In 2019, we interviewed Stephen and Elizabeth Carman shortly after they made the decision to become U.S. Lawns franchise owners. Their goals were to escape the uncertainty of the corporate world and to take control of their time and financial future (you can read that interview here). Since that interview the Carmans have experienced substantial growth in both their personal and professional lives. We recently had the opportunity to catch up with the Carmans and talk to them about how they are doing two years into their business and the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Today our operation includes three trucks, three trailers and eight employees.” says Stephen. “Our business is up significantly over last year which is incredible considering the global pandemic and economic slump the country has been dealing with.”
Feeling particularly fortunate to have the support of U.S. Lawns during this global crisis, Stephen says, “The guidance U.S. Lawns has given us in regard to COVID has been invaluable. As an essential business, we had to quickly make adjustments to our operating procedures. U.S. Lawns immediately jumped into action and researched all the local and federal guidelines and helped us implement all the health and safety measures necessary to keep us running efficiently and, most importantly, safely. If we were in business by ourselves, we would have had to wade through all of that alone.”
Stephen adds, “As our business has scaled so has the support. The Home Office has been great. They have provided us with the resources we need at each stage in development to get to that next level.”
Having greater personal freedom and financial security as they have built a sustainable and profitable U.S. Lawns business, the Carmans have been able to be more present for the growth in their family. Over these past two years, the Carmans have added three grandchildren plus another on the way to their family.
“Even as our business has grown substantially over these past two years we have been able to maintain, with few exceptions, a four-day work week. While a lot of credit for that has to go to our amazing team, we feel blessed because that was something that was important to us when we started out. Our goal was to build a business that would allow us to have the work life balance we sought.” says Stephen. “Elizabeth has been able to spend about a month at a time with each new grandchild while still doing her part remotely. I have even been able to get away for visits myself. Having that freedom is priceless to us.”
While pursuing their ideal work life balance, the Carmans have not sacrificed their business goals. Stephen says, “We are chasing big revenue goals, we are going for a Top 100 spot.”
One area they are focusing on as they take their business to the next level is becoming employers of choice. “We strive to create a positive work culture for our employees to foster loyalty. We provide paid holidays, paid time off, as well as opportunities for growth. Quality employees are essential for a thriving business,” says Stephen.
When asked about the culture of U.S. Lawns, Stephen says, “We have found everything they have said about the culture and support from the beginning has been true. The Home Office is incredibly supportive and encouraging, as has been the network of other franchises. The culture of competitive camaraderie amongst the owners has been fun and motivating.”
Stephen has this to say to someone in the process of deciding whether U.S. Lawns is right for them, “Reach out to owners and get to really understand what goes into the operations, even if you have to travel a bit. It is so important to get the whole picture. But don’t let it overwhelm you either, the U.S. Lawns system provides a framework and rails to run on. It helps instill confidence when you are just starting out.”
Stephen concludes with this, “Our faith and sticking to the U.S. Lawns systems have been instrumental in our business growing at the pace it has. Everything we came to U.S. Lawns to accomplish we have. We look forward to seeing what the future holds.”