Terence Nicholson early career was based in retailing where he worked for a number of the UK's leading retailers. He developed the stationery discount chain 'Office World' expanding it within the UK, Switzerland, Germany and Norway. At the age of 45 he created the Lawnscience concept initially as a standalone regional business, but in 2006 started to franchise.
FranchiseExpo: What is the Lawnscience franchise opportunity all about?
Terence Nicholson: The Lawnscience franchise provides the opportunity for motivated individuals to create and own their own, individual, lawn care business in the expanding UK lawn care market. Our franchise has been developed specifically to enable individuals, with no previous experience of lawn care or gardening, to quickly master the key skills required to build a single or multi-van business.
As a Lawnscience franchisee you will become a part of the leading supplier of lawn care services in the UK and we will teach you how to utilise sophisticated software and marketing systems to position yourself as the premier service provider in your area.
FE: Who is your ideal candidate for a Lawnscience franchise?
Terence: Maintaining the Lawnscience brand is of paramount concern when we meet new potential candidates, that is why we place integrity as the number one requirement of our new business partners. We want to be sure that all our Lawnscience outlets provide the same industry leading service that allows Lawnscience to guarantee its results, a guarantee that currently non of our competitors can provide to their customers.
As well as integrity we look for individuals with the desire and motivation to succeed. Individuals must have the ability to learn a system and implement that system consistently.
We operate a business that provides a physical service to our customers so it's also important to be reasonably healthy and fit.
The employment background of candidates is of less importance to us, as we have successfully developed franchisees who have joined us from various backgrounds from retail to I.T.
FE: What type of training and support do you offer Lawnscience?
Terence: As you would expect from the leading operator in the market our training is 50% longer than our competitors, it has to be longer and more detailed in order to ensure that our franchisees can operate to our high standards.
When a franchisee joins our business we hold their hand throughout the different stages of the business establishment process. During this process we make sure that their new business is created in a "tax efficient" format to ensure that they reap the maximum rewards from their hard work.
Having established their new business franchisees then join our three week intensive, residential training course in state of the art training facilities in Milton Keynes. During this period they learn the technical, practical and marketing skills required to provide a great customer experience and to effectively grow their businesses.
Day one of startup and we are with them "in the field", ensuring that they are comfortable in putting into practice the knowledge and skills that they have learned during their training.
Throughout the year franchisees are supported by regular visits by our support team where we ensure that they are maintaining our high standards and getting to grips with running and expanding their new business.
We also run "top up" training sessions particularly in the first years to ensure that any concerns are quickly resolved.
Ongoing telephone and marketing support are always available 24/7 and we organise a annual conference where we can get together and share our successes.
FE: What are some of the advantages in being a Lawnscience franchisee?
Terence: There are many advantages in joining the Lawnscience business, and sometimes it isdifficult to really appreciate the advantages until you really understand how the business works, and that takes time. But if I were speaking with a potential new franchisee I would outline the following advantages:
The territory in which you operate your business is a critical factor in your success. Most franchisors pre-define territories, this is easier for the franchisor, but at Lawnscience we custom create every territory for every franchisee. The process involves using our analysing systems to map the potential territory in order to enable us to understand the high and low spots. We then work with you and your local knowledge to create the perfect territory for your preferred area. A better territory means a more successful and happier franchisee and that is certainly beneficial for the franchisee but good for us as well.
Industry leading business software
The software you use to manage your business will have a major influence on your efficiency and productivity. When we built our franchise model we scoured the UK for an effective software system, but none could be found that came near to our requirements. We now use the world's leading software system for lawn treatment businesses, as used by America's leading service providers. It gives our franchisees a major strategic advantage in the industry.
Largest range of treatments in the industry
If you really want to be the leader in your field you need to be able to provide an extensive range of treatments for your customers. By having the a large range of treatments in your business you can not only resolve any issues your customers might throw at you, but it also provides you with the opportunity to enhance your service proposition and increase your profits. At Lawnscience we constantly work to develop our treatments and services in order to maintain our premier service position.
