“What is the point of making good money if you are never home long enough to enjoy it?” This question, asked by his father, brought Bryan Smith to a crossroads.
Bryan Smith had established a successful career as a boat captain, but it required him to spend three weeks out of every month away from home. One day his father asked him, “What is the point of making good money if you are never home long enough to enjoy it?”
After some internal reflection, Smith realized his father was right. This realization would lead the two down a path towards entrepreneurship, signing a franchise agreement with U.S. Lawns for a territory in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.
Along that path, Smith had to overcome some significant concerns about his ability to be successful in this venture: he knew nothing about the lawn care industry and he had never run his own business before.
While concepts such as budgeting and profit and loss statements were foreign to him, he was confident in his ability to manage the people side of the business. As he progressed through the discovery process, he began to understand that the U.S. Lawns support team would be there to help him fill in the gaps. “There is no way I would be sitting here today without them” says Smith.
Early on, Smith played a dual role, managing the business and operating a truck to ensure all work got completed. He would bring a change of clothes to the job site so he could change quickly from landscaper to business owner, visiting surrounding properties to sell his services.
Over time he did exactly what U.S. Lawns asks their franchisees to do and stopped working in his business so he could work on his business. As revenues grew, he put his people skills to work and grew the team around him. Describing his team, Smith borrows a phrase from his time on the boat and says “The captain is only as good as his crew, and I’ve got a great crew.”
Today, Smith still works hard, but enjoys the flexibility that comes with success. He prefers to mix things up now, some days coming in early to meet with his crews before they start their day and other days coming in a little later to focus on business aspects. He is able to leave early to spend the afternoon with his son after picking him up from school and enjoys taking time off when he needs to without seeking anyone else’s approval.
While Smith’s father is no longer involved in the ownership of the business, he still enjoys spending time around the shop and repairing broken equipment. Of their original decision to invest, he says “We never thought in a million years that we would be where we are today.” Underlining his own satisfaction, the younger Smith recently doubled down on his investment by purchasing a neighboring territory in Brunswick, North Carolina to continue his success story.
When asked what he loves the most about U.S. Lawns, Smith highlights “the comradery of it all…the network of owners. I have made life-long friends that I never would have crossed paths with if it hadn’t been for this organization. Investing in U.S. Lawns is the smartest thing that I have ever done. They’ve created the road map, all you have to do is follow it.”
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