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Top-Performing Lawn Doctor Franchisee Diversifies With Holiday Lighting Heroes

As he approaches his 10th anniversary with the brand, Dave Satcher has added holiday lighting services to his portfolio to better serve his teams and customers.

After nearly a decade with Lawn Doctor, the lawn care franchise with 640 units nationwide, Dave Satcher had noticed a trend. Though he’d seen significant growth through acquisition, coming to own six territories throughout Ohio, he consistently found himself navigating a dip in the colder months.

This decrease in lawn care work decreased revenue, and seasonal layoffs didn’t allow Satcher to maintain the strong teams he had worked hard to build. In 2023, he decided that this holiday season would be different. Satcher was dedicated to making a change, and when he approached Eric Martin, senior vice president of franchise development at Happinest Brands, about an external holiday lighting business, he learned of the brand’s upcoming Holiday Lighting Heroes launch.

1851 Franchise spoke with Satcher to learn more about his background, his journey with Lawn Doctor and Holiday Lighting Heroes, and his plans for expansion.


1851 Franchise: Frame your personal story for us. What did you do before franchising, and how did you decide franchising made sense for you?

Satcher: I grew up under the wings of my dad who owned businesses, so I always had this interest in wanting to have a business. He was an electrical contractor, so I went to college to be an electrical engineer, and that didn't work out too well for me because math is not my specialty. So I spent a number of years in the Army; when I got out I didn’t know what to do for a living, so I went into manufacturing. I found that my real passion was process and process improvement. 

I ended up doing business consulting, but I got burnt out. I ended up in conversations with a franchise coordinator, and they introduced me to Lawn Doctor. I really thought about it, and after living in my home for 11 years, I knew that there were maybe three similar companies in my area, and none of them were really great. There was a need, so I went and met the Lawn Doctor team and got started in the business.

1851: What was your perception of franchising prior to becoming a franchisee, and what do you want people to know about franchising now that you are in it?

Satcher: I didn’t really have any perceptions of franchising. I really thought, going from working so hard as a consultant, that this would be an easy transition. I had no idea what it was like doing a business. So it was a lot tougher than I thought it was going to be, but it worked out.

1851: What made you pick this brand? What excites you most about this company?

Satcher: I'm such a process-oriented guy. What I loved about the franchise model was the fact that it was all baked in. I had all the systems and processes and equipment and all those things that went along with an established brand. Lawn Doctor had been around since the mid-60s, and I was pretty intrigued by that.

1851: What do you hope to achieve with your business? What are your plans for growth? 

Satcher: I’ve done a lot of growth through acquisition, and at this point, I have a pretty large territory with a lot of potential in the market. Recently, I was thinking about how to get my business to this next level, and that’s where holiday lighting came in.

I had gotten a card in the mail from another holiday lighting franchise. I never really thought about it, but because we have this gap where we basically go on seasonal layoff between Thanksgiving and early spring, I needed a way to get my employees to stay on.

When I saw that, I thought that it would be a great way to bring in revenue and keep employees around. I reached out to Eric [Martin] to get his opinion, and he let me know that they were working to launch their own holiday lighting franchise, Holiday Lighting Heroes.

I asked him what it would take to get into that space, and I ended up being one of the “guinea pigs” to launch the business with the corporate team. The more I learn about the business, the more excited I get, and the potential I see for that business is pretty unbelievable.

1851: What is the one thing about your story you want us to know?

Satcher: I’m different than most in this business because I’ve done so many acquisitions. Not only have I bought other Lawn Doctor franchises, but I’ve also bought competitors. My approach has been different.

1851: What advice do you have for other people thinking about becoming a franchise owner?

Satcher: This is not an easy thing to do. There’s a lot of freedom in being a business owner because you can hire who you want and grow the way you want. But if I had tried to start a business independently, I would’ve spent too many years trying to grow it from the ground up.

Elevate yourself quickly. Hire some folks to do those daily roles and make time for yourself to focus on sales, strategy and growing top-line revenue. The quicker you can do that, the quicker you can start enjoying the fruits of your labor.


Since its first franchise in 1967, Lawn Doctor has established itself as a leader in the lawn care services industry through innovative technology, its ability to satisfy the needs of consumers on a national level, and its development and expansion within the industry. Lawn Doctor specializes in treatment and conditioning services, such as fertilization, weed control, seeding, aeration and tree and shrub care. The Lawn Doctor brand has hundreds of locally owned and operated franchises and is the #1 ranked lawn care franchise in the United States.  Lawn Doctor is a 2023 Franchise 500 brand, ranking no. 79 for its financial strength and stability, unit growth and brand power.

*This brand is a paid partner of 1851 Franchise. For more information on paid partnerships please click here.