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If you want to invest in a franchise, there are a lot of terms you need to know in order to choose the best one for you. No two franchise opportunities are the same, and the best way to find the right one is to do some research and learn about the terms that franchisors use. Here are some of the most important terms to look for as you research franchise opportunities.


Every franchise opportunity is different – a lawn care franchise won’t run the same way as a fast food franchise. There are three different types of franchise ownership that are utilized by franchise concepts. Those include the executive model, the owner-operator model, and the semi-absentee model.

Here at U.S. Lawns, we use an owner-operator model for our franchisees. This means that you are responsible for the day-to-day operations and hiring a team. You are the boss and the owner of your U.S. Lawns location and the front and center of everything. Being an owner-operator is very different than an absentee owner. With a U.S. Lawns franchise, you are part of the business. That doesn’t mean you will be riding a mower and servicing properties, but you will control who you hire, all of the operations, marketing, and more.  Absentee owners do not get to be their own boss – they invest in something, rely on someone else to run things, and hope for its success.

Initial Investment

This is an important term to understand because the initial investment is the amount you pay for your franchise. Every franchise has a different investment that comes with different things to help you get started with your business. One thing every franchise investment does have in common is a franchise fee. Although this fee varies from franchise to franchise, each brand needs to have one. The franchise fee often covers training, support, rights to use the brand name, the business model, and other resources that help you get started. Other items that make up the initial costs when you invest in a franchise include equipment, starting capital, tools, systems, and resources.

Franchise Disclosure Document

Once you find the right franchise for you, the next step is usually to read through the franchise disclosure document (FDD). The FDD is a 23-item legal document that every franchisor is required to have. It explains everything, in detail, about the franchise opportunity, and it even breaks down the initial investment so you know exactly where your money will go. The FDD is designed so that no one is left in the dark when it comes to an important decision like a new career.

The FDD also has an optional section that many franchisors choose to include, which is Item 19. This item breaks down how much a franchisee, on average, could make with a franchise. We are proud to include ours because of the transparency it provides between us and a prospective investor and because it shows exactly how much you could make with our lawn care franchise.


A territory is the specific area you operate within. We put a lot of research into our territories to make sure our franchisees are in the best position to market toward commercial businesses. We use CoStar, which is a leading commercial property data software, to research what properties are in a specific area. We run multiple demographic tests, and if the results are favorable for a lawn care franchise, it becomes a territory for a potential franchisee. We have found a number of territories all across the country that are still available to invest in!

If you are looking to invest in a franchise but need more information, check out this article on how to open a franchise.

There is a great debate when it comes to investing in a franchise or opening an independently-owned small business. Although having your own business where you make all the decisions and start your own brand may sound rewarding, what many entrepreneurs fail to realize is how much work, time, and money it takes to actually have a shot at being successful. With an independently-owned business, you don’t get the training or support that franchises do, and you don’t have a business model that has been proven to work. Find out the pros that come with franchises such as the franchise disclosure document, the resources, and the power of the network, and many of the cons as well to help you decide whether or not franchising is right for you.

Pros of How to Start a Landscaping Business

Many people don’t realize how many pros there are to investing in a well-established franchise brand as opposed to starting from scratch. For example, if you are wondering how to start a landscaping business, a better alternative may be to invest in a U.S. Lawns franchise. We have over 250 owners who enjoy the freedom to work for themselves while also having the benefit of a well-known brand name on their side. This isn’t the only plus for investing in a brand like ours. Here are some others:

Tested Business Model

Franchises are great because they have business models that have already been established and proven to work. We have been in business for over 30 years, and our 250 franchise owners prove that our business model works for investors across the country.

Training and Support

One of the biggest benefits of investing in any franchise is the training and support you get prior to opening your location. When you go into business by yourself, you don’t have anyone behind you to help guide you through the twists and turns. With a franchise, you know there is someone there that you can call if you ever have a question, and you will have industry and franchise training right from the beginning to open your doors with confidence.

