Description: Go green with a NaturaLawn of America franchise and enjoy consistent reoccurring revenue! Enjoy the benefits of an exclusive and proprietary line of organic-based products. Opportunities: Single unit opportunities available across the US Business Type: Franchise. Minimum Cash Required: $50,000. Financing Assistance: Yes, through a third party. Training Provided: Yes. SBA-Approved: Yes.
NaturaLawn of America Franchise Opportunity
$10,000 discount on franchise fee for military veterans
Interview with Blaine Young, Franchise Development Manager for NaturaLawn of America
For 30 years, NaturaLawn® of America has been providing its customers with environmentally responsible lawncare, creating green lawns quickly, more naturally, and with fewer weeds. NaturaLawn franchisees benefit from name brand recognition and NaturaLawn's exclusive and proprietary line of organic-based products. The team at NaturaLawn of America is dedicated to helping its franchise owners grow.
In this Success Story Interview, we talk to NaturaLawn of America Franchise Development Manager Blaine Young. He lets us in on the secrets to NaturaLawn of America's success, the company's 30th anniversary celebrations, and more!
Can you tell us a little about the history of NaturaLawn of America and the part you play in the franchise?
The NaturaLawn of America lawn care system was originally introduced to the public in 1987 with the intention of developing a national franchise organization. The system provides consumers with a service using natural organic-based fertilization programs in conjunction with a specially designed Integrated Pest Management (IPM) approach. Traditional chemical lawn care programs use synthetic sources of nutrients and indiscriminate blanket applications of pesticides.
With the public increasingly aware of the misuse of pesticides and a growing concern for the environment, NaturaLawn of America received a warm welcome into the marketplace. The company has grown from a single location, with first year revenues of $300,000 to 86 franchised licenses operating in 24 states with annual revenues in excess of 53 million dollars.
In 2002, the company introduced a Do-It-Yourself retail product line offered to the public. This lead to the incorporation of a separate “sister” company in 2012 called Natural Alternative® whose focus is to market their proprietary fertilizer and ice melt products.
As Franchise Development Manager, it is my role and primary responsibility to seek out prospective new owners and ensure they are qualified to own and operate a NaturaLawn business. In conjunction with these activities, I work closely with our Marketing Department and the Operations staff to monitor, encourage and coach new owners in the start-up phase of their business as well as in their 5 year expansion efforts.
NaturaLawn is celebrating its 30 year anniversary this year. What sort of celebrations do you have in store?
We will be celebrating our 30th at the Weston Inn in Savannah, GA this year. The meeting will have several guest speakers from within the industry as well as outside of the industry. In the past we have had Cal Ripken, Jr., Captain Richard Phillips (Tom Hanks played his part in the movie entitled “Captain Phillips), Keni Thomas (The Airborne Ranger from Blackhawk Down), Humpy Wheeler (the man who started NASCAR), and more. We keep our special guest speaker a secret until the meeting!
We have also instituted a 2017 sales incentive program which every franchise has an opportunity to win a series of rewards totally over $4,500 in prizes and benefits to their business.
Our planning committee is putting together a number of group outings which franchise owners can choose to participate in while on site at the Savannah meeting.
What do you attribute NaturaLawn’s success to?
While there are many aspects that may lead to a business’s success, the primary and most important one is the people who make up the company. Without talented and ethical people, a company’s survival is short-lived.
Our philosophy is to first and foremost take care of our people. We believe that if we do that, our people will take care of our customers and in turn, our customers will take care of the company’s growth and success by buying our products and services. This holds true in the awarding of a new franchise to a prospective owner.
Just like “word of mouth” is our strongest sale source in our current lawn care businesses, positive feedback from our franchisees to potential owners is our strongest sales tool.
It’s important that we continue to provide strong business and marketing support to help our current locations meet their financial and business expectations. This includes a comprehensive approach, including strict reporting standards, budgeting and forecasting standards, proper branch structure, and commitment to marketing their business.
With continued strong support being given to our existing owners coupled with the energies from our Franchise Business Development Manager whose focus is targeted on cultivating new franchisees, we can be assured the net result of the efforts will be happier and more successful locations and residential customers.
How has the industry changed since the franchise began?
Since there have been so many major changes in the industry over the years, picking the single biggest change would, at best, be difficult. With that said, I would have to say it was the introduction of the Internet and the evolving technology. The internet has shaped the way our industry conducts business on virtually every front.
