At its core, lawn care isn’t about managing pests, combatting disease, controlling weeds or growing grass – it’s about pride. When Jon Cundiff, CEO of Weed Man Kansas City, thinks about his business, he does it through a crafted lens, carefully tinted by what his customers care about – things like school plays, ballet lessons, work functions, washing dishes, paying bills and the constant need to just take a breath.
“Everyone’s lives are so busy, and yet this [their yard] is a very important piece of their world,” Jon says. “When it comes to helping people, that’s a great mission...to nurture an enjoyable place to come home to and have a lawn and landscape look so good, they can sit down and enjoy it."
It’s this kind of passion that is often unheralded in the world of lawn care, but it’s also what separates a good business from a great one.
According to Jon, seeing franchisees achieve their dreams of building a business is what really gets him motivated. “You see people create their own opportunity,” he says. “And it’s exciting to be a part of that and to help mentor them as they grow their business acumen and get new houses, new cars and growing families.”
Like many lawn and landscape professionals, Jon knows that family and business are closely intertwined. In fact, he and his wife, Vicky, founded a lawn care business together in 1987 and later joined Weed Man in 2000. And today, following years of well-earned, cultivated growth, their son, Cameron Cundiff, is General Manager of Operations for Weed Man Kansas City. It’s a testament to the notion that great relationships are a foundation for success.
“There’s a deeply-rooted, entrepreneurial spirit that runs from Weed Man’s senior management through to their entire group,” says Mike Dzurenko, Key Account Manager for Bayer. “And Jon’s relationships within Weed Man and the industry are just phenomenal.”
Jon sees relationships not as the icing on the cake, but the cake itself – they’re just not optional anymore.
“As a business, you have to have an accountant, a lawyer, a banker. That’s how I look at my involvement with Bayer,” Jon says. “Mike has a genuine commitment to see us be better. It’s not just about products. He wants our business to grow and be the best it can be – and I know he’s a phone call away and a support system that we can lean on.”
For Mike, helping businesses grow is the best part of the job. “I’m all about relationships,” Mike says. “This is a service business. It’s about how we help businesses succeed for the long-term.”
For Jon, finding like-minded people to help advance the industry isn’t just a passion; it’s a calling – and a primary function of his current role as Immediate Past President for the National Association of Landscape Professionals (NALP). And it’s through his leadership with the NALP that Jon often finds himself talking with fellow board member Pete Farno, Lawn & Landscape segment manager for Bayer.
“You turn around, and there’s a guy like Pete in the room. And that commitment to understand our world and to get in there and make it better, that shines through for Bayer,” says Jon. “You can see that, and you know they’re there for the industry as a whole. This industry is as important to them as it is to us.”
In Jon’s eyes, that degree of dedication and care is a crucial element of success in this industry.
“There’s a passion for what we do. There’s a commitment – commitment to helping and serving customers and passion about what we’re meant to do and can achieve,” Jon says.
So, whether it ends with the customer’s source of pride in his newfound curb appeal, the thrill of growing a business or the comfort of a trusted relationship – a little extra care goes a long way in achieving, and then exceeding, expectations.
“I’ve been in the industry since I was 16,” Jon says, “and I learned at a very early age what it meant to be disciplined and to be committed to being the best in the business. That discipline doesn’t just all-of-a-sudden happen. It happens every time you step on the field. And it takes a village.”
Jon Cundiff is CEO and Vicky Cundiff is CFO of Weed Man Kansas City. Together, they are Weed Man Sub-Franchisors for Missouri, Kansas, Iowa, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Nebraska and Northern Texas.