You Know How Much It Costs to Get Up and Running

Another pro to franchising is that there are no surprises when it comes to costs. Before you even sign the franchise agreement, you will be presented with the franchise disclosure document. The franchise disclosure document is an-depth, 23-item document that explains everything you need to know about the franchise brand. It also breaks down the total cost and explains what your initial investment will cover.

You Know How Much You Can Make

In the franchise disclosure document, there is an optional section called the Item 19, where the franchisor provides information on individual franchise performance. When reading the franchise disclosure document, it is important to make a note about whether or not the franchisor shares that information, because knowing how much you can make is a huge pro when it comes to making the decision to open a franchise. U.S. Lawns is proud to disclose information on our franchise performance to prospective franchisees. We also encourage you to speak with some of our existing franchisees to validate your earnings expectations and hear first-hand what it is like to own a U.S. Lawns franchise.

The Power of the Network

Something that we at U.S. Lawns particularly take pride in is the power of the network. With a franchise, you are part of something bigger than yourself – a network of others who share the same values and goals as you. We promote our franchise owners to communicate with one another and share the best practices, which helps all them stay on a path toward success. With a franchise, you are not in it alone like you would be if you chose to open an independent landscaping business.


Of course, if there were only pros to investing in a franchise, then everyone would have one. Opening a franchise is a great option if you are looking to go into business for yourself, but there are some elements to franchises that should be explained before you invest.

It Is Someone Else’s Name on the Sign

When you invest in a franchise, you are buying someone else’s brand name. If you are committed to operating your business under your own name, this may sound like a con, but what you are really paying for is what the name comes with – the recognizability, the proven systems, the established business model, and more assets that make the franchise successful and draw in customers. It all comes back to the power of the network. If you’re wondering how to start a landscaping business, you want to start off on the right foot with a well-established national brand.

You Pay Royalties

It is true – with any franchise investment, you have to pay a small percentage of your profits to the brand. However, the payoff is well worth it! Those royalties go toward things like systems that keep customers happy, support that helps you with any issues that may arise, and annual events that share goals and values and bring owners together. Not to mention the ongoing training that you can utilize years down the line after you open your doors.

There Are Policies and Procedures You Have to Follow

These policies and procedures are in place for franchise owners to be successful. We created ours to bring all U.S. Lawns customers consistency and quality regardless of location. The franchise disclosure document includes policies and procedures that the brand has in place for owners to follow that have been proven to work.

You Are Not Guaranteed Success

We can provide comprehensive support, endless training, and endless resources, but we could never guarantee success. What many people do not realize is that a franchise is a small business, and the amount of time and care you put into your business determines your success. However, with a franchise, you get that extra training, support, and resources that can greatly increase your chances as opposed to going it alone.

There are several pros and cons to both franchising and starting a business from scratch, and it is always best to weigh those before you make such a big decision. If you are wondering how to start a landscaping business, a U.S. Lawns franchise may be the best opportunity for you because of our business model, tools and systems, training, support, and more.

Contact us today to learn more about the U.S. Lawns brand and request our franchise disclosure document.

The franchise disclosure document (FDD) is the most important document that stands between franchisees and their new opportunity. Entrepreneur Magazine explains that the FDD includes 23 standardized sections to break down all associated costs, obligations, restrictions, regulations, and benefits that come with the investment in a specific franchise. The FDD, which is required by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is designed to make it easier for candidates to compare one franchise opportunity against others. Item 19, however, does not seem to fit this mold as it is the only item that franchisors have the option whether or not to disclose. Additionally, franchisors are given a lot of leeway as far as what or how they disclose the information in Item 19 making it difficult to compare one against another.

You are probably wondering, “What is Item 19?”, “What does a strong Item 19 look like?” and “Why would franchisors choose to exclude it?” Let’s see if we can answer these questions.

What is Item 19?

