Franchise versus Going Alone

Hi folks, I'm new here so please don't treat me rough!

I'm sure this has been covered already loads of times so direction to the relevant bit would be appreciated.

However, tired of the corporate world I'm looking to do something differently. Yes, I know it's hard work. I'm not afraid of that. I've looked at the lawncare franchises available and Jims, Eds etc And I'm trying to weigh up the value I get from a franchise versus the cost. 

So, all opinions are welcome please

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  • PRO

    A franchise offers a ready made system to include training on how you gain customers, what products to use, and sometimes back end software to help manage things aka CRM.

    You'll be tied to their way to doing things, often buying product through them, and paying a monthly fee based on turnover to them (not profit).

    For some, this wrapper / cosetting is comforting. For others its like a straight-jacket. Depends on you really.

    For all of the above, you can get training for 1 off fees much cheaper than franchise fees with no ongoing fees. There are people in England, Scotland and Wales offereing such training so plenty around.

    Theres a good conference in 2 weeks time at Bisham Abbey for Independent Lawn Care. See the thread on here.

    Personally, I looked at franchise vs go alone, and went alone with some independent training.

    • PRO

      Thanks Andrew - you burst my Forum cherry! I appreciate your reply. Have loads of questions to ask over time.

      Can you tell me where I can find the courses you refer to or indeed what I should search the web for.


  • For the £10,000 + you pay them plus turn over payment plus inflated van lease plus buying products through them you are better starting out yourself. Further to my pm I started out with a mountfield push mower from B&Q and a strimmer that lasted four weeks in the back of a prius. In two months I had a van, a husqvaner strimmer and an eteria 46 pro mower. I have now been doing this for six I dont think franchises are good value personally
  • PRO

    I looked at buying a lawn care franchise nearly 10 years ago to sit alongside the existing business and it went to the wire - full meetings at head offices, NDA's, Due diligence, finance, my Accountant getting involved etc but decided not to progress after taking a step back and reviewing where I wanted to be....

    For me several issues I could not reconcile - the royalties (ie the cost), operating restrictions and the fact we could not run the two businesses side by side due to who owned 'customers' if we wanted to sell other 'services'.

    Many I met on that journey were looking for a business solution following redundancies, had a pot of money and wanted a 'ready made business'. Some totally lacked any business sense. I think my Accountant best summed it up for me - 'You'll get all the hassles of running the business, yet none of the benefits of owning the business'.

    It may have changed since then....just look at the franchise with eyes wide open......

  • PRO

    Gary, fair summary, especially not owning the customer. For those being made redundant and lacking business confidence (or good sense!) it can add up. However peel the layers, look at the consequences of the watertight agreements and it's very restrictive. Which, in a way it has to be to protect the brand / ensure quality. You have to see things from their side as well if they get a bad egg.

    There are probably others out there now, but I talked to Richard at Prolawncare in St Neots and Rob at Lawn and Weed Expert, Cardiff. Both will be able to help and I would recommend both. I went with Richard btw and still lean on him regularly for advice which is always good & given.

    • PRO

      Thnaks Andrew. Does your comment 'I went with Richard' mean you took a franchise from Prolawncare?

  • PRO

    No, I bought some training from him.

    • PRO

      Hj Ian 

      I think some people look upon a franchise as a quick fix , Do you have an interest and aptitude for gardening or are you just looking for an income from self employment to replace a salary ? 

      I went on a course whilst i was still an employee in this industry It had no connection to this industry but the objective was to introduce the course attendee to a franchise opportunity with good earning potential but before i made a decision i took the liberty of contacting people working in this franchise and for many of the reasons already mentioned above and also discovering some were involved in legal battles and in debt It did not paint a very positive picture so i decided not to proceed .

      I feel if you have a passion for horticulture this will carry you through and you will have greater flexibility as a sole trader and this is an industry full of resources to help you build your business and you can earn while you learn and gain valuable experience .

      I would highly recommend ( if you have not already ) reading Paul Powers starting a landscape gardening business and the LJN download book starting a landscape gardening business . 

  • PRO

    Yes I did a similar thing Franchises give you a Business in a box. They usually have a name most people recognise. However for me it would be like working in a straight jacket. I like to make my own destiny. Thats not to say all franchising is bad, just not for me. I did my training with Lawn&Weed expert in Cardiff. Similar thing to Andy, He is pretty much my neighbour and we chat a fair bit both being independent Lawn Care businesses.  

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