Each year, Entrepreneur Magazine surveys thousands of franchises from across all industries and segments to create their list of the year’s top 500 franchises. Franchises are scored based on a comprehensive rubric designed to measure the health of a business. That rubric is structured around five pillars: costs and fees, size & growth, support, brand strength, and financial strength and stability. This year, Lawn Doctor was included in the list, ranking at 124.
Eric Martin, Lawn Doctor’s vice president of development, said that the recognition reflects the efforts of both the franchise’s corporate team and the brand’s many owners.
“It’s a great validation,” Martin said. “We are always working to make sure that we’re providing the best services for our customers and the best support for our owners, and we see the amazing work that our owners are doing, so it’s nice to see that work being recognized in such a public way.”
Lawn Doctor was established in 1967 and began franchising a year later, but the brand’s inclusion in the 2017 Entrepreneur Franchise 500 list caps off a decade of unprecedented growth and acclaim.
In 2007, Lawn Doctor earned their first, second, and third mentions in Entrepreneur, when the business magazine named them the number one franchise in the lawn care segment, a top-25 home-based franchise, and one of the top 100 franchise opportunities. Since then, the lawn-care brand’s name has become widely recognized as an industry leader in lawn treatment services.
“2007 was when we really started to see widespread brand awareness,” said Martin. “Lawn Doctor was getting a lot of attention, and the brand did a lot to capitalize on it.”
That spate of positive public attention kicked off a period of unprecedented growth for Lawn Doctor, hastened by the hiring of Scott Frith as CEO in 2011. Frith made growth a top priority for the franchise, focusing on operational improvements designed to attract and retain both franchisees and customers.
While some franchises struggle to maintain large-scale expansions efforts without neglecting their existing franchisees, Frith said that Lawn Doctor’s franchisee-support efforts and growth strategy are essentially one in the same.
“We are focused on growing Lawn Doctor by making it one of the best businesses to own,” Frith said. “We don’t want to just find new owners in every market, we want prospects to see how happy and successful our owners are and ask us to get on board.”
That strategy has proven successful. Lawn Doctor now has over 530 locations throughout the U.S., and the brand’s development team is still pursuing aggressive expansion efforts in key markets. Lawn Doctor’s growth strategy remains oriented around improving its franchisee value proposition. By focusing on certain crucial elements of the franchisee experience, including startup costs, unit-level economics, operational support, financing and additional revenue streams such as mosquito control services, Lawn Doctor has made itself one of the more attractive franchise models in any segment.
According to Martin, Lawn Doctor’s inclusion in Entrepreneur’s Franchise 500 list reflects what the brand is already hearing from their franchisees.
“We are very grateful for the recognition, but it’s the feedback from our owners that we are focused on,” said Martin. “Fortunately, we’re consistently finding that our franchisees are thrilled with their business. There is some pride in seeing our name listed alongside other respected brands, but as long as our customers are completely satisfied and our owners are prospering, that’s all that truly matters."