WHY I BOUGHT
Why Lawn Doctor Franchisee Bryan Sallmen Continues to Grow With the Brand
A turnkey franchise opportunity and the chance to really connect with his employees keep Sallmen loving the lawn care brand.
Lawn Doctor is a household name in the lawn care sector and one that touts a robust franchise opportunity that is especially friendly to multi-unit owners. Just ask franchisee Bryan Sallmen.
Sallmen first joined Lawn Doctor in 2011. He had spent the previous few years working for a competing lawn care brand and wanted the opportunity to become his own boss.
“I watched my dad, who is a business owner, work 80 hours a week for 15 years to build a business to the point where it was profitable and did well,” Sallmen said. “I knew I liked being a business owner but I didn’t want it to take 15 years to get there. Lawn Doctor is turnkey. You have a huge support system. If you don’t have an answer for something, you can get it from your neighboring franchisee.”
Today, Sallmen owns and operates three Lawn Doctor franchises. Two are in Michigan, specifically in Kalamazoo and the Portage-Battle Creek area, and the third is in South Bend, Indiana. He opened his second territory with the brand in 2017 and his third earlier this year.
Sallmen credits Lawn Doctor’s strong franchise opportunity as a major reason for his continued expansion with the brand.
“They’re willing to support you in any way,” Sallmen said. “Lawn Doctor is a tight-knit group. You have access to other franchisees and can tap into their knowledge and experience.”
Lawn Doctor was founded in 1967 and has since grown to more than 570 franchise locations across 40 states. Lawn Doctor touts a franchise model that does not require a brick-and-mortar location and provides franchisees with recurring revenue. Earlier this year, the brand landed a spot on Entrepreneur Magazine’s Franchise 500 List.
Today, the brand’s support system is stronger than ever thanks to the recent launch of Happinest—which will serve as the parent company of Lawn Doctor—its sister company Mosquito Hunters and the newly-acquired residential cleaning service ecomaids. Happinest will ensure that franchisees with all three brands receive the same consistently exceptional support.
Sallmen certainly appreciates the support provided by Lawn Doctor team members such as the regional business consultants.
“Your regional business consultant is the best employee you don’t have to pay for,” he said. “They can help you with whatever you need.”
Of course, there are also the lifestyle and culture benefits that come with being a franchisee. These include the chance to get involved in one’s community; Sallmen is very involved, sponsoring local sports teams and providing support to churches and senior citizens. He also supports veteran foundations and recovery programs for alcohol and drug addiction.
“I like the fact that I can create my own lifestyle,” Sallmen said. “The harder I work and the more time I put in, the better my business will do. I can hire family members. I can go to my son’s basketball games whenever I want. The work still needs to be done but I have flexibility. I never want someone to tell me what to do.”
Given his track record of success, Sallmen is open to continuing to expand with the brand.
“It depends on the situation,” he said. “It’s all situational. You have to take advantage of opportunities but also work with what you’ve got.”
He joked—but was also serious—when he mentioned that his 17-year-old son’s friends will turn 18 soon, which could possibly help with his labor needs.
“Then I’ll have a good plethora of young kids who like me and will want to come work with me,” he laughed.
When it comes to his management style, Sallmen describes himself as being more of a friend than a boss. Since rainy days, for example, prevent Lawn Doctor workers from taking care of lawns, Sallmen seizes the opportunity to build his company culture and takes his crew out for a late breakfast or lunch. This gives him a chance to connect with his team and get a feel for any pain points they may be experiencing.
“I can get a good read on where my team stands and how they’re doing in life,” Sallmen said. “I can tell when someone is not happy to be there and can find out what it is that’s holding them back. I know everything that’s going on with my employees and what their future aspirations are. When you hire people, you want to build them up and give them opportunities. You want to give them insight into a future potential career.”
With a genuine love for the brand and a desire to build up his employees, the future is looking bright for Sallmen and his relationship with Lawn Doctor.