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ztrguy
01-12-2007, 09:01 AM
Does anyone own a lawn care franchise? Wanting to grow my business fast and was considering buying a lawn care franchise. I'm not wanting ChemLawn or anything like that. Mainly a lawn mowing franchise. Anyone have experience in owning or knowing someone that owns a lawn care franchise? If so, I would love to hear your experience or thoughts on this. Thanks!

Az Gardener
01-12-2007, 10:37 AM
The best way to get information quick is to use the search feature here.

This topic has been discussed at length and some of the contributors seriously shopped franchises, most on site 98% don't like the idea. I on the other hand am building a franchise model but mine is for a full service residential gardening service for upscale clientele.

rodfather
01-12-2007, 11:01 AM
US Lawns does a ton of commerical properties near me, and some large condo projects I've seen. They employ all hispanics and do pretty good work from what I have seen.

Dunn's
01-12-2007, 12:20 PM
US Lawns does a ton of commerical properties near me, and some large condo projects I've seen. They employ all hispanics and do pretty good work from what I have seen.

Sorry for jacking the thread a little in advance but isn't it funny how they Throw the US in their and have all mexicans. Just an observation.

Tim Wright
01-12-2007, 02:22 PM
I just found out that my bank kicked their previous mowing and landscape contractors to the kirb, hired a US LAWNS here. US LAWNS is in turn subbing out the work. Go figure. They must be subbing to low-ballers or something.

As for franchising, I cannot see paying their headquarters a fee or fees for system and so called fleet price advantages, when I can develope and write a system for the business, and get it built up and negotiate with my dealers.

That is a lot of money out of pocket if you either know what you are doing or are a quick or decent learner.

Tim

Team-Green L&L
01-12-2007, 02:35 PM
The issues I see with franchising is that your company's reputation is affected by all other franchises. You have very little control over operations and procedures due to franchising.

The advantages are that you can rely on the development of the entire franchise (if that is good) and you have a "made to order" operations procedure. The headaches are much smaller.

newbomb
01-12-2007, 04:14 PM
I can't find a good enough reason to franchise. All equipment is readily available, If your just mowing you can learn how to do good work quickly and sites like this provide learning tools for running the business. Besides a franchise never truly is yours, which is why many of us do this in the first place. Oh nad don't forget franchise fees. That's what I want to do, work 10 hours in the heat and give 20% to some dummy in Illinios. Sign me up!!!

ztrguy
01-12-2007, 05:42 PM
Thanks for all the replies. Do you think you can grow your business faster if you buy a franchise? It just seems like most small businesses grow slowly so maybe if you owned a franchise you could increase profits faster.

Mr.Mow-It-All
01-12-2007, 06:10 PM
Well ztrguy I am not sure where in ok you are, but I know that there is a us lawns in the northern okc/edmond area, see them all the time.

Tim Wright
01-12-2007, 08:49 PM
Thanks for all the replies. Do you think you can grow your business faster if you buy a franchise? It just seems like most small businesses grow slowly so maybe if you owned a franchise you could increase profits faster.

This is what I think. It depends on you. If you want to operate with a system and want to do it well and quickly then this is what I would do. I say this because 3 years into this I am starting to operate with a system for growth, so I can see looking back what would have happened if I had developed a system first.

I will also say this. If you have your OWN SYSTEM in place, and you find that something is not just the way you want it, just change it, no big deal.

If you have a franchise and have invested all of that money and want to change the system you will kiss your franchise and your money goodbye!!!!!!!

First: Work on putting together your system now before getting started. handbooks, safety procedures, SOP's employee complain channels, and every concievable necessary evil and cover it. Cover job descriptions, and how managers manage. Cover your legal backside. Create your plan, projections, how you will get accounts, get your software in place for tracking everything and job costing. Also decide how long you will have equipment before you cycle the pieces out.

The go after it. Do all of this now in the winter so you can be out producing money when the sun shines.

