When Chad Norton became a Lawn Doctor franchisee in late 2007, it wasn’t his first time running an outdoor service. Norton started a successful landscaping company dring has college years, only to sell it upon receiving his degree in accounting. His career in that field was short-lived.
“I worked in accounting for 11 months and couldn't stand it, so I became a financial advisor,” Norton said. Over the next several years of his professional career, he dabbled in other business opportunities, never quite forgetting that first venture in landscaping thanks to a Lawn Doctor franchisee in the northern Utah area where he lived approaching him not once, not twice but three times to buy his business.
When he was presented with the offer to buy the Lawn Doctor business for the fourth time in the fall of 2007, Norton said his wife implored him to take a closer look at the business. Despite the multiple chances Norton had to buy the business, he didn’t know much about Lawn Doctor until he began the discovery process.
On the surface level, Norton recounted, there was opportunity due to the fact there weren’t many established brands in the northern Utah market. Norton could also clearly see the financial aspect of the business made sense, but there was more.
“With my experience as a landscaper, I had a feel for what I would be getting into,” Norton said. “I knew a lot of the operational side and Lawn Doctor had systems in place that I could learn. The chance to learn and offer services like fertilization, seeding, along with tree and shrub care were also appealing to me,” he added.
Norton noted Lawn Doctor’s business model that lent itself to a recurring customer base was a big part of his decision to sign on, as well.
“After previously owning a solar lighting business where I would sell someone something and then not see them again for 20 years, I wanted a business with residual income that provided something people need every year,” Norton said.
The most compelling aspect of the brand for Norton, however, was the name. “I absolutely loved the name Lawn Doctor,” Norton said. “I felt like I could build a business off of the branding where I educated people on how to properly care for their lawn without relying on discounts or coupons.”
He ultimately made the decision to buy the franchise and opened shop in 2008. He never looked back as a result of the autonomy the work provides him. Coming from a business background, Norton said he has really enjoyed the opportunity to market his business how he sees fit in a way that works for him.
“I like having the freedom to run my own business,” Norton said. “Lawn Doctor provides the infrastructure and continuous support, but I have the freedom to manage and build the operation the way I choose to,” he added.
As his business and team have grown over the past decade, Lawn Doctor’s corporate team continues to be impressed with the success Norton has achieved.
“Chad’s steadily increasing revenue and year over year growth can be directly traced to his work ethic, know-how and determination,” said Lawn Doctor VP of Franchise Development Eric Martin. “His knowledge of the field, his region and how to successfully market to customers through emphasis on consistent care and maintenance has made him a standout franchisee who we consult and utilize in many areas of our business.”
Norton said the brand often enlists him to speak to new franchisees during their opening process to provide perspective and advice, to which his answer is simple: answer your phone. “If you prioritize answering your phone and returning people’s phone calls, you'll already be doing what most lawn care businesses don’t do,” he said.
Norton’s proudest moment since becoming a Lawn Doctor franchisee was at last year’s national conference, when he was recognized with the brand’s “Best of the Best” franchisee award. “I just go to work every day and try to make it happen,” Norton said. “It was really unexpected to be recognized and it put in perspective that I have built a strong business.”
“Building a Lawn Doctor isn’t an overnight sensation,” Norton said. “Success takes time. If you're willing to put in the time and effort to build a business and a good base of customers through managing relationships and customer service, this is a long-term business opportunity that is lucrative, exciting and fun.”
The startup costs for a Lawn Doctor franchise range from $101,840 to $115,890. The franchise fee is $35,000. To learn more about owning a Lawn Doctor franchise, visit http://lawndoctorfranchise.com/.