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5 things to consider before franchising

January 31, 2022 -  By
The Grounds Guys crew and equipment (Photo: The Grounds Guys)

Photo: The Ground Guys

Whether you want to treat lawns, spray mosquitoes, do landscape maintenance or provide another service, there are many franchise options in the green industry. Here to help lawn care operators evaluate the choices and offer some advice are Joe Chiellini, owner of Weed Man Tampa Bay and president and CEO of ASI Landscape Management in Thonotosassa, Fla., Lee Nisly, co-owner of Spring-Green Lawn Care in Hutchinson, Kan., and Daniel Sadler, owner of The Grounds Guys, a Neighborly company, of Armonk and Greenwich of Armonk, N.Y.

1. Take your time.

Nisly admittedly had cold feet several times before becoming a Spring-Green Lawn Care franchisee. He estimates it took him about five years from the initial interest in Spring-Green to decide to go with the company. He said his lawn care business evolved over those five years, so when he finally signed on as a franchisee, his business was in a better place.

“Take your time and do your due diligence,” he says. “Don’t feel like you’re pushed or pressured.”

2. Research, research, research.

Chiellini says he and his business partner, ASI Landscape Management’s Mark Almeda, evaluated the different franchise opportunities.

“Do your homework,” Chiellini says. “We looked at other franchises to see who has the best support, and to see who has the best systems because those are the two things that are going to be most important for a franchisee getting off the ground.”

That support is critical, especially when setting up a new business venture.

“Many of them set you up, get you going and then you’re on your own. … If you fail, they just come in and buy it up,” he says, “It’s about making you successful, and that’s what you want to be. That’s what (new franchisees) all need to feel from the very beginning.”

3. Meet face to face.

One thing that sold Chiellini on Weed Man was a visit from Jennifer Lemcke, CEO. He says it’s easy to overlook personal contact with the upper management team, but it was something important to him and his team. He encourages potential franchisees to do the same.

“Make sure that whoever the owner is, whoever you’re buying from, is willing to get in the car, get on an airplane and come see you,” he says. “That’s what sold me with Jen. She flew into Tampa, came and saw us and said, ‘I want to do business with you.’”

4. Understand it’s not a quick fix for your business.

Nisly says the tremendous support he gets from being a Spring-Green franchisee is great, but at the end of the day, it’s still his business, and he must put in the time to succeed.

“Don’t go into it thinking that it’s going to be easy, necessarily. It’s still hard work; they don’t take that out of it,” he says. “What I was looking for is someone to walk beside me and help out with the business part of the operation, as well as the economic and technical side.”

5. Be ready for change.

Sadler says it’s important to enter a franchise with eyes wide open. There may be some processes that are different from how you currently run your business.

“I had to change my way of thinking, and starting a business is never easier than you think,” he says. “After I owned and operated under the processes of The Grounds Guys, things became much better, and I started to become a better business owner.”

He recommends those considering franchising do the same. Know you may need to update or eliminate some processes.

“Be prepared to accept change,” he says. “The quicker you do, the better off you’ll be. Sometimes it’s hard to let go of certain processes. Come in with an open mind, understand that these systems you are adopting are proven and you’ll be better off than others without that frame of mind.”

Christina Herrick

About the Author:

Christina Herrick is the editor of Landscape Management magazine. Known for her immersive approach to travel from coast to coast in her previous stint as senior editor of American Fruit Grower Magazine, she uses social media (Twitter/Instagram @EditorHerrick) to share her experiences on the road with her audience. Herrick has a degree in journalism from Ohio Northern University and has been in B2B publishing for seven years. She can be reached at cherrick@northcoastmedia.net.

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