Kevin Sparks, the Lawnscience franchisee for Northampton, took a slightly different route to becoming a Lawnscience franchisee than some of his colleagues.
Before he started working with the garden franchise, he was an experienced Retail and Sales Manager. Having worked in this environment since he was 18 he decided it was time for change and took a job working for Lawnscience as a Lawn Treatment Technician.
He worked for Lawnscience for two and half years gaining valuable experience before finally deciding to invest in a franchise. In his previous career, Kevin had already built a solid skill base. He was used to dealing with people face to face and was a confident sales person.
“My previous experience in retail and sales gave me the knowledge and skills I would need to work in a customer facing role such as lawn care. The service and products that Lawnscience were offering were excellent, so I knew I would have no problem dealing with customers.
"Lawnscience have an extensive range of treatments, far greater than our competition, so I always have a solution to any issue, which keeps my customers happy and helps me to maximise my sales. I built up a knowledge and understanding of how a lawn care business is run, which for me was a bonus and gave me a head start when I decided to invest in my own franchise.”
After working in the industry for a while, Kevin was really enjoying his work and was ready for the challenge of running his own business.
“I had spent my career working in shops and offices and finally I had the opportunity to combine my passion for gardening and the outdoor lifestyle with making some money – it was the perfect opportunity.”
Kevin started his business at a time when the recession had hit and many new businesses were failing. Naturally his friends and family were concerned, but Kevin was confident that he was making the right decision and they supported him with this.
“Although it was a challenging time, I had gained firsthand experience of the lawn care industry which was thriving despite the difficult economic climate. I knew that I was not going to be on my own as Terry was already a great boss, so I knew he would be a very supportive franchisor – I was not wrong.”
Kevin still took the time to speak to other franchisors running different operations to use as a benchmark. He also spent time with other franchisees at Lawnscience, as he knew that working in the lawn care industry would be very different to running his own business.
The other franchisees further endorsed what he knew already. Being part of a franchise meant that he was buying into a proven formula and an established brand.
“I always had a plan to build the business and produce a turnover in excess of £80,000. Within the next few years, I plan to have 600 plus customers and employ a team of staff. I have set myself a target that I know I can and will achieve.”
Kevin’s business is now well established and he has a loyal customer base that is growing steadily. Although starting a business has been a steep learning curve For Kevin, the rewards of running his own franchise are great.
“I love being my own boss and facing the daily challenges of running a business, good and bad. I have the flexibility to plan my own work load and although the work is physically demanding, I am fitter than I have ever been and I work at my own pace.
"If you like working outdoors and meeting a wide variety of people on a daily basis then this business is absolutely fantastic.”