Dave Satcher knows how to run a business. Before becoming a Lawn Doctor owner, Satcher worked his way up through the ranks of the manufacturing industry, eventually becoming a full-time business consultant for manufacturing companies. Satcher enjoyed the work, but the travel required began to take a toll, and Satcher became eager to build something for himself.
“I loved helping businesses grow and get better, but I was traveling all the time for three or four years,” said Satcher. “It was getting tough. I’d always wanted to own my own business, and for years I’d been looking around in the manufacturing industry, but nothing seemed right.”
On his way home from a particularly wearing business trip, Satcher was talking to a friend who owned a lawn-care business, and for the first time, Satcher began to consider owning a business outside of the manufacturing industry.
“My friend was telling me about how well his lawn-care business was doing, and I told him, half-joking, how much I’d love to just hang around lawns all day. When I got home, I started to really think about it, and it seemed like something I could make work for myself.”
Satcher began researching opportunities in the lawn-care field, and a broker pointed him toward Lawn Doctor. Satcher got in touch with Lawn Doctor’s development team and quickly became excited about the opportunity.
“I was instantly impressed with the development team,” Satcher said. “I had a lot of questions, and they did a great job answering all of them. They even put me in touch with franchisees so I could get first-hand accounts of what it takes to run a Lawn Doctor business.”
Those meetings with other franchisees would prove to be a huge influence on Satcher’s decision to purchase a Lawn Doctor business. While Satcher was researching the brand, he was invited to attend the annual Lawn Doctor franchise conference, where he met with a number of franchisees at different stages in their career.
“I was hoping to meet some franchisees who had been with the company for a long time, a couple who were brand new, and a couple who were somewhere in the middle, and the corporate team helped me do that. That experience really put me over the edge. Hearing the passion that these people had for the brand, hearing how well they were doing and how much support they were getting, it was hard to not want to get on board. Plus, they were just really good people. It was important to me to see that Lawn Doctor had high-quality folks representing the brand.”
Soon after Satcher left that conference, he signed on to become a Lawn Doctor franchisee.
“That first season was a whirlwind,” Satcher recalled. “Having the background that I have, I thought moving into a small business would be a breeze, but I had a lot to learn. The people at Lawn Doctor were right by my side the whole time, making sure I had everything I needed and helping me through the learning curve.”
Having spent years in management and consulting positions, Satcher was eager to dive into the labor side and learn his new business from the ground up.
“In the beginning stages, I lived in the field,” Satcher said. “I was on the truck, servicing customers, working on lawns. I believe that time getting my hands dirty right off the bat is what made me successful as a Lawn Doctor owner. You’ve got to know your business inside and out.”
Satcher is approaching his fifth year with Lawn Doctor, and these days, he’s focused more on the sales and growth end of the business, leaving the labor to his staff.
“I’ll work with customers and come out to jobs for certain issues, but for the most part, I’m working in the back, and I’ve got a staff of guys doing all the technical work,” Satcher said.
Even now that Satcher has mastered the operations of his business, he still relies on Lawn Doctor’s corporate support team, which he described as multi-faceted and always available.
“I’ve got a guy who helps me one-on-one with all my technical issues, but sometimes I’ll just pick up the phone and call corporate and quickly find whoever might be able to help me with any given question I might have. Their team is also aware that they don’t always have the insight that someone who spends their days out on the job has, so they’ll put franchisees in touch with each-other to build relationships and share best practices.”
Now, as Satcher approaches his fifth year with Lawn Doctor, he’s preparing for another growth spurt.
“I’m expanding the business this winter,” Satcher said. “I’m taking on more staff and a larger service area. Lawn Doctor has a growth strategy built into the operations, so it’s not hard, you just have to follow the model. If you follow their advice and invest in the marketing that they recommend, then your business will grow. It’s as simple as that.”
Even after Satcher’s business expands this winter, he does not plan to pursue a less aggressive growth strategy anytime soon.
“Lawn Doctor is entirely invested in their franchisees,” Satcher said. “They want us to be successful, and they work hard to make that happen. I know that the corporate team is going to have my back as I continue to grow, and I have no plans to slow down."