when they grow up, so it’s pretty astounding to think Nate Kohn was actually taking the first steps of his career before he was even a teenager. At the young age of 12, he began going door to door in Port Washington, knocking on doors and offering to cut lawns for $10.
What started out as work on a few lawns blossomed into bigger mowing jobs and learning how to maintain and repair the equipment. When he first started Nate’s Lawn Maintenance at age 12, he thought the work would be a good way to earn money for college. He worked hard, saved his money, and bought equipment- taking each step one at a time. But as he began taking general education classes at UW-Sheboygan and then horticulture at MATC, with a plan to major in construction management at a four-year program, he realized he couldn’t afford to leave behind his growing business and decided to give it a go full-time. He’s never looked back. “It’s a God thing,” he says. “We’ve had bad things happen and pulled through it. I can’t take credit for it- I’ve just enjoyed it.”
Since construction was his first love, he started out in landscape construction. In 2003, he rebranded the business as Nate’s Landscape Company. However, in the decade that followed, plagued by a plummeting economy, Nate did some serious thinking about the direction he needed to take his business, and with the help of an industry specific consultant, he ultimately decided to focus on commercial snow and ice removal and lawn care, services he had been offering for years.
It’s turned out to be a great decision, as Nate’s staff now numbers close to 200 employees during the snow season, and 15 full-time employees year-round, and even that is not enough to complete the amount of work he feels he could be doing. “If I could find more help, we could keep growing and growing,” he said.
As they say, necessity is the mother of invention, and in a quest to complete jobs more efficiently, four years ago he created what is now known as the Boss QuickCube System. This system allows salt to be stored on-site in weather proof containers “Cubes” and spread with a skid loader at his snow accounts, alleviating the need for trucks to deliver salt to each location every time it is needed. He partnered up with Boss Snowplow to bring his idea to fruition, and is now rolling out his invention throughout Canada, the US and European markets to follow.
Now that winter has finally loosened its grasp on Wisconsin, Nate’s is into the lawn season. They provide quality residential and commercial lawn maintenance packages- fertilizing, weed control, shrub trimming, mulching, etc. Even with customers as far north as Manitowoc and south to Milwaukee, Nate says he really appreciates it when he’s able to do work for local residents and commercial accounts. “The local community really needs to support its businesses as much as possible,” he said.