Student-run landscaping company contributes to community



Brothers Landscaping, run by junior Nate Yee, is both a successful business and a way for the student employees to escape schoolwork-induced stress.

Erika Sanchez, Staff Writer

Imagine running your very own company as a high school student, waking up bright and early on Saturdays and Sundays, the only two days you get total freedom to do whatever you want.

This is the case for junior Nate Yee, who provides landscaping services to Brookline as a way to connect with the community. Through his strong leadership skills and professionalism, he has been able to help many in his community through his company, Brothers Landscaping.

Nate Yee did not picture the idea of starting a landscaping company right away. At first he only worked on his own property. Neighbors, however, were soon interested when they saw his work.

“It led to another neighbor and then a couple more neighbors,” Nate Yee said. “Then I was like, ‘Let me have some of my friends help out because this is starting to grow.’”

Nate Yee now has a crew of five more people, including freshman Evan Yee and juniors Mitch O’Grady, Ben McMahon, Andrew Cubell and Ryan Rafati. He realized that he needed more support in order to continue his services for the community. He turned to books and the internet, gaining most of his knowledge on landscaping via the library and YouTube. He also invested in online courses to get a feel for the business aspect of his company.

Nate Yee works alongside his brother, freshman Evan Yee, who described his experience as fun and extremely professional.

“We like to be very professional,” Evan Yee said. “We are not goofing around on the job, but we’ll crack jokes, sometimes a laugh. We want to stay professional in front of the client.”

Evan Yee admires working with his brother and the teamwork they share, even when there may be conflicts.

“Maybe sometimes I would not do something right or he would not do something right,” Evan Yee said. “But it’s not like we would split and not work with each other for a month. We would always be with each other. We never stop talking to each other.”

Evan Yee is most satisfied when they take the client outside to see the finished product.

“I love seeing their face when they see how clean it is,” Evan Yee said. “That’s my favorite part.”

According to Evan Yee, the reason why his brother’s landscaping company has been successful is because of the way they teach their employees to always be professional on the job and around the client.

Rafati said that Nate Yee has a high level of professionalism and flexibility.

“Nate is very flexible,” Rafati said. “He also keeps everyone on task, and we all wear the same attire and keep it very professional, which is pretty cool.”

Rafati said the crew’s ability to work as a team and independently at the same time is a huge component to the success of Brothers Landscaping.

“We all work as a team, and we each get our own personal job done,” Rafati said. “So then it makes the whole thing go faster and working as a unit.”

In terms of the business side of the company, Nate Yee relies heavily on referrals from customer to customer. He’s also tried Facebook and Instagram advertising, but he believes that those aspects are secondary to recommendations in terms of their impact.

“I would say if you do anything in advertising, you want to do it consistently,” Nate Yee said. “We just stick to referrals.”

Going to school and running a landscaping company is not easy, but Nate Yee manages to balance the two.

“To be an owner of your own landscaping company means it’s a lot easier to manage your time because you can choose exactly when you want the job done,” Nate Yee said. “We basically schedule in the job in a way where we can manage it.”

Nate Yee said working on a landscaping project for someone gives him a chance to take a break from school and help others.

“A lot of it feels like zen gardening, and it’s really relaxing,” Nate Yee said. “It gives me and my guys a chance to just take a break from school, help out a neighbor and work on their landscape.”

In fact, during spring 2017, Nate Yee and his crew volunteered at the Coolidge Corner School. They helped move the school garden and raised it, as the school was going through a location change. In doing so they gained a better sense of their community.

“For us to be able to learn who’s in our community and help them out felt really good,” Nate Yee said.