Is joining a franchise right for your business?

March 27, 2023 -  By
Weed Man franchisees Grant and Kyle Faulk say the top benefit of joining a franchise was the business training they received. (Photo: Weed Man)

Weed Man franchisees Grant and Kyle Faulk say the top benefit of joining a franchise was the business training they received. (Photo: Weed Man)

Joining a franchise isn’t for every landscaping company, but for some, the advice and business training the franchisor provides have been critical to their long-term success.

Brothers Grant and Kyle Faulk, co-owners of Weed Man Lawn Care and Lakewood Landscape Group in Dothan, Ala., and Mark Cox, owner of The Grounds Guys of San Marco (Fla.), share what they see as advantages of joining a franchise.

Trained and ready

It’s not easy to start a business from scratch and run it yourself — or with your brother, in his case — acknowledges Grant Faulk.

“(When we started our business), somebody would say, ‘Can you do this for us?’ and we’d say, ‘Yeah, we’ll figure it out,’” he says. “That’s not a recipe for making money, but it’s your mindset when you’re a new business owner.”

Shortly after joining Weed Man in 2010, the Faulk brothers traveled to the company’s headquarters in Canada, where they received two weeks of in-person training. 

In addition to learning the ins and outs of how to sell lawn care services, the Weed Man team taught them a new perspective on how to run their business.

“Our time up there was truly about learning how to run a successful business,” says Kyle Faulk. “It opened our eyes to what we weren’t doing. It was like going back to school, where we learned all of these lessons and then on day one, we were able to start off on the right foot.”

Similarly, Cox says the most valuable parts of joining a franchise are the resources and training.

“(The Grounds Guys) provided not only a CRM tool for budgeting, but more importantly to me, a business coach,” he says. “They are there to guide me and give me sound recommendations on the processes and what I need to do to run a successful business.”

Spread the knowledge

As an owner of an existing business, Grant Faulk says the Weed Man training helped launch the lawn care franchise successfully, but it also boosted Lakewood Landscape Group through association.

“We’ve been able to take that training and knowledge and parlay it into (Lakewood Landscape Group),” he says. “We’ve implemented systems and processes and business planning that we learned through Weed Man that have helped our other business grow as well.”

Notably, he says, the company’s planning has become more streamlined thanks to help with job costing, financial management and thinking ahead. 

“We started planning our labor better,” he says. “We started to look at our monthly financials more than we were. We count everything from paper clips to fertilizer, you name it.”

The more you know

Of course, joining a franchise comes with a cost that potential franchisees should be aware of, says Cox. 

According to estimations from The Grounds Guy and Weed Man, the initial investment, including the franchise fee, personal and capital investment, can range from $81,000 to $238,000, depending on the franchisor and how big of a territory the franchise will service.

Cox says solid credit is essential, specifically if the franchisee needs a small business loan to help with startup costs.

Most importantly, it’s crucial to research any franchisors you’re interested in joining. Cox and the Faulk brothers recommend speaking with owners to get first-hand accounts of what it’s like to be a member of that franchise.

“Ask the questions about what resources and processes they have in place that can make you successful,” Cox says. “When I opened my doors, I felt that because I spoke with some of the owners in my area, I was ahead of where I would’ve been if I didn’t reach out to them.”

Rob DiFranco

About the Author:

Rob DiFranco is Landscape Management's associate editor. A 2018 graduate of Kent State University, DiFranco holds a bachelor's degree in journalism. Prior to Landscape Management, DiFranco was a reporter for The Morning Journal in Lorain, Ohio.

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