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Growing with U.S. Lawns

In just three short years, business partners Justin Adcock and Josh Hargon have experienced tremendous growth with U.S. Lawns. This growth, from the formation of their partnership to their expansion into more territories, has been in part a result of investing in the right people. Through their commitment to promoting from within and intentionally creating a best place to work culture, they have built a sustainable business with the potential for continued growth.  

Before joining U.S. Lawns in 2019, Justin Adcock was in real estate/construction, working as a residential contractor and licensed appraiser. After 20 years in the industry, he began to feel frustrated. “On a job, you are one of many contractors and you are beholden to their timeline. I wanted more oversight in how my day went.” 

Moreover, Justin wanted to be in charge of the pace his business grew, rather than having it dictated by the ups and downs of real estate trends. “I wanted to be in control of my own destiny,” he says.  

In order to create more freedom and flexibility in his life, Justin decided it was time to look outside of the construction and real estate business. “Construction is intense, you are required to physically be there all the time. I was ready for a change,” he says.  

A Sustainable Model

Justin saw the landscape industry as a pathway to build a sustainable business with growth potential, saying, “The grass keeps growing no matter what. And it doesn’t just stop with the grass; there are so many potential revenue streams. Add in enhancements, irrigation, snow removal and there will never be a lack of need for this business.” 

Having seen his friend and U.S. Lawns franchisee, Ken Beasley steadily grow his commercial landscape business, Justin says, “I knew that the business model was solid and that with the right people in place there was so much potential for growth. I also saw that it wasn’t Ken himself on the mower every day.” 

Only servicing commercial clients also appealed to Justin. “Most jobs follow business hours, Monday through Friday. I could build more structure into my days. A phone call with a client rarely happens after the workday is over.” 

In March of 2019, Justin Adcock, who lives in Alabama, became a U.S. Lawns franchisee in Sherman, Texas. “There was definitely a learning curve,” explains Justin, “but today we are performing well above the model numbers. We also put down roots in the area and bought our own building for our shop in December of 2020.” 

2020 was also the year Justin was ready to grow his business to include more territories.  This time he teamed up with a partner, Josh Hargon. “Justin and I knew each other from the construction industry. We would often go out to lunch, and I also coached his daughter’s basketball team,” says Josh, “We both had the same set of principles when it came to business.”  

He goes on to say, “Construction is a tough business and after 20 years as a project manager I knew nothing was going to change. I was not going to grow where I was at, and I was ready to do something on my own. Justin encouraged me to finally take that step and invest myself.”

Partnership and Expansion

Together, Justin and Josh started operations in Alexandria, TX and have since added two more territories in Lake Charles and New Orleans, Louisiana.  Along the way the partners have shaped their business around its people. This people-first mentality has played a key role in the growth of Justin and Josh’s business, especially with the geographical distance that separates their three territories. 

 “We know to keep our crew happy we need to intentionally create a place they want to work culture. They will then want to deliver exceptional service which in turn strengthens our relationships with our customers.,” explains Justin, “For example, we upkeep the equipment and invest in new trucks. We also empower our managers to make decisions rather than overseeing every little thing they do.  Things like that make a big difference. We never want complacency to set in.”

Josh adds, “Growing our employees is part of that culture, offering training opportunities and promoting from within. We are constantly moving people up.” 

“When we find the right person, we find a role for them,” Justin continues, “It’s important to get to know our employees, understand what their strengths and goals are. We can then shape a path based on that.”

An example of this can be seen in their most recent growth into Lake Charles, LA. “Joey started out as a crew leader years ago and as an integral member of our team, worked his way up,” says Josh, “To Joey, becoming an owner was more important than anything. So, when it was time to expand again, we gave him an ownership percentage in that territory.” 

The Power of the Network

In addition to their employees being integral to their growth, Justin and Josh have found a great resource in other U.S. Lawns owners.  Justin says, “Our connection to other owners in the network, has been so important. We have relied heavily on these relationships as we have expanded our business. They help us keep moving forward.” 

