Lawn Doctor offers a variety of benefits for its franchisee system, but there are a few traits in particular that make the brand stand out in the industry. Indeed, as a brand, you don’t get to 550-plus locations and have a 50-plus year legacy without some serious hard work.
Here are five of the top reasons to invest in a Lawn Doctor franchise according to Vice President of Franchise Development Eric Martin.
Lifestyle and Flexibility
A major lifestyle benefit is the flexibility that running a Lawn Doctor franchise offers. When it comes to scheduling, for example, there is plenty of opportunity for regularity.
“In this type of business, you’re signing customers to an annual program,” Martin said. “You’re servicing these customers every month-and-a-half or so. It’s not an emergency.”
Once a Lawn Doctor franchisee and customer begin a relationship, everything becomes systematic. The franchisee can easily schedule the customer on their route every six weeks or so. The franchisee can plan their schedule versus just reacting to a situation, Martin said.
“As a franchisee, you can build your schedule around your life, whereas with other businesses you always have to interact with a customer,” Martin said. “The business model we have lends itself to more flexibility. It doesn’t require holidays or nights or weekends. It gives you a chance to plan your day and customize your route. Flexibility is one of the biggest draws to me.”
Longevity and Name Recognition
Lawn Doctor has been franchising since the late 1960s, and as Martin pointed out, very few brands have that kind of longevity.
“I don’t think any franchise owner or business owner who goes into a business opportunity thinking ‘I want to build this for two to three years,’” Martin said. “Instead, they think, ‘I want to build something here for a long time.’”
For example, the brand was celebrated in Entrepreneur magazine’s “How These 6 Franchises Have Thrived for Decades,” and Lawn Doctor has been ranked on the publication’s Franchise 500 list every year since its inception 40 years ago.
“To hear Lawn Doctor being spoken of in the same breath as some of these other major companies is truly amazing,” Martin said. “When you come into Lawn Doctor as a franchisee, you become part of our story, one that’s respected and known. That really helps our franchisees get off of the ground faster. Customers have heard of Lawn Doctor and know they can trust our brand, and that Lawn Doctor demonstrates the longevity they’re looking for.”
On a more personal note, franchisees can also create a generational legacy to pass on to their families. The annual nature of the business allows for franchisees to think this way.
“It’s not transactional,” Martin said. “You continuously have customers using your service year after year, and so you’re creating a runway in a business for your family to potentially become involved. You’re building customers for life and retaining services. We’ve got franchise owners who have been building with us for many, many years, and a lot of franchisees have kept the business in the family. Our model certainly allows them to plan for that.”
Technology and Patented Equipment
Lawn Doctor has also made major strides on the technology front, all of which is aimed at easing franchisee workloads to keep the focus on business owner’s main priority: customer service.
“We recently transitioned over to cloud-based software, where everything interfaces with each other,” Martin said. “Things like routing and measurement of properties can now be done virtually. We have a new learning management center for our franchisees that allows them to benchmark themselves among the systems and see those areas where they’re doing well and where they can improve.”
The purpose of having this data center is to facilitate best practices and improve the system.
“It’s not to play Big Brother,” Martin said. “It’s to say, ‘You’re doing well in these five categories but have growth opportunities in these two, so let’s focus on those.’ If you’re not measuring your performance, you’re not able to improve. You can’t improve upon what you don’t know.”
The brand also utilizes Mobile Live, an interactive application that provides quotes and adds to a customer’s package while the Lawn Doctor service provider is on the customer’s property.
“That’s not something you see in most lawn care companies,” Martin said. “A lot of our competition consists of mom-and-pop enterprises, and they don’t have the capital to invest in mobile technology or the ability to do instant routing.”
The brand also leverages a national inbound call center that handles sales for franchisees.
“We’re doing sales for our franchisees so they can focus on providing excellent customer service,” Martin said. “All of this has changed in the last couple of years. Now we’re able to provide quotes and measurements in real time.”
Then there’s the equipment available to franchisees. Lawn Doctor has patented equipment that only Lawn Doctor businesses can use, such as its Stand-On Turf Tamer, a core piece of equipment for the brand’s treatment programs, Martin said. Able to be operated by standing atop the machinery, the Stand-On Turf Tamer administers liquid and granular applications. This helps with profit margins and takes user error out of the equation, Martin said.
“The franchisee feedback has been great,” Martin said. “This is all that a lot of our newer owners know, but it’s new for those owners who have been with us for a long time. We did not have these exciting tools yet available 10 to 15 years ago.”
This type of support is precisely what makes the Lawn Doctor brand unique.
“When you’re a brand of this size and this tenure, you have to get everyone on the same page,” Martin said. “Our franchisees feel they are being put in a position to capitalize on the market share. They have more data today than they’ve ever had before and that’s what we want. We want a business based on data.”
Lawns need regular care, which means that Lawn Doctor franchisees are well-positioned for recurring revenue opportunities.
“The vast majority of business models are transactional,” Martin said. “You secure the service once and you may not do it again. With Lawn Doctor, you’re building customers that use us throughout the year, and our numbers show that we retain about 80 percent of our customers annually. This really allows our franchisees to forecast every season what’s going in and what’s going out.”
There are also multiple revenue streams available thanks to a variety of services, from lawn fertilization to pest control to tree and shrub care. All of these services can be offered on a continuous, ongoing basis, Martin noted.
“That’s what owners get really excited about—it’s the retention rates we provide,” Martin said. “Every year your franchise can get bigger as you add more customers to it.”
There’s nothing quite like being able to earn money while being outdoors. Of course, this can depend on the market. Lawn Doctor can be a seasonal service in one market and a year-round service in other markets. Either way, franchisees are focused on retention and preparing their businesses for the active season.
“Our franchisees put a lot of effort into the off-season,” Martin said. “You’re always branding. You’re always seeking to acquire customers for the next season. In our business, there’s a potential for meaningful revenue and having some flexibility during our off-season. It gives our franchisees time to focus on family and travel and just do whatever an owner wants to do with that free time.”
Also, Lawn Doctor does not have a brick-and-mortar requirement. Many franchisees will have an offsite industrial space where they can store their vehicle and equipment, but this is not required, which helps keep costs down. Also, many sales are virtual.
“People like being mobile,” Martin said. “They don’t like being tied to a desk. Being able to engage in the community while interacting with customers and referrals is highly desirable. No two days are the same. You’re out and about in this business, and that’s what draws a lot of people. It’s fun and flexible.”
Lawn Doctor franchisees are also not required to have a green thumb or be an agronomist. In fact, over 90% of the owners in the system had zero experience in lawn care coming into the business. “A question we get often is does an owner need previous experience in the industry to be successful and the answer is no,” says Martin. “We have former executives, managers, teachers and everything in between who learn the ropes quickly. We have a support team full of experts to help get new owners up to speed quickly and equipment that essentially does the work for you once staff are trained to operate it.”
One of the most unique components of the Lawn Doctor model is that franchisees never have to go inside of a customer’s house. “All of our work is done outside, which allows us to be nimble,” Martin said. “A customer doesn’t have to be home. We love seeing our customers, but we also love to just show up and do our job.”
The startup costs for a Lawn Doctor franchise range from $101,840 to $115,890. The franchise fee is $35,000. To learn more about franchising with Lawn Doctor, visit https://lawndoctorfranchise.com/.