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Lawn Doctor’s Annual Conference Provides Franchisees with Educational Sessions and Network Opportunities
Lawn Doctor’s Annual Conference Provides Franchisees with Educational Sessions and Network Opportunities

Top performers were recognized with awards at the franchise system’s annual gathering.

Lawn Doctor held its annual conference from November 27-30 in St. Petersburg, Florida, providing franchisees with expert advice and an overview of upcoming corporate initiatives through panels and educational seminars.

Lawn Doctor had its best year ever as a company and a record breaking year in terms of new units awarded,” Vice President of Franchise Development Eric Martin said. “The theme of our conference was Engage, Align, Win Together. To see our corporate team and owners come together in a beautiful resort in St. Petersburg and celebrate the success and discuss goals for becoming even better in 2019 was an incredible experience.”

The conference also recognized high performing franchisees with award ceremonies, while providing plenty of time for networking and socializing opportunities for all in attendance.

“We recognized a number of top performing owners, including our highest revenue award winner, who exceeded $5.5 million in 2018, and some of our Fireball Award winners, which recognizes rising stars after one year,” Martin said. “We have a new cloud-based service software launching this winter so it is ready for the spring. This is really awesome and allows our owners to manage their business from any location. Of course, we also provided informative sessions on how to best utilize the new program.”

Jim Duffy, a franchisee and the president of Lawn Doctor’s Advisory Council, was especially struck by the strength of this year’s conference. He said the group specifically asked for sessions on profitability and on hiring salespeople and technicians. Hiring, he noted, can be a bit more challenging in a strong economy.

“Lawn Doctor brought some really good vendors to the table and provided educational sessions that addressed those issues,” Duffy said. “I’ve never missed a conference, and this one was the best because they gave us everything we asked for, along with a professional vendors and subject matter experts.”

Conference Highlights

Vice President of Operations Dave Newman especially enjoyed the opportunity to connect with franchisees at the convention. Newman has known many of the franchisees for 10, 15 and even 20 years, as he’s been with the brand since 1998.

“There were a lot of good networking opportunities with the franchisees we don’t get to see that often,” Newman said. “What’s more is that they were able to spend time with each other, share best practices and what’s working well for them in their businesses. It’s also great to see our newer franchisees that have recently come through training and are now out there running their businesses and doing very well.”

One of the more enjoyable parts of the conference for the entire corporate team is the employee awards ceremony.

“Many of our franchisees will bring along their managers or sales reps, and it is so neat to see up close and personal the folks working for our franchisees, and being recognized for the work they do every day,” he said. “I see their eyes light up when called on stage. It’s a pretty big deal to get this type of recognition in front of hundreds of owners and corporate staff. Many of them are first-timers to the conference and have no idea of what to expect, so that’s really cool to see.”

Some of the most popular sessions this year were on optimizing marketing efficiency and the new service technologies the company is rolling out in the spring.

“We are so fortunate to have a forward-thinking and innovative team that is always looking for ways our owners can improve their business and deliver cutting-edge services,” he said.

There’s also the matter of brand and role validation.

“I absolutely love it when our owners approach us and say ‘Thank you so much for helping us become a part of this system,’” Martin said. “Those are moments, especially for people in development, in which you feel really good about what you do. We are helping people achieve their dream of small business ownership and it’s very rewarding to have a franchise partner share how happy they are in business.”

Panels and Seminars

As part of his role in the conference, Martin hosted a franchise consultant who specializes in succession planning to speak with franchisees.

“As a legacy brand, we have owners who are just getting started and others who are thinking about their exit over the coming years,” Martin said. “We always bring along vendors and industry experts that are relevant for owners at various stages in the franchise life cycle. We provided advice on how to position for a sale as well as how to pass along the business to children. This session was very informative and insightful.”

The corporate team also helped facilitate a session on acquisitions of local independent firms.

“We have a really cool strategy for helping our owners acquire smaller, non-franchised firms and we wanted to further educate them on that program and its potential,” Martin said. “We all focus our time at conference meeting with some of the newest partners and introducing them to our seasoned owners. So many best practices are shared in this type of venue and the tenured franchisees love meeting with the rookies! It’s this pay-it-forward mentality that makes our franchise system special.”

Newman also noted that the conference had some great educational opportunities. He led a session on hiring salespeople. The salesperson hiring panel consisted of four Lawn Doctor franchisees talking about how adding a salesperson dramatically changed their business for the better.

“The session was for franchisees who don’t yet have a dedicated salesperson in their business,” he said. “The session was about when and how to make that decision.”

Franchisee Feedback

First-year franchisee Matt Glasson, whose Lawn Doctor franchise is located in Waco, Texas, was thrilled to receive the Fireball Award, which he said was “a great start to the first year for Lawn Doctor Greater Waco.”

He credits the Lawn Doctor marketing team “for their countless hours of work” in helping individual franchisees produce results.