Through leveraging the power of the network and with support from the U.S. Lawns home office, Justin and Josh have found a road map to help guide their growth.  “Unlike some of the more traditional owners, we did not come into this with a mastery of the industry. Knowing the operations side of the business is not a prerequisite, U.S. Lawns helped us with that piece. We are not just out there guessing,” Justin adds, “Our franchise advisor Greg Huston’s counsel and insight has been very helpful. He helps us think of what is needed and what steps we should take next.” 

Josh agrees, “No landscape experience is needed to be successful in this business. The resources and support are available to help with that. Most important is selling the work and being able to manage people. The systems and processes help with that rest.” 

For Justin and Josh, leaving the construction industry after two decades, was about creating more freedom and flexibility over their lives as well as building a sustainable and profitable business on their own terms. When asked if they achieved this, Josh concludes, “U.S. Lawns has been everything we got into it for and has turned into even more than we thought it could be. We are now at four territories in just two years. Even during the pandemic, we kept growing. There is so much work out there, we will continue to grow.” 

Justin adds, “It is rewarding to see this business grow and we are excited to see where it goes.”

Learn more about how you can invest in yourself and your future on your terms as well as a business owner by scheduling a call with U.S. Lawns here.  

After years working as a high-level manager in aerospace manufacturing, Taylor Kelley found himself tired of the corporate lifestyle. He grew weary of the 55–60-hour work weeks, late night overseas calls and having to have his phone attached to his hip at all hours.

“I wanted more control over my life. As a manager, I felt like I was just feeding the next level. There was constant pressure. I wanted to build and grow something for myself; something that was mine,” says Taylor.

No longer wanting to stay on the corporate ladder, Taylor came to a crossroads in 2019.  Wanting to be closer to their adult daughter, Taylor and his wife, Emee, decided to leave California and start a business in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Taylor was no stranger to starting up a business. Years before entering the aerospace industry, he and a partner owned a Sport Fishing company in Baja California.  Knowing what went into building a business from scratch, this time around Taylor decided he wanted to invest in a concept that came with a road map and strong support.

After researching several industries and brands, he felt U.S. Lawns offered the best fit for his personal and financial goals.  “I appreciated U.S. Lawns’ no pressure approach. It was about determining if this was the right fit more than anything,” says Taylor, “The Culture Index (personality profiling) Survey was a milestone in my discovery process. I really saw how my skills and aptitudes fit in with the business model.”

In talking to other owners, Taylor found the U.S. Lawns network to be welcoming and helpful. “I saw these other owners who were able to scale their business with the help of U.S. Lawns. I knew this was a team I wanted to be a part of.”

He goes on to say, “I also saw the advantage having U.S. Lawns behind my business would give me. There is a confidence that comes from being a nationwide brand with a recognizable name.”

In just two years since joining the team, Taylor business is flourishing, despite the unique challenges Las Vegas’ unrelenting desert terrain presents. “There were a lot of unknowns when I started because landscaping in Las Vegas is very different than anywhere else. Some of the systems and standard procedures had to be adjusted to work here,” explains Taylor, “It was like putting together pieces of a puzzle, but it was very much a “We” situation. The support team was right there, helping me figure it out. They even went out to some properties with me to help me figure out how to establish metrics that worked for our unique situation.”

Today, Taylor has grown his operation to three trucks. He has a Business Developer working steadily to help in add a fourth truck in the first quarter of this year. His team consists of eight guys, a tree guy, and a part time irrigation expert. “I enjoy being challenged and building something. Developing my employees has been very rewarding. It is a great feeling to be able to play a part in helping people change their lives, buy a new car, and support their families. I want this business to be one of the best places to work in Las Vegas.”

It is this connection to U.S. Lawn’s brand vision of improving community in ways you can see, that resonated so deeply with Taylor and ultimately helped him decide to invest in U.S. Lawns. “The culture of a company is very important. I am proud to be a part of U.S. Lawns.”

As for where he sees his business heading, Taylor says, “We have some big goals for 2021 with some huge metrics to surpass. I am looking forward to growing a sustainable business that will give me the freedoms and flexibilities that I could not get working for someone else.”

