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How To Start A Lawn Care Franchise
Don’t try to do it on your own –
Starting a business is complicated. Owning a lawn care franchise provides the chance to start a thriving business, taking complete ownership and responsibility, with a significantly reduced risk factor — overhead is minimized, a company brand is already established and employees are easier to find. Starting a lawn service business is no exception to the rule. Any time you can leverage the name and experience of an established business, you increase your chances for success.
A “ground floor” opportunity –
In the past, most homeowners could have a world-class lawn only on a do-it-yourself basis, purchasing the products through retail stores and making the applications themselves. As a result, many homeowners, although they would prefer a world-class lawn, have had to settle for something less. Either they didn’t care for all of the labor that is associated with maintaining their lawn or they believed that premium lawn care services were too expensive.
A closer look at the market –
Today, there are 10.5 million single-family households in America, spending more than $3 billion annually on lawn services. Although the do-it-yourselfer market is made up of more households than the lawn service market, lawn service revenue is three times greater than the total do-it-yourselfer revenue each year.
Who are these lawn service customers? Many are people who simply have no interest or desire to do their own lawn work. To them, caring for the lawn is a chore.
Many lawn service households today are families with very active lives and busy schedules-often both parents are working, so their time for lawn work is limited. Another segment of lawn service customers comes from single parent families and senior citizens who do not feel capable of, or comfortable, doing the work themselves.
Collectively they make up a diverse market, yet there’s a common thread shared by them all. They have the desire for-and the disposable income to pay for a professional lawn service.
The premium lawn service market –
Today, the lawn service industry cares for the lawns of 10.5 million single family households in the United States. Although this represents 15% of American households, it accounts for 75% of the total lawn care dollars spent. In other words, the lawn service industry is three times larger than the do-it-yourselfer market. And as new home construction continues to expand, lawn service revenues are growing at a healthy rate.
Serving a definite purpose –
The multi-billion dollar lawn service industry is highly fragmented, however, without a clearly identified, premium service company. Many larger lawn service providers are price oriented and build their business around high volume and high production. They are unable to give their customers the individual attention they would like, and they are unable to concern themselves with quality. The smaller independent services are without strong brand identification and struggle to compete as they are forced to use inferior products to remain competitive.
As a result, there is a vast market of homeowners who are unable to find a service that meets their needs. Those needs include the use of top quality, branded lawn products, applied by true professionals, in programs that can be tailored to meet the needs of the individual lawn, with applications made on time, and with the technical support to solve virtually any lawn problems that may arise.
Many reasons, one conclusion-they want a lush, green lawn –
Lawn care service customers come from a broad demographic range. There are some who would rather spend their spare time fishing or playing golf than caring for their lawn. There are families with two working parents who don’t have the time to do lawn work. There are retirees and women who head single parent homes who are not comfortable doing it themselves. And there are folks who just don’t know what to do or when to do it, so they need help.
Yet despite their many differences, these are all homeowners who recognize that a thick, green lawn enhances the beauty of their home and improves the quality of their family’s hours together-not to mention the value that it adds to their home. So, simply put, they want the best.
Starting out –
During in-depth training sessions, most lawn service companies will take you through every step of running your new lawn care business. From the day you make the decision to open a lawn service franchise, you can typically count on the full support of the parent company. Investigate to make sure the training process includes all of the materials and “know how” you need, supplied from professionals who know the lawn business inside and out. A good company to franchise with realizes that its success depends on your success. It should be totally committed to working together with you to provide whatever support is required to build a solid, profitable business for you.
It starts with training –
With many companies, your training begins with intensive classroom training sessions. During these sessions, you’ll be exposed to virtually every facet of the lawn service business. Try to find a company where you can get “hands-on” experience in running the business. You’ll want to have the opportunity to solve real, day-to-day business problems. Finally, you’ll need to receive training on the operation of the computer hardware and software that will make your new business efficient. You’ll find that, although you are an independent entrepreneur, you won’t want to have to face business problems alone.
Look for continued support –
Ongoing training is available for you and for all of your people through many lawn service companies. As your business grows, they should continue to keep your organization in top form through seminars, workshops, conferences, video presentations, and technical bulletins.
One area where you’ll find this assistance most helpful is marketing. The millions of dollars these companies devote each year to establish brand identification gives your advertising great acceptance and credibility. You’ll utilize the same advertising that the parent, company-owned branches use, only customized for your area. These are proven advertising methods and materials, pre-tested to deliver lots of cost-effective leads and sales for your new business.
How important is experience?
Potential franchise owners sometimes ask who makes the best lawn service franchisee. Is it someone with previous experience in turf care? Is it the person who has previously operated his or her own business?
Actually, in operating any business, previous experience is helpful, but it in no way determines success. That’s especially true with a lawn care franchise. More important than experience is a desire to control your own financial destiny-plus an understanding of the importance of leveraging a powerful brand name and a willingness to use all of the tools put at your disposal in building and maintaining your franchise business.
On being your own boss –
Millions of people dream about owning their own business-often from a desire for the freedom of answering to themselves, rather than to someone a step or two above them on the corporate ladder.
Having this dream is great, but it should be accompanied by a realization that with this freedom comes great deal of responsibility. A franchise owner, for example, doesn’t answer to a “boss” but to many bosses — the customers that are served every day, who expect only the best from a company associated with parent company’s name.
Financing arrangements –
The cost of a lawn care service franchise depends on the potential of the market selected. It is based upon the demographics and other criteria within the selected territory. Although a cash payment for the full amount of the franchise investment is the most cost-effective way to finance the franchise, this is not the best (or most realistic) plan for everyone.
For this reason, companies carefully review the financial status of each franchise applicant as a one-of-a-kind situation. Individual financing arrangements, therefore, can be worked out with qualified applicants, based on their own financial position. Starting a franchise of any kind is a serious investment — make sure you not only have the desire and the work ethic, but also a good financial discipline and history.
Before you act –
Before entering into a lawn service franchise, or any other business opportunity, it is wise to make an honest self-analysis. Asking yourself these questions will be helpful in that endeavor.
1.What are you looking for in a business opportunity? Are you looking for independence, job satisfaction, improved lifestyle, greater earnings or building wealth by developing a business that has a growing resale value?
2.Try to pinpoint your priorities, and then decide what you are willing to do to achieve them.
3.Are you willing to work long, hard hours? Starting a successful lawn care business takes more than a 40-hour work week.
4.Are you enthused about becoming part of another organization? Remember, you’re actually joining a successful organization and leveraging its brand name, in addition to using its marketing and operating system to achieve success.
5.Are you willing to work together and follow a system? Of course, you’ll own the business, but you’ll still need to follow the tried and true system of the brand.
6.Do you have the “people skills” that are needed to hire and direct a staff of employees?
7.Do you have the time to devote to the initial start-up of the new business? This will take a great deal of your personal attention in all aspects of the business, from sales to production.
8.Are you in the financial position to open a franchise? You’ll need enough funds to purchase the franchise, plus money to operate it until it becomes financially viable.
About the Author
Perry Boylan is a Marketing Manager with Scotts LawnService. Perry has worked for Scotts Miracle-Gro for 10 years providing sound lawn, garden, and pest management advice. Scotts LawnService can help you a href=”http://www.scottslawnservice.com/index.cfm/event/franchises_scottsRep”>start a lawn care franchise today!