If you need assistance with this, buy Sean's package that will give you a head start, and then modify it to FIT your business model. Then take the last few threads on starting a business, hitting the million dollar mark or what ever that thread is, marketing, newsletters, door hangers, and sift through that information copy (ctrl-C) what you like and create word documents (Cntrl-V) on your computer for fast reference and use that information to THINK THROUGH the things you need to do, to make your decisions.

Tim

GreenN'Clean
01-13-2007, 01:29 PM
Sorry for jacking the thread a little in advance but isn't it funny how they Throw the US in their and have all mexicans. Just an observation.

I agree with you

GreenN'Clean
01-13-2007, 01:35 PM
I think if you have the money to start up all on your own that would be the best way to go because you will run the business the way you want and you don't have to pay franchise fees

Frontier-Lawn
01-13-2007, 01:40 PM
I think if you have the money to start up all on your own that would be the best way to go because you will run the business the way you want and you don't have to pay franchise fees

the pro's that i know of is not having to pay for advertising, equipment discounts.

Az Gardener
01-13-2007, 01:47 PM
This is what I think. It depends on you. If you want to operate with a system and want to do it well and quickly then this is what I would do. I say this because 3 years into this I am starting to operate with a system for growth, so I can see looking back what would have happened if I had developed a system first.

I will also say this. If you have your OWN SYSTEM in place, and you find that something is not just the way you want it, just change it, no big deal.

If you have a franchise and have invested all of that money and want to change the system you will kiss your franchise and your money goodbye!!!!!!!

First: Work on putting together your system now before getting started. handbooks, safety procedures, SOP's employee complain channels, and every concievable necessary evil and cover it. Cover job descriptions, and how managers manage. Cover your legal backside. Create your plan, projections, how you will get accounts, get your software in place for tracking everything and job costing. Also decide how long you will have equipment before you cycle the pieces out.

The go after it. Do all of this now in the winter so you can be out producing money when the sun shines.

If you need assistance with this, buy Sean's package that will give you a head start, and then modify it to FIT your business model. Then take the last few threads on starting a business, hitting the million dollar mark or what ever that thread is, marketing, newsletters, door hangers, and sift through that information copy (ctrl-C) what you like and create word documents (Cntrl-V) on your computer for fast reference and use that information to THINK THROUGH the things you need to do, to make your decisions.

Tim



Good post it really depends on how much you value your time. it has taken me over 25 years in the business and I am still learning new things. Us lawns franchise comes from a parent company that has been in business for over 40 years They probably have most of it figured out. They certainly have a better grasp of the situation than someone in the business for 3-5 years that is now going to begin documentation. Documentation alone could take 3-5 years if done completely and legally.

When people complain about systems not working you can usually trace problems back to people shortcutting the systems to save time.

If you have spent any time with any good lawyer you know that the cost of all the legal documentation alone has great value. I would bet a very high % of contractors who think they are operating legally are not because of employee documentation and hiring practices alone.

Here is a good way to judge if you would be a candidate for a franchise.

If you change your own oil because your too cheap to pay the guy the 19 bucks it costs, and your time has little or no value. Then you should not buy a franchise.

If however you value your time and you realize life is short. IF you can find a franchise that is doing what you want to do, then I think you should consider it.

Az Gardener
01-13-2007, 08:33 PM
I must be a thread killer.

Think of it this way, would you rather make 100% of 200,000. or 90% of 800-K.

I'm just taking a stab at residential numbers but I would guess 200-k is about avg. for most and I would imagine 800-K is about avg. for a franchise branch. If anyone has any firm numbers I am certainly open to reconsidering.

Frontier-Lawn
01-15-2007, 10:14 AM
i just got a email back from uslawn.
heres what it said:
Dear Mr.. Precht,



Thank you for your interest in US Lawns Franchise unfortunately we are sold out here in Florida.



Dana Amell

Franchise Recruiter

U.S. Lawns, Inc.

1-800-USLAWNS


looks like i wount be joining up anytime soon

ztrguy
01-15-2007, 01:30 PM
I must be a thread killer.

