After 23 years of long hours in the oil field, oftentimes with 60-80-hour work weeks with zero flexibility, Ricardo Lewis wanted more for his life. “I wanted to spend more time with my kids and family. Over the years, I have missed many birthday parties and vacations because I was always too busy working,” says Ricardo.
With three kids approaching college age, in addition to wanting to spend more time with them, Lewis also knew he needed to create greater wealth and financial security for his family. Ricardo’s dad, Thomas R. and younger brother, Thomas C., also worked in the oil industry and were both feeling the same way. They all wanted to create more personal freedom and financial security in their lives.
Over the years, the Lewises and long-time family friend and co-worker, Roy Stephens, would often discuss going into business together. “We talked about all different types of business models, from a bar to a dry-cleaning business. We were open to anything, but for years it was just something we talked about, we were just passively looking,” recalls Ricardo.
After a company merger drastically changed their company’s work culture, the Lewises, at the urging of their friend Stephens, began to look more seriously into taking their futures into their own hands and starting a business. Ricardo says, “COVID-19 really got us looking more actively. The oil and gas industry was hit hard and when I was eventually laid off, we realized now was the time to act.”
They began to narrow down their criteria for investing. “We turned our focus to businesses that were considered both essential and year-round. Startup costs had to be low, but it also had to be scalable,” Ricardo says. “And, on the advice of our tax attorney, we looked for business where the operations were simple.”
This is when Stephens came across U.S. Lawns and shared his excitement about the brand with Ricardo. “It was all the things we were looking for. The support and systems that came with the brand were also appealing,” says Ricardo.
As he learned more about the brand, Ricardo found alignment with the business offering and core values. “Being a U.S. Lawns franchisee is not about being on the mower day in and day out, but rather growing your business,” Ricardo continues, “There is a family feel to the culture that resonated with me as well. My family is very close knit, and this will be a family operation. U.S. Lawns is a good fit for us.”
In October, Ricardo, Thomas R. and Thomas C. look the leap and joined the U.S. Lawns family as franchisees for the Pearland, TX territory. Unfortunately, Stephens’ health took an unexpected turn, and he is unable to join the family in the business. “He got us moving on this whole journey towards taking control of our futures and heavily influenced our decision to join U.S. Lawns. Roy has been and will always be a big part of this.”
In addition to creating more personal freedom and financial stability in his life, Ricardo is ready to grow personally and professionally. “I am excited to challenge myself in new ways that I wasn’t able to in my previous career,” explains Lewis, “I will be approaching my leadership role in the business much like a coach. I am looking forward to building my team and being a mentor to them. I appreciate that with this business we will be creating opportunities for other others in our community.”
Improving communities in ways that everyone can see is a core component of the U.S. Lawns culture. By providing job opportunities, beautifying properties and getting involved in community organizations and charities, the Lewises hope to make a significant impact in Pearland and the surrounding areas over the years to come.