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What Are the Benefits of Converting Your Landscaping Business to a Franchise, and When Is it a Good Idea?

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If you’re a small business owner who isn’t seeing the kind of growth you’d like, what are your options? You could market yourself more aggressively or add inventory or services. You could expand your hours of operation, network with others, or find some sort of niche market that isn’t being catered to. If you own a landscaping business, you could try to do all that on your own, or you could convert your business to a recognized and respected franchise brand and enjoy immediate advantages that make growth more possible.

Boosting your landscaping business profit is just one of the many potential perks of franchise conversion, and here, we’ll take a deeper dive into what conversion means, how it’s accomplished, and when to know it’s time to think about doing so.

Franchising vs. Independent Ownership

If you’re asking yourself — what does it mean to turn my business into a franchise? — let’s first look briefly at some of the differences between independent ownership and doing business as a franchisee.

Independent ownership is just that — you’re working on your own, independently. That means you handle all the responsibilities — marketing, hiring, growth planning, and more — of business ownership, assuming all the risks and rewards. The buck makes a full stop with you, and while there are some definite advantages to that, it can also be stressful and confusing, especially if you’re new to an industry or entrepreneurship in general.

A brand partnership gets you many, if not most, of the perks of independent ownership, particularly the freedom to make important decisions, such as who to hire and when to work. But it also comes with important benefits you’d not get otherwise, including brand recognition, robust marketing and sales support, potential new revenue streams, and so much more. Perhaps most importantly, partnering with an established brand means access to processes and procedures that will help you become more efficient, competitive, and, ultimately, more profitable.

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Recognizing the Right Partnership

So, given that the decision to convert is an important one, how do you know which brand to partner with? How do you recognize a good brand alignment from a great one? There are a number of factors to consider.

Regardless of whether you already own a landscaping business or you’d like to break into that market through conversion, you’ll want to partner with a brand that has a solid track record in that industry. It should be able to position you for new growth and offer you access to valuable relationships that make doing business easier and more profitable. You’ll also want to be able to leverage a business model that has established processes and procedures to make it possible to scale your business. Access to the latest technology, robust corporate marketing efforts, and networking opportunities should also be some of the benefits you look for as you compare your options and make your final decision.

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What Are Some Steps to Converting Your Lawn Care Business?

You might be tempted to think that converting your existing landscaping business to a franchise takes a lot of time and effort — and it does take a bit of planning. But depending on who you partner with, the conversion process will have a defined timeline that quickly has you doing business as part of the brand. Remember, the better industry names want to make it easy for you to become part of their vision and business model, so they make sure to guide you through the conversion process for a simple and straightforward transition.

The typical steps to conversion might look something like this:

  • Get to know each other: you’ll reach out to the brand’s franchise team to let them know of your interest in conversion. During this time, you’ll learn more about the opportunity as you share information about yourself, your experiences, and your goals. If you and the brand representatives feel like there’s a good fit for conversion, you’ll move on to the next steps.
  • Gather information: now, the franchisor will share important information with you, often in the way of webinars and other resources, that give more insight into the opportunity, including any training and support, marketing, industry relationships, and brand recognition you’ll enjoy.
  • Review the brand’s FDD: you’ll have the chance to read through the brand’s Franchise Disclosure Document (FDD), an important resource that all brands must have, and that goes through every aspect of your potential partnership, including what your investment looks like and what kind of support you’ll get.
  • Discuss territory options: you’ll talk to brand leaders about what your current territory looks like and how it might be broadened, factoring in demographics, competition, and growth goals.
  • Talk to other franchisees: this is a very important part of the conversion process. You’ll have the chance to talk to current brand franchisees, to find out about their experiences as part of the brand, and to listen to their feedback and suggestions.
  • Meet the corporate team: this is sometimes called a Discovery or “Meet the Team” Day, a time to meet with brand leaders at their corporate headquarters. You’ll learn more about the brand’s culture and values and will have the chance to ask any questions you might still have.
  • Sign your agreement and pay your fee: congratulations! You and the brand leaders have decided a partnership is a smart move. Now, you’ll sign your franchise agreement, pay your franchise fee, and prepare to do business as a franchisee.

It’s important to remember that even though you’ll become part of a brand family, you’ll be able to keep your current roster of clients and build on it, through the brand’s sales and marketing support, connections, and resources.

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What Are Some Important Benefits of Conversion?

As we’ve just discussed, converting your business to a franchise can come with some valuable benefits, including improving your landscaping business profit. But these benefits are not always a given; they very much depend on which brand you partner with.

Let’s look at some of the more important advantages you can count on when you align with an industry-leading name in the commercial landscaping sphere.

