Lawn Doctor had a major year in 2018, meeting many milestones and implementing new initiatives that will help set the brand up for continued success in 2019.
Lawn Doctor closed out 2018 with more than 40 new units signed. The lawn-care brand plans to carry that momentum into 2019, where it expects to exceed 600 units in total, according to Lawn Doctor Vice President of Franchise Development Eric Martin.
“Surpassing 40 new units signed for a mature 550+ unit franchise shows our best is yet to come,” Martin said. “This was the single best ever year for the company in terms of revenue, which exceeded $130 million, new customer acquisition and retention.”
The brand currently operates in 42 states and plans to surpass that 600-unit benchmark by mid-2019. Lawn Doctor is targeting more than 200 viable territories available for development.
“A big focus for us is building a bigger footprint in the Midwest and Southeast portions of the country,” Martin said. “We are working with franchise consultants who are helping us find franchise partners who we feel could be a good fit for our growth plans.”
The brand also wants to further expand in the Western portion of the United States, according to Vice President of Operations Dave Newman. Newman, who has been with Lawn Doctor since 1998, noted that the brand further expanded in Florida and Texas in 2018, where it already had a presence.
“It’s exciting that after 51 years we’re able to grow at the pace that we are,” Newman said.
Martin attributes much of Lawn Doctor’s franchisee success to open communication. The brand specifically honed in on helping franchisees with their employee acquisition efforts in 2018.
“We pride ourselves in listening to our owners,” Martin said. “We brought in an industry expert to this year’s conference who spoke about employee recruitment, engagement and retention. We are featuring some new recruitment tools as well as programs for incentivizing and retaining staff. Our owners have been asking for further education on this and we took it a step further and have built programs around it. We want to be a great place for people to work as well as being a top service provider in each market. I feel like we are taking the right steps to ensure we can excel on both fronts.”
Newman noted that while Lawn Doctor has expanded the services it offers, lawn care is “still the core of the business.” The biggest change Newman has seen over the years are the strides the company has made in the areas of technology and communication. The company has completely changed how it communicates with franchisees and has “even more dramatically” changed how it communicates with customers, he said. The company’s growth, both with existing and new franchisees, has also been huge, Newman added.
“That’s always exciting and a good validation of the efforts we all put in,” Newman said. “Our system continues to grow as long as we’ve been around. Moving into 2019, we have lots of excitement on the franchise development front. A lot of new prospects are coming in.”
The company is also excited to fully leverage some new technology this year.
“At the core of our strategy is our owner dashboard, which provides insights into key performance indicators and peer benchmarking,” Martin said. “Based on the owner and readings of their gauges, links will be provided to relevant educational content within our new Learning Management System. This system will help owners focus on their biggest opportunities for growth and increase in revenue and profitability. This new tool is very powerful and allows our owners to compare revenues, profits and expenses with past peer performance.”
Lawn Doctor’s digital efforts also expanded to the customer side of the business. The company is introducing several new and innovative service technologies and custom-care programs that will provide Lawn Doctor customers with improved results and increase profit potential for franchise owners, Martin said.
“Our marketing program is so dialed in these days, it’s almost unfair to the competition,” Martin said. “We have refined this program to a point where we can very efficiently measure cost per lead and acquisition, allowing our owners to maximize their annual spend. We can target households, using digital, social and direct mail strategies that are netting unreal results. There is a high level of sophistication involved with these tactics, but the great news for our owners is that the marketing is corporate-directed and all they really need to do is follow up with their prospective customers.”
While Lawn Doctor has been an established and highly-respected presence in the lawn-care industry for more than 50 years, the brand has no plans to slow down.
“We continue to grow, evolve and reinvent with new technology and programs that we could have only dreamed about 10 to 15 years ago,” Martin said. “2018 was one of our biggest years in franchise development in our 50 years, and we’re excited to meet new milestones in 2019.”
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 franchising with Lawn Doctor, visit https://lawndoctorfranchise.com/.