John Seiders taught college chemistry for 13 years before turning his sights on franchising with Lawn Doctor. As of November 2018, Seiders is the proud franchise owner of Lawn Doctor of York in Pennsylvania.
Since 1967, Lawn Doctor has provided superior lawn care services to communities across 42 states. The company has expanded to nearly 600 franchise locations through its proven recurring revenue and scalable business model. It also has a low-cost investment as it does not require a brick and mortar establishment and has a low inventory cost. In addition, Lawn Doctor allows its franchisees to coordinate their own schedules.
“Once I knew I wanted to work on my own after teaching, I needed to find a business that complemented the freedom of working on a semester timetable,” said Seiders. “I didn’t want to be stuck in a typical 9-to-5 job. I wanted freedom to be out and about with other people.”
Seiders left his tenure-track professorship in western Pennsylvania to come back to his hometown of York in order to be closer to his parents. After the move, however, he discovered that many of the faculty positions available in the area were contracted, only lasting one to three years and in most cases, in constant need of re-enlisting. For eight years, Seiders continued to teach under various contracts. But recently, he decided to take his career into his own hands and make a change.
While prioritizing a business with flexible hours of operation--and considering the enjoyment he derived caring for his own lawn--Seiders began searching for a lawn care franchise online. He quickly narrowed his search to align with his business goals: no brick and mortar establishment, a flexible schedule, the chance to be outdoors, and the ability to still interact with customers.
He found numerous companies—and they had found him, as well. Within three days of looking online and filling out inquiry forms, Seiders received 46 emails. In filtering the information, Seiders happened upon an email from Lawn Doctor.
“I had heard of Lawn Doctor prior to my franchise research,” he said. “Friends and family had utilized their services. Now that I was actively searching and looking into the company, I realized just how closely the brand’s service-focused culture and business model aligned with my goals and visions for business ownership.”
Seiders soon met with Eric Martin, Lawn Doctor’s VP of Franchise Development, and determined that everything he’d read about the brand’s culture rang true. Lawn Doctor’s focus on a customer care model and a deep commitment to franchisee support–from training to ramping and beyond–convinced Seiders of the opportunity.
After meeting with the corporate team at a Discovery Day and receiving approval to become a franchisee, Seiders officially signed a single-unit deal to partner with Lawn Doctor in August and completed his training three months later. Though he’s only just begun providing services, Seiders stated that his business has already enjoyed a strong start.
Seiders’s business is a local hit and has exceeded expectations by hitting end-of-year goals already this Spring. As the business continues to grow in the area, Seiders aims to strategically leverage the market he’s currently in by focusing marketing efforts and building new customers in zip codes he’s not currently servicing.
“Lawn Doctor has created a successful business model and system in which, if you make the most of it, you’re guaranteed a strong start to your business,” said Seiders. “With a franchise, you aren’t starting from scratch; the company already has a proven track record in place. It even provides helpful resources to position its franchisees for financial success. It’s then up to the owner to provide the customer satisfaction element.”
He stated that when a client comes out to greet him, says their lawn is looking great and expresses appreciation Seiders can’t help but smile, knowing he did something good for someone else.
Not only has Seiders found value in the customer service aspect of his business, but he has also found renewed professional pride.
“I’m representing Lawn Doctor, but I’m also representing my business,” Seiders said. “There is an intertwining of my personal and professional lives in a more connected manner than they ever were when I was a professor. I lived away from the campus community so I could separate myself from my profession. But here, I’m always the Lawn Doctor of York. It brings me great pride when clients are happy. In several months of treating clients’ properties, I feel more successful knowing I’ve made things better for them. It’s incredibly motivating to help people.”