“Getting that first job was tough, but I kept at it and now I have a portfolio of referrals. Everything is falling into place,” adds Taylor, “I would not have been able to do this, let alone be as successful as I have been without U.S. Lawns. The roadmap has been incredible. I would 100 percent do this again.”

When asked if he had any advice for someone just starting out, Taylor says, “You have to be all in when owning a business. You can’t have just one foot in and be successful. In the beginning it takes putting in the hours. You also have to believe in the system and to be willing to listen. It’s an all or nothing thing.”

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.”

The Carruth family’s roots run deep in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.  Jamie, a retired elementary school principal spent 31 years with the public education system. Her son, Alex worked with a local irrigation and landscape company. Today the mother and son team own a successful U.S. Lawns franchise and are continuing their family’s tradition of improving their community.

It all began with a conversation between Alex and an acquaintance of Ken Beasley, U.S. Lawns franchisee in Natchez, Mississippi. While discussing this opportunity with his mom, Jamie pulled up the website on the computer and the two began to consider the brand’s offering. The more they learned, the more they began to feel this was the right opportunity for them to go into business with each other.

It was U.S. Lawns proven processes and systems that particularly appealed to Jamie.  “Coming from the structured background of public education, I enjoyed knowing the groundwork was already laid. There is not a question as to how to do things,” explains Jamie, “There isn’t a question or problem they haven’t already came up with an answer or program for. They have thought everything through and everything they do is for the benefit of the franchisees. They provide a roadmap for success.”

Feeling the brand was a good fit, the pair signed their U.S. Lawns Franchise Agreement in August of 2016. At the time Alex was just 22 years old, relatively young to be a business owner by most industry standards. “I had no business background, just labor experience when we first started out. Today, I have a better understanding of what I am doing businesswise. U.S. Lawns provided the tools I needed to learn and grow. If I had to do it again, I wouldn’t do it any other way,” says Alex.

New to business, as the Carruths first started out, they found themselves up against a learning curve. The U.S. Lawns support proved to be helpful in growing their business. The Direct Sales Dial-Up program, in particular, really helped them ramp up. “The team helped us a lot by getting us in the door with prospective clients. Our first contracts were through appointments set up by the team. As our business grew, so did our referrals. Now most of our new business comes through word of mouth and Google rankings. Today, the phones are ringing with business coming to us,” says Jamie.

One of the reasons the Carruths have enjoyed continued success in their business is their commitment to U.S. Lawns’ mission of creating a best place to work culture. Jamie says, “It is so important to find the right employees and keep them around. When you take care of your employees, they will take care of your customers and this leads to more referrals.”

Alex adds, “Some of the way we tried to create a desirable work culture is through well maintained equipment, finding ways to say thank you, and having get-togethers like family BBQs. We’ve got a great team and it has been a key to us growing at the rate we have.”

Over the past four years, the Carruths have consistently added one truck a year. This year they are likely to add two more trucks. This is a remarkable growth rate, especially considering the recent global pandemic and subsequent economic slowdown.

“Even with the certain market verticals affected and ancillary services down because of COVID, we have seen our base business grow. We have even had clients undertake some enhancement projects during this time, so it’s safe to say we haven’t really felt the effect of the downturn,” says Alex.

“Being locally owned, family owned, and lifelong residents of Baton Rouge has helped us build strong relationships with our community, but at the same time we are able to leverage the support and resources of a large well known brand.  With U.S. Lawns, we get to be in business for ourselves, but not by ourselves,” explains Jamie, “Running a business can be lonely sometimes, so having that interaction with the U.S. Lawns team and being able to pick up the phone and call them with a problem has been incredibly advantageous to us.”

Brand recognition and the power of the U.S. Lawns network are just a couple of the advantages that come with being a part of such an established brand. “Some of our large contracts have been referrals from other U.S. Lawns Franchisees. For example, we now service the 25 Taco Bells in our area because they were happy with the job U.S. Lawns did in New Orleans and Alexandria. And we service three apartment complexes because the property management company was happy with the service they were getting from the U.S. Lawns franchisee in Shreveport. We are in this together and that gives us a competitive advantage over businesses that are independently owned,” says Alex.

