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Discussion in 'Franchising' started by Military Lawns, Jan 16, 2008.
A franchise is NOT for the entrepreneur... (I had to use the spell check to spell entrepreneur )
The Law suit came to a head right after Hurricane Charlie wiped out my nursery and 3 years of BS with Lawyers. I caved in on the court house steps only because I had already sold out to my employees. I am much happier as a part time One Man Band now. My children were not interested in the business that kept them in college with nice cars and good spending money. My daughter now adds MD behind her name and my son adds Play Boy behind his name. My so called retirement was blown away by the wind and spend by my children.
Yeah,...I remember when all that happened. That completely sucked. I AM glad you're still up and around with us, though!
The anti franchise rants are coming fast and furious. The original question though was directed to those of us who actually own a franchise, not those who think they don't need one. A franchise is not for everyone but the facts about them go like this -
A good franchise provides a proven template for new owners to follow. Lawn Doctor is one of those. You buy more than a territory to work in - you get an established national brand name, all kinds of marketing support, access to buying groups, a team of agronomists designing programs for your specific geographical area, equipmennt and computer support, etc. If you don't place any value on that, fine, but many people do. More than 90% of people who buy a franchise do not have experience within that industry. But even for those who have some lawn background, it's the rare person who is good at everything - sales, marketing, equipment, customer service, accounting, etc. This is where franchises come in - they fill in the missing pieces. Yes, you can find this on your own but you won't find it in one place and not from anyone who has your best interest in mind. The franchisor only makes money when the franchisees do. Forget the franchise fee - that's a one time payment that the franchisor can't live on forever.
Lawn Doctor does not dictate our prices, suppliers or specific programs. They provide a lot of help, by phone and in person, but the final call is ours. It's not like being completely on your own - you do have obligations to them - so you can view the franchisor as either a nuisance or a safety net. Most dealers in our system are very successful. Most of the few who have failed were sure they knew a better way and didn't follow the template. Or they didn't realize that a franchise is like everything else - it takes commitment and hard work to make it succeed.
The odds of success on your own are low - most businesses fail within four years. A quality franchise dramatically increases your chances of success.
It's an open forum. You bring up some good points, and I learned more about the benefits of franchising, nice job with that. However, some people will still prefer going independent, and there are reasons to justify either approach.
Many LCO's fail too. I think that is due to several factors. When one invests a ton of money for a franchise, that is a decision few will make lightly. Their level of committment to make that large of an investment is greater, and with that, comes a willingness to work harder and smarter.
Many independents go in thinking it will be easy, don't understand how to run any kind of business, don't have a solid business plan and are doomed to fail from the start. It's easier for them to walk away and go find something else to do for a living.
So, I don't think the failure rate of independents is a function of not being franchised, it's a general lack of knowledge as far as the finances, cash flow, advertising, sales ability, work ethic, avoiding law violations, selecting the right equipment and not over-financing,a lack of technical expertise, an unworkable business plan (if any) along with a lack of commitment. Some try to grow too fast. Tons of reasons. Franchises I have no doubt, because of the nature of them, weed those doomed to fail out before they even start.
I agree, especially if one has no background, a franchise is a tremendous help. It isn't any better than going independent, just as going independent isn't better than a franchise. It is more a function of what an individual's expertise and personal preferences are. What is important to each of us is as different as the fingerprints on our hands.
Weed Man & Scotts Lawn are doing swell here. Good guys plus quality work.
not true.. that's a statement intended to scare potential buyers into a franchise.. "You'll never make it on your own" LOL
“Despite their larger revenues, much better capitalization, and their supposed advantages of affiliation with a franchisor parent firm, the franchisees lag behind cohort young firms in profitability and rates of survival.”
Franchisees... What do you really own?
if your parant company collapses, what do you have to show for it? You lose your phone number, and your identity. and don't try to tell me that will never happen.. it's happened before, and it could happen again. sometimes companies make poor decisions.
You're putting your livelyhood, or legacy in someone elses hands.. if you're comfortable with that... more power to you.
I am so glad that my business is mine!
I believe a person will either make it on they won't.
Name recognition, marketing materials etc will only get you so far!
If you do good work, use good product, take care of your customers and understand how to run a business...you would have to be a moron not to make it!
That's a good point. I've never owned a franchise but I have worked for large companies so there are some similarities. For a long time I liked the safety net part of it and it worked well. At some point I started getting squeezed financially by the corporate side of things and I didn't have the freedom to go in some new directions that I wanted to take things and then it became a nuisance.
Now I'm on my own and I appreciate better some the advantages I had with a more structured organization and I appreciate the freedom that I have now. All in all this is a better fit for me.
As the former owner of a lawn care franchise, i recommend you don't do it!