Think of it this way, would you rather make 100% of 200,000. or 90% of 800-K.

I'm just taking a stab at residential numbers but I would guess 200-k is about avg. for most and I would imagine 800-K is about avg. for a franchise branch. If anyone has any firm numbers I am certainly open to reconsidering.

I think I'll go for the more organized business that has been around for years and years and has a business plan that works flawlessly. Looks like I better start looking for a franchise and narrow down my search. I don't mind sharing the profits with a franchise if I'm going to make a little more. Thanks for your post!

Az Gardener
01-15-2007, 02:26 PM
Please keep in touch and let us know how it is going. I am curious how many franchises there are for lawn maint? I know there are lots for fertilizing and spraying but seems like only a couple for actual maintenance. One of the trade magazines did a story on them in the last 18 months or so but I couldn't tell you which one.

GreenN'Clean
01-15-2007, 03:20 PM
Find out how much you have to invest with them to use there name, advertising, etc and see how much royality you have to pay into them for using there name. Because they take a percentage of what you make.

coolbreeze
01-15-2007, 04:08 PM
Find out how much you have to invest with them to use there name, advertising, etc and see how much royality you have to pay into them for using there name. Because they take a percentage of what you make.

yeah, that's one thing i don't like, their % is off of gross not net. their royalty fees could actually determine whether or not you make a profit.

Az Gardener
01-15-2007, 06:08 PM
No disrespect and I hope you do have some valuable information but have either of the last two posters actually shopped franchises? If so which companies?

I ask as I am trying to educate myself about the market. I hope to have a franchise model available for the 08 season and I need to begin to shop the market and see what others offer and what their cost structure is.

coolbreeze
01-16-2007, 08:42 AM
No disrespect and I hope you do have some valuable information but have either of the last two posters actually shopped franchises? If so which companies?

I ask as I am trying to educate myself about the market. I hope to have a franchise model available for the 08 season and I need to begin to shop the market and see what others offer and what their cost structure is.
i have, actually three, but they were for a different industry that i'm in. in general, they all operate alike. their money comes off the top. you do get name recognition, price structure, etc., however you are limited in what you can do outside of the company structure and you could actually lose your franchise for this. franchising does work for some, but you still have to be just as dedicated, so why not do your own.

GreenN'Clean
01-16-2007, 11:04 AM
I have a friend who ran a cleaning business through a franchise and he said the royalties he paid out was unbelievable and he couldn't go outside a certain area if another person was in the area in the same franchise so he shut it down and re-opened the cleaning business in his own name and advertised and made alot more money. You get there name there advertising etc, but your investing 30-40 grand to invest in there company name. If I'm going to be using that kinda money to invest then I'm investing that money on me and my Business and pay myself the royalties.

GreenN'Clean
01-16-2007, 11:09 AM
Any franchise Business you invest in is going to cost you money to be a part of there franchise. I started to invest in a subway sandwhich shop once and they wanted 10k down and they would pick the shop area for me and I had to pay the rent,electric,etc plus Buy all the products through them and plus they would get a certain percentage each month and if I didn't reach that quota % 4 times out of the year then they would reject my franchise license and I'd loose my 10k invested as well.

Prestige-Lawncare
01-16-2007, 11:12 AM
A franchise may be fine for something like a McDonalds, Subway, Wendy's, etc ... something that is a common household name and known around the country (or world for that matter) ... but I don't feel it has a place in this business. You can achieve the same level of success on your own as you could by paying someone else to use their name and business structure .... many times even a higher level of success.

Take that money that you may be willing to invest in someone else's business, and invest it in creating your own. You are unique, so it your way.

GO COLTS!

