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About Countrywide Grounds Maintenance Ltd
Countrywide Grounds Maintenance offers all-year-round commercial grass cutting, landscape maintenance, sports grounds maintenance and winter gritting services. The number one grounds maintenance contractor, it provides professionally trained operators to do everything from leaf clearance to tree surgery.
The company has worked for many blue-chip companies, including the BBC, schools, colleges and universities, housing associations, hotels, retailers, Aston Martin, Esso and English Heritage.
Among the many sites Countrywide has maintained are the historic grounds of the 13th century Hailes Abbey for English Heritage, the 16th century manor grounds of Madely Court hotel, Telford, the grounds of Murco Petroleum at Milford Haven (an especially meticulous task required to avoid fires), the Cabinet Offices’ Emergency Planning College, and Tottenham Cemetery.
Chief among the tasks carried out for these businesses and others are grass cutting, shrubbery pruning, hedge cutting, weed and moss control, tree works, snow clearance and gritting of car parks, roads and footpaths. The company recently branched out into artificial grass installation.
Staff employed by Countrywide Grounds Maintenance franchises are full-time, DBS/CRB-checked and wear a uniform. Gardeners are certified to apply chemicals and all are covered by comprehensive health and safety policies and procedures.
Who is behind the Countrywide Grounds Maintenance franchise?
The company was established by Martin Stott in 1985, who grew Countrywide from a family-owned and operated business into a network with more than 50 franchisees. By 2013, the company was maintaining some 20,000 sites for its 3,000 customers, operating from over 45 offices nationwide.
The company was acquired by the Texas-based Dwyer Group in May 2017. The deal, the tenth acquisition for the group, meant that Dwyer, a portfolio company of global private equity firm The Riverside Company, then had 19 brands with more than 2,850 franchisees. They employed 700 across their service brands in the USA, UK and Germany and Countrywide was seen as a perfect fit with Dwyer Group’s growing family of service brands in the UK.
In June 2018 The Dwyer Group was acquired by Harvest Partners LP, the New York-based private equity firm. The acquisition included three UK companies: Countrywide Grounds Maintenance; Drain Doctor; and Bright & Beautiful. James Kelly, who had been with Countrywide since 2009, was appointed Chief Operations Officer of the company in July 2018, with a remit to increase the presence of the business and capitalise on the company’s significant growth.
In September 2018, Dwyer Franchising LLC, changed its corporate name to Neighborly, with plans to implement the new name across the company’s service brand affiliates continuing over the coming months.
How does the Countrywide Grounds Maintenance franchise model work?
Countrywide Grounds Maintenance provides a range of services, from lawn maintenance to a 24/7 gritting and snow clearing service to keep paths and roads clear and safe.
Landscaping has been the company’s chief service for nearly 35 years, but has grown to encompass multi-year contracts with sports centres to maintain pitches, councils to maintain parks, borders and trees in public spaces, housing associations to provide an attractive environment for its residents, and schools, maintaining grounds and sports fields.
Countryside will provide clients with a planned annual schedule of maintenance to businesses and will negotiate with consortiums to make full use of their clients’ budgets.
This management franchise package, including training, equipment, manuals, software, uniforms and stationary, costs £44,950 + VAT. A further £15,000 working capital will also be required to enable franchisees to run and develop their business.
Is financial aid available for a Countrywide Grounds Maintenance franchise?
A Countrywide Grounds Maintenance franchisee would be expected to commit a minimum personal investment of at least 30 per cent of the costs of the franchise. Countrywide Grounds Maintenance has established relationships with franchising banks that can offer up to 70 per cent of the start-up costs.
What support and training does Countrywide Grounds Maintenance offer franchisees?
New Countrywide Grounds Maintenance franchisees are given an initial three weeks of training, beginning at the Cheadle Hulme, Manchester, headquarters before moving to on territory training.
Here, franchisees will shadow an existing franchise operator as they go about their regular business, learning on the job.
Training also takes in accounts, pricing, health and safety, and business development. New franchisees will also benefit from a marketing launch coordinated by head office, and ongoing support.
Full telesales and tendering support, means that 90 per cent of sales leads are sourced on behalf of the franchisees by Countrywide’s head office, leaving franchisees to visit and price up sites and send out local quotations.
What are the potential rewards from a Countrywide Grounds Maintenance franchise?
The potential rewards are large. Martin Stott revealed that, as early as 2011, some of their franchisees had up to 50 employees and turnovers of £1m was not unusual.
What areas do Countrywide Grounds Maintenance franchises cover?
Berkshire, Birmingham, Bristol, Buckinghamshire, Cambridgeshire, Cheshire, Cumbria, Derbyshire, Dorset, Exeter, Essex, Gloucestershire, Herefordshire, Kent, Lancashire, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, North London, South London, Manchester, Merseyside, Middlesex, West Midlands, Norfolk, Northampton, Nottinghamshire, Oxfordshire, Plymouth, Shropshire, Slough, Southampton, Staffordshire, Suffolk, Surrey, East Sussex, West Sussex, Teesside, Tyne & Wear, Warwickshire, Wiltshire, East Yorkshire, South Yorkshire, South Wales, Edinburgh, Glasgow, East Scotland.
What areas are available for a Countrywide Grounds Maintenance franchise?
With 50 franchises already sold, Countrywide Grounds Maintenance have said that their network is now almost full, although there are still a limited number of new areas. These include Bromley &a Rochester, Devon & Cornwall, Oxford and Portsmouth.
Are any existing Countrywide Grounds Maintenance franchises for sale?
As with any franchise, some newcomers may prefer to take over a previously established business rather than start one from scratch, avoiding the time and cost of setting up something new. To find a Countrywide Grounds Maintenance franchise for resale, you can contact Countrywide Grounds Maintenance by completing the enquiry form on this page for up-to-the-minute details.
Some examples of areas that have come up for resale recently include Derbyshire, East Sussex, Portsmouth and Herefordshire, with prices ranging between £70,000 and £250,000 for areas with turnovers in the area of between £280,000 and £730,000.
Who is the ideal Countrywide Grounds Maintenance franchisee?
Anyone wishing to invest in a Countrywide Grounds Maintenance franchise must be 100 per cent committed, hardworking and with good management skills. As this is a management franchise, franchisees will not necessarily require experience in gardening or landscaping.
How in-demand is a Countrywide Grounds Maintenance franchise right now?
Stores, supermarkets, factories and businesses all know that first impressions can speak volumes about the way an organisation operates, so professionally maintained grounds will improve the all-important first impression your business makes on every one of your customers.
Countrywide Grounds Maintenance attracts customers interested in getting a free quote on a plan tailored to their individual requirements to make their grounds look great all year round.
Weather events - such as the ‘Beast from the East’ in March 2017 - can also bring Countrywide gritters and snow clearance services out in force to combat harsh winter conditions.
How do I start setting up my own Countrywide Grounds Maintenance franchise?
The first major step to becoming a Countrywide Grounds Maintenance franchisee is to look into its three-week training opportunity. To find out more, or to request further information on franchising with Countrywide Grounds Maintenance, click on the ‘Send Enquiry’ button now.
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