A road map for franchising

February 11, 2019 -  By
The Grounds Guys crew and equipment (Photo: The Grounds Guys)

Franchisees can rest easy knowing they don’t have to go it alone. (Photo: The Ground Guys)

For contractors who want to scale their business but feel stuck in a rut, franchising may be a viable route to consider. Franchising is also an option for startup landscapers, who may need help learning how to run an effective business and understanding the ins and outs of the green industry.

“The franchise system is like having a guardrail on each side of the road,” says Ryan Deatherage, owner of The Grounds Guys in Edmond, Okla. “There are systems and procedures in place, and as long as you follow the road map, you’re usually successful.”

Deatherage became a startup Grounds Guys franchisee in 2012, after years of working in the corporate world.

To gain more insight into the maintenance franchising world, we spoke to a few experts from The Grounds Guys and U.S. Lawns: Brandon Moxam, vice president of U.S. Lawns; Michael Green, president of The Grounds Guys; David Wells, senior director of franchise recruiting for U.S. Lawns; and Deatherage.

U.S. Lawns truck (Photo: U.S. Lawns)

Contractors who join a franchise benefit by gaining the buying power of a major brand. (Photo: U.S. Lawns)

1. Brand

Those thinking about joining a franchise should consider the potential franchisor’s brand, as well as the direction of their own brand.

“It’s a deep self-reflection on your goals,” Moxam says. “We look for people who are looking to pull away from the day-to-day activity within the business and start focusing on running the business.”

It’s also important to note that once a company becomes part of a franchise, it typically gives up its original name and runs under the franchisor’s name.

However, with that brand name also comes the buying power of a national company, according to Wells.

2. Systems

A franchise organization’s set of systems can help contractors market their business, recruit new employees and hurdle any obstacles they may face.

Experts warn, however, that it’s crucial that contractors follow all the systems completely.

“I call it the buffet syndrome,” Green says. “It’s not really to your advantage to pick and choose aspects of systems that’ve already been proven. Comprehensive utilization of those resources leads to success.”

3. Timing
Grounds Guys and U.S. Lawns both implement 10-year franchise agreements, with the option to re-up at the end of 10 years.

The onboarding process for a franchisee may take about 90 days, depending on the franchisor and the size of the franchisee.

4. Cost

Many franchisors request a one-time franchise fee — as well as a monthly royalty fee. Some franchisors are willing to work with a contractor to partially finance the initial fee.

“I would say franchisees could break even at about 12 months, depending on an individual’s skill set and onboarding process,” Green says.

5. Network

By design, franchise organizations foster a large support network, consisting of up to hundreds of other franchisees, who can call one another with questions and advice.

“It’s a lonely world out there being a small business owner,” Moxam says. “Wouldn’t it be nice to have a team you can rely upon to provide coaching and guidance?”

This article is tagged with , , and posted in Featured, January 2019, Mowing+Maintenance
Sarah Webb

About the Author:

Sarah Webb is Landscape Management's former managing editor. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Wittenberg University, where she studied journalism and Spanish. Prior to her role at LM, Sarah was an intern for Cleveland Magazine and a writing tutor.

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