Prior to the Internet one would physically go out and measure a lawn, now our industry measures lawns remotely via a computer and also obtains visuals of the properties using Google Street View.
The Internet has allowed the industry to expand its marketing efforts beyond direct mail and door hanging. Web sites have allowed for the industry to provide large amounts of company and educational details to the information-seeking public. The use of easily sharable Internet videos has transformed the way our industry is perceived by the consumer.
Additionally, the Internet has constantly evolved during the past 25+ years. It’s now not only used by our industry to get in front of non-customers but also to stay in front of current customers using web-based platforms.
Are there any areas that are well-suited for a NaturaLawn franchise?
Anywhere there are residential homes with lawns is a potentially suitable place for a NaturaLawn franchise. We typically look at major metropolitan areas where the population of single family homes is in excess of 50,000.
What are the most important traits NaturaLawn looks for in prospective franchisees?
We look for people who are not only eager to own their own but can also meet the financial qualifications necessary to start and run a successful business.
In addition, people we speak with have to be willing to follow a system as opposed to trying to reinvent standards of operation which we know are successful. And finally, we want to work with “nice” people who get along with others and want to work together as a team towards our mutual success.
Can you tell us a little bit about the day-to-day activities of a NaturaLawn franchisee?
Franchise operations handle a variety of activities which include; sales, service, operations and administrative tasks. A typical franchise owner of five years will have 1-2 office staff in administration, 5-6 field technicians and 3-4 sales persons.
What’s the biggest mistake you see from your incoming franchisees? How can it be avoided?
By far, the number one mistake made is not following the proven track record, methods and standards of NaturaLawn. When this happens, franchise owners either suffer very slow growth or they may actually fail.
The second common mistake is spending their time on tasks that do not grow the business (i.e. buying equipment before its needed or spending time trying to reinvent technology that is already available through the Home Office) when their time and efforts should be spent on marketing and generating sales.
What is the biggest challenge NaturaLawn has faced, and how did you overcome it?
We have faced numerous challenges over the past 30 years. Some of these would include:
- Spending time and money protecting our more than a dozen Federally Registered trademarks.
- Continually developing new and innovative products that are proprietary to NaturaLawn to help ensure our uniqueness.
- Recruiting the right people who will continue to lead us into the future.
- Dealing with the myriad of legislative issues on a national and local level and figuring out how to incorporate them into the system rather than trying to fight them.
What are some of NaturaLawn’s biggest achievements?
We are extremely proud of the fact that we were (and are still) ahead of our time and leading the lawn care industry into an era of more environmental awareness and recognition of the harm that the unnecessary use of chemicals and pesticides present to the public.
Over the past 30 years, our programs have reduced the potential of chemical and pesticide inputs going into the environment, by over 85% when compared to how traditional lawn care operated.
NaturaLawn has been the pioneer for the industry in developing Integrated Pest Management programs, creating organic-based fertilizers (a term we coined in 1987), and incorporating beneficial microbes into lawn care products to further reduce unnecessary inputs into the environment.
What does the next 30 year look like for NaturaLawn of America?
The customers of today and those of tomorrow are different socially and economically than the customers of the past 20-30 years. Consumers in the past wanted a “green and weed free” lawn; they were also not overly concerned about the methods and materials which our industry used to achieve those results. They did not really care about the image of the company they contracted with nor what the internal values and philosophies may be. If their lawn was green and seemingly weed free, they went about their day-to-day lives.
While our industry certainly deals with many in the baby boomer generation, we are beginning to have contact with more and more of the younger generations including the millennials. The wants, needs and expectations of the younger consumers can be quite different from those of the older age group.
Customers now want to know more than just the fact that an application of fertilizer will be made. They are questioning what’s in the fertilizer, what are the sources, who made it, do they use recycled material, what kind of company is it, and they do things ethically.
There is a cultural shift happening with consumers and this shift is trending more towards environmental responsibility in all aspects of the consumer’s life. From the food they eat, the gardens they plant, the vehicles they drive, the restaurants they frequent, the type of craft beer one drinks, and the type of businesses they choose to do business with and more, are all part of a life style and cultural shift. As an industry, we need to recognize this and be prepared to meet the challenges of what the next generation wants, not what we may think they need.
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