Talk about growing from the ground up. NaturaLawn of America, a natural, organic-based lawn-care franchise, has redefined the term with its Employee Franchise Ownership Program. The incentive plan, implemented 21/2 years ago, offers permanent employees $2,500 in credit each year toward the purchase of their own franchises.
The plan allows full-time employees, over an eight-year span, to earn up to $20,000 in credit to use towards financing their own franchise. No employee can cash in credits before completing three years of full-time work. Existing franchisees, however, can expand their own businesses by providing the working funds necessary to partner with employees who aren't able to obtain franchises on their own. "An interesting, dynamic cycle tends to takes place as more and more employees take advantage of [the program] and more franchisees want to purchase an additional location," says Loeb.
With more than 50 NaturaLawn of America locations throughout the United States and Canada, and franchise owners now looking to add multiple locations, a growth rate of more than 30 percent is anticipated by the end of the year. Clearly, the potential for growth is there, and has already manifested itself in many ways. "[The program] allows the employees to attain their goals of owning a franchise, knowing they have not only the original franchisee supporting them, but our home office as well," Loeb says. "It's a win-win situation."
- NaturaLawn of America, (800) 989-5444, www.nl-amer.com