NaturaLawn of America
NaturaLawn of America is the No. 1 organic-based lawn care company in the industry
and looks to continue adding partners to its growing family.
By Janice Hoppe-Spiers, Knighthouse Media
For more than 30 years, NaturaLawn® of America has been challenging the status quo and raising the bar for safety standards in lawn care. President and founder Phil Catron started the company with an emphasis on delivering lawn care in a fashion that is safe for everyone and staying on the cutting-edge.
“NaturaLawn is the leader in organic-based lawn care and we are the only company allowed to make that claim because of our delivery method of using much safer control methods and materials,” Franchise and Development Manager Blaine Young says. “We also go out of our way to over deliver more than what we promise and that’s a reflection of our 30-plus years in business. Our average customer stays with us for over six years; this surpasses the industry standard. We are all about delivering service with results and quality.”
Today, NaturaLawn is still family owned and operated from its headquarters in Frederick, Md., and has grown to include 91 licensees that service more than 100,000 customers in 24 states and Washington, D.C. The company offers two unique lawn care programs: 100 percent pesticide-free lawn care and organic-based lawn care. In addition to its environmentally friendly lawn care services, NaturaLawn also provides consumers with flea, tick and mosquito control through its Tick Ranger® and Mosquito Ranger® products and services.
“We have a new program in research and development we plan on rolling out next year and are constantly improving what we are doing. Our fertilizers are proprietary, unique and available for use exclusively by our franchisees,” Young says. “We were the leader over 30 years ago and continue to be the pioneer for our industry yet today.”
Joining the Family
NaturaLawn looks for prospective franchisees who have the hunger to own and operate their own business. “We have the systems and processes in place to ensure they deliver exceptional lawn care to our customers, so they don’t have to start from scratch on their own,” Young says. “We look more for someone who understands how to take care of the customer.”
Every location uses products formulated by NaturaLawn designed specifically for that franchise location. “When someone becomes a customer, our franchise partners follow our processes and systems; this provides the customer with a beautiful, thick and healthy green lawn,” Young explains. “We don’t use a one-size-fits-all strategy on our customers’ lawns. Rather, we focus on improving the soil and customize the lawn care programs, oftentimes being different even from the neighbor’s lawn. We don’t pre-mix fertilizers with weed controls. Our fertilizers are granular, organic-based and designed for a specific geographic area.
“Weed control usage is minimal,” he continues. “In fact, we have reduced weed control material usage by over 85 percent compared to traditional lawn care practices. Even more impressive is that we have reduced insect and disease control materials by over 95 percent.”
For those looking to become franchise partners, NaturaLawn assists every step of the way, from initial training to startup to fully operational. “We help our partners in every aspect of the business as much as they want us to,” Young says. “Once they become a franchise, we have a specialized startup support team that works directly with them for the first two years. We know the first two years are critical.”
NaturaLawn’s startup support team helps new franchisees select an appopriate location and one of the Regional Managers will work directly with the new franchisee on sales and marketing, as well as administrative duties and the technical work in the field.
“We are an open book with prospects in sharing our financials and giving them the opportunity to talk to other franchisees,” Young says. “I tell people we try to manage their expectations based on what they are willing to invest in terms of marketing and personnel; whether they want to do it all themselves and hire one or two part-time employees or if they want to ramp up quickly and invest substantially, hiring three to four full-time employees. We want to focus on the growth trajectory they are attempting to follow.”
Investing in the Future
Two years ago, NaturaLawn opened a brand-new home office sales center to assist its partners in acquiring new customers. “What we have found is some franchisees love the technical end of the work, but they don’t like the sales part of the work. So, we opened a 12-member home office sales room to assist them in acquiring new customers if they want,” Young says. “This home sales office helps explain to the customer why we are different and connects a customer with an owner for scheduling service and working directly with the franchisee.”
Once the home sales office facilitates a sale, the customer is turned over to the franchisee. “The difference is that by the time the franchisee is involved, they know the customer is already aware of what’s going to happen and how the service works. Everything is explained in advance,” Young adds. Territory is defined by the number of single-family homes and we build territories designed to produce revenues in excess of $500,000. This helps expedite the process for our partners.”
Moving forward, NaturaLawn plans to expand into 110 territories over the next five years and reach $100 million in revenue. “Our story started over 30 years ago with a $30,000 investment and our Founder working out of his home. Today, we are 91 territories strong, servicing over 100,000 customers, and expect to exceed $70 million in revenue in 2019,” Young says. “If you want to become part of our family, everyone is here to help you succeed in any way possible.”