Born in Texas and now living in Jacksonville, Florida, Greg Harkrider spent a majority of his teenage years helping his father with lawn and maintenance work, growing a true liking for hands on labor. Wanting to serve his country, Harkrider decided to join the Navy when he was 18, spending 25 years both enlisted and as a commissioned officer. After retiring in 2012 and spending a few years flying for the airlines, Harkrider knew he wanted to get involved in a small business of his own and he discovered the lawn-care franchise Lawn Doctor.
When beginning to consider franchise ownership, Harkrider connected with his lifelong friend of 30 years who was already a franchisee with another home service concept. His friend spoke highly of his experiences with the franchise industry and discussed the freedom and flexibility the business provided. He recommended for Harkrider to look into available franchise opportunities instead of trying to start a business from scratch. Harkrider wanted to get involved in a service business that provided lifestyle flexibility, multiple revenue streams and recurring revenue, so the lawn-care franchise industry seemed like a great fit.
“I connected with a franchise consultant who asked what I was specifically looking for in a franchise. He presented a few different options and Lawn Doctor was the business I wanted to move forward with. Lawn Doctor is the cream of the crop. I instantly connected with the corporate team and everything was laid out and easy to follow, and that’s what I was looking for -- there were no loop holes and the contract was simple. Our conversations with a number of current franchise owners at Lawn Doctor is what really sealed the deal for my fiancée and co-owner Sherri and I,” said Harkrider.
According to Martin, Greg’s background as a veteran set him up for a perfect transition into franchise ownership. Veterans are usually well equipped to run franchises because they are instinctly used to following processes and systems.
“It’s a real honor when a veteran is drawn to our franchise business model. Greg and Sherri’s location has only been open a short time and it’s been extremely well received in the Jacksonville community. They are bringing in multiple new customers a week,” said Martin.
Since opening in July, the business partners credit the success to their dedication and excitement to serve the Jacksonville community. Harkrider is spending time working the van, the route and meeting new customers, while Sherri assists with marketing, follow-up and administrative tasks in their home office.
“We really like how Greg and Sherri have set their business up in these early stages. They will bring on a technician sooner than we expected and more than likely another in the not too distant future,” said Martin. “We love seeing the divide and conquer mentality, even if that means a spouse or partner can only dedicate a few hours a week here and there. Even with minimal assistance, it can make a world of difference in the ramp up period.”
“Being a veteran has set me and my fiancé up for success with the Lawn Doctor business model. My Father and the Navy gave me a strong work ethic and the will to lead, and it has flown me right into running a small business of my own. I went from being an Officer in Charge of 150 people to now owning a franchise. I might not be holding 150 people accountable, but I’m dedicated to my business, team and serving the Jacksonville community,” said Harkrider.
The couple is excited for the next couple of months as their customer base is rapidly growing, and they’re looking forward to expanding and serving the Jacksonville market for years to come.
“I’m technically a retired veteran, but I have no plans of slowing down. Owning a Lawn Doctor has given me a new purpose,” said Harkrider.