A day in the life of a TruGreen franchise owner

TruGreen is a leading professional lawn care franchise, part of the ServiceMaster family of brands with more than 50 years of franchising experience. Richard Hodson has owned and operated TruGreen Arden since 2007 and describes a typical day as a TruGreen business owner.

6:30am I’m awake so I enjoy a cup of tea in bed. This simple pleasure is one I never had in the past, as I was so anxious to get to work. Working from home has numerous benefits, one of which is not having to travel to your workplace.

7:45am I set off after reading through my schedule for the day and check I have all the equipment and sufficient quantities of material that I will need. During a typical day I visit eight existing customers and meet at least one potential new client.

Since most of my customers are residential, I generally arrange my first appointment for around 9am so I have plenty of time to deal with any emails and arrange the following week’s appointments.

9:00am I start work and, given the seasonal nature of lawn care, my workload varies over the course of a year, albeit repetitive within a season. This suits me as I become bored by repetition and, as this starts to set in, I’m invariably moving into a new season with a different type of workload. Spring and autumn are especially busy, with May and October generally being my best revenue months. Summer is nicely manageable, allowing me some leisure and family time. January and February provide me with the chance for a longer holiday, for van and machinery maintenance, year-end accounts, admin, etc. It’s also a time to review my business: what’s worked especially well, what hasn’t and to plan for the year ahead.

10:00am A typical early spring day will consist of seven to 10 appointments, where I put down a moss control or spring fertiliser and spray a weed control according to what type of weeds are present. I try to arrange my early spring visit when the customer is at home, giving me the chance to discuss what programme we’ll follow for the year.

The phone is busy in the spring with new enquiries, so need to be treated with some urgency and appointments made. By mid to late spring and early autumn, we are scarifying and seeding, which is quite heavy-duty work and more labour intensive. Given the increased workload, I take on extra labour during these periods.

11:00am My hours of work rise and fall with the seasons. I often work beyond 12 hours a day, six days a week at busy times and this drops to maybe several hours a day in the quieter times. I enjoy and appreciate the ebb and flow of seasonal working.

Carrying out manual work outside also keeps me healthy, slim, fit and strong, added to which I have a virtually year-round tan. I no longer use a gym or find reasons to exercise as I get all I need automatically from the work.

1:00pm After lunch, I’ll make a few phone calls to arrange appointments to visit customers who don’t use email. There is no such thing as a lunch hour and sometimes, when under pressure, I don’t have time to stop to eat. If I need some technical support, I’ll call our Technical Manager to discuss the issue or problem.

6:00pm I have invoices to prepare, new quotes to confirm and other tasks such as banking, monthly accounts and quarterly VAT returns, placing stock orders and paying suppliers, tracking receipts, examining the performance of websites, etc – there’s always something to do and I frequently don’t shut my computer down until 9pm. I enjoy all of this – I am a Jack-of-all-trades by nature and I love being involved in every aspect of the business, with the exception of IT!