Lawn-care franchise Lawn Doctor has announced a plan to open a slate of new territories throughout Kansas City, Missouri. To realize that plan, the brand is seeking qualified new single- and multi-territory franchisees.
The Midwest has historically been a lucrative market for Lawn Doctor, and Eric Martin, the brand’s vice president of franchise development, says Kansas City is particularly well suited to host new operators.
“Kansas City is right in line with our prime demographics for both owners and customers,” Martin said. “You’ve got plenty of traditional neighborhoods with front and back lawns, and there’s a sort of old-fashioned American pride in lawn-care there. It has all the makings of an incredibly strong market for us.”
Crucially, Kansas City is still wide open for development. “It’s not often that you have a market that is so in line with your demographics but still has so much expansion area,” Martin said. “This is a unique opportunity for new owners.”
That room for growth is a particularly attractive prospect for potential multi-territory franchisees. Martin says Lawn Doctor’s model is built for large-scale growth, and owners that scale up their operations find exponentially greater rewards.
“Our model is an economy of scale,” he said. “In a market like Kansas City, where there are multiple development areas available, we encourage franchisees to seize the opportunity. We look for people who show us a desire to work in the business at least during the initial stages. There is always a transition from working in the day-to-day operations of the business to working on the business, improving efficiencies and growing their market presence. We help our owners make informed decisions when it comes to building their team, expanding their reach and making the most out of this opportunity.”
As Lawn Doctor owners expand their operations, they are able to extend their existing infrastructure to each new territory, reducing the cost of each new investment dramatically while the returns continue to increase.
“If you work to make your footprint deeper, you can have a whole market,” said Jeremy Turner, a multi-territory Lawn Doctor owner in St. Louis. “As I’ve grown, I’ve turned my operation into a business where on any given day, if I don’t go to work, I have people in place that make everything happen behind the scenes. I have the freedom to do the things I want to do. If I want to leave for vacation a little early, I can do that. There’s a lot of freedom that comes with growth.”
The growth of Turner’s business has been supported by a consistent demand for services that he attributes to St. Louis’s location in the Transition zone, a climate belt that also extends through Kansas City. The unique weather patterns of the Transition zone cause a conflict between warm- and cold-season grasses, causing each to brown during its off-season.
“In some markets, you can get by with fairly basic fertilization programs, but because we’re in the Transition zone, people need a lot more work done to keep their lawns looking good,” Turner said.
Still, the Missouri winter does offer some downtime for Lawn Doctor owners, at least in terms of servicing. Martin says that winter offers Midwestern Lawn Doctor owners a chance to take a step back and focus on high-level operations.
“Most businesses don’t get a break throughout the year,” Martin said. “You don’t get a chance to step back and take stock of the business or take a vacation for that matter. That’s one of the unique benefits of a seasonal business like ours. You get a chance every year to catch your breath and make any operational adjustments you might need before the next service season.”
Winters for Lawn Doctor owners are also spent largely on sales and marketing, which allow owners to secure and schedule services and payments throughout the year. Most Lawn Doctor customers have their lawns treated multiple times throughout the year, and many book services for the spring and summer during the winter. That advanced scheduling provides a consistent revenue stream even during non-service months.
Those benefits are magnified in Kansas City, with its distinct seasons, sprawling residential neighborhoods and opportunity for multiple territories. “If it weren’t on the other side of the state, I’d be buying up territories there,” Turner said.
Because Lawn Doctor territories are fully exclusive, there is no competition between neighboring owners vying for the same clients. In fact, there is a built-in incentive for owners to work together to strengthen the brand. With that security from over-saturation, Martin says Lawn Doctor is preparing to welcome a number of new franchisees to the Kansas City market.
“The greater Kansas City area is one of the strongest markets we have open for development, and we’re excited to extend that opportunity to passionate new investors,” Martin said. “This is a market where we have room for multiple franchisees to come in and build out their operations into large businesses. I’m confident that we’re going to see some strong future territories being developed here.”