The Carruths have been recognized by the U.S. Lawns Home Office for their exceptional ability to grow their business while embracing the U.S. Lawns Brand DNA and they continue to rank high in revenue growth. Just four years in, they have already built a sustainable business with unlimited potential while improving their hometown of Baton Rouge in ways they can see.

When asked if they had any advice for those who are in the same position they were in four years ago, just starting out in business, Alex has this actionable piece of advice, “ We found understanding man hours, keeping in budget and staying on track with the master services calendar helped us break even faster and U.S. Lawns provides resources for all of these. Just stick to the system and everything else falls into place.”

Seven and a half years ago, when his small residential landscape business had hit a ceiling, Owen Smith made a decision. Revenue had stalled, and he felt stuck on the mower day in and day out. Smith knew in order to take his business to the next level and create more financial and personal freedom in his life he had to rebrand his landscape business.

Smith turned to U.S. Lawns to help him reach his goals and converted his Sacramento, California residential landscape business in the brand’s commercial model. “I started out as a landscaper and with U.S. Lawns’ help, I became a business owner,” says Smith, “The systems and processes U.S. Lawns brings to the table are second to none. I wouldn’t have grown the way I wanted to without them.”

As Smith’s business has grown, he has found the support the brand provides to be comprehensive and ongoing. “When I first started out, a Franchise Advisor came out and taught me how to measure a property and how to bid jobs. They also taught me how to go about making community connections and how to purchase my first mower.”

He continues, “As I have grown and reached new levels in my business, the support has evolved. Now buying a mower and putting in bids are second nature. The focus is now on how I can grow as a leader and build a better culture for my employees. They are constantly helping me become better.”

Besides creating a sustainable business and personal wealth, the rewards go beyond that for Smith. “I have met some amazing people from all over and it has made me a better person. Being a landscaper and a business owner is great but having a positive impact the community and on people’s lives, offering a career path to my team, is all very satisfying. There is no better feeling. It’s a sense of purpose. Never in a million years did I think I would be able to do something like that.”

For Smith, the most important thing he says he has gained by joining U.S. Lawns has been flexibility with his time. “I have more time with my family now and can be present for them in a way I never was able to before. I can go to the school and sport events. You can never get that time back and to me that is priceless.”

Owning his own commercial landscaping business has been a great journey for Smith. Today, Smith has grown to running six maintenance trucks, two irrigation trucks, two enhancement trucks and two manager trucks.  “It took a lot of hard work and long hours in the beginning, but it has paid off. I now have financial freedom and personal flexibility I set out to achieve and we are still growing.”

When asked if he had any advice for someone considering rebranding their landscape business, Smith responds, “Whatever you want to do with your business, they will help get you there. The possibilities are endless with U.S. Lawns.”

To explore your own possibilities, click here.

Brandon Shively is a U.S. Lawns success story. He owns three of the brand’s top performing territories, including the top overall revenue producer, and is continually raising the bar for himself, his team and the network. “My motto is if you don’t want to be first, you’re not trying hard enough,” Shively says.

Recalling his path to success, Shively attributes it to a little bit of luck, and a whole lot of hard work and prayer.  With a degree in horticulture, Brandon Shively began his career in construction and sales with a homebuilder. But as the market tanked, Shively was left with a bad taste in his mouth.

“After eight months of cold calling, I was ready for something else. I wanted to get out from behind the desk and into the field. So, I prayed about it. That same day, I got a job with a large lawn care company doing commercial sales in their turf application department.”

The Mentor Appears

In his new position, it was his interactions with a client that would change the trajectory of his life. William Atwell, a U.S. Lawns franchisee, was purchasing the Greensboro territory in the highly sought-after North Carolina market and offered Shively a spot on the team. “After much discussion, my wife Sherri and I decided it wasn’t the right time to relocate so we unfortunately had to pass on the opportunity. But I knew working with Atwell and U.S. Lawns was in alignment with my future goals.”

