Lessons Learned From 13 Years in the Lawn Care Industry

Lessons Learned From 13 Years in the Lawn Care Industry
Image credit: Mark and Kim Kosberg

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Franchise Players is Entrepreneur’s Q&A interview column that puts the spotlight on franchisees. If you're a franchisee with advice and tips to share, email ktaylor@entrepreneur.com.

When Mark and Kim Kosberg entered the lawn care business, Mark was only 23 and Kim was 22. After five year in the business, the couple decided to convert their company into a Weed Man USA franchise, with plans to add on more services.

Their first year in franchising meant around-the-clock work – the couple even found themselves sleeping in the office. But after 13 years in the lawn care industry, this franchising power couple hopes to hit the $1 million sales mark in 2015. Here's what they've learned.

Name: Mark and Kim Kosberg

Franchise owned: Weed Man of Midland, Mich.

How long have you owned a franchise?

Since 2006.

Related: Dog Lovers Bring a New Pet-Care Franchise to Georgia

Why franchising?

Investing in a franchise was the perfect opportunity to take advantage of a proven business model that presented us with the necessary administration, marketing, business planning and budgeting support to help lead us toward success and keep us on the cutting edge of the lawn care industry.

What were you doing before you became a franchise owner?

Prior to becoming a Weed Man USA franchise owner, Kim worked for a hospital in insurance and marketing and Mark worked for the shipping and receiving department at Lord & Taylor. In 2001, we decided to start a lawn care company (M&K Lawn Care) out of Mark’s parents’ garage while still maintaining full-time jobs. Mark always had a passion for lawn care, so we started mowing lawns to help bring in extra income.

Why did you choose this particular franchise?

In 2006, when we were only in our late 20s, we came across Weed Man and upon conducting our due diligence, we were impressed with the company’s business model and support it provided to franchise owners. We realized it was a perfect opportunity to add more services to our existing business. It was a match made in heaven.

Weed Man lives by its “promises kept” and hones in on being an honest company that takes great pride in their work. These values were important to us when seeking a franchise opportunity. Additionally, we were attracted to the company’s dedication of constantly looking for ways to grow and improve both the customers’ and franchise owners’ overall experience.

How much would you estimate you spent before you were officially open for business?

Single Territory (Population up to 150,000)

Franchise Fee: $20,000
Initial Investment: $43,700
Capital Investment: $103,700

Double Territory (Population up to 300,000)

Franchise Fee: $33,750
Initial Investment: $58,450
Capital Investment: $118,450

Investment Includes:

Initial Training
• Trained in all aspects of the business
• Administration
• Computer
• Technical
• Marketing
• Business planning
• Long-term planning

Where did you get most of your advice/do most of your research?

During the discovery process, the Weed Man USA corporate office provided us with contact information for existing franchise owners. We called a dozen different offices to ask questions about the franchise opportunity. This was extremely helpful because it provided us with the opportunity to talk to people who are living the life we would be if we became owners. We learned about their successes and the challenges they faced.

Related: Being in Business for More Than Just a Balance Sheet

What were the most unexpected challenges of opening your franchise?

During the first year of launching our franchise, we worked more hours when we had ever expected to. We wanted to absorb everything and become experts in learning about the necessary systems for running a Weed Man USA franchise. We would make macaroni and cheese for dinner and would sleep in our office.

What advice do you have for individuals who want to own their own franchise?

With the vast number of franchise opportunities available, it is important to do your homework. Talk with existing owners and make sure to check into the support and resources that are available to owners. It is important that your investment is a win-win and that you are getting out what you put into it.

What’s next for you and your business?

Over the years, we have grown leaps and bounds. We now have four Weed Man trucks and service 1,300 customers. By next year, we hope to hit the $1 million sales mark. We are working on team development and are really excited about moving some key players into management roles as we continue to grow. This will give us more time and opportunity to explore branching out into other territories. 

Related: How This Ex-Subway Conductor Became an Expert in Franchising

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