A Recession-Resistant Market
The commercial landscaping industry is not only an incredibly robust one, but also recession-resistant, and partnering with a leading commercial landscaping brand will give you competitive access to that industry.

Businesses depend on commercial landscapers to keep their properties attractive and safe for visitors and employees, and they know the importance of first impressions. They can’t afford to put off regular lawn care and often schedule it years in advance — reliable and recurring income you can look forward to when you align with an established and trusted brand.

Additionally, as strong as the commercial market currently is, it has the potential to become more so! Recent federal funding through the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act has allocated $490 million to support urban forests and trees in the U.S., contributing to the potential growth of non-residential landscaping projects and bolstering the commercial landscaping outlook.

Furthermore, as an example of just how closely commercial property owners and managers rely on outside landscape professionals, a recent survey of 568 Community Association managers found that 96% of them use professional landscape maintenance services, placing a premium on the fact that these professionals are licensed and safety-minded. The better commercial landscaping brands make sure to adhere to these important client preferences, making them a standout among the competition.

The fact is, commercial accounts are more resilient than residential jobs and offer the potential for a better bottom line, in part because the commercial sphere typically includes revenue streams not normally available to residential landscapers — think tree care, snow and ice removal, irrigation installation and maintenance, seasonal planting, and much more.

An Established Business Model and More
Leading commercial landscaping brands have become so because of the processes and procedures they’ve put in place to scale for growth and meet client demand. They’ve established a business model that they share with franchisees so that they, too, can see landscaping business profit. It typically includes revenue streams that cater to a variety of needs, national advertising and marketing, research and development, training and ongoing support, and much more.

One of the most important benefits of partnering with an established commercial landscaping company is the brand recognition you’ll enjoy. It takes time and effort to build consumer trust and loyalty, and that can leave you less time for other crucial aspects of running a successful business. Established brands have taken much, if not most, of the work out of that, so when you start doing business under their name, your community will likely already be very familiar with who you are and what you do and will naturally turn to you for their commercial landscaping needs.

In addition to the perks we’ve just outlined, as part of a nationally-recognized brand, you should also be able to count on:

  • Buying power and vendor relationships to help cut costs
  • Industry expertise to help guide you along the way
  • Networking opportunities for personal and professional growth

Benefits like these are the main reason to consider converting an existing business to a franchise, but what will that conversion cost, and when is it time to think about doing so?

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Learn What It Costs to Convert to a Franchise

Converting your independently owned landscaping business to a franchise can be the right move if you want to jump-start or increase your business’ growth. But it does require a financial investment.

Joining any franchise brand, whether as a conversion candidate or as a new business owner, means you’ll pay a one-time franchise fee that can typically range anywhere from $10,000 to $75,000. You’ll also be asked to pay a monthly royalty fee against your gross sales, and that can range anywhere from 4% to 10%. You’ll likely also be obligated to pay a monthly marketing fee of between 2% and 4%. These ongoing fees help pay for your training and support, as well as research and development, among other important benefits.

Conversion might also mean you’ll need to add crew members to your staff (to handle the new growth!) and purchase additional inventory, supplies, and equipment, again in response to growth. These are expenses you’ll need to consider as you decide whether or not conversion is right for you.

Having to make these kinds of investments should come as no surprise. Any successful business owner will tell you — you must spend money to make it, and conversion is no different. What is different is the potential for conversion to mean a better return on your investment, particularly if you partner with an established brand.

When Should You Think About Converting?

While conversion is a terrific option in the many ways we’ve just outlined, it’s not for every business owner. If you’re currently satisfied with the trajectory of your business, if you enjoy the demands and responsibilities of independent ownership and are content to carve your own path, then conversion may not be for you.

If, however, you aren’t hitting your growth goals, or if growth has simply stagnated, then conversion could be the answer. Converting to a franchise very often brings with it new revenue streams that can add to your bottom line. Depending on which brand you partner with, conversion can also help you rebrand your business to one that consumers already know and trust, potentially broadening your customer base. And when it comes time to retire, conversion can mean leaving behind a business that your heirs will be proud to own and operate, one that enjoys the cache of brand recognition and respect.

A Name People Trust

If you currently own a landscaping business and are ready to take it to the next level, converting it to a U.S. Lawns franchise is a smart move. We’re a name people have trusted for decades and have over 200 locations across the U.S. As leaders in the commercial landscaping industry, you can count on a business model that’s fully developed and time-tested, allowing you to scale for growth. Our robust national marketing will put you in front of your best customers, and our network of hardworking franchisees will be there for you to bounce ideas off of, get advice from, and share feedback with.

We’re the nation’s leading commercial landscaping and lawn care franchise opportunity — and we’re ready to help you grow, so get in touch today!

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