John Davy, TruGreen, Northumberland

I had been involved in motor retailing for 34 years but when I turned 50 this year I saw it as a turning point to do something different. I couldn't see myself doing my job until the day I retired so thought about what possibilities were open to me.

I'd always been interested in all things horticultural and I very much wanted to have the chance to combine my work with something I really enjoyed. Although I wanted to take a different direction in my career it was important to me to be able to use my skills in management, marketing and sales that I had built up over the years.

I was aware that there were lawn care franchises available that offered the opportunity to work in the great outdoors and I thought this idea was worth following up. My research eventually led me to TruGreen and the proposition they offered was exactly the thing I was looking for - it was a good concept and I could see the potential.

Following the launch in May this year, work started coming in from the first week and I've been able to continue to find new customers simply by carefully distributing leaflets. I try to target the larger than average garden and having a knowledge of your local area is a great benefit in finding your desired customer base.

One of my initial concerns was whether there would be seasonal differences in the amount of business I secured but it isn't at all how I expected it. I'm still going out and looking for new customers and I'm finding that people are still interested in talking about their lawns - I'm really pleased about that and I'm now far less worried about the winter months. I'm looking to build this business to the stage where there is so much available work that I'll be able to consider employing another operative. I've got a good-sized territory and I'm looking forward to developing it to its full potential. TruGreen franchisees have a great opportunity to expand their businesses to a very rewarding size.

Since starting the franchise I've found it a pleasure to get up in the mornings. It gives me drive, excitement and through exercising in the fresh air all day, I've even managed to lose a bit of weight - it's the best investment I've ever made. I'm working from home and I have to say I don't miss the daily commute at all. Everyday can be different and it's up to me what aspect of the business I choose to focus on.'