Part of the brand’s appeal to Shively was its values and culture. “The power of the network is truly an asset of this brand. They are a group of like-minded business owners helping each other improve and grow. I could see early on that this was something special.”

Later that year, Shively’s opportunity to join the brand would come. Atwell was hiring a production manager for his maintenance team and knew Shively would be the perfect addition to his team.

“William was an exceptional person to work for. He allowed us to run the business like it was our own. We had the freedom to make mistakes and learn for ourselves. Something powerful happens when you turn the business over to employees and support them in their goals.”

Shifting Priorities

About six years ago, Shively found his goals begin to change.  “My priorities shifted when my first child was born. I wanted to be home more. To have more flexibility and freedom, both financial and with my time. I wanted my kids to have more than I did growing up and to build a legacy for my family.”

Eager to build his own business and legacy, Shively began to consider other job offers as well as buying his own franchise. As fate would have it, at the same time Atwell decided it was time to simplify and consolidate his territories. He asked Shively if he wanted to buy his three Charlotte area territories and in January of 2018 Shively became a U.S. Lawns franchisee for himself.

Taking a page from his mentor and former boss’ playbook, Shively approaches business ownership with the same servant leadership approach he saw in Atwell. “It is important to me that this business creates opportunities for my employees. The only way you can attract good employees is by offering ways for them to grow.”

Looking Forward

Having shifted from managing the business to running the business, Shively says he now thinks less about the day to day and more about year to year, saying, “My role now is to allow my people to do what they do best and focus on looking forward.”

For Shively looking forward means putting his own mark on the business by continually raising the bar and taking his business to the next level. “My team and I got together and set some big goals for ourselves. This is a group effort and something they want to achieve along with me. We want all three of our territories to be the Top 3 earners in the network. We want to have the highest earning territory ever. The goal is $20 million in revenue, and I feel confident that we are on track to do that.”

Shively adds, “We want to make the home office team have to keep creating new awards for us.” Already a member of the Million Dollar Club and a Top-Ten Franchisee, Shively was recently recognized by being inducted into the U.S. Lawns Hall of Fame.

“I am so grateful for this award and my heart is full. It is really nice to be appreciated individually, but I fully recognize that this was a team effort.  I would not have been able to do this without them. They did this,” Shively explains.

Putting First Things First

While continually moving the bar higher and higher for his business, there is one thing Shively is not willing to sacrifice:  family time. “Becoming an owner has made it possible for me to decide how I spend my time. I am able to take my son to preschool in the morning and pick up my daughter after school. Having that one on one time with them built into our day is very special. Becoming an owner has also put us in the position where Sherri was able to leave her job and stay home with the kids full time. Having her home has been a great blessing to our family life. We have also been able to take more family vacations and make some priceless memories together.”

When asked if he has any advice for the entrepreneur considering whether U.S. Lawns is for them, Shively has this advice. “Buy for the people. U.S Lawns genuinely cares about the success of its owners. You have access to the people and resources you need to grow your business. When you become part of this network, you become part of a family, one that wants you to achieve your goals.”

Shively is a true success story, starting out as an employee to now owning some of the top earning territories in the network. With U.S. Lawns, Shively is building a legacy and has been able to achieve his goal of business ownership while still having time for his top priority: his family.

After 40 years in snow removal and residential landscaping, Tom and Rose Curdes reached a point where their growth had become stagnant. Even with a solid base of loyal clients, any efforts to grow their business were met with disappointing results. Rose recalls, “Our business was floundering, and we didn’t know where to go with it. We even considered folding or selling it.”

What the Curdes really wanted to do was take their business to the next level and build a family legacy they could pass down to their son Jon. “We needed help to get us into growth mode so that we could set Jon up for his future,” says Tom.

The Curdeses began to look towards franchising as a solution. Tom says, “We had been doing it on our own for so long. Having that national logo and support from a brand and a network of franchisees was really appealing.”

U.S. Lawns immediately caught their attention. “The support and franchise development team really stood out above the rest. And with U.S. Lawns’ time-tested systems being simple to teach, it would make it an easy transition for John to step into,” says Tom.

