In the more than 50 years since Lawn Doctor was founded, the franchise has expanded consistently, establishing nearly 600 territories across 42 states. This summer, Lawn Doctor is making substantial additions to those already impressive stats, bringing on a slate of new territories and franchise partners. In June alone, 12 new Lawn Doctor owners graduated from training, making one of the largest freshman classes in the brand’s long history.
Jason Hobbs, a new owner in Tennessee, says his love for lawns goes back to his high-school days, when he operated his own mowing business.
“I am very particular about the look of my lawn,” Hobbs said. “I have hired help in the past, but I enjoy doing as much as I can myself. Having owned a lawn mowing business in my younger years, I understood coming in how important customer service and follow through is. There is a learning curve here as there is more science involved in our application and treatment programs, but that’s exactly why so many customers approach us for our services”.
In terms of prior lawn-care experience, Hobbs is actually the exception in his class. Most new Lawn Doctor franchisees are just looking to escape the corporate world and start their own business, and the franchise’s comprehensive training and ongoing support systems make the operations manageable for owners from a variety of backgrounds.
Jake Strength’s extensive and varied work history includes stints in transportation, sales and the U.S. Air Force. When Strength decided to open his own business in Georgia, he says he chose Lawn Doctor because of the potential to make it a family operation.
“When our children are of age and some of them out of college, they will likely join our team,” he said. “We wanted to create an annuity type business where our customers come back to us every single year. Lawn Doctor provides us the opportunity to build customer loyalty and a recurring revenue stream our kids can take over in the future”.
Rafael Valle is another new owner with a military background. After retiring from the Army in 2015, Rafael and his wife Lara decided to open their own business. They chose Lawn Doctor as a way to further their dedication to serving their community in Jacksonville, Florida.
“We are very excited to serve the community in this fashion,” Lara said. “Being a military family has taught us that a strong community is the key to a successful family environment. Helping our neighbors with their needs will involve us in building a strong community bond.”
Another husband-and-wife team in Florida, Lisa and A.D. Dayaa are excited to use Lawn Doctor to increase the beauty, and therefore the property values, of their Brandon community.
“[A well-kept lawn] is very important,” Lisa said. “A dull, unmaintained lawn or landscape is unattractive and may turn prospective buyers away.”
Friends-turned-business-partners Zach Stockton and Shawn Delchamps grew up in New Orleans, where they are opening their first Lawn Doctor territory. Delchamps says he’s been waiting for the perfect business opportunity, and with Lawn Doctor, he found it.
“I knew I would run my own business, and I was just waiting for the right opportunity,” he said. “Lawn Doctor was the right fit for me. I love the flexibility the business provides us and having full control of our schedules as we build our customer base”.
In Virginia, Jonathan and Eleanor Bankert are opening their first territory in Charlottesville. The Bankert’s are running their operation as a family business right off the bat, bringing on their son Keith as an operations manager. Jonathan says he became interested in lawns for the sake of his family’s many, many pets. “We have three horses, a mule, four dogs and too many cats to count,” Jonathan said. “I’ve been around franchising for many years and have owned other businesses. We see this is the perfect opportunity to grow a real family business with one of the most trusted brands in the industry”.
Greg and Sherri Harkrider, a couple in the Jacksonville area, are opening their Lawn Doctor to fulfill their shared lifelong dream of working for themselves. They are driven by an unwavering work ethic, which Sherrie says will demand “personal attention to our customers’ needs”. Greg, who spent 15 years in the US Navy as a helicopter air crewman and rescue swimmer says his new mission is to provide customers a lawn “completely full and deep-green in color, making you want to go lay down in it.”
That array of interests is not unusual for new Lawn Doctor owners, says Eric Martin, the franchise’s vice president of franchise development.
“One of the luxuries of having such a well-established operational model is that it can work for people with a variety of skill sets,” Martin said. “That allows us to look at the people themselves and not just their resumes. For prospective partners, we are looking for a genuine passion to build something great, a speed to lead mentality and a desire to provide outstanding customer service. While Lawn Doctor is a nationally known company, we continue to push the locally owned and operated message into each new community we open in. We discuss these ideals at length during our research process and are very selective when it comes to bringing new franchisees into our family of owners.”
As the summer progresses, Lawn Doctor’s corporate team will continue to work with prospective franchisees in a variety of new markets. Martin says he’s confident that the new owners scheduled in upcoming Fall and Winter training classes will share the same passion and vision of previous groups.”
“We’ve worked with so many wonderful partners over the years,” he said. “One of the best parts of working with a trusted brand like Lawn Doctor is that we are able to attract great people. It’s exciting for all of us to help high caliber candidates explore our opportunity to see if we are a good fit for each other."