Say you’ve decided you want to add lawn care services to your business and that going the franchise route is what meets your needs the best. What next?
Now it is time to choose which lawn care franchise you want to work with. There are a number of different options out there and there is no one perfect choice. Jennifer Lemcke, LIC, CEO of Weed Man USA, says it comes down to the people and who you feel comfortable with.
“When getting into a franchise system, you are becoming a partner with the organization, and you need to make sure your core values are aligned,” Lemcke says. “Life is too short to get involved in something that is not fun. At Weed Man we look for people that want to grow other people, we have always had that mindset. If you are focused on your employees and look to grow your organization to be able to give them future opportunities, we will be able to grow together.”
Choosing a Lawn Care Franchise
James Young, COO of Spring-Green Lawn Care, says you have to decide how much support you want and how involved you want to be.
In Spring-Green’s case, Young says they handle the direct marketing and their call center directs customers to franchises. They have a conversion rate of over 70 percent for their inbound call center.
“We’ll execute that for them,” Young says. “In a lot of franchises, they’re giving you the recipe, and maybe the ingredients come in the box and you have to put it together at home. We’re able to answer the phones for our franchise owners and make the sale.”
Lemcke advises doing due diligence and speaking to other franchisees to make sure the after-sale support is there. She says you need to review the franchise contract, understand how the franchise works and make sure they fit with your company’s goals and culture.
Each franchise comes with different levels of upfront investment as well. At Weed Man, their initial franchise fee is between $20,000 for a single territory (based on 150,000 population) or $33,750 for a double territory (based on up to 300,000 population).
“We have a unique declining royalty stream that Weed Man offers, which actually allows the franchisees to pay less royalties than with some of the other brands, our declining royalty goes down as the franchisee grows and puts more trucks on the road,” Lemcke says.
Spring-Green’s initial franchise fee is $40,000, but for those who already own a green industry business, the franchise fee is $25,000 if they qualify for their Green Associate Program. A portion of this can be financed for candidates who qualified.
“We try to remove the barriers,” Young says. “We know cash is always tight. So, the question is do you believe in the diversification strategy? Does it align with your long-term wealth-building strategy? Do you believe that Spring-Green would be the right partner for you so that you don’t have to reinvent the wheel?”
All the fees involved with a franchise can be found in the Franchise Disclosure document that will be given to anyone that requests it after a consultation with a franchise consultant.
Setting Your Franchise Up for Success
Once you’ve chosen your preferred franchise, it’s important to have a dedicated manager in charge of that department. Try not to give this responsibility to someone who is already overloaded with work.
“You need to have someone focused on it, day in and day out, if you leave it to a committee to run it, there will be no accountability,” Lemcke says. “So, if you the owner are not going to be committed find yourself someone that will. You need to have a champion of the division. Then you need to make sure you support that individual to succeed.”
Also, take full advantage of the resources available to you. Many franchises provide business consultants, and peer groups of other franchisees to communicate with. Young says owners often start using incorporating parts of Spring-Green’s operating system into the rest of their business, whether it’s their professional code, training materials or conducting a SWOT analysis.
“After you commit, do not try to reinvent the wheel, follow the system they have laid out, remind yourself that is why you got involved with a franchise system to begin with,” Lemcke says.