A Successful Franchise System – Spring-Green on Fox Business News

A Successful Franchise System – Spring-Green on Fox Business News


Host: We’re out to Chicago right now. Mike Potocki is with us right now. He’s a franchise development manager with
Spring-Green Lawn Care. Sir, thanks for being with us. Mark: Hi, Tracy. Host: Hey, Mark. We love talking to small businesses and franchise
owners because you guys are the heart of what keeps this economy going. Your franchise, Spring-Green Lawn Care, basically
does all lawn stuff, right? Shrubs, things like that. How have you faired through this economy when,
to me, I would think that’s one of the first things to go? You know what, I’ll throw my son out behind
a lawn mower and make him do it himself. Mark: You know, it’s one of the things that
makes this business so attractive for entrepreneurs, Tracy, is we are a thirty-four year old lawn
and tree care business. We deal with both traditional and organic
lawn and tree care. With that being said, it’s a relatively small
ticket item, if you think about the course of a summer. Most people that use our type of service,
it’s either the baby-boomers where they can’t get out to work on the lawn themselves, or
it’s the dual income family where, quite simply, it’s an investment in their time as much as
anything else. You probably recognize people are cutting
back on vacations and such, but that means they’re spending more time in their yard. So, the opportunity to have a great looking
lawn and a nice surrounding, and also to boost the value of your home, still means something
to a lot of people. Host: So, that means that you haven’t then
felt the recession? You’re saying that sales have held steady
throughout this? Mark: You know, at the independent unit level,
they haven’t held steady, they’ve actually continued to grow. So, again, being over thirty-four years old,
this is not our first recession, and being privately held is a big deal. If you think about the fact that with about
126 units out there, we’re large enough that we can do things and really make an impact
around the country. At the same point, we’re small enough that
we can maneuver quickly to make changes when necessary. Host: So, this is a family business. And, you decided to take this family business
and franchise it. Why franchise it? Mark: Well, we talk a lot about the power
of franchising really lays in the collective knowledge of the franchise owners. When people think of a lawn care business,
often times there’s a lot of misperceptions about who these owners are, but if you just
look at the last five years, we’ve got everything from a psychologist, we’ve got a former NASA
rocket scientist. We’ve got a navy cryptologist. Really what you find is a lot people who have
come out of corporate America, a banker or so on, where they’re just getting tired of
sitting in a cube or sitting in an office all day, the ability to roll up their sleeves,
get out, network within the community, that goes a long way. And, then when you take that and you think
about the fact that this is the type of business that is going to scale over time. This is the type of business that can be used
as an annuity to their retirement. You know, the residual piece, knowing that
so many of your customers continue to come back, as long as a franchise owner continues
to make a marketing investment, they’re going to keep growing that business. Host: I understand that completely. When I was an accountant, I always used to
say, “I don’t make anything. I don’t do anything. Like, I have nothing to show for my day.” So, I understand the notion of getting out
there and getting your hands dirty. Now, you started this Flex Start Program because
it is a seasonal business. People can kind of hold two jobs. Mark: Well, especially the first year. We’ve got two different business models. We’ve got an owner-operator model. We’ve got an executive model. If you think about the person coming out of
corporate America who loved those qualities – they loved the high margins, they loved
the residual piece we talked about – they’re currently employed. Well, given the time of the year, there’s
no sense to jump into a business like this today. At the same point, we could start building
the business for a full time launch in 2012. So, what we’re going to do is tell you to
keep your job. Let’s start building the marketing piece,
collecting lawn measurements, using satellite imagery, things like that that you may not
think about with a lawn care business, so that come this fall we can be part of a consolidated
national marketing campaign. Find the benefits of consolidated marketing
when you think about price points on direct mail and so on. And really take this business to a full time
launch come January 2012. Host: I like that. It’s like baby steps. I know that Flex Start was featured in Entrepreneur
Magazine. Your executive model, as well. I love the notion that you’re hand-holding
and helping your franchisees. Are you helping them get money, as well? Or, are they able to get bank loans? Mark: A little bit of both. We have in-house financing programs. We’ve partnered with some third party financing
organizations. We’ve even gone as far because of the confidence
we have in our system where being part of the SBA registry, having tools and resources,
like the fran data, bank credit reports, so that we can take a business opportunity to
the local bank. But, we’ll personally guarantee the equipment
on some of these loans. We also have a marketing reinvestment where
we will take a portion of the franchise fee and reinvest it into the local owner’s second
year marketing program. Because, if you think about it, what’s everybody
trying to get to initially? They want to get to income replacement, or
they want to get to the breakeven point. Well, how do you do that? You do that quite simply, by reinvesting in
your business so that your customer counts are going to go up. Host: That is some cool stuff. If I’m interested in a franchise, how do I
find out about it? Mark: There’s a couple ways. You can go to www.springgreenfranchise.com,
or you can simply pick up the telephone. Our number is 800-777-8608. Or, if you’re in the Chicago area, just stop
by. Host: You’re sweet. We just had the website up, Mark. Mark, now I have to change the subject a little
bit, I know you’re a former college football coach. Where’d you coach? Mark: I was. At a small college out in California. The University of LaVerne. Host: Okay. So, this whole NFL lockout deal – gotta
be near and dear to your heart, as well? Mark: It absolutely is. I’ve got several friends who either played
or are still playing in the NFL. And, so you hear both sides of the story for
sure. Host: So, what do the players then that you
know say? Again, from where I sit, I don’t think that
they lost. I actually think the players did okay in this. Mark: There’s two sides to every story, and
I think both sides will win. And, ultimately I think the fans are going
to win because we should have a season coming up here shortly. Host: My biggest concern was that the players
got more money for post-career injuries and things like that, and I did think they got
that. So, I don’t know. I hope they’re happy. Mark: And, they need to. Host: Yeah they do. I agree. Mark Potocki, you’re awesome. Franchise Development Manager for Spring-Green
Lawn Care out in Chicago. Family business. Check it out if you want to franchise. Mark, you’ve been great. Thanks for being with us. Mark: Thank you very much. Have a great weekend. Host: You, too. The site’s up again if anybody is interested. I’ll tell you what, it has been a wild week…

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