Franchise Opportunities

A number of advantages make this a flourishing Green Industry business model.

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By Donna Clapp
From the June 2024 Issue

 

Jeff Baker was a police officer when he decided he needed a change. “I was 33 years old and didn’t know what I wanted to do with the rest of my life. I wanted some financial freedom,” he comments. “I Google searched lawn mowing franchises and Grounds Guys came up. I reached out to them, and we had a back-and-forth for probably six to eight months before I bought into it. Then I opened up in July 2013.”

Today, as owner of Grounds Guys, Wichita, KS, Baker has earned an impressive number of business accolades including a 1 million benchmark in 2021 and most recently, the 2023 International Franchise Association’s Franchisee of the Year. Yet he admits that back in 2013, “I actually had zero business experience and I had zero franchising experience.”

As an industry comprised of entrepreneurs who often start small with just one truck, many lawn and landscape pros know how to work in their industry, but they can struggle with scaling a business for increased profitability. This is one of the major advantages of buying a franchise. As the International Franchise Association’s (IFA) tagline says, “Owning a franchise allows you to go into business for yourself, but not by yourself.”

“That’s a big deal,” says Baker. “The landscape industry is hungry for a business model that works because it’s extremely fragmented. I mean, what do you think of when you think of a landscaper? Some guy in a truck that’s just going to come dig around in your yard and you’re going to pay a little money? But it’s so much more than that. And that’s what buying a landscaping franchising does… it opens your mind and teaches those business principles to get to the next level and have a sustainable, profitable, growing, relevant company.”

Green Industry franchise
(Photo: Canopy)

Big Business

Today, franchising is big business. According to the IFA, approximately 806,000 franchised businesses across the U.S. contribute over $858 billion to our economy, along with providing over 8.7 million direct jobs annually. And home services (which includes landscaping) is one of the fastest growth sectors.

There are several reasons why franchising is flourishing. It offers the opportunity to own a “turnkey” business, with proven systems in place, enhancing prospects for success, while still maintaining a degree of autonomy. It also grants access to established products or services that already have brand recognition. Franchises often guarantee a certain level of quality and consistency to consumers through the terms of the franchise agreement, so there’s already a level of trust with potential customers. This can mean a ready-made customer base, a feat that could require years to achieve as an independent business.

“It’s really easy to open up a business and find work,” offers Nick Powills, owner of Chicago, IL-based No Limit Agency and publisher of 1851Franchise.com. “What’s not easy is to know how you’re getting your customers, how to grow strategically, how to make sure you’re profitable, how to make sure you’re relevant, how to make sure you’re applying the right business principles to grow your business. I think that’s where a lot of people go sideways. They don’t understand. They say things to me like, ‘Well, a franchise just wants a portion of my money.’ And I’m like, ‘Well, you’re right, they do, and in return for that, they’re giving you the ability to make money in ways that you probably couldn’t have on your own.’”

Multiple Brand Cross-Promotion

Another advantage of franchising is that many parent companies offer more than one home services brand. For example, Neighborly, which owns The Grounds Guys, includes 21 other home services that potentially share a customer base, such as Mosquito Joe. Empower Brands is another large franchise that offers different home service businesses such as Archadeck Outdoor Living, Outdoor Lighting Perspectives, Canopy Lawn Care, and Conserva Irrigation. As complementary services, there’s the opportunity to buy into a stand-alone business or add to an existing landscaping business.

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