Membership History

Full Member
Joined 2005

Membership History

Full Member
Joined 2005
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Company Overview

Greensleeves Lawn Care offers high-quality, affordable lawn care services that are tailor made to suit each individual customer’s lawn. Greensleeves has been operating nationally since 1998 and is one of the UK’s most established lawn treatment businesses.

The franchise pilot model was established in 2000 and has been treating lawns nationally ever since. Last year Greensleeves had its most successful year to date with a healthy growth in turnover and an increase to over 60,000 customers.

Franchise Overview

The Greensleeves network has grown to over 88 franchises and is operating across the UK. Even in uncertain economic times, the potential within the lawn care market has proven to be enormous. Whilst the industry is showing healthy growth, it is still barely scratching the surface. With an estimated 18,000,000 lawns in the UK at present, there is more than enough opportunity to establish a successful franchise in this sector.

There are also a number of resale opportunities available for those wishing to purchase a lawn care business which is already established.

Training

Greensleeves franchisees receive full initial training and ongoing support from a highly committed franchise support team of 7 people dedicated to helping each to achieve their own aspirations. Each new Greensleeves franchisee will partake in an initial 14-day start-up training programme followed by ongoing support from management.

The course content includes:

  • Lawn culture and nutrition
  • Weed/disease identification
  • Machinery and equipment handling NPTC qualification (legally required to handle pesticides in a commercial situation)
  • Health and safety
  • Marketing and business development
  • Administration
  • Business support

Daily Life of a franchisee

The typical job of a Greensleeves franchisee is to analyse, offer advice and treat their customer’s lawns, visiting at least five times a year to ensure the lawns are lush, green and healthy. Services range from seasonal treatment programmes through to specialist applications such as scarification and hollow tine aeration, depending on each individual lawn.

To begin with franchisees will divide their time between treating lawns and completing the marketing and administrative elements of the business from home.

Simon Coleman

Simon Coleman, 47 left the rat race of the City behind by quitting his job in corporate banking and opening up a Greensleeves lawn treatment franchise. His territory covers a large area across Surrey and west Kent including Croydon, Bromley, Orpington, Sevenoaks, Chipstead and Warlingham.

Why did you consider going into franchising?
Working in the City involved long hours, a stressful job, travelling away from home a lot and generally an unhealthy lifestyle overall. As a result I developed a health issue, which was a bit of a wakeup call that I needed to change my lifestyle. My wife told me that if I did not do something different then I would not be around in five years time.

Working for another financial institution would not have been any different in the long run, so I decided that the only way forward was to work for myself and set up a business. I did not want to set up a business from scratch – having spent my life in paid employment, I wanted some degree of comfort that my business would be somewhat successful – so a franchise seemed to be the obvious route: a tried and tested business model with full marketing and technical support.

Why an outdoors-based franchise?
It was a combination of three things: to create a lifestyle that meant I chose the hours I worked with the freedom of being a mobile business; to have some level of exercise and fresh air to keep healthy; and most importantly, I thought the business model for the lawn care business was really good. When a customer comes on board the business is repeatable four times a year with additional services, so every sale is an annuity and the customer base has a real tangible value to it.

Having spent 28 years working in an office environment, the thought of working outdoors was very appealing, especially during good weather. Having said that, there is something nice about working in the cold and wet and then coming home to warm up. There’s a real sense of achievement and wellbeing to it, although I don’t want every day to be like a damp, cold February one!

How would you describe your typical day?
My day is a combination of three main things: firstly, actually working on the lawns and performing one of the seven or so treatment activities we offer; secondly, generating and quoting for new business; and finally, unfortunately, the dreaded admin work associated with running a business.

At the moment I probably spend five hours on the lawns and directly with my customers – this has gone down a bit since we hired our first full time employee 17 months after starting the business. I will then do a couple of hours a day quoting and a couple of hours a day doing admin work and preparing invoices etc. for the next day. It’s pretty varied so the days go very quickly.

