Having a beautiful and well maintained lawn is the goal of every homeowner. As everyone knows, however, keeping up with the work required to achieve this goal is not an easy task. In 2014, young fathers Justin Crandall and Bart Lomont of Dallas, Texas, realized they were spending more time maintaining their lawns than actually playing on them with their children or enjoying a family barbeque.

So they began looking for a lawn care company or independent businessman to take over the care and maintenance. It should have been easy to find and hire a competent lawn care professional. Instead they had to make numerous phone calls, leaving voicemails that often went unreturned, had to schedule visits to their homes for on-site estimates, and struggle to create a workable schedule for maintenance. Upon actually engaging someone, they had to leave payments under the doormat or require someone to stay home on mowing day. This frustrating experience caused them to ask: Isn’t there a better way to arrange for lawn care services in this age of instant communication and on-line payment services? And the answer was clearly, YES!

On May 21, 2015, with $1.2 million in seed funding, they launched Robin Autopilot. Residents of Dallas, Austin, and Houston could now go online and select the services they wanted to maintain their property. No home visit required. Local property records are used to estimate the size of the lawn. Customer friendly software allowed quick sign-up, with choices of frequency and additional services, as well as on-line payment. Robin Autopilot has since expanded into Fort Worth and Miami, and has grown to a staff of 12 people.

Robin Autopilot offers robotic mowing service, and it’s a lot more affordable than you might expect. These small mowers are guided by wiring installed in the ground, preventing the mowers from running amok and chomping up the flower beds or meandering off the property. One of the main attractions of the robotic mower is that it operates entirely on its own. What happens when there is a fence? Would a homeowner have to leave a gate open? Not an attractive idea. So, Robin developed and patented a small door that the robot uses, further underscoring their determination to be in the forefront of this movement.

While the initial focus was on making the process easier for customers, it soon became obvious that having a centralized clearinghouse for lawn maintenance requests was a boon for small business owners as well. Not only would they not have to continually worry about missed calls or forgotten payments, but they would benefit from having jobs clustered in a reasonable area rather than driving back and forth all over the city. Robin Autopilot now partners with many small lawn care businesses, providing them with coordinated scheduling and regular payments. Justin Crandall and Bart Lomont took a frustrating experience and through innovative thinking and hard work propelled the lawn care business into the future (and beyond)!

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Shark Tank Air Date: 11/12/17 – Season 9 – Episode 10

 
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