In 2017, the Curdes converted their landscape business over to U.S. Lawns, and gained the resources and support of the industry’s leading brand; a brand committed to 100% franchise satisfaction.  The first thing they did was begin to phase out their residential clients, “They just are not profitable. We realized there was greater potential with commercial contracts.”

Implementing U.S. Lawns’ proven systems and processes, the Curdeses started to find new ways to grow their once struggling business. Tom recalls, “Even after decades in this business, I found new ideas to improve my business, from jobs to in the office. U.S. Lawn’s revolutionary bidding system eliminates guesstimating. I am now able to be paid fairly for my time and labor while staying competitive. Not to mention the brand’s purchasing power which provides substantial discounts on equipment that used to majorly drain our profits. We'd been looking for years for systems to run our business on. We felt it was important to track our budget and do proper business planning and strategy. U.S. Lawns gave us the tools to locate commercial clients and processes to serve them in a sustainable manner."

The Curdeses also benefited from a U.S. Lawns dedicated business coach, “John Steeves worked with us one-on-one to help with the conversion. With his help, we have increased our efficiency and achieved more growth than we ever thought possible.”

They also have found they now have a larger pool of highly qualified employees who are drawn to working for a large company. “We are able to offer more opportunities because we are part of a national brand. Recently we had a great employee move, and he was able to find a position with the brand in his new state.”

Tom has found another benefit to being part of an industry leading brand, “Because of U.S. Lawns’ influence in the industry, I feel I now have a voice as well. I recently sat on panel discussions with a major landscape equipment producer about the development of new technology.”

Converting their business to U.S. Lawns turned out to a winning move according to Tom, “This has been a fantastic experience for us, from the initial franchisee training all the way to the support we receive today. U.S. Lawns came in and showed us their systems and how to implement them. They showed us how to get into doors we never could before. Our growth is up 70 percent from last year!”

Rose agrees, “The support and marketing from U.S. Lawns has been phenomenal. It has helped get our business back on track. We are now centered and focused. And we have a strong and thriving family legacy to pass on to our son.”

After about ten years in the film and television industry, Ben Harrell started to feel burnt out and began to look towards his next move. With a small landscaping side business, mainly doing weekend jobs, he began to think of ways he could grow this business, explaining, “I wanted something that was more sustainable.”

Harrell and his wife, Julie, were ready to make some big changes professionally and personally. Both agreed they wanted to start a business. They also wanted move from southern California back to Harrell’s native Arkansas. “Starting our business in Arkansas made a lot of sense. It would get us close to family and the area was really growing. It’s a great place to do business.”

After some research, Harrell paid a visit to a nearby U.S. Lawns franchisee to learn more about the business model, saying, “I really liked what I saw. The tools and resources U.S. Lawn provides its franchises impressed me. The model is designed to build a large, sustainable business. Anyone can start a small landscaping business, but having the U.S. Lawns brand and support team by your side really helps you grow quickly. Being a franchisee gives you access to things like marketing and financial tools, support, buying power and employee training, things you wouldn’t have if you did it alone.”

He adds, “You don’t really need any landscaping experience to be successful with this model. It’s a business first and foremost. I had to transform myself from a landscaper to a businessman, that is how I was able to grow.”

In 2005, Harrell became a U.S. Lawns franchisee. One of first things Harrell did was hire a manager, “I realized early on was that I couldn’t grow this business sitting on a lawnmower. I knew I had to get help. I wanted my focus to be on building relationships in the community.”

That fall, Harrell began building the infrastructure of his business and hit the ground running in the spring of 2006. “We started with one crew and then a few months later added another. We have kept that pace, growing about one to two crews a year since then. Today we have ten maintenance trucks, three irrigation trucks, one spray truck, two enhancement trucks and four manager trucks,” says Harrell.

With such a large crew, Harrell will tell you the quality of his employees has been vital to the business’ success. “I am proud of what we have built together. This is not the success story of Ben Harrell, this is the success story of U.S. Lawns Team 193.”