Is your work affected by seasonal patterns, and how?
Yes – mainly the weather! The grass does not grow much between November and early February, so our services are not on the top of our customers’ minds during this time of year. Other than that, it is very busy for at least 10 months of the year, with spring and autumn being the busiest periods. I worry each January whether the phone will ring at all – then we get the first weekend of good weather in February and everybody starts to focus on their garden and off we go!

How has your business fared during the downturn?
What downturn?! We had to slow down our marketing activities in the early autumn last year because we could not cope with all the new business – we took on between 30 and 50 new customers every month between February and October 2011 and lost less than 10 during the whole year.

2012 has started in the same way, we have lost a small number of customers due to them tightening their belts but at the same time we took on 36 new customers in March. We are finding that our customers are deciding to spend their money on improving what they have got rather than acquiring more debt and moving house ¬– that’s good for our business and our growth.

What are your future plans for the business?
The aim is to continue growing at a rate of an additional van on the road each 12-18 months over the next five years. By then I will be in my early fifties and thinking about doing less heavy lifting and more of the business-building and quoting. I see a dedicated team of lawn managers in place keeping to the high standards I have set in out first 18 months of business.

My family are involved in helping the business, and it would be excellent if my son, who is currently 18, decided to join the family business full-time and begin to run the business in the next few years. This would free me up to spend more time on the golf course and I would be able to pick and choose the amount of time I spent working on the business!

Ultimately I want the value of the business to grow and become a substantial asset that will either pay me a nice pension each year, if we decide to keep it in the family, or a large lump sum if we decide to sell and retire completely. My hope would be to keep the business and continue to have an interest in it for many years to come.

Jamie and Lesley Clark

Jamie and Lesley Clark, 28 and 32 years old respectively, run the Doncaster branch of Greensleeves. Although it’s early days for the franchise, the couple are already enjoying the feeling of working towards a shared future together, as Jamie was happy to explain.

Why, as a couple, did you decide to take on a franchise together?
We wanted to build a long-lasting future together. In today’s economic climate, we wanted to run a business, rather than be employed within a business we had no control over. It was important that we could shape our future rather than have someone do it for us. We have always aspired to run a business together and with the help, support and advice offered by Greensleeves, this franchise was ideal.

How did you first hear of Greensleeves?
We found them on the internet. We were completely new to the industry, their business model appealed to us and they seemed very experienced. David Truby, managing director and Phil Paddock, director, are extremely knowledgeable and personable. They were extremely open with us and showed us some great figures from the other franchisees.

Lesley and I could see ourselves working with them and also the massive potential a franchise could have. One of our main points of criteria, as we were inexperienced in this field, was that we wanted to feel comfortable with whoever we took a franchise with and David and Phil really hit the mark.

How did you combine your strengths/talents to make the business work?
Lesley has a career in sales and marketing, and I pride myself on having a very strong customer service sales background. So together with Lesley’s organisational and administration skills and my thick skin (being used to the odd door being shut in my face whilst canvassing!) we fit well together, as our skills are complementary.

Did you face any challenges in the beginning?
We took on an existing franchise so we had to learn how to run a business quickly, which was a big step. Overnight we became the owners of a fully operational business. However, I can’t recommend Greensleeves highly enough, they supported us from day one, they were flexible and helped us iron out the initial teething problems we encountered. Their support was round the clock and it was instrumental in a smooth switchover, with minimal impact on existing customers.

The initial training provided was fantastic, and they are always on the end of the phone for any day to day questions I fire their way! Without them, we couldn’t have made it work. They treat us with the same respect we treat our customers and they always go the extra mile. The product itself works really well, we’re very happy and really pleased we decided to join Greensleeves.

Has the business enhanced your relationship? Do you make time for each other?
It’s definitely enhanced our relationship; we are now more of a team with a joint focus. Yes, we talk about work in the evenings and in our down time but we still ensure we have quality time away from the business. At the moment, as it is early days, this tends to be when the business dictates, not when we wish!