“Lawn Doctor really sets itself apart from everyone else,” Glasson said. “By that, I mean they strive to be a family atmosphere and they want only the best for anyone spending the time to give it all they have to retain customers and grow their customer base. This was my first of hopefully many conferences to come. I enjoyed meeting my fellow franchisees that until the conference I had just communicated with by email. It was great to trade ideas, and hear about Lawn Doctor’s success in 2018. It should make all of us want to do more for next year!”

Mark, Marcia and Bradley Williams of Lawn Doctor of Clarksville, Tennessee won a Best of the Best Award.

“Winning the Best of the Best Award is very humbling,” Mark said. “We, as in everyone on our team, work hard to provide a great experience for our customers, and we, as employers, want to do things right by our employees, so it is so exciting to be acknowledged by your peers and the Lawn Doctor team for this award! We love that it is a team award!”

Bradley echoed the sentiment. 

“Winning the Best of the Best award is always an honor knowing the quality of our peers,” he said. “It will be passed on to our team who make it happen here in Clarksville at our annual Christmas breakfast before we break for the holidays.”

Bradley is thrilled to be part of the Lawn Doctor team and enjoyed what the conference had to offer.

“The Lawn Doctor brand has great history and tradition and as owners we are set up for future success with the home office leadership team,” he said. “The new programs have been systemized for profitablity. It was great to hear first-hand knowledge from other franchisees that had it in beta. The conference always reinforces the connectivity and power of the brand.”

Franchisee Richard Benbow with Lawn Doctor of Southern Wake County also won a Best of the Best Award. This was a major conference highlight for him.

“It was truly an honor,” Benbow said. “There are so many outstanding dealers that do a great job every year that I was and still am in a state of awe.”

Benbow said he always looks forward to the conference’s roundtable discussions and talking to other owners.

“I also really enjoy the time with the vendors, either at the trade show or in the breakout rooms,” Benbow said. “The partnership with the vendors is a large part of my success.”

A Collaborative Corporate and Franchisee Relationship

Lawn Doctor corporate team members and franchisees describe the relationship between the two as a positive one.

“Lawn Doctor is very open, very inclusive,” Newman said. “We try our best to maintain a very transparent, open dialogue with our franchisees. They know they can come to us with any ideas or questions or concerns and we can go to them and bring new things to the table and for the most part, they’re open and eager to implement new programs. We rolled out a lot of new things at the conference that folks are pretty excited about.” 

Martin agrees.

“It’s as good as it has ever been,” he said. “This was a fantastic conference featuring a great mix of newer and veteran owners that are really excited about our future. We have made quite a few improvements and adjustments to our marketing program over the past few years, and we are seeing the value of that come to light. There is so much energy and excitement for the future and our owners clearly see we are on the right path. There is a family-like culture in our company that you don’t always find in franchising. Do we always agree on everything? Of course not. But, we can hug it out, high-five and know that we are all in this together. Everyone cares, wants to help make their neighbor better and is willing to share those morsels of knowledge to help the system grow.”

Like everyone else, Duffy enjoyed the chance to connect with others at the conference and learn about ways to grow his business. He has nothing but good things to say about the Lawn Doctor corporate team and the support they provide the franchise system.

“I love this business,” Duffy said. “I started it so my sons could take over the business in a couple of years, which is still the plan. Any time I’ve ever had a question, I’ve been able to go to the corporate team. My relationship with them has been fabulous the entire 15 years. I can’t say enough good things about them.”


Check out the full list of 2018 Lawn Doctor conference award winners:

Custom Acrylic Awards

2018 Best of the Best Award

Category 2

Richard Benbow

Lawn Doctor of Southern Wake County

 

2018 Best of the Best Award

Category 3

Kristena Polmanteer

Lawn Doctor of The Woodlands-Magnolia

 

2018 Best of the Best Award

Category 4

Chad Norton

Lawn Doctor of Cache Valley

 

2018 Best of the Best Award

Category 5

Mark, Marcia & Bradley Williams

Lawn Doctor of Clarksville

 

2018 Best of the Best Award

Category 6

Jeff Angus

Glenn Farrell

Lawn Doctor of Fairfield

 

2018 Highest Revenue Award

Brent Harl

Lawn Doctor of Denver

 

Orbit Award

2018 Fireball Award

Brian Mazzone

Mario Luciani

Lawn Doctor of Middletown-Essex

 

2018 Fireball Award

Alan Eggleston

Lawn Doctor of Chagrin Falls-Chardon

 

2018 Fireball Award

Homer Fouquier Jr

Lawn Doctor of South Lafayette

 

2018 Fireball Award

Vernie, Ann & Matt Glasson

Lawn Doctor of Greater Waco

 

2018 Phoenix Award

Jerry Flyge

Lawn Doctor of Middletown-Lincroft-Oak Hill

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