In 2011 Stephen Loomis left his corporate job to purchase a U.S. Lawns franchise in Philadelphia, PA. He shared with Franchise Business Review why he made the move and his thoughts regarding franchising.
Why did you decide to enter into franchising? After spending seven years in corporate America in accounting and insurance for various Fortune 500 Companies, I wanted to do something on my own. My financial experience has helped me achieve success as a franchise owner.
What is it that you like best about owning your franchise from a business perspective and from a personal perspective? I enjoy the flexibility of being my own boss and controlling my own destiny. I can make this business whatever I want it to be based on how hard I push it. Many people are afraid to try franchising because they want the security of a 9-5 job, however there is no greater security than knowing that you own something that cannot be taken from you and that you can create as much wealth for yourself as you want.
What was it about the U.S. Lawns’ franchise that led you to purchase it? I liked the recurring revenue model and believed it to be a recession resistant business. I felt the model also offered a strong work-life balance as most of our customers are not calling on us during the weekends. The team in the U.S. Lawns home office also had tremendous experience and made me feel comfortable. I felt from day one that they had my best interests at heart.
How did you find your franchise? I researched a number of opportunities and through Franchise Business Review found U.S. Lawns.
Would you share your gross revenue? It was $1.7 million in 2015.
What advice would you share with people considering purchasing a franchise? Make sure you do your due diligence and have enough cash on hand to support yourself without income for three years. Also, be committed to making sales. Without sales your business cannot survive.
What do you wish you had known prior to becoming a franchisee? The difficulty that I would encounter finding good labor. It was very frustrating for a long time. Fortunately, I now have managers in place who deal with these headaches.
Do you plan to purchase additional U.S. Lawns units? Yes. I just hired a GM to run my Philadelphia branch and will be opening up a second one in the coming years.
What is your work/life balance? I can pretty much come and go as I please at this point. It took a lot of hard work to get there, but it is very rewarding. Because I have a GM in place, I can now run my business remotely if I wish to do so.
What is the most challenging aspect of being a franchisee? Being limited to specific territories.
What is most rewarding about being a franchisee? The network of other owners I can rely on for advice. Without them I would have been lost early on.
What kind of support do you most appreciate from your franchisor? We have a Regional Franchise Advisor who works with us as frequently as we need. Throughout the years he has provided me with great guidance and support.
Where do you see your business in the next five years? With at least two U.S. Lawns branches, each staffed with a GM.
To see how U.S. Lawns’ franchisees rate it in a variety of areas including leadership, culture, training and support, financial outlook, and franchisee community, click here.
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