:weightlifter:

coolbreeze
01-16-2007, 11:53 AM
I have a friend who ran a cleaning business through a franchise and he said the royalties he paid out was unbelievable and he couldn't go outside a certain area if another person was in the area in the same franchise ...

that's what i mean. some promise a certain amount of business, but you even have to pay for the accounts before you get them, then they the royalties. also, if they promise to get you say 20 accts, even if you can't service the account, they would still count it as 1 of the 20 they promised. if someone is interested in this, please take the contract info (if you can get it) to a lawyer who has experience in this area.

Az Gardener
01-16-2007, 11:59 AM
I have a friend who ran a cleaning business through a franchise and he said the royalties he paid out was unbelievable and he couldn't go outside a certain area if another person was in the area in the same franchise so he shut it down and re-opened the cleaning business in his own name and advertised and made alot more money. You get there name there advertising etc, but your investing 30-40 grand to invest in there company name. If I'm going to be using that kinda money to invest then I'm investing that money on me and my Business and pay myself the royalties.

Your post makes it sound like all these unpleasantries of the relationship came as a surprise. He should have clearly understood the contract before he got involved.

I would also propose that what he learned by owning the franchise was a major factor in his profitability as and independent company.

I would also suggest he used his contacts from the franchise operation to make his independent company successful.

Lastly I think the complexities and liability of a cleaning service are somewhat less than operating a LCO. I could be wrong on the last point but I don't think so.

So to summarize,your friend bought a franchise, learned what he needed from them. He then decided he was above paying for what he was taught, quit the franchise and is now competition to the franchise.

So who is the bad guy?

Az Gardener
01-16-2007, 12:04 PM
To complete my thoughts on Green N Cleans friend

As I see it a company with years of experience sold a franchise most likely at a low price with the intention of making the money on the royalties. Taught a franchiser a trade and gave him contracts, suppliers and so on. Taught him how to hire and other management functions then was denied its profit by a guy who knew what he was getting into before he started. He was just too greedy to allow someone else who had taught him everything to make a legal buck.

I wonder was your friend struggling financially operating the franchise or just greedy?

Az Gardener
01-16-2007, 12:23 PM
Any franchise Business you invest in is going to cost you money to be a part of there franchise. I started to invest in a subway sandwhich shop once and they wanted 10k down and they would pick the shop area for me and I had to pay the rent,electric,etc plus Buy all the products through them and plus they would get a certain percentage each month and if I didn't reach that quota % 4 times out of the year then they would reject my franchise license and I'd loose my 10k invested as well.

A franchiser wants the franchisee to be sucesful thats how they make their money. They pick the location so franchisers don't make a mistake, they have years of experience at this.

I am always surprised when a big company closes a location of a circle K or 7-11 whatever and a unknown company moves in and opens the same kind of store. If a large national company with all the breaks cant make a location profitable what in the word makes mom n pop think they can make it work :dizzy: .

A Subway was opened by a Nurse in her mid 30's by my home about 3 years ago now. She took some savings and bought the franchise. She was very unsure when she started and gave up a job with no risk and making above avg wages. Here nurses make 40 per hour and more. I talked to her a lot about the business through the last couple of years. These days she says it was a great investment and will probably buy another. I have heard that Subway while it is the #1 franchise has terrible support yet she still said it was a great investment.

coolbreeze
01-16-2007, 12:40 PM
I am always surprised when a big company closes a location of a circle K or 7-11 whatever and a unknown company moves in and opens the same kind of store. If a large national company with all the breaks cant make a location profitable what in the word makes mom n pop think they can make it work :dizzy:

it takes more than just national support. there are also limits to what they will(not) allow. for instance what if you found a supplier who offered better bread for your sandwiches, as a franchisee you couldn't do anything, on your own you could switch. while the new bread may be more, it could bring in more business and eventually you should cross the break-even point. franchisors set prices, specials, hours, etc.

Az Gardener
01-16-2007, 12:43 PM
A franchise may be fine for something like a McDonalds, Subway, Wendy's, etc ... something that is a common household name and known around the country (or world for that matter) ... but I don't feel it has a place in this business. You can achieve the same level of success on your own as you could by paying someone else to use their name and business structure .... many times even a higher level of success.