Has your life changed for the better?
The job is very fulfilling. I love doing the work, it’s relaxing and a big improvement on my previous office-based roles. I have always enjoyed gardening and the outdoors. We do have less quality time together as it’s hard to switch off but the fact that we are enjoying it so much and the challenges and triumphs it throws our way, we feel we don’t always want to switch off!

We now feel we have control of our business and therefore we are able to shape our own future –the harder we work the more benefits we will reap. We can see the massive potential and intend to achieve it.

Steve Hook

Steve Hook joined the Greensleeves franchise on April 1st 2010, but his track record shows him to be anything but an April Fool – in a period of just over one year he has grown his franchise dramatically and now services a customer base of 480 clients.

Steve’s induction into the lush green world of Greensleeves franchising came about after he decided that he needed a change of career. Steve’s background did, however, stand him in good stead for the opportunity; he has a degree in agriculture and had also been a sales consultant in the advertising world. This proved to be a useful combination as he looked for a franchise that could draw upon his experience and knowledge.

“I was becoming a bit tired of being in the advertising world for agriculture,” says Steve. “I was looking for something new to do and around that time, I was starting to investigate franchising as a possibility. Having browsed the web for possibilities in the lawncare and agricultural sectors, I came across a few that I was interested in. Given my background, I knew how to sell and market products and services - the issue was that although I had lots of ideas for starting a business of my own, I had less idea of how to get them off the ground. The good thing about a franchise is that all this is done for you.”

After much research one of the franchisors that stood out was Greensleeves, and a meeting with managing director David Truby and his colleague Phil Paddock made Steve believe that this was a strong contender for the best option for him. Steve recalls: “I spoke to several other lawn care franchises, but Greensleeves gave me by far the best impression. I went to see David and Phil for a 2 hour meeting which turned into 4 hours plus!  I knew within a few minutes that I could work with them.  They were extremely professional, open and responsive.”

Steve adds that because the business model is in place, this takes the stress away of worrying whether your new business will work: “Although in one sense you are thrown in at the deep end, Greensleeves will talk to you, prepare you and give you a list of potential clients when you begin – so there is no danger of worrying about what to do at the start.”

Steve also found that Greensleeves were very supportive during a slightly turbulent start to his franchise. “During the period when I was signing up, unfortunately my father passed away – however Greensleeves were very understanding about this, and I managed to begin trading with my franchise on April 1st 2010.”

Like other franchisees, Steve found that the franchise training course (which spans 10 days) proved to be both enlightening and useful. “The course covers all the aspects that you need to know before you can begin work. It is structured in a certain way so that you get dedicated periods of time to a particular aspect.” With that in mind, the training course devotes two days to the treatments needed, one day for marketing, another for technology and so forth. “The training course is very good,” says Steve. “You couldn’t do without it.”

Steve is full of praise for the back-up that Greensleeves provides. “The support is excellent,” he says. “At the beginning, when you are feeling your way into the franchise, the support is dedicated to make you feel as comfortable as possible; for example, someone from head office will come down once a week for the first month to see how you are getting on. And after that, they are always there when you want them. If you have a problem, they are always on the end of the phone.” The marketing assistance is also very helpful, as Greensleeves promotes the franchise in a number of ways, such as on the web, and through leaflets and brochures. “All the support is done in a way that all you need to concentrate on is to bring in as many customers as possible,” adds Steve.

He is emphatic about the high level of customer service that Greensleeves provides: “My main task is to give people the beautiful lawns they are looking for and in turn this will help me gain as many customer numbers as possible. Even though I only started last year, I have managed to get over 480 customers already. The Greensleeves offering is very simple. They believe in customer service and so provide excellent service at good prices. I am a strong believer in customer service – you cannot treat customers like cash machines, and because we deliver such a high standard, this is what brings in repeat business.”

