Franchise Business Review recently spoke with Todd Page of Clean Air Lawn Care to gain insight into what it’s like to be a franchise owner.
Name: Todd Page
Location: Oregon City, Oregon
Franchise owner since: October 2020
How many units do you own? Do you have plans to expand someday?
We currently have one territory, which includes about six cities, in the southern suburbs of Portland, Oregon. We have two employees. We aren’t sure if we want to expand yet.
What made you decide to transition into franchising with Clean Air Lawn Care?
I was tired of working for other people and wanted to be in an industry that I was familiar with. I had met the owners of Clean Air before it was a franchise, and the fact that it was family-owned really mattered to me.
What were your top criteria when comparing franchises? Did you view the Franchisee Satisfaction Survey results and Top Franchise awards?
We researched several companies to buy into, but none of them felt like a good fit. We read satisfaction surveys, looked at financial viability, and did financial projections.
Looking back now, is there anything you would have done differently?
Be extremely diligent in building realistic budgets and forecasting. It’s going to cost more than you think, and you’re going to make less than you want to. When building an initial forecast to see if the business is right for you, add 30% to costs and reduce by 50% what you think you’ll net. Also, you are your best employee, and you will spend large quantities of time doing the actual work, regardless of what business you’re in.
What was your biggest challenge when you think back to the first year or two in business?
Hiring the right employees, hands down. Also, learning how to price in our particular market, and learning what services we can offer and what services we can’t.
Was Clean Air Lawn Care the brand you started exploring initially or were there other brands you were interested in? Were they all in the same industry?
We came upon Clean Air early on in our search, though it wasn’t intentional.
What convinced you that this was the right brand for you?
After all our research, and speaking with the owners and other franchise owners, it just felt like a good fit.
At any time during your research process did you ever consider abandoning your search and, if so, what kept you going?
Weighing the costs and advantages of starting a small business versus getting a job and having a consistent paycheck with benefits is something that needs to be looked at very closely.
What are you most proud of and why? Do you have a special story you want to share?
I’m proud that we have been able to pull together as a family to get the work done!
How much did the environmental, green, and sustainable practices of Clean Air Lawn Care factor into your decision-making process?
We absolutely would not have done this if the brand used traditional gas-powered equipment and chemicals.