All Business Magazine defines Item 19 as a section of the FDD that displays what is called “Earnings Claims” or “Financial Performance Representations.” Many franchisors fear it because it answers the biggest question potential franchisees have: “How much money can I make with this franchise?” This is the section where franchisors can show off exactly how profitable, or unprofitable, their franchise could potentially be. However, because there is no standard format prescribed by the FTC for Item 19, the information contained within can vary significantly from brand to brand. This doesn’t mean you can’t trust the information found in Item 19 as franchisors are required to have substantiated data behind any claims made within and are not allowed to provide any other information regarding earnings outside of Item 19.

Brands who include Item 19 are showing some level transparency between them and their new franchisee by providing this information; however, not every brand is as transparent as they could be or has a financial performance representation they feel will be beneficial if they show it to prospects. That brings us to the next question.

Why Do Some Brands Leave Out Item 19

There are many reasons why a brand may choose to not include Item 19 on their FDD: they could be a newer franchise, they may be in a unique industry that is not super profitable or well-known yet, or they may just be falling behind the competition.

Regardless of the reason, the lack of having Item 19 in the FDD could portray that the brand has something to hide from knowledgeable franchise candidates. This lack of transparency can create distrust between the brand and the prospective franchisee and can ultimately cost the sale. Knowing what the Item 19 is and why it is important prior to investing in a franchise can save franchisees from investing in a brand that may not bring them the success they want or expected.

Find out what a strong Item 19 looks like and why you should choose a brand who has one in their FDD in the second part of this article.

Starting your own landscaping business may be an entrepreneurial dream. The business model may seem simple, but competition in the residential space is fierce and many fail to grow beyond a single truck operation. Commercial lawn care offers a unique niche within the landscaping industry and provides higher and more consistent revenue opportunities. However, with more complex jobs and projects, many commercial clients turn to national commercial lawn care brands to help them with their landscaping needs. By investing in a franchise that has already established a name for themselves and is leading their industry, you will be more likely to see success with your landscaping business.

A Proven Business Model

One of the many benefits of investing in a franchise is the proven business model that has already been developed for you to use. Creating a viable business model is extremely time consuming, and the model itself doesn’t even scratch the surface of the countless systems and processes that are needed to run it successfully. Even when completed, someone who owns an independent commercial lawn care business still faces the competition the large national brands.

U.S. Lawns provides its franchisees with extensive training and more than 700 individual tools, systems, and processes to give them a head start on the competition. With this head start, the time it would have taken to develop your own business model, systems, and process can be dedicated to more productive activities like growing your network, hiring your team, and establishing clientele relationships.

A Recognizable and Trusted Brand

Bottom line, choosing a brand with national brand recognition leads to a successful business. A trusted brand like U.S. Lawns is trusted by customers and is known to provide exemplary services. With a brand DNA that each franchise holds true and exemplifies in everything they do, the true power of U.S. Lawns is in the network. With this network behind you, you will be more likely to see success in commercial lawn care and grow a business that you will be proud of.

Training and Support

You may think you know a lot about commercial lawn care, but when you own your own business, there is no one to help guide you along the way with any problems that may occur. U.S. Lawns franchisees have the benefit of a franchisor with 32 years of experience behind them to offer training, ongoing support, and assistance to help them along the way. From support in employee recruiting and prospecting, to tools that assist in estimating and submitting proposals, U.S. Lawns supports its franchisees every step of the way.

When it comes to commercial lawn care, investing in a franchise drastically increases your chances of establishing a successful business. A proven business model, recognizable brand, incomparable training, and unwavering support are just some of the benefits you receive with your investment.

U.S. Lawns is the leading commercial lawn care franchise and has opportunities available nationwide. If owning a commercial landscaping business is something you are interested in, then U.S. Lawns may be the right option for you.

To learn more about how U.S. Lawns franchises continue to come out on top of independently owned landscaping businesses, download this free eBook!

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