Starting a Lawn Care Business from the ground up can be difficult. It takes a commitment to hard work, long hours, and plenty of sacrifices. Would it be easier if you could buy a company that you know can already turn a profit? There are opportunities to do just that, but are they worth it?
Top Lawn Care Franchises
The lawn care industry can be a lucrative business. Whether people are too busy or just too lazy, a growing majority of homeowners are outsourcing their lawn care. Estimates suggest that lawn care companies in 2019 alone generated over $99 billion in revenue. But, starting a lawn care business from the ground up can be difficult if you don’t understand marketing and business tactics.
There are lots of lawn care franchise opportunities available. Joining an already established brand alleviates some of the stresses of starting up. If customers already recognize your name, it’s easier to get opportunities, especially commercially. Some of the top names available for a franchise in 2020 are Lawn Doctor, Weed Man, and Spring-Green Lawn Care.
The Lawn Doctor was founded in 1967 and was establishing franchises from the very beginning. They now have 583 locations, all of which are franchise locations. Their company website boasts of having the highest customer satisfaction rate in the industry, and they provide a 100% satisfaction guarantee.
Forbes Magazine proclaims that Weed Man is “one of the best franchises to buy in America.” Their franchising website lists an impressive array of training seminars, purchasing power options, and protected territories. This Canadian company sports a roster of 344 locations, with only about 12% of those run as corporate.
If you’re looking at more lawn improvement than mowing, Spring-Green has opportunities to do just that. Another long-running establishment, they now have 143 locations since they opened in 1977. Only 26 of those locations aren’t franchises. They provide excellent support based around an extensive Digital Marketing Department and a National Call Center.
Starting A Lawn Care Business
While purchasing a franchise might seem like a good idea, don’t mistake it for the easy route. There is still a ton of work that has to be done, whether you’re starting your own business or buying someone else’s. Let’s take a look at some of the pros and cons of both.
First, there is a significant cost difference between a franchise and a fledgling startup. It’s relatively common to hear of starting a lawn care business with nothing but a lawnmower, a trimmer, and a trailer to haul them around in. The equipment is something that most potential business owners already possess, and the overhead is almost nonexistent. As you grow your business, you can purchase more equipment and hire employees at your own pace.
Looking into most franchises, their cost is significantly more. At the low-end, a franchise will set you back $100,000 or more. If you’re looking to try and service a larger territory, then you can expect it to reach upwards of a cool million dollars. There are definitely benefits that come along with this high price tag, but not everyone has access to such considerable funding.
So what do you get for such a large chunk of change? Piece of mind for one. The failure rate for starting any company can be pretty high, especially if you’ve not had experience running a business. A franchise is a proven system with years of success behind it. Training, marketing, and much more usually come packaged with the name you’re purchasing. Some of the best-known franchises have failure rates in the low single digits. While on the flip side, the Small Business Association(SBA) states that roughly 30% of all new businesses fail in the first two years. That rate bumps to 50% by year five.
Building a brand is slow and meticulous work. You can’t expect people to know who you are and what you’re about instantly. Brand recognition comes through marketing, word of mouth, and years of excellent service that build trust in your name. Starting a lawn care business from scratch means building up a reputation from scratch as well.
The advantage of buying into a franchise, in this case, is enormous. Brands like Spring-Green and The Lawn Doctor are well known in the industry and have been in business for decades, as we discussed above. There is a wealth of satisfied customers who can help sing their praises. Starting a local franchise with a known and respected entity gives your business instant credibility. That name recognition bleeds through to marketing, as these companies usually wind up at the top of most lawn care related searches. Having this type of out of the box history to your new company can be invaluable.
A drawback can be that you’re not solely responsible for your companies reputation. Corporate issues, such as those that have happened with Subway or Chick-fil-a, can reflect poorly on your local business as well. There might be policies that you don’t fully agree with that you’ll be forced to go along with to retain your franchise license. Those policies or beliefs might not fit well with local issues. It’s always best to take time researching franchise opportunities to truly understand how these might affect you.
Freedom Of Expression
We just mentioned that corporate policies might not always be to your liking. A franchise can severely limit your opportunity to run things how you’d like. Corporate will mandate how you run your business. In most cases, they control everything from your marketing to what software you can use. To maintain uniformity between all of their franchise locations, they tend to enforce their policies strictly.
Building up your own company gives you more flexibility, but more responsibility as well. You’ll be in charge of making the decisions on everything, including what types of services to offer and how many days a week you work. A franchise comes with an outline or guide on how to make your business work. With your own company, you’ll have to map the way yourself. That freedom can allow you to grow your company in any way you’d like. The options here come down to freedom versus comfort, and, as in most of these pros and cons, it comes down to personal choice.
Make The Smart Choice For You
There are many pros and cons to both options. Buying a franchise gives you instant credibility and a successful model to follow if you have the capital to spend. Starting a lawn care business from the ground up gives you the freedom to make it fit your lifestyle and expand when you’re ready. You might even decide to adopt the franchise model and begin adding other locations as your startup continues to grow. This allows you to increase your brand recognition without assuming all of the financial risks.
Before you choose either path, be sure you do your homework. Starting a business of any kind takes a lot of hard work, especially when you first begin. Understand the commitment and be sure it fits your life both financially and otherwise. Weigh the positives and negatives of each option and enjoy the fruits of your labor.