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.