Steve views his high levels of customer service and proactivity as the cornerstone to his successful growth. “The main area of growth in year 1 came from canvassing, approximately 50% of my customers came this way.  I made sure that all my friends knew what I was doing.  I gave my customers good service, called in unplanned on problem lawns and made a fuss of them.  I tried to maximise income by ensuring as many customers as possible booked a scarification and/or aeration treatment, 65% of my customers had at least one, and as a result lawns improved quickly.”

Steve’s objective for the future is to grow the business further. “My first target is to get to 750 customers, employing 1 full-time person as well as me.  I am on track for this, I currently have a customer base of 480 and I employ a person 3 days a week.  After I have achieved this goal I will review, but in the long-term I aim to increase and employ more people. Joining a franchise was a big leap of faith, but looking back on it, it has worked out for me beautifully. I was bored in my last job, I am now much happier, I am selling a service people want and are very happy with in general.”

When asked what he liked most about owning a Greensleeves franchise, Steve is full of enthusiasm: “I love that it’s down to me, I decide what is going to happen and when and I am able to take long-term decisions which steer the future of my business. I receive excellent support from HQ to bounce ideas off and I am very positive about the future.

"Setting up my Greensleeves franchise is the best thing I ever did – it really isn’t bad when the last thing you have to do before you go to work is put on the factor 30 sun cream! Don’t get me wrong it is a challenge, but you get out of it what you put in and I am enjoying every minute.”

David Mason

What did you do before taking on the franchise?
I’ve worked for 12 years for an entertainment wholesaler and distributer, business-to-business sales of DVDs, games and music, both to buy and to rent – I ran the field sales teams, telesales team and national account team at different times, ending my time there as head of national accounts, running the team, and launching a new concept into Ireland and building a team there too.

What is your background?
20 years of sales, sales team and account management, following on from an earlier career with Waitrose, after college where I studied business and finance.

Where did you first hear about Greensleeves?
Through a colleague who had worked for me for 9 years and was looking to buy a franchise with her husband!

What made you choose Greensleeves as the franchise for you?
The key was that when I looked into the type of business I wanted to build, lawn care and Greensleeves stood out. The key points required of any business I would invest in were a growth market, a regular and growing local customer base, with a small but regular invoice value, a sustainable expanding business that would also become an asset, strong core business values and ethics, and a straightforward attitude to the business and its franchisees. I believe I found this with Greensleeves.

Did you consider any other franchises?
Yes – but none, once I met with them, could demonstrate all the key points I was looking for.

What made you want to own a franchise?
Working incredibly hard for an organisation which was still going backwards, in an industry in decline, due to online, multiples pricing and piracy, meant the appeal of running my own business was very strong. It’s great to put into practice all the skills I have, but for myself and my family’s benefit. Secondly I was previously working away most of the week and with a young daughter I wanted to be home and be more of a part of her life, with a better work/life balance.

I chose to move into running my own business, leaving a well paid job, with good career prospects and with offers to join other organizations in the sector; however I believe with a passion that I can make a business work, and with my vision, skill set and determination (with lots of hard work!) this will happen with Greensleeves. I have high hopes and expectations, and will strive to make them successful.

What do you like about running your own business?
The challenges –right from the concept, strategy and planning through to the day-to-day running. It appeals to my sense of challenge, ambition and fun!

What age are you? Do you have a family? Will they be getting involved in the franchise?
I’m 42, married, with a daughter of 7. My wife is a manager for Waitrose and loves her career, so wants to stay there, but is keen to keep me on track to deliver a John Lewis-level of customer service! Ultimately they will be involved in the business in the years to come.

What have your first experiences been like?
Excellent. Rarely in business is the opportunity or people the same in reality as they seem before you start. However Greensleeves, and in particular David and Phil, have been great and are, just as they appear to be, passionate and professional, with a desire to help you build the business and brand. We have many customers after 5 weeks and are off to a flying start.

The lifestyle, the outdoor working environment, the meeting people are all benefits, and key skills that one should have before embarking on a venture such as this one (oh and my wife has said that the health benefits and weight loss that will follow this new venture make it much better than joining a gym…!).

