In 2009, in the height of a recession, Ken Beasley of Natchez, Mississippi saw his landscape maintenance business lagging. “I just couldn’t get over this hump and grow. I had built my business around me being on the mower. If I wasn’t out there, I wasn’t getting paid. It wasn’t sustainable. In fact, it was limiting. My work and life were out of balance.”
In search of way to level up his business and create more freedom and financial stability, Beasley turned to a trusted mentor for advice. David Purcell was an adjunct faculty member at the college where Beasley had received his degree in landscape management. Purcell, also a successful U.S. Lawns franchisee, encouraged Beasley to look into the brand.
“Right away I could see the competitive advantage of the U.S. Lawns systems and processes. I also liked the idea of being part of a team. I was out there on my own and everyone else was competition. But the brand’s well-defined territories encourage teamwork, making everyone better. I wanted to be a part of that.”
From Residential to Commercial
Having hit a ceiling as an independent landscaper, Beasley joined the U.S. Lawns network as a franchisee in 2010 in a seemingly rural territory that stretched from Natchez to Alexandria, Louisiana. Upon converting, Beasley immediately leaned into the system. “I was encouraged to transition out all of my residential clients in favor of commercial ones. That was a big leap of faith for me, seeing as about 80 percent of my business was residential.”
However, seeing the logic advice, Beasley continues, “Residential clients are high maintenance. My phone would ring all the time. I figured that I spent all this money on the business, it didn’t make sense not follow the process. It was tough to do, but in one fowl swoop I cancelled all my residential accounts and started from scratch.”
And it worked. “That was the turning point in my business, that was when it took off. Getting commercial work was easier than I had expected. The U.S. Lawns sales process gave me a competitive edge. I knew exactly what to bid, down to the last cent,” he explains.
“In about six months to a year of losing all my accounts, I had recouped my revenue completely. Within two years, I had doubled it. And by year three, I was in the U.S. Lawns Million Dollar Club. U.S. Lawn’s systems and processes were the secret to this rapid growth, all I had to do was follow the system,” Beasley continues, “The support I have received from U.S. Lawns has been invaluable to my success. I can call other franchisees or anyone in the home office and get help.”
Putting in Work
Thinking back to those first years, Beasley will tell you that while his business grew extremely fast, he had to put in a lot of work upfront. “This is not a get rich quick scheme. I had to build up my infrastructure to support the growth I was experiencing. I relied on the brand to help me know when to hire managers and how to structure my business so that it would be sustainable.”
He continues, “I remember during those beginning years, people would ask me why I was still driving my raggedy old truck even with such a lucrative business. I was investing it back into the business, buying mowers and investing in the right managers. But now nine years in, having put in the time and hard work in upfront, I now have a business that is stable and strong, as well as a new truck.”
Beasley’s tremendous growth did not go unnoticed in his community either. Scottie Floyd, another local independent landscaper, was also seeing his business stall. While examining his options, Floyd had the chance to meet with Beasley and compare books. Floyd left that meeting so impressed that he decided to sell his business and relocate and to Shreveport, Louisiana to open his own U.S. Lawns franchise with his son.
Fruits of Labor
Beasley’s passion and focus for U.S. Lawns has led him to become an employer of choice in his area, as well as a member of the brand’s Franchise Advisory Council, in addition to earning him some of the brand’s top accolades. One such award is the Customer Hero, received for one of the highest customer satisfaction scores in the network. As a top earner, Beasley is also a member of the Million Dollar Club, and most recently, Beasley was named the 2018 inductee to the U.S. Lawns Hall of Fame. As the brand’s most prestigious award, it recognizes franchisees who consistently contribute their time, talents and spirit to making the brand successful while inspiring and leading others.
Growing from a small operation, with two trucks in a small market, to 26 trucks, 50 employees and three locations over two territories, Beasley exemplifies the brand’s motto: Improve your community. Improve your life. He is creating a solid career path for members of his community. And now that he is off the mower, he is able to volunteer his time to better his community as well. He has also been able to find the financial freedom and life balance that was elusive to him in his days as an independent landscaper.
Beasley concludes, “As an independent landscaper, my life was way out of balance. I was working way too many hours. As a U.S. Lawns franchisee, I have gained is more time to pursue my other interests, but most importantly I have more time with my family.”
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