Small business owner thriving despite hardship
Starting a new business is never easy. For Rosa and Carlos Reyes, wife and husband, facing prejudice makes the task even more difficult.
When the Reyes started their lawn care business in Round Rock, it was hard to find customers. Rosa said many people make assumptions based on their appearance.
“Because I’m Mexican (American), there were a lot of people who closed doors on me and insulted me,” she said. “That kind of makes me sad.”
As the country celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month from September 15 to October 15, Reyes said she feels honored to be a small business owner and a Hispanic. She realizes that some people may look down on her because of her appearance and ethnicity. And she takes the opportunity to push herself.
“We came here with a purpose,” Reyes said of starting the family business. “Yet you treat us like nothing. That’s all the motivation we need.”
Reyes is from California and her husband is from Veracruz, Mexico. They now live in Round Rock.
After both growing up mowing lawns for neighbors or family, Rosa and Carlos started Reyes Lawn Services & More in 2018.
RosaReyes said starting a business was not easy because she and her husband had no one to support them or teach them the ins and outs of the industry. Reyes said she used what she learned in the few business-related college courses she took to make the business work.
“It was really tough,” Reyes said, “You just start with one foot in front of the other and you learn as you go.”
Reyes, 29, said between competing with other lawn care services and getting ripped off by customers, it was hard to get the business off the ground. When the pandemic started two years later, she said, it became even more difficult to maintain their business because people wanted to do everything themselves.
Reyes said that at one point she and her husband considered closing the business because they had to lay off their three employees. She says they’ve been able to maintain it through increased promotion through flyers and social media, and by building relationships with current and potential customers.
Although they do the work alone now, they continue to offer services such as trimming, mowing, spring/fall cleaning, landscaping, trimming, and trash cleanup. Although based in Round Rock, Reyes said they also work in Pflugerville and other areas of Austin, and work from time to time in Waco, Dallas and San Antonio.
“People doubt me just because I’m a small business,” she said, “but that doesn’t mean I can’t grow.”
After:What you need to know about celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month in Austin this year
Carlos Reyes said he was proud of the progress made. They started with a push mower and a leaf blower that they transported in a van, he said, and now have several tools, a truck and a trailer.
Rosa Reyes said she wanted to grow her business and be able to franchise. “I want my name to be a household name,” she said.
Reyes hopes other Hispanic business owners can learn from their struggles and know that they can do anything they want if they think about it. Reyes said the special thing about being Hispanic is that family will always be there to support you.
“Go for what you want,” Reyes said. “No one can tell you when to quit or when not to. It’s all up to you.”