Shawn Delchamps and Zach Stockton have always felt at home in the grass. Both were athletes through high school, Shawn playing competitive golf and Zach rotating his sport seasonally, with a special affinity for baseball. So when Delchamps and Stockton decided to open a business last year, lawn-care franchise Lawn Doctor stuck out as the perfect opportunity.
“My first job as a teenager was working on a golf course,” Delchamps said. “That gave me my first experience with turf management, and Zach knew a lot, as well, from taking care of baseball fields.”
Delchamps says he and Stockton had talked for years about opening a business together, but it wasn’t until Stockton got a job working for a nearby Lawn Doctor franchise that they found a concept that complemented their goals and skills sets.
“Zach had been working for a Lawn Doctor for about seven months,” Delchamps said. “One day he came over after work and he was excited because he’d heard about an available Lawn Doctor territory in Metairie. He said we had to do it.”
Delchamps was intrigued, not only by his friend’s excitement, but also by what he found on the website. “I was immediately impressed with what I saw,” he said. But he wasn’t completely sold on the idea until the next day when he went out on a service-call with Stockton to observe the process. “Once I saw the equipment, I was hooked.”
Stockton and Delchamps put in an application and quickly got the ball rolling with Lawn Doctor’s development team, who walked the first-time business owners through everything they needed to get started.
“Eric [Martin, Lawn Doctor’s vice president of franchise development] was a huge help getting us started,” Delchamps said. “Neither of us had ever owned a business before, and there were times when we got stressed out, but he stayed close and helped us work through everything.”
Delchamps says he and Stockton saw that same level of support from the entire corporate team, including Lawn Doctor’s CEO, Scott Frith.
“We love so many things about Lawn Doctor, starting with the people,” he said. “Scott is so passionate about his company, and he’s very down to earth. He saw us eating breakfast one morning and asked to join us, even though there were plenty of other seats available, and we just sat around talking and sharing stories like old friends. The same goes for every team member I’ve met at Lawn Doctor; everyone is friendly and supportive of each other.”
Despite Delchamps and Stockton’s inexperience as business owners, Eric Martin says they are perfect fits for the Lawn Doctor community.
“Zach and Shawn are exactly the types of people who come into our system and do really well,” Martin said. “They are passionate and motivated, they love working outside, and they are dedicated to good customer service. I think we’re going to see big things from them.”
According to Delchamps, that dedication to customer service comes naturally to the pair.
“We love working with the customers,” he said. “There’s a lot of science involved in what we do, and they are always interested to learn about it. It’s a great feeling to help educate our clients and show them exactly how we can help them with a problem they are having.”
Stockton and Delchamps got their operation started earlier this summer and quickly set about establishing themselves in their community. Outside of Lawn Doctor, Stockton is a fireman for the NOFD, which inspired the pair to offer a discount for first responders and military personnel. Those efforts have paid off, and already the team has built an enviable customer base.
“We have a ton of service requests coming in, so it’s crucial we stay on top of calls and emails,” Delchamps said. “Every day, we get up ready to kick some weed butt, and we have no shortage of opportunities.”
According to Martin, directing the marketing and driving leads is one of the biggest values Lawn Doctor’s corporate team provides to the franchise owners. “We have a pretty sophisticated marketing program that generates consistent activity very quickly for our partners. This is not a business that requires a ton of painful cold calling and knocking on doors. No one likes to do that, so it’s nice for the owners to have a talented marketing staff like ours behind them making their phones ring.”
As Delchamps looks to the future of his new business, he says he’s excited to build on the success he’s already found with Lawn Doctor.
“The joy I have to be a business owner — it’s a dream come true, and to be able to do it with such a great company gives me a lot of pride,” he said. We are always looking for opportunities for expansion and growth. Zach and I are determined, hard-working people. We want to be the very best for our customers and the very best for Lawn Doctor.”