Take that money that you may be willing to invest in someone else's business, and invest it in creating your own. You are unique, so it your way.

This website is a testament to how many decisions need to be made to operate a LCO. You would suggest it is better to take years of trial and error or advice from here where much of the time it is the blind leading the blind to build a profitable company?

I guarantee I could teach someone to do it in very short order and save them years of mistakes. I will concede that a simple mow n blow operation has little franchise ability but as soon as the words are out of my mouth I think of just mow it. There is so much to learn to operate a full service company that its no wonder there is so little competition. I am in a huge city and I can count on one hand the companies I compete with on a regular basis.

I think what it comes down to is greed. Some people can't stand to see other people profit off their labor even though they are paying the very people that provide them the opportunity.

GreenN'Clean
01-16-2007, 02:18 PM
Well my friend got out of the cleaning business all together and started his own contractors business and is making close to a million a year building new homes and doing additions,decks etc. He did the franchise thing when he was younger and and had a bad experience and said he wouldn't do it again. I started 3 different businesses on my own with my own money and did very well for myself and I wouldn't ever get involved with the franchise thing because if someone has the drive to succeed in what there doing then they will. So I've made alot of money with my businesses without using a franchise. I just don't see the need to deal with a franchise when I can make all the money on my own and not pay into royalties and be told how to run the business. If its my MONEY I'm investing then I'm doing it my way and going to pay myself for making my businesses successful. If people out there they want to use a franchise have at it. Its your free will and right to choice to do so I'm just saying I wont, but to you they do good luck at it!

Az Gardener
01-16-2007, 02:38 PM
I agree some people are entrepreneurs and will succeed at most anything they try. That is a small % of the population though.

I think if you were to look at the % of small businesses that fail -vs- the % of franchises that fail the small business number would be much higher. I don't have any numbers at my fingertips and I may be wrong but that would be my guess.

You have provided some valuable information to the thread and I am glad you contributed. This is not the first time this has come up and it wont be the last. Most that make comments about franchises being bad are speaking from hearsay and have no real experience with franchising or even building a completely functional self sustaining business.

I should have mentioned this earlier in the thread if you want franchising information in general www.francorp.com This is a company that will help you take your successful business and turn it into a franchise. They put out a quarterly newsletter and they have an on line book they will E-mail you it has lots of franchising stories both good and bad. I went to a small presentation with their CEO a couple of years ago he had some great business stories. Kind of like business history 101 in the 60's-70's in America. Both successes and failures.

Az Gardener
01-18-2007, 08:42 PM
As luck would have Francorp was in town today doing their yearly PHX. seminar I just caught it. As I thought the statistic is 90% small business fail first 5 years and 10% franchises fail first 5 years.

Typical royalties paid to a franchise are 6%

The money you use to buy the franchise like in most businesses goes to costs here is a breakdown based on a study done by Depaul University.

Advertising 5-K
Sales Commission 5-K
Initial Training 2-K
Site Assistance 1-K
Start up Assistance 2-K
G & A 1-K
X Factor 5-K
TOTAL 21-K

So you have that much on avg. just in costs for each Franchisee.

The cost to get your company to a point where you can sell it as a franchise is not cheap either. The cheapest Francorp program is 65-K for a bare bones get your company to market program. More than double that for the full package. I should add they don't just take anyone that comes to them with an idea and a checkbook. They accept about 1% of all applicants, they may do 10-15 Franchise deals per year.

So its not like Franchisors are just sitting back rolling in the dough. They are working too just differently. It is in their best interest to be sure their franchisees are successful.

I don't want to beat a dead horse but I am happy to talk franchises.

Tim Wright
01-19-2007, 12:59 AM
As I thought the statistic is 90% small business fail first 5 years and 10% franchises fail first 5 years.

You have to understand though, that stats like this include, due to deaths, partner splits, etc, as well as the ever popular under funding, under planned, etc and I am only saying as in examples.

Tim