He explains, “You are only as good as your employees. Many of my people have been here for eight, nine, ten years. It is so important to take care of them, know who they are, who their families are. My crew is made of up a fantastic group of guys who work hard.”

Another key to Harrell’s success has been community involvement. As part of many local associations and councils, such as his local apartment association and a bank board of directors, Harrell says, “Building those relationships in your community is extremely important. This is where the work comes from.”

As relationships were built and the work began to roll in, Harrell was able to take his business to the next level because he had a roadmap. “Everything I need to run my business was laid out by U.S. Lawns. I know what my goals are. What my direct and indirect costs are and what percentage they should be. I understand where my gross profit needs to be,” explains Harrell.

Along with the road map and support Harrell receives from the brand, the network of other U.S. Lawns owners has been invaluable to propelling his business forward. “The relationships I have developed with other owners has been amazing. We can bounce ideas off each other and inspire each other. I have taken golf trips and vacations with some of these guys. The competitive camaraderie has been a huge motivation as well. When I started out, I saw them running 10,15, even 20 trucks. I saw the money they were bringing in. I saw them getting a ring for hitting different revenue benchmarks. I saw them being inducted into the Million Dollar Club and the Hall of Fame. I was determined for that to be me. And U.S. Lawns helped me do it, but they also made sure I was doing it in a sustainable way.”

More than a decade into his business, Harrell is enjoying a greater level of freedom and flexibility. He says, “I am really enjoying the freedom of running my own business. I now have more time with my family. I am a father of young boys and the fact that I get to be there to help them get ready for school or take them to their appointments and sports try outs means everything to me.” Harrell also uses some of his spare time to give back to the network by sitting on the U.S. Lawns Franchise Advisory Council.

He adds, “It took some work to get to the lifestyle that I now have. There were some hard years, but it has all paid off. Now, I don’t have to be in the office daily. I have good people who do that. At this point the business basically runs itself.”

When asked if he would recommend U.S. Lawns to someone considering the brand, he says, “Don’t get into this if you just want a job, get into it if you want to build a business. No matter what you have done before, U.S. Lawns can be a vehicle for people to be successful.  U.S. Lawns has the tools you need to grow a sustainable business.”

To request more information about starting your own U.S. Lawns franchise, click here.

17 years ago, Steve and Teana Ferguson started to look towards their future. “We knew where we wanted to go. We had a vision and a path. It was important for us to leave a legacy for our family and build a business in our community. We felt it was time to go to the next level,” says Steve.

Working as a professional firefighter and paramedic, Steve mowed lawns on the side when he wasn’t on duty. “I was doing somewhere between 10 to 20 yards a month. It was basically just ‘beer and golf’ money.” The Fergusons knew that to grow the business, they would need to move into the commercial space.

The pair looked into several different lawncare franchises to help them scale. U.S. Lawns quickly became their standout choice. “Early on we were invited to attend U.S. Lawns’ annual conference and immediately we knew this was the brand for us. We liked the family atmosphere and the fact that we can call someone for help rather than having to reinvent the wheel. The purchasing power of U.S. Lawns also impressed us.”

Joining the Family

In October of 2002, Steve and Teana became U.S. Lawns franchisees in Hampton Roads, Virginia.  “The first thing we did was get rid of all our residential clients. U.S. Lawns’ business model is time-tested and proven to work, we knew to be successful it was up to us to follow the systems and processes.”

In 2010, Teana’s government contract was eliminated and she was laid off. While this may have been a hardship for the family several years prior, despite the layoff, the Fergusons were in a good position.  Teana was able to dedicate more of herself to the business. With the additional focus, 2010 was also the year the Fergusons joined the U.S. Lawns Million Dollar Club when their business generated a million dollars in annual revenue and reached a new level of sustainability and profitability.

With the personal motto of “Try to be better than yesterday”, the Fergusons have done just that over the years as indicated by their induction into the U.S. Lawns Hall of Fame in 2014. Recognizing their outstanding and unselfish contributions to the success and growth of the brand, this distinguished honor is given to those who consistently contribute their time, talents and spirit to making their franchise business successful, while inspiring and leading others to achieve success.

