Franchise Business Review recently spoke with Clean Air Lawn Care franchise owner Patrick Lewis to gain insight on what it’s like to be a franchise owner and the challenges of running your own business. Excerpts from the following interview with Lewis are featured in FBR’s 2022 Top 200 Franchises issue.
Name: Patrick Lewis
Location: Boston, MA
Franchise owner since: August 2020
Can you share a bit about your background? What were you doing prior to being a franchise owner and how did that help prepare you for what you’re doing now?
I was working as a foreman in landscaping and lawn maintenance. I have been working outside my entire life and in this industry since my teens. I worked at a dozen companies obtaining a variety of skills. I now apply these to the business model Clean Air Lawn Care has developed and the combination has proven very effective.
What are the most critical skills that you feel are needed to be successful? Did you have those skills and how did the corporate group help you develop those skills?
Being quick to respond to service request and to estimate requests. My team at headquarters has greatly helped me here. At my onboarding training I learned everything I needed to be successful with his business model. At anytime I know I can count on my team to assist me with any issues or questions.
What were you looking for in franchising that you were not getting from your previous career?
I was looking for freedom. I had worked so long in the industry I had hit a ceiling. The only way move up was to step out of the field. I have greatly increased my income in just my first year in business. This freedom has allowed for great improvements to my personal life, and has led to a very healthy franchise location for me. The ceiling is now way higher for me.
Can you tell us about the process you went through to select your franchise brand? How long would you say it took you to get to signing the agreement?
I was working as a foreman for Clean Air Lawn Care in Western Massachusetts. I spent one season in this position and that gave me a very close and clear look at the franchise. Finally, I could see a business model that would allow me to confidently make the jump from hourly employee to first time business owner. In September 2020 I contacted the headquarters and asked for the opportunity to purchase a location. In about three weeks I was ready, and trained and signed my agreement. It was a wonderful process.
Were there any pressing questions you needed answered before signing your agreement that future buyers should ask?
In my case there were no questions left unanswered. I say ask as much as you can. This headquarters team is like family, and they will not turn away any questions. They covered every question and then some and left me feeling very ready.
Did you speak with other franchise owners during the process? How important is this in making your decision? What questions would you suggest future buyers ask?
I did. I was able to speak to a lot of Clean Air owners during my decision period, and gain a lot of confidence from this. There is a wide variety of backgrounds and personality types in this franchise. It’s a great fit for everyone that likes the model and is willing to work hard.
What convinced you that this was the right brand for you?
The environment. The environment needs this right now, and the potential customer base is growing rapidly everyday. This model is allowing the growth rate to stay peaked and with out the franchise I would not being seeing half the growth I am seeing right now. This is a right brand for the times we live in right now.
Now that you have been up and running for a bit, are there things you know now that you wish you had insight into before that might have made it easier for you?
The things I’ve learned in my first year are things I needed to learn on my own. Learning what each individual customers needs may be, and their lawn’s needs. Other than that, I was fully prepared for this by my headquarters team.
If you think about your first year in business, what was the biggest obstacle you've faced, and how did you overcome it?
My biggest obstacle was handling the mass amounts of potential customers. I did not imagine I would have 200 estimate requests in one 5-month period. It was a welcome surprise, and I owe it to adding Service Auto Pilot to my franchise’s toolbox. This has helped me organize my business greatly, and was suggested by my headquarters team.
What advice do you have for prospective franchise buyers?
If you’re looking for the franchise opportunity where the headquarters feels like family, this is it. If you’re looking for a franchise opportunity where you will see guaranteed growth and endless assistance in that endeavor, this is it. Franchising with Clean Air Lawn Care has been the best decision I’ve made in my career.
For more information on Clean Air Lawn Care franchise opportunities,
Call: (970) 219-7440