Chase Hillenmeyer (far right) owns two Weed Man USA franchises, one in Lexington, KY and the other in Nashville, TN with his father, Stephen, (center) and brother, Seth (far left). The investment in the franchises has enabled to Hillenmeyers to offer additional value-added services via their family landscaping business. Chase shared his thoughts on franchising with Franchise Business Review
How is it that you entered franchising? While attending college and trying to decide what I wanted to do in life, my father gained sole ownership of our family’s long-standing business, Stephen Hillenmeyer Landscape Services, into which we incorporated our Weed Man USA franchises in order to be able to provide additional services to our clients. He offered me a position, which I accepted since I wanted to work with him and keep the family business alive. I started as an Account Manager on the Hillenmeyer side of the business, but was drawn to the Weed Man USA side due to its systems, processes, and opportunity for growth.
What have you found particularly beneficial about being a franchisee? I’m able to trust in the systems Weed Man USA has put in place and focus on managing and growing my team and building the business. Initially, Weed Man USA provided us with the resources to create a 10-year business plan that mapped out our future. It was this clear plan that ultimately encouraged my brother, Seth, to leave his commercial banking job in Chicago and join the family business. We both saw a path for ourselves, as well as the growth opportunities that Weed Man USA could provide through the business plan.
What advice would you share with people considering purchasing a franchise? Success will come if you are able to align your skills and passion with the opportunity. Prior to signing on the dotted line, be sure to understand that there will be sacrifices and challenges along the way that you will be able to push through as long as you have the right support system in place. Weed Man USA provides us with defined processes and systems, but like any business, it all comes down to execution, which is up to us.
What advice would you share with a franchisee in his or her first year of business? Start strong by positioning the right people in the right positions, where they can help develop and strengthen the brand. Surround yourself with people who share similar goals and who have skills that complement each other well. We believe in setting our employees up for success within the system and giving them the tools to grow, so we can put them in a position to allow the company to expand in new markets. Also, I would advise franchisees to create an upfront and candid relationship with the customer from the very beginning.
What is your work/life balance today? Family time and business are synonymous. My brother and I spend a lot of time together on the job. We grew up in the family business, so for us they are one and the same and we were exposed to the industry very early on. As the business grows, I’ve actually found it to be less demanding on my schedule, as we are able to have key employees run and manage the day-to-day aspects.
What is it that you like best about owning your franchise? There are many benefits to owning a business, but for me, it’s the ability to be an entrepreneur and help create opportunities for people in our community that makes it worth it. I also appreciate the fact that I get to work with my father and my brother every day.
What is the most challenging aspect of being a franchisee? The most challenging aspect of being a franchisee is trusting that the plan will lead you to success and learning how to execute the growth plan correctly by incorporating all aspects of running a business – marketing, sales, operations, etc.
What do you think your franchisor does particularly well? Weed Man USA is continually evolving and innovating to remain at the forefront of the industry. In addition, they really value their franchisees and listen to what we have to say.
What kind of support do you get from fellow franchisees? The Weed Man USA franchise system is united by a shared vision of success. Never at any point have we felt alone or that we couldn’t reach out to others for guidance. The brand is only as strong as its weakest link, so we strive to support everyone. The home office has worked hard to create a feedback loop between franchisees and the corporate team that is efficient in sharing information. We often visit other franchises and are welcomed into their business, where we are able to have open candid conversations about successes and failures, which has been a great resource.
To see how Weed Man USA franchisees rate it in a variety of crucial areas such as leadership, culture, training and support, financial outlook, and franchisee community, click here.
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