How a Lawn Doctor Franchisee Overcame the 2008 Recession to Find Major Success
How a Lawn Doctor Franchisee Overcame the 2008 Recession to Find Major Success

Despite launching his Lawn Doctor franchise during a declining economy, Starr Womack has thrived with his recession-resistant business.

Starr Womack had very high hopes when he purchased his Lawn Doctor franchise in October of 2007.

He had been golfing with friends when he first learned about franchising opportunities with the brand, which provides lawn treatment and conditioning services, along with pest control, seeding, tree and shrub services.

Lawn Doctor seemed like an excellent fit for Womack, who is a veteran of the pest and termite control industry. His fellow golfers, he said, spoke about how much they enjoyed working for Lawn Doctor.

“They talked about how they were able to grow their businesses and the great opportunities they got out of the experience,” he said. “I realized then that the franchising route just might be something I’d want to pursue.

Womack purchased Lawn Doctor’s North Alabama territory in October 2007. He was 100 percent committed to his new venture and looked forward to providing the best service to the communities his location served at fair prices.

It wasn’t long after he had opened his operation that the recession hit, but Womack managed to keep the business moving in the right direction through a combination of business savvy, boosting employee morale and brand support from the corporate team. October 2018 marks his eleventh year in the business.

“That was the most unexpected challenge I have ever experienced,” Womack said. “I thought I may have made a mistake, starting a business in a declining economy.”

However, that thought did not last long. Womack believed in the Lawn Doctor brand and knew he could be a great partner to his customers and a strong leader for his employees.

“The timing wasn’t ideal, but starting off on that foot only inspired us to work even harder to keep the business going strong,” Womack said.

One way Womack battled through was by being highly selective throughout the hiring process. It has always been important to him to hire people who are on board with the brand and exemplify its core values.

“One of the secrets to success in my business is that I haven’t had employee turnover in over two years,” Womack said. “I make sure I find and hire people that care deeply about this industry, our customers and all who share that same desire to serve a great role within the community.”

Womack also makes sure to connect with his staff on a personal level. He’s proud of his team, which he describes as a diverse group from different backgrounds and upbringings. The way he sees it, employee recognition goes a long way.

“I try and make a point to get to know my employees well on a personal level and their work ethic in order to let them know that their work is appreciated,” Womack said, “They take care of our customers and watch out for each other. Having that positive energy around is what keeps our business going.”

Today, 11 years after he purchased his franchise, Womack is looking toward the future. He plans to continue building his success by opening a second Lawn Doctor franchise in early 2019 in the Huntsville, Alabama area. He is proud of how far his Decatur-Madison location has come, and how his team continues to provide excellent service.

“We want to be well known throughout the community as being the friendly neighbor next-door business,” he said. “We want the neighbors of our current customers to be our new clientele. We see a lot of new customers come from referrals from either existing or old customers, which make us feel really good.”

Lawn Doctor has attained an industry-leading 80 percent customer retention rate by focusing on building loyalty with its customers. Having a nationally known – but locally owned business – goes a long way in not only finding customers, but keeping them happy and loyal to the brand. 

“We strive to establish and maintain our current relationships so that our customers will want to keep calling us back for our services year after year,” Womack said. “Our customers love our program, culture and way of doing business. That’s what I am most proud of at the end of the day.”

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/.