Where do you see yourself in 3 years?
Multi-van, 1,000 customer minimum, and returning to an income level I’m familiar with!

Mark Harrowell

What did you do before taking on the franchise?
Prior to joining Greensleeves I worked for Lloyds TSB Bank for 24 years, since leaving school.

What is your background?
Most recently, prior to leaving the bank I worked as a commercial manager, and I was responsible for 200 high net worth business customers, with turnover from £550,000 to £5 Million.

Can you talk about choosing to take redundancy and how this led to the Greensleeves franchise opportunity?
I actually took voluntary redundancy in December 2009. We were, following the financial crisis, all asked to reapply for our roles. We were also given the opportunity to apply for voluntary redundancy. Whilst I was confident that I would be given a role following the re-structure, I thought it was an ideal opportunity to look at other avenues, as in truth I could not picture another 20 years working in the banking industry.

Where did you first hear about Greensleeves?
Following my decision to leave the bank I attended a franchise exhibition and met David Truby, Phil Paddock and Jimmy Wilson Petch there.

What made you decide that Greensleeves was the franchise for you?
I was aware that grass care is a fast-growing (excuse the pun!) market - at the time it was one of the fastest-growing franchises in the UK. I was impressed by the directors - I met all three on the day. I appreciated their easy manner and they appeared very above board.

Did you consider any other franchises?
Yes I did - I actually visited the exhibition with a view to looking at finance franchises - in truth the conversations I had made me go cold (more of the same!).

What made you want to own a franchise?
With a long career working for a large corporate organisation I had decided that whilst I wanted to run my own business I wanted the help and support that a franchise offers.

What do you like about running your own business?
Flexibility and not having to constantly answer to someone else!

What age are you? Do you have a family? Will they be getting involved in the franchise?
I am 44 years old, married with 2 children - Nathan aged 12 and Mia aged 7. In truth I cannot see either of them wanting to get involved with my business - but who knows?!

What were your first experiences of running a franchise like?
My first year was actually easier then my second from a financial point of view as I still had some redundancy funds left in year one. I was amazed how quickly the business grew - I was flat out within a month of joining!

Where do you see yourself in 3 years?
The business will be coming up to 5 years old by then - I will be disappointed if I have not got 1,000 customers (currently I have just over 300) and hope to have 2 other vehicles on the road as well as mine.

James Stewart

New franchisee James Stewart runs the Aberdeenshire branch of the Greensleeves lawn care franchise. James talks about his previous working background, his first encounter with Greensleeves and how he is getting on so far.

What did you do prior to franchising?
After 25 years in the electronic component industry I was made redundant in 2010 which came as a shock (no pun intended!). I took the time off to look around at the areas I could venture into and decided franchising was perfect for me. Whilst I wanted to run my own company I also wanted the security that a franchise offers.

Why did you decide to work in lawn care?
I felt that I wanted to try something different as my previous job involved me being in an office 5 days a week and I liked the idea of working in the outdoors. I knew that being outside would give me great job satisfaction: the fresh outdoors, close contact with customers and a change of scenery each day.

Why Greensleeves?
After meeting up with two lawn care franchises I picked Greensleeves because of their in-depth knowledge, attention to detail, professional manner and friendly management staff. I was told how successful their franchisees are and what to expect. It was explained how some franchisees worked with partners, children and friends. This was an idea I warmed to as I hope that in 5 years time my franchise will be bringing employment to the Aberdeen area, helping people like myself who find themselves out of work.

How are you getting on so far?
It’s fair to say since starting my franchise I have come to realise that you really do get back what you put in to it; I’m noticing the benefits of my hard work already. I’m receiving a large number of referrals from my new customers, friends and family which is helping me increase my customer base and I hope that within a year I will be able to employ one person full-time to help cover a larger area and expand my business.

Resales

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Greensleeves grows from strength to strength
19 March 2013

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