In 1997, Travis Pritchett moved to the Grand Strand from Dale City, Va., a Washington DC suburb. His family had vacationed here since he was two-years-old, and when his older brother chose Coastal Carolina University after graduating from high school, his parents decided to relocate permanently. “My parents figured why not just move here because we all enjoyed being here so much anyway,” he says.
At 15, Pritchett got a job as a carwash attendant in Surfside Beach, an undertaking he found somewhat enjoyable because he regularly kept his father’s car sparkly clean. He wound up working for a man who had an auto detailing operation and did this for many years, but four years ago he realized that he needed to do something else to bolster his income.
“When I was younger, I always took care of our yard in Virginia,” he says. “We had a big corner lot up there. I cut the grass and did the basics, and I enjoyed being outside. I had some equipment, so I thought why not just go out and do a couple of lawns.”
This was the origin of Pritchett Lawn Service, LLC, an undertaking that started with one property in Tradition [Hilton Head] and has now grown into a thriving business servicing 60 customers. And this began with one car wash customer. “One person would tell another, and it just started to grow. I saw this becoming something where it could become a legit business – why not just go out and get the licensing and insurance, stick your foot out there and just go for it?” he says.
This has paid off for Pritchett. He handles residential and commercial properties, including the Grand Atlantic Ocean Resort, the Reef at South Beach and Jonathan Harbour. “I’ve got two guys that work with me regularly, but I pretty much keep it simple. I’m there on every job. I like to get my hands dirty, and I’m out there working just as hard as everybody else,” he says. “I just feel better that way.”
Lawn care can be a sunup to sundown proposition. “During the busy season you get up around 6:30, head out – and you don’t usually get home until around eight at night.” But he tries to keep all of this to the weekdays because he is also a family man. He lives in Murrells Inlet with wife Ashley Pritchett and two young sons: Landon (10) and Tyler (6). “I always try to set time aside for family time so you don’t get burned out.”
But because he also handles all of the administrative work for Pritchett Lawn Service, he sometimes finds himself working into the wee hours. “Sometimes I stay up until 12 or 1 in the morning doing paperwork and invoicing – making sure you’re billing people correctly and that you’re getting paid and the money’s coming in. But it’s definitely worth it, and it’s a part of starting a business.”
The Pritchetts enjoy the beach when they can, or heading out to Broadway at the Beach. “Murrells Inlet is nice, but it’s a whole different vibe from Myrtle,” he says. “This summer, we didn’t really take a vacation – we kind of just went to the movies or took the kids to Broadway – let them hang out there, or played miniature golf. We did some of the things that the tourists do just to kick back – away from everyday life.”
He is also a huge Washington Redskins fan, and tries to make it to a few games a year. His brother now lives back in D.C. and is a season ticketholder. When we spoke to Pritchett, he had high hopes for the NFC Wildcard Playoff game, but admitted that the Seattle Seahawks were tough opponents. Turns out he was right. But he said that he was already quite satisfied with Washington’s season.
Pritchett and family are staying put. “I’m not going anywhere. My wife’s family is originally from here, and we built a house in Murrells Inlet about three-and-a-half years ago. And this is where we call home. Her family is here, my mom and dad are here – so we built this house with intentions to stay until the day we die.”