Going Independent: breaking the franchise chain

July 21, 2012

I started renting a Nutri-Lawn franchise in 1992. I built it up to be the 2nd largest fertilizing and chemical application service in Simcoe County.

This is what my trucks like when I was a franchisee.

Long story…I decided to stop operating under that logo so the trucks went “vanilla” briefly in 1998.

Then I put my customers into a new image (Lawn Depot) for 3 years.

Only 3 ways to get out of franchise:

  1. abandon it (leave all sunk and actual investments for the next guy),
  2. sell it (with the franchisor’s approval) to the next franchisee or franchisor or
  3. go independent (just say no).

Lessons learned from franchised  to independent business:

  • kept 95% of my residential customers/sales,
  • achieved 115% of commercial business,
  • customers buy services from people they know and trust (logo on the truck is useless in 99% of Tier 2 franchises),
  • started Ontario’s 1st purchasing co-op for lawn care operators, and
  • dropped 20% of my fertilizer, chemical costs.

I added lawn sprinkler service and installation in 1994. I continue today to serve these customers.

Profitably, with one spouse and without having to lie to support my family.

Glen my next-door neighbour said I went Nutri-Gone.


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