Starting Your Lawn Care Franchise
Operating a successful lawn care franchise requires a solid business plan, capital, or financing, which usually involves getting approved for a bank loan, and the diligence and know how to sculpt and manipulate a back yard into a thing of beauty.
If you don’t know where to begin, consider borrowing books on the subject of starting a business from your local library. If you need to brush up on you technical expertise when it comes to soil, landscaping and lawn care, there are books available on those subjects as well.
Turning a successful lawn care business into a franchise entails having at least one business doing well and operating at full capacity. You must generate interest from investors to buy or start another business, following the same model and patents as the parent business that you’ve created.
You will be competing with other top companies like TruGreen. You will have to determine where the next logical location is to start your franchise business. You will need to expand your customer base and become more customer focused. This requires good people skills and excellent communication skills, on top of knowing all there is to know about proper maintenance of other people’s property. This knowledge encompasses all the different types of fertilizer, soil, seed hybrids, sod and grass plugs, pesticides, and more.
On the financial end, you will need to continually evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of your business, and find ways to improve. You will need to know basic business mathematics and generally accepted accounting principles, as well as how to read financial reports.
It will probably be necessary to hire an accountant or a team of accountants to keep it all straight. You will need legal advise, as franchising a business is a huge undertaking that involves contracts and keeping contractual obligations. You will need a generous amount of money or credit to buy decent equipment, and storage and office space as well.
What this means for you, as the original business owner, is that you will want to franchise your business to other responsible business owners who will be good for the company’s image and will maintain standards according to official operating procedures to effect quality control and customer satisfaction, much in the same way that TruGreen does. They will be your primary competition, as they are the nation’s leading lawn care company.
If you don’t already have a business plan, you will need to put one together as soon as possible. Consult a good business attorney to look for holes in your plan, as well as in order to proceed with prudent caution.
Growing Your Lawn Care Franchise Business
Hopefully, you have already been in the lawn care business for some time, and will be able to manage your business and business resources accordingly. If not, you will need to hire a competent manager who has the knowledge and expertise you lack.
There is nothing wrong with this. Many successful business owners paved their way to success by finding and hiring the right people who knew enough to make the business model work. This is good news for you as a business owner, as there are lots of people every year emerging from colleges and universities with food science degrees, agriculture degrees, and degrees in business management, eager to find a decent employer.
When you’ve found your man or woman, put that person’s knowledge to the best possible use. Seek his or her advise whenever possible, and meet with them often to discuss changes in the plan. Similarly, when you are ready to sell a franchise, make sure that the potential owner knows how to operate based upon the agreed upon rules, principles, policies and procedures of the company. This will be the foundation for the success and viability of the franchise, making it profitable for both you and the franchisee.
McDonald’s is a good example of a successful franchise. The quality control procedures agreed upon by the company ensure that the food is the same in every location. Similarly, you will need to ensure that the quality of work that your landscaping company provides is the same everywhere, to maintain and grow your customer base.
It is sometimes helpful to hire a consulting firm to evaluate and pinpoint weaknesses in your company’s plan and vision, and to help you go forward successfully and with as little overhead and loss as possible. This, however, does not mean that you will not make mistakes. There has to be a margin for error, otherwise your company will not even see five years.
New companies struggle to survive as they discover what works and what doesn’t. This will only help your business later on, as you will have already found through trial and error what will help your company to stay on target in every core area of the business. With this knowledge in hand, you can compete with the best of the landscaping companies as you offer your services to an ever widening customer base, equipped with the knowledge of what has worked in the past, and what has failed.
In the event of lawsuits, get the best business attorneys you can afford and keep them in your list of contacts. They will prove invaluable to you as your business continues to grow. As they say, the best laid plans of mice and men go awry. This does not have to stop you, however, if you have sufficient capital put away to protect against the inevitable losses your company will experience as it grows.
Experience is truly the best teacher, and experience will help guide your way as your lawn care franchise expands to encompass new parts of the country, and as you continue to add new services to your company’s landscaping package.
Your best insurance against losing money is to keep providing the best customer service possible, and continue accommodating your customers with a fair price and a fair day’s work. This is, by far, the best way to grow and build a successful lawn care franchise.