Extensive marketing systems
The biggest challenge to any new franchisee, no matter what the industry, is to grow their customer base along with and sales. Lawnscience understands this and has developed, what we believe to be, the most effective marketing systems in UK lawn care. But don't just take our word for it, come and see firsthand how we help you to grow your new business. It will give you the confidence to take that step into business ownership.
1st and 2nd year marketing support to help establish their new business
New franchisees not only benefit from a first year injection of £8,000 worth of marketing support, but can also benefit from up to £5,000 worth of marketing support in their second year.
Low cost entry plan, from £18,995 plus VAT
When starting a new business venture, cash is king, and that is why we have developed our lawn cost startup plan from only £18,995 plus vat. This gives you all you need to start your new lawn care business.
Reducing royalties from 9.0% down to 6.5%
In order to continue to give you ongoing support all franchisors require ongoing royalty payments. But as your business grows and you develop confidence you need less support. That's why Lawnscience has developed the reducing royalty scheme. Our royalties start at 9% of net turnover and decrease to 6.5% of net turnover as your business grows, rewarding you with lower royalties as your knowledge increases. Lawnscience is the only lawn care franchisor to offer a reducing royalty scheme.
FE: Are you a member of any Associations?
Terence: Lawnscience is a member of the following associations:
British Franchise Association
The British Franchise Association (BFA) is the only voluntary self-regulatory body for the UK franchise industry, with a standards based approach to membership. Its aim is to promote ethical franchising practice in the UK.
Institute of Groundsmanship
The Institute of Groundmanship (IOG) is a UK organisation that represents the groundscare industry and those involved in it.
Sports Turf Research Institute
The Sports Turf Research Institute (STRI) is the world's leading provider of advice and support to the turf industry.
FE: Tell us a little about the Lawn care Market?
Terence: The lawn care market provides lawn treatments to residential and commercial customers. These treatments fall into two categories; regular fertilisation and weed control applications, and cultural treatments such as aeration and scarification.
Today, a great many people live busy lives and lack time. They want their houses and gardens to look good, but they do not have the time, knowledge and in with many cases the inclination to do the work themselves, so they will happily pay for a quality service that gives them a lawn to be proud of.
A great many lawn care operators provide a poor undifferentiated service, which results in low levels of customer satisfaction. There is a gap in the market for a provider of quality lawn care services and Lawnscience definitely fills that gap.
FE: How successful is your company today and what are your future growth plans?
Terence: Today Lawnscience consists of sixteen franchise operations spread throughout the UK. Our sales revenues are growing at double digit rates and in today's challenging economic environment that is an enviably impressive performance.
We intend to grow the business by establishing an additional 4-6 franchised businesses per annum. Our policy is to focus on steady growth in order that we can ensure all of our new partners receive the support and guidance necessary to grow profitable businesses.
FE: What are your franchisees saying about the business?
Seeking assurance from current franchisees is a really good way to understand the business, don't listen to me listen to them:
FE: What advice do you have for someone looking to acquire a Franchise?
My advice would be:
- Ask yourself if franchising is for you, do you want to follow a system prescribed by someone else?
- Make sure you have the support of your partner, growing a business can be stressful at times and it is then that you will need their support.
- Find a business that you can be passionate about and will like, it is a lot easier to grow a business you enjoy.
- Seek out a franchisor that is a industry leader and not a "me too" operation.
- Make sure your aims and ethics are aligned with that of your franchisor. Most importantly, make sure you can trust your franchisor as you will be working closely with him/her.
- Make sure you understand and are comfortable with the business plan and that you have the commitment and finance to make it happen.
- When you start your franchised business follow the guidance given by your franchisor, don't try and reinvent the wheel because they have the experience required to make your business as successful as possible.
- I felt that there was not a great deal of sensible information on the lawn care franchise industry, so I wrote the book "Insider secrets of the Lawn Care industry." You download a free copy from the Lawnscience franchise website
FE: In your opinion, why do you think that Lawnscience would be a great opportunity for someone?
The UK lawn care industry is a growing industry. Even in these tough times, with the right guidance, people can grow great, profitable businesses. The business is enjoyable and promotes a great healthy, outdoor, lifestyle and by partnering with Lawnscience you would become part of a friendly and supportive team.