Kendall Hines grew up in the Lawn Doctor business. Years ago, his parents purchased a Lawn Doctor territory in South-East Grand Rapids, Michigan, and Hines spent his summers going out on service calls with his father. He continued working for his parents through college and eventually purchased the business outright in his early twenties, making him one of the youngest owners in the Lawn Doctor system. Since taking over the business, Hines has grown his Lawn Doctor to a half-million-dollar operation, and this year, he plans to double that number.
Hines runs his Lawn Doctor with his childhood friend and neighbor, Henry Eggers, with whom Hines shares ownership of The Castlebrook Corporation, a holding company named after the street that Hines and Eggers grew up on.
Hines and Eggers’s Lawn Doctor is currently the only business in The Castlebrook Corporation’s portfolio, and Hines said they are focused on strengthening their first businesses before taking on any others.
“Henry worked on Wall Street for a while after college, and I’ve got a lot of experience in sales and marketing through Lawn Doctor, so between our two areas of expertise, we have a lot to offer,” said Hines. “We have plans to take on capital management down the line, but right now we are very much working on and in Lawn Doctor.”
When Hines purchased his parent’s Lawn Doctor, the operation covered a single territory in the Grand Rapids suburbs. Hines has recently added additional areas and is determined to continue expanding throughout the region.
“We plan to continue building out the market,” Hines said. “The economy here is very strong. New home building is up, which is a huge part of our growth, and many of the suburbs are listed among the best places to live or start a business.”
In addition to Michigan’s growing suburban class, Hines said the growth of his business has been hastened by an aggressively sales-oriented strategy.
“A big part of our growth comes down to us being really hungry,” Hines said. “We’ve been extremely growth-oriented since day one. Sales and marketing have always been our top priority. Even when there’s a foot of snow on the ground, we’re calling clients and scheduling services for the next season. A lot of franchisees will slow down in the winter and schedule new services whenever a new client is referred to them, which is fine. You can get plenty of work through referrals, but we are much more aggressive. We’re on the phones quite a bit contacting our clients, and we’re going heavy on social media marketing.”
Eric Martin, Lawn Doctor’s vice president of franchisee development, said the corporate team is eager to support Hines and Eggers’s rapid expansion throughout Michigan.
“We have franchisees who join the Lawn Doctor system for a number of different reasons,” Martin said. “Some people want to escape their corporate job, take control of their destiny and build an asset for themselves. Others find that something mobile and flexible, with an outdoors component, to be a breath of fresh air compared to sitting in that cubicle all day. There are those that want to add a new business to their investment portfolio and fall in love the recurring revenue aspects of this business. Then there are owners like Kendall and Henry, who see an opportunity to scale an empire, and that’s always exciting for us.”
Lawn Doctor, who offers exclusive territories, encourages franchisees to grow their reach when the time to expand is right.
“One of the great things about the Lawn Doctor system is that every territory is fully exclusive, so franchisees can grow without stepping on each other’s toes,” Martin said. “Not everyone has the desire to be an empire builder and many owners here do quite well with a smaller, more manageable market. For those like Kendall and Henry who want to build out their empire with Lawn Doctor, they can do so without worrying about taking business away from any other franchisees in the region.”
Hines and Eggers are on track to meet their lofty goal of $1 million in revenue by the end of 2018, and their growth plans don’t end there. Hines said he hopes to bolster his infrastructure so that he can continue growing the businesses by an additional $1 million in revenue each year.
“I am fully, truly committed to this business,” Hines said. “I’ve been in this my whole life. I bleed Lawn Doctor green. To be able to grow this business with Henry, who I grew up with playing football in the front yard, is an incredible opportunity, and we’re going to take it as far as possible.”