Michael Lauritsen is a real-life "rain man" who can help you keep your lawn looking green.|
The 2000 graduate of Bettendorf High Schoolwas working for a heating and air-conditioning company in northern Wisconsin when the owner of an irrigation company asked him to work for him.
"I get to be outside and meet a lot of nice people," he said, noting he likes the fast pace of the business during the warm-weather season. "I work really hard all summer long and get to recoup a little in the winter."
After five years of learning the business, Mr. Lauritsen decided to move back home and start his own company, RainMaster Irrigation."2008 was my first year," he said.
The company installs and services underground sprinkler systems for both residential and commercial customers.
Mr. Lauritsen said he feels he might be looking at a good year in 2013, thanks to last year's drought. During a drought, people are more inclined to give up on their burned-up lawns during that growing season, but consider a sprinkler system installation for the following year, he said.
"This was probably the worst summer," he said. "The ground was completely hard. It was just like concrete without moisture in it."
He said troubleshooting can be required when a cable company or anyone else installing underground lines inadvertently cuts into the sprinkler lines. When that happens, he asks the homeowner if he or she has had any recent work done, then uses a locator to find the spot. He said he uses trenchers and a vibratory blade instead of a backhoe, so there is little mess.
Mr. Lauritsen said 2008 was a good year, then business slowed down in 2009 with the recession, but each year since then has shown very steady growth.
"I feel like our customer base is becoming larger," he said. "I'll probably hire another person in the spring."Last summer he had five employees.
"We're a little smaller operation than some, but we keep plugging away," he said.