Working Together

Of how the husband and wife team have been able to achieve so much success together, Steve says, “Teana and I work great together. She is the brains of the operation, running administration and human resources. I handle operations and client management. Sticking to our defined roles has been important to both our business and our marriage.”

Steve has since retired from his job as a firefighter and now spends more even more time on his business. He sits on the U.S. Lawns Franchise Advisory Council and has still found that he has more time to spend with his family, and to enjoy his passions which include travel and golf. “Everything we set out to do, we accomplished with U.S. Lawns. As we continue to set even bigger goals for ourselves, they continue to support us in getting there.”

Steve has this simple advice to prospective franchise candidates who are considering taking their business to the next level with U.S. Lawns, “Pray and ask God what his plan is for you. And then research, ask questions and talk to people who are already in the network.”

 

For 30 years, Scottie and Tina Floyd had built a successful independent landscaping business along the Louisiana and Mississippi border. However, like many other independent landscapers have found, the business become built around them, dominating their time and resources, as well as limiting the business’ growth.

Scottie says, “If I wasn’t out there doing the labor myself, the work didn’t get done and the bills didn’t get paid. I wanted to get out of the field and hand off the labor to someone else.”

Ten years ago, a long-time family friend, Ken Beasley, also in the landscaping business in their area, became a U.S. Lawns franchisee. “We had the opportunity to purchase our market, but the timing wasn’t right for us. We passed on it and Ken took it. Over the years we have seen Ken do very well, scaling his business in ways we could not do with our independent business model,” Scottie observed.

Building a Legacy

With their son, Scottie Jr. and his wife living a few hours away in Shreveport, Louisiana, the Floyds wanted more flexibility in their lives. They also wanted a legacy they could pass on to their son. “My son had just finished college at Louisiana Tech and was asking himself what he should do now. I wanted nothing more than to have something we could build together,” says Scottie.

Recently, when Beasley approached the Floyds with a proposition to buy out their landscaping business, the family sat down and compared books with their friend. “We started talking numbers and revenue. It really got me thinking. During the meeting I could see the wheels start turning in my son’s head too. When my son finally turned to me and ‘Dad, we need to convert to U.S. Lawns!’ I was jumping up and down on the inside, I was ecstatic,” recalls Scottie.

This time around, the timing was right, and the Floyds were not going to pass up on the opportunity again. In February of 2018, Scottie and Tina packed up their home of 37 years and moved a few hours away to Shreveport, closer to their son, to build their business as U.S. Lawns franchisees.

Starting Over

While it might seem like a daunting task to start over from scratch, the Floyds have hit the ground running. In less than a year, they have rapidly expanded their business to include five trucks.  Scottie explains, “The systems and process were already in place, all we had to do was implement them. The resources available to us as part of this network have accelerated our growth.”

Crediting the brand’s robust support systems as a contributor to their success, Scottie says, “No one can do it this way without this kind of support.  It’s been a blessing. We would not have been able to get where we are today, let alone this quick, without the home office, staff, our franchise advisor, and other U.S. Lawns owners. Good things are happening for us.”

He adds, “The team culture here is incredible. Franchisees share ideas amongst each other and any issue that arises, there is someone to help us work through it. We are not alone in it like we were as independent owners.”

For Scottie, becoming a franchisee has been well worth it. “Our business has grown exponentially, and I no longer have to be out there doing all the work myself. We have more flexibility with our time. And most importantly, Tina and I get to build this with our son.”

Words of Wisdom

After a successful first year with the brand, Scottie has this to say, “Our experience so far has been everything that we expected. Any questions that we’ve had have always been just an email, phone call, or visit away. We are very excited about our future with U.S. Lawns.  My advice to others is this: trust the system and follow the program with faith and patience.”

And he has this to say to someone who may be considering making the decision to take their business to the next level, “There is no time to waste so invest in yourself.”

To request more information about owning your own U.S. Lawns franchise, click here.

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