Software Development


Use Cases:

Multi-cloud visibility, cloud efficiency, engineering engagement, FinOps maturity, proactive cost management

Project Leads:

Alberto Silveira, Head of Engineering



LawnStarter is an online marketplace that provides lawn maintenance and outdoor services for consumers and lawn care professionals.


Ahead of new growth initiatives, LawnStarter wanted to drive cloud efficiency among their engineering teams.


Implemented CloudZero to boost spend allocation, identify savings opportunities, and give engineers relevant, timely data about the cost of their cloud infrastructure.


  1. Reduced cloud storage costs by 55%
  2. Reduced overall cloud costs by 20%
  3. Justified two new engineering teams
  4. Accelerated FinOps maturity

The Challenge

One of LawnStarter’s core values is “Be scrappy” — meaning, the company must be lean in order to succeed in today’s competitive market. In the span of three years, they’d seen their revenue more than quadruple. Their cloud costs were growing too, but at a substantially lower rate. Unlike many cloud-driven organizations in 2023 — a year of economic downturn — LawnStarter wasn’t facing a cloud cost emergency.

But they were also eyeing up substantial growth. Specialized in offering outdoor home services, LawnStarter had plans to expand beyond mowing, venturing into new verticals like lawn treatment, pest control, and power washing among many other home outdoor services. As they envisioned bold new ventures, they knew that their cloud environment, which had been fairly lean for most of the company’s existence, was about to get larger and more complicated.

“As your platform evolves, so does the complexity of your cloud costs,” said Alberto Silveira, head of engineering at LawnStarter. “Your ability to see things with the naked eye decreases, and you need tools that help you see beyond what the naked eye can see.”

LawnStarter’s cloud environment consisted of both AWS and GCP. To date, Alberto had been managing cloud costs by manually digging through vendor-native tools like AWS Cost Explorer. While useful for observing some basic cost trends, these tools did not enable the kind of proactive cost-conscious engineering that Alberto wanted.

“Maybe in a company’s first few years, it can afford to build first and take a sort of reactive approach to cloud cost management,” Alberto said. “But if you wait too long to get proactive, your cloud costs will literally eat you, to the point that you won’t be able to grow your business at the pace you want.”

LawnStarter’s cloud cost goals centered on visibility and efficiency:

  • Allocate 100% of AWS and GCP costs in a single pane of glass, including cost per department and cost per environment
  • Clear away cloud waste that had accumulated unchecked
  • Establish standards and practices in the development cycle to prevent the creation of such waste in the future
  • Connect engineering-led efficiency to business growth and justify increased investments in engineering

The Solution

While eliminating unnecessary costs was essential to LawnStarter’s efficiency goals, Alberto understood that cost-cutting alone wasn’t going to cut it.

“The first time I heard about CloudZero, I thought it was just another company trying to save me money,” Alberto said. “But if you optimize inefficient software, any savings you find won’t survive your next stage of growth.”

The more Alberto learned about CloudZero, the more he realized the alignment between his vision and the platform’s capabilities. In particular, he was intrigued by CloudZero’s ability to help him “slice and dice” his cloud costs, visualizing them in a way that pertained to his vision and LawnStarter’s business goals.

Across a rapid demo process, CloudZero ingested and allocated 100% of LawnStarter’s AWS and GCP costs according to Alberto’s desired Dimensions of cost per environment and cost per department (among others). Right away, Alberto and his team began identifying substantial efficiency gains.

The Results

Reduced cloud storage costs by 55%, and overall cloud costs by 20%

Understanding that cost-cutting was just one prong of LawnStarter’s goals, it was an essential one in setting up long-term cloud efficiency. From the time LawnStarter deployed CloudZero to the time of writing, LawnStarter’s overall cloud costs have decreased by 20%.

“A healthy chunk of that came from RDS storage, computing power, and replication costs,” Alberto explained. “CloudZero showed us savings opportunities that led us to migrate to Aurora (Reader and Writer) and switching from the traditional MySql RDS db.m5.8xlarge to Auora db.r6g.2xlarge — from $2.848 per hour to $0.712 per hour.” At the time of writing, LawnStarter’s monthly RDS costs have decreased from $33,084 to $15,020 — a 55% reduction.

LanwStarter also used department-level visibility to reveal further inefficiencies.

“Cost per department let us identify significant cloud opportunities in our sales department, of all places,” Alberto said. “They were using  AWS connect to forward calls across different accounts that didn’t need to be forwarded. Decommissioning that saved us $30k–$40k a year. We couldn’t see that with our naked eyes.

“I often modify my ‘One Team, One Heart’ motto by adding ‘One Wallet’ as well. Cost awareness and cost management should be everyone’s concern. We all share the same wallet — the company wallet,” Alberto said. “I view the money we don’t send to AWS as money I can reinvest in my engineers, in big and small ways. The more I invest in them, the more they invest in the company — how many features can motivated team members build versus unmotivated ones?”

Justified two new delivery teams

When asked about the business impacts of CloudZero-driven efficiency, Alberto pointed to the concept of the “flywheel” introduced by Verne Harnish in his book “Scaling Up.” The flywheel starts with a vision, and describes a virtuous cycle of innovation that makes that vision a reality and enables a company to deliver it at scale.

LawnStarter’s growth vision is to have one job in every household. In order to do that, they need more people to develop more products and features. To hire more people, they need more money; and to justify larger investments, they need to prove efficiency.

“LawnStarter is building two new delivery teams to help us expand into new home care verticals,” Alberto said. “It’s a direct result of proving efficiency with CloudZero. It’s not just efficiency for its own sake — it’s helping us grow our business the way we want to.”

Accelerated LawnStarter’s FinOps maturity

Alberto spoke highly of CloudZero’s FinOps Account Managers (FAM), who identify inefficiencies, provide ongoing consultation, and help institute FinOps best practices for all customers. He credited his FAM, Thalia Elie, with identifying multiple multi-thousand-dollar efficiencies in his cloud environment.

“It’s the highest level of concierge you can have,” Alberto said. “It’s like an extension of my team. It’s a must-have — I would give it an eleven out of ten, no kidding. We work together as One Team with One Heart”.

When asked to describe CloudZero, Alberto didn’t mince words.

“It’s something you need in your culture to achieve the highest level of efficiency. You don’t even have to be inefficient — LawnStarter wasn’t inefficient when we began our partnership. But if we agree you could run more efficiently, you need CloudZero.”