TruGreen: 'Truly enjoyable'

Lawncare franchise TruGreen has established 60 franchisees within three years, backed by the multi-brand franchisor ServiceMaster. Stuart Anderson talks to one of its longest established franchisees, Tony Lawrence

After 20 years of self-employment in the financial services industry, Tony Lawrence expected to be winding down his business and moving into semi-retirement. Instead he has wound it up in order to be able to meet the demand for the services of the TruGreen Hertfordshire franchise, which he invested in originally for his son to build up.

'I bought the franchise for my son Edmund when he finished his 'A' Levels - he wanted to work out side and was very excited by the TruGreen opportunity,' he explains. 'It's got busier and busier, and we're both working in it together full-time now. I love it, and he puts up with me!'

The Lawrences signed the franchise agreement in June 2004 after gaining a very good impression of the support provided to TruGreen franchisees by the ServiceMaster Group. 'The group has Christian ethics, and we are a Christian family, so we fitted together well,' Tony comments. 'The training told us everything we needed to know, from the products and tools to running a database and SAGE accounting. We've experienced no problems at all.'

Tony reports that the launch went 'better than expected', and the business achieved its first year targets. 'In the second year we've doubled its turnover, and we're looking at investing in larger equipment and a new vehicle because we're being referred onto bigger lawns,' he adds. 'In fact, a good proportion of our business comes from referrals now, and we're also planning to take on someone to help us.' Planning to work in the business for four to five years before taking retirement, Tony shares his son's enjoyment of the business. 'Working outside in the fresh air is truly enjoyable,' he remarks. 'We meet lots of people, go to different places and see the lawns improving by our efforts relatively quickly, which is very satisfying. Plus, working with my son is just great.'