How MHA alum Josh Kirk started his own business

by Brooks Thomas, Grove City College

College is an investment. A student pays a sum of money for four years of an unforgettable experience, a rigorous education, and lifelong friends. However, many times that sum of money can seem daunting. Junior Business Management and Marketing double major Joshua Kirk found a creative way to not only pay for college, but also earn experience within his field of study.

The summer after his sophomore year of high school, Kirk worked a very labor-intensive hardscaping and landscaping job. Using that summer to learn the business, he realized that there was a lucrative niche in the hardscaping business on which he believed he could capitalize. At the end of that summer, with an investment from his grandparents, he started tackling his own projects. By the end of the following summer, Kirk decided to start his own business, which he called Kirk Bros Lawn and Hardscape Design LLC.

Managing a team of three people (Kirk’s brother, cousin, and best friend), Kirk has created his own business that operates solely in the summer months. Kirk Bros Lawn and Hardscape Design LLC is a full service hardscaping and landscaping company that specializes in designing, building, and installing patios and retaining walls. Operating out of the Cincinnati, Ohio area, Kirk Bros Lawn and Hardscape Design LLC grosses approximately $29,000 in monthly sales during the three summer months. It does not take a calculator to see how successful this company has become.

Kirk has continued growing the business into college, working hard to try to earn enough money to pay for college. He contributes a lot of his success to two particular classes he has taken at Grove City.

“The two most influential classes I’ve taken here that have helped with my landscape company would be my sales class with Professor Kocur,” commented Kirk, “where he really helped me hone my sales skills and really helped me move into projects and close sales quicker. The other class that has been very helpful has been Accounting with Dr. Russin, [teaching me to do] my financials at the end of each year and taxes.”

Having already had a wealth of business experience, Kirk has found his classes even more engaging. “Being able to take what professors are saying and immediately applying them to experiences that I’ve already had…” has been very helpful for Kirk.

I asked Kirk if he had any tips for anyone who wants to start their own business. His face lit up, and he immediately said, “To take it one step at a time. I think if you had asked me to start the same company right now I would be super overwhelmed, but I just took it incrementally. I slowly accumulated knowledge, and experience, and tools.”

“It didn’t all happen in one summer,” Kirk said. “A huge learning experience that I’ve had is any time you are trying to create a company, you have to know that it is long term, and really focus on creating incremental steps that you can achieve along the way.”

Kirk hopes to one day pass the business down to his younger brother.