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Franchise owners Us lawns/grounds guys

Discussion in 'Franchising' started by ACA L&L, Sep 18, 2012.

  1. Patriot Services

    Patriot Services LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 12,931

    Every USL setup I've seen in Tampa (we have a lot) looked like a sanford and son rerun. 20 year old f150s dragging rusty open trailers manned by southerners.
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  2. Skipster

    Skipster LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,074

    I don't know the inner workings of these lawn franchise businesses, but don't you get benefits like preferential pricing? I would imagine that a place like US Lawns could get you equipment or chemicals at some pretty steep discounts. I'm thinking it would be easier to make a profit when you're paying 20% less for a truck than your competitors and you're paying 30-40% less for your chems than anyone else in town.

    I think someone also said there might be some type of support network to plug in to. Equipment problems, labor problems, lawn problems, customer problems -- I bet these guys have seen just about everything and have a way to handle it. Think about all the people who come to Lawnsite asking questions about all sorts of things. You get all sorts of answers from people you only know by a screen name. In a franchise, I'm thinking you could just send an email or pick up the phone and talk to someone you know personally.

    If I don't watch out, I might almost talk myself into it :)
  3. gcbailey

    gcbailey LawnSite Silver Member
    from WV
    Posts: 2,574

    and that's the attitude you have to have to get to the next level!
  4. gcbailey

    gcbailey LawnSite Silver Member
    from WV
    Posts: 2,574

    The only franchise I've saw locally is a Scotts, didn't even know they had one until this year and I will say I'm not impressed.
  5. PTP

    PTP LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Tulsa
    Posts: 1,383

    That is a benefit that I forgot to mention. Material discounts can really add up if you use a lot.

    You not only have a network to plug into to give advice but, to some extent, you would have a network that is able to solve your problems. For example, I am definitely not an office guy. I decided to hire an office manager. Well, it turns out that although he is exceptionally organized and handles the customers well, there were certain things in Quickbooks that were entered wrongly. We had to spend a lot of time fixing those things. That error could have been avoided if I had my accountant do all of the work but I don't have the money to pay an accountant to do book work. I assume that with a franchise, you would have access to professional bookkeeping services that would save time, money, and frustration on your part. That is worth something too.
  6. 32vld

    32vld LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,984

    You own a McDonalds you find a place where you can buy anything 1/2 of what Mc charges you still have to buy from Mc.

    7 11, many of those franchises go out of business. The corp allows competiting 7 11's to be too close. You can't sell anything unless it comes from 7 11 corporate.

    Gas stations when they were in the business to run repair shops instead of selling junk food you had to buy many of the parts you used for repairs through the Oil Co's.

    I knew people that bought a print shop franchise. All print shop franchises were sold as turn key operations. Their training from corp did not give them the skills to do the actual printing, and they did not have enough business to afford to hire a skilled employee.

    Still think franchise's are all that great.

    Pretty much all of the franchise pizza places that opened up are gone on Long Island. Too many independently own pizzerias where even the average pizzeria has a much better product then what is offered from the franchise pizza places.
  7. 32vld

    32vld LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,984

    Franchise with me. Send $100,000 cash. Forget the 3% of your yearly gross, and the $275 a month advertising fee.

    First franchise advice, you don't hire a Office Manager when you need to hire a Head Bookkeeper. You still save by not hiring a full time accountant, and get rid of a person that you hired and placed out of title and incompetent to handle the duties that you needed to be done.
  8. Skipster

    Skipster LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,074

    I’ve only talked to a couple of guys who have bought a franchise and they weren’t tied into this stuff at all. The guys I talked to said they could buy their materials anywhere they wanted, but they got huge discounts (50% +) if they used the franchise contract. They didn’t buy their stuff from the franchiser – they bought directly from Bayer, Syngenta, BASF, etc. And they got a great deal doing it. But, they could still buy from their local supplier if they wanted.

    So, I guess that’s what this discussion is all about. There are a million different ways to operate franchises. We’re looking for how US Lawns does it. Are they clamped down tight, or do they allow flexibility? I don’t know.
  9. jrs.landscaping

    jrs.landscaping LawnSite Silver Member
    from Maine
    Posts: 2,717

    So a franchise can get me 40% off at the local mulch yard or quarry? How about on my parts/equipment purchases from my sales rep? If I walked into Cat or a Ford dealership and said "I'm part of this franchise and I'll take that truck or that skid steer for 20% off." What do you think they would tell me? I'm still waiting to hear the "benefits" to a MAJOR investment of capital.
  10. Skipster

    Skipster LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,074

    Dude, I don't know the details of the US Lawns system -- that's why this thread was started.

    But, I notice that all of you are thinking small. I guess I can't blame you, since that's all you know. But, the discounts they're talking about are on large items from large suppliers. The guys I talked to (both franchisees, but different companies) said they don't go to dealerships to buy equipment. They order their trucks directly from the National Accounts people at Ford, using their company's national account. Buying at a dealership is small time stuff and you way overpay for what you get. But, when a large company can deal with Ford for 500 trucks each year, that means something.

    They probably don't get much or any discount for small local suppliers (mulch yards), but they can get large discounts from large suppliers.

    It's pretty clear that you guys don't understand how large scale franchising can operate. Personally, I don't know the specifics of how US Lawns operates and I hope someone can help us out with that.

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