“What are some of the thoughts on the best way to accomplish this?”
You could do licensing instead of franchising – fewer hoops to jump through. Still, you’d need an attorney to draw up a licensing agreement between you and the other party; to make sure you don’t include things that would legally constitute franchising. You’d get a monthly payment for the licensed use of your intellectual property and name. However, if they decide to ditch you and do it without you after you’ve shown them the business, it’d be cost prohibitive to try to enforce your agreement – mainly because they probably wouldn’t have the funds to pay you.
Any name or service mark and slogans that you come up with ought to be registered as trademarks. It’s not expensive and is a good idea whether you license or franchise; or not – just so you don’t go a pick a name that some other large firm is using someplace and they come and force you to change after you’ve used it for years. That’s not likely, but it’s cheap insurance.
Keep in mind that your name is all but useless in your franchising and licensing endeavors unless you have the capital to launch a nationwide marketing campaign. That is, a name that nobody knows is not very valuable to anyone but you – and it’s only valuable to you because you’re the vain, prideful genius that came up with it. Still, “LawnGENIUS” or whatever name you choose ought to accurately describe your business and Unique Selling Proposition (USP). After all, it doesn’t hurt to think and behave like a franchisor even if you never expand beyond your own subdivision.
Along those lines, for actual franchising, you’d need to sit down and write up a manual with systems for everything – including everything from proper mowing heights to urination in the field to prevent accidental exposure or ingestion. Those systems would help you even without franchising; and are not needed for licensing. If you suck at writing, you could probably hire a starving grad student from a local business school who could probably do it.
By the way, LawnGENIUS is already taken.