The green fingered woman with the midas touch

Less than 18 months ago, Karen Burdett was working in a commercial environment. Today, she is a proud TruGreen franchise owner. Not only has Karen made an excellent start to her business, she has also won the ‘New Women Franchisee of the Year’ title at the EWIF Awards

Having worked for over 20 years in a commercial environment, Karen wanted to find an investment opportunity to set up a business that would give her a career change and a sensible return on her investment. Karen says: “I knew that if I could find an opportunity in something I had an interest in, then that would be a bonus.

“My passion is the outdoors and I eventually decided on lawn care. I thoroughly researched four lawn care brands, but it was TruGreen’s business model and professionalism that was more evident, even from my first discussions with individuals in the business. It was also learning that Steve Welch, a highly respected figure in the turf and sporting industry, was the Network Manager for TruGreen and would be my support mechanism that really swung it for me.”

“Not many people realise that lawn care is quite a technical business, so it was important that I had the right backing, both technically and through a recognised brand, hence why I went down the franchise route rather than setting up on my own.”

Karen took the plunge in April 2012 to become TruGreen’s only female owner-operator. Lawn care can be tough, physical work and is not for the faint-hearted, but Karen wasn’t fazed in the slightest and showed grit, determination and a genuine desire to get started.

After only a few weeks, Karen reported fantastic figures, with an enquiry-to-quote conversion rate of 99 per cent. Of those quoted, a staggering 96 per cent became customers, representing conversion statistics that rival some of the best in the lawn care industry.

Moving into her second year, Karen is already experiencing customer referrals, which show the level of customer satisfaction she is driving through her approach. “The technical support with TruGreen is second to none and the ServiceMASTER company is full of individuals who you can call on at any time for support on a range of things,” adds Karen. TruGreen’s Network Manager, Steve Welch, adds: “Karen is a breath of fresh air within our male-dominated TruGreen network and the other franchise owners agree. Her success in just 11 months has spurred her neighbouring franchise owners on, so keen are they not to let a girl beat them at their own game.”

When Karen was crowned EWIF’s ‘New Woman Franchisee of the Year’, at a lunchtime ceremony in London on May 16, it was an ideal end to her first year in business. “Winning this award was the icing on the cake for my first successful year operating my TruGreen franchise,” reveals Karen. “The back up and support I’ve received from the TruGreen head office has been phenomenal and I couldn’t have achieved this success without them. The first year of any new company is very tough, so to have been recognised with an industry award is unbelievable.

“TruGreen has ambitious growth plans and is looking for like-minded, driven franchise owners who want to succeed as part of a professional network. We need to work together to drive the TruGreen brand to number one in the lawn care market. If this appeals to you and you are fit (you need to be), then TruGreen really is a franchise I would recommend.”

TruGreen is exhibiting at Franchise Opportunities Live, Radisson Blu Edwardian Hotel at Heathrow on 6 - 7 September. Come and see us.