Outdoor franchises, by definition, typically produce most of their yearly income during a particular ‘season’ or around the holidays. An example of one sector that is often labelled as ‘seasonal’ is the outdoor sector. David Truby, the Managing Director of Greensleeves, is here to explain how despite the weather being one of the key factors in the outdoor sector, it does not stop them or slow them down – no matter the time of year.
So many people discount franchises in the outdoor sector thinking that the weather impacts profitability and work. However, the outdoor sector is a much more sophisticated proposition than that. Whether your business cares for lawns, walks dogs or provides commercial surfaces with safety markings, it is common for people to think that these businesses only operate and provide services over the summer months. However, this simply isn’t true. So, here are the three most common misconceptions outdoor franchises face and why they are not true.
- Outdoor services cannot work all year round
The first and probably most common misconception people have of outdoor franchises are that they cannot work all year round. However, outdoor franchises often have to work continuously throughout the year to prepare for the next season. For example, in the horticulture business, it is essential to provide care for your customers’ lawns all year round to ensure that they are protected, moss-free and healthy. If we do not service and prepare lawns in winter, they will not get the best results for summer.
It will come as no surprise that the outdoor businesses that choose to work throughout the year will be busier and have higher profits than those only open for the summer months. An ice cream franchise, for example, would make much of its profit during the spring and summer but could remain open during colder months on reduced business hours during winter, which in turn will mean they make more money than if they were open in the summer. There is plenty of flexibility with an excellent outdoor franchise.
- It is always raining and wet in the UK
It is a common misconception that it always rains here in the UK. In fact, the state of the weather is one of the most talked-about subjects in this country, and if you asked almost anyone outside of the UK what they thought the weather was like here, they would also tell you that it rains constantly. But it does not. I admit it is not sunny every day either, but a bit of cloud never hurt anyone and certainly should not stop an outdoor business from being able to operate. According to Onaverage.co.uk, over the past 30 years, it has only rained on average 156.2 days a year in the UK1, leaving 209 days a year dry. Besides, even if your business can only operate when it is not raining, it very rarely rains all day, meaning there are always plenty of opportunities to get out and make money.
- Everybody will cancel outdoor services when the economy hits a downturn
When the economy hits a downturn, as it has during the pandemic, it is common for people to think that businesses in the outdoor sector will suffer. However, for most outdoor companies, quite the opposite is true. Most outdoor franchises emerged from the lockdowns fighting fit, as most outdoor services went relatively untouched by government restrictions. For franchises like Greensleeves, a lawn care service, apart from not being able to sit and have a cup of tea and a chat with our customers during lockdown restrictions, we could still provide the same quality lawn treatment.
The fact of the matter is, people stop moving house, buying new cars and spending money on foreign holidays when the economy starts to struggle, which means more money is spent on their homes and outdoor activities instead. Greensleeves is an excellent example of a business thriving after the last three recessions. In fact, despite the pandemic, this month, we have already outperformed last year in terms of sales – and we still have three months of the year left to go.
There are many benefits to starting an outdoor franchise. Not only do you get all the normal benefits associated with franchising, like becoming your own boss and experiencing a better work-life balance, but you also get the added benefits of working in the fresh air, seeing new sights, meeting new people and getting stuck into different tasks daily. So, if you were on the fence about investing in an outdoor franchise, hopefully I have managed to put your mind at ease by dispelling some of the common misconceptions businesses in this sector face.
1Onaverage.co.uk, 2021, Average Rainfall UK