Gary Pearce decided to quit his senior manager position in the food retail industry, to buy a Lawnscience franchise.
Gary was looking for a career change and a new challenge so he decided to leave the corporate environment and started researching business opportunities. He started his lawn care franchise in March 2010.
Gary says, “My search started on the internet and I was immediately drawn to franchising. The idea of being able to run my own business using a proven successful business model was very appealing and was a comparatively low risk option.”
Gary’s research highlighted some different franchise ideas but he was particularly interested in the lawn care industry. He already had a keen interest in horticulture and was excited at the prospect of being able to combine business with pleasure, working in a healthy environment, doing something he really loved.
Gary says, “Lawn care is a complete departure from the food business for me and to be able to work outside is literally like a breath of fresh air!”
Gary knew that research was key before he invested in the franchise so he decided to go one step further and take some time to work with a franchisee.
“As part of my research I spoke to and spent time with the other Lawnscience franchisees. I was reassured to learn that like me some of them had no previous business experience and had also never worked in the lawn care industry.” Gary continues, “They had made a great success of their business and I learned that this was due to the strong support network that the team at Lawnscience provided, and this gave me the confidence to take the plunge!”
Although very experienced in the corporate world, Gary was completely new to running his own business. He had the support of all his friends and family but felt he needed the support and expertise of somebody established in business. He knew that when he invested in a Lawnscience franchise he would be given access to as much support and training as he needed.
Gary also realised the importance of the relationship that is created with the franchisor and ensured that he had as much information as possible before committing to the franchise. Gary explains, “It is so important to gain as much knowledge as possible before you invest in any franchise. Dig deep at all your meetings with your franchisor – if they have nothing to hide they will tell you what you need to know.”
As a senior manager, Gary already had some good business skills that he could transfer to his new lawn care business. A Lawnscience franchise is completely customer focused so Gary had the ideal skill base to quickly develop the territory that had been designed for him.
He says, “I have always had a strong work ethic and very conscientious and efficient in my work. In my previous management role, I was used to dealing with people at all levels and communication is one of my strong points.”
Gary’s business has developed well since he launched. Competition was strong in his area, but he has created a thriving loyal customer base which is rapidly increasing. Gary has set himself some ambitious targets to double his customer base by this time next year and take on an employee to help his business develop further. This is not to say however that he did not face some tough challenges in the beginning.
“The biggest challenge I faced was to put all the training I had into practise and convert it into customers,” says Gary. “I had faith in the Lawnscience brand right from the beginning so the only person to let me down would be me!”
Gary had no need to worry though, as his customer base has grown from zero to 290 in a very short space of time and next year is looking even brighter. Gary’s success is down to his hard work, determination and excellent organisation skills.
He knows that the key to a successful day is to plan carefully the night before. Some of his evening is spent working out a route that allows him to maximise his customer contact on a daily basis. His day starts early at 8am and Gary doesn’t stop – sometimes not even for lunch! All this hard work pays off however, as Gary’s customers are loyal and value his expertise.
“I love visiting my customers and carrying out treatments. There is nothing more rewarding than creating a beautiful lawn for them to enjoy,” says Gary. “I have become very knowledgeable about lawn care and I can confidently offer advice to my customers about what is best for their lawn.
“Although I am working harder than I have ever worked before, this time it is different. I am working for myself and the business is mine. I finally have what I have always wanted – freedom!”