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David Wells Helps Build a Foundation for Network Growth

David Wells, senior director of franchise recruiting for U.S. Lawns, wants to change a perception that has long plagued the franchise discovery process. “A lot of times people come into the franchise discovery process expecting a high-pressure sales pitch, but I don’t see it that way. If we are successful in the discovery process, this represents the start of a ten to thirty-year relationship. Building a foundation for a long-term business relationship on anything but 100% trust and transparency is setting both parties up for failure. The mutual decision to move forward must be about whether the business model and brand are the right fit for the individual and whether that individual is the right fit for the brand and business model.”

Helping Others to Reach Their Potential

Over his two decades with some of franchising’s top brands, including Sport Clips Haircuts and The UPS Store, both leaders in their respective industries, Wells has been involved in helping thousands of people reach their own potential by making their franchising dreams a reality. “My experience with such diverse business models has shown me that franchise recruiting cannot be a one-size-fits-all approach. The ideal candidates for The UPS Store, Sport Clips and U.S. Lawns are very different in terms of their goals, objectives and desired level of involvement. Of course there are commonalities, but we, as leaders in our industry, need to be strong enough to tell someone when our specific opportunity may not be the right fit and point them in the direction of an opportunity that may.”

With his extensive experience in franchise development, Wells has become adept at seeing what makes an individual well suited for a certain business offering.  “Our discovery process has been designed around this idea of mutual fit. Over this four to six week process we take the time to get to know the candidate’s financial goals and personal objectives. We ask them to look at what is going on in their lives that makes them feel this is a good time to become a business owner, what skill sets they bring to the table and what expectations they have in terms of support.” explains Wells. “If all of that lines up, we’ll continue to conversation until it comes to a natural close: either this opportunity is the right fit, or it’s not. Both are okay.”

Success with U.S. Lawns

As far as success with U.S. Lawns, Wells sees one common trait, “The franchisees that find success quickly are those who have a willingness and ability to go all in with U.S. Lawns.  A ‘burn the ships’ mentality that allows someone, either themselves or a dedicated manager, to be 100% focused on the growth and development of the business. Building that infrastructure early is important.”

So, what was it about U.S. Lawns that made Wells personally go all in with the brand? “When I was first approached to join the team, I evaluated the business opportunity much like I would if I were a franchise candidate. I looked at three areas in particular: the business model itself, the leadership team and the brand culture.”

“First, I asked myself if this was a sound business model. Could someone expect a realistic return on their investment in a reasonable amount of time? In item 19 of the franchise disclosure document I saw the average franchise who had been in the system for at least five years was producing a 14.9% profit margin with revenue of just over $962,000, scaling upward considerably from there. For an initial investment of less than $100,000, that looked really good.”

“Next, I looked at the leadership and support teams. U.S. Lawns is comprised of people I could truly see myself doing business with over a long period of time. I looked to see if they truly cared about franchisee success and whether they lived out the culture they project. On both accounts I found the answer to be yes.”

“Lastly, I looked closely at U.S. Lawns’ culture. Did they live it, or was it just lip service? Did the franchisees buy into it? What clues did the FDD provide and did they have adequate responses to the questions generated? It was also important to me that the brand’s culture aligned with my own personal and professional goals and beliefs. All of this turned out to be a good fit.”

Focus on Transparency

To candidates considering U.S. Lawns, Wells emphasizes the focus on transparency. “If at any time in the discovery process, we don’t feel like we have a good fit, it is important for us to be up front and let the candidate know and give them a chance to address the concern. We expect the same from our candidates. If something doesn’t feel right, let’s talk about it.”

To learn more about the U.S. Lawns discovery process, click here.

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