John C Davy, Northumberland and Carlisle

The only regret I have is that I did not decide to do this 10 years earlier!

Prior to buying my TruGreen franchise I was General Manager for a major motor retailer and based in the North East. The fact that I had been involved in motor retailing for over 30 years was a significant factor in my decision to become self employed, as I could not envisage a further 10 or more years doing a job which was failing to deliver personal satisfaction any longer. The prospect of 'doing it for myself' was highly motivating and I always felt that with a management background heavily biased towards sales, all the ingredients were there and given the right franchise opportunity, my future success was more likely.

One of the main reasons for deciding on a Professional Lawn care business was that I have always had a keen interest in all things horticultural and having carried out in depth research into the basis of this particular programme, I knew it was the right route to go down, offering me an opportunity to grow my own business from scratch in a region that I knew had serious potential. I am into my second year now and the only regret I have is that I did not decide to do this 10 years earlier! The old adage 'you get out of something what you put into it' is especially true when you work for yourself, but there is a greater feeling of satisfaction knowing that what has been achieved is really down to your own efforts entirely. I work hard, but always make time to enjoy my golf, because in my opinion the ability to be 'flexible' with your working hours is a key element of self employment.

Working outdoors has to be one of the major benefits of this franchise and I do get to work in some stunning gardens and in all weathers. I think that just adds to the appeal for me, perhaps getting a bit closer to nature through all the seasons offerings!

Professional back-up and support are a fundamental requirement and reason for taking on a franchise in the first place and I am never short of either, with a telephone conversation, email response or personal visit from a member of the network management team being an integral part of the 'package'. However, the level of involvement from ServiceMaster is not overbearing, which is very important to me given that it is after all my business to grow and develop, but I do value them as a resource to tap into as and when I need it.

Even at this early stage in the life of my business the results are encouraging, and the next major decision I look forward to taking at some point in the future will be how I implement the extra resources required to meet the increasing demand for my services.