Envirocare is a business that grows throughout the year
Leading commercial grounds maintenance franchise Envirocare has seen turnover almost double in the last 12 months, while new franchisee training courses in January and February have ensured that growth is set to continue as new franchisees in the north west, Yorkshire and south join the business.
A true management franchise business, Envirocare franchisees employ operatives who visit corporate clients to provide a comprehensive grounds maintenance service. The opportunity is based on repeat business from regular visits to business parks, hotels, schools, hospitals, offices and hundreds of other business locations. High client retention and a profitable model means a franchisee’s business can grow as quickly as their client’s grass does.
Franchise director Dan Archer says: “We are seeing growth in the turnover of our existing depots and this gives confidence to new franchisees that now is a great time to join a management franchise in the commercial grounds maintenance sector. We have seen several new franchisees join the business so far this year and we are set to see that continue, with strong demand from existing customers meaning that in some areas there are existing contracts.”
As local authority, housing association and academy school contracts are offered to the private sector for the first time, Envirocare franchisees are successfully securing both local independent and regional volume contracts.
Current Envirocare franchisee of the year Ian Morton started his franchise in November 2010 and has seen strong growth throughout the past year, particularly from the residential care sector.
Ian says: “There is no feeling better than getting that deal, doing the work, seeing a site transformed and having the site manager come to you and express their happiness in the difference. It’s a very satisfying feeling from beginning to end.”
The work that Ian’s team are completing is also gaining wider attention in the north east, as one of his clients explains: “We can’t thank Envirocare enough. They have helped us to transform our gardens, resulting in the hospice receiving a Level 5 Outstanding Award from the Royal Horticultural Society, Northumbria in Bloom.”
The innovative service offered by Envirocare ensures the business is not seasonal, as many expect it to be. Dan Archer explains the business has not suffered due to the recession: “Our business is stable, as it is built on regular repeat visits to businesses that contract to use our service all year and we do not maintain domestic locations.
“Because our clients are corporate and under a minimum of a 12 month contract, the maintenance of their sites is not something they can easily reduce spend on. The franchise is ideally suited to anyone wanting to run a flexible, low risk, premises based business. As a management franchise, our franchisees employ teams who will actually cut the grass and maintain the sites. The franchisee’s time will be best spent running the business and building client relationships in the managing director’s role.”
Another advantage of a management franchise is that franchisees do not need previous experience of the commercial grounds maintenance sector. Ian Morton had previously worked in the tobacco industry and Archer explains that the 15 depots that are currently live are being run by people from a mixture of backgrounds: “We have franchisees who have worked in industrial supply, IT, the leisure industry and the police. The one thing they have in common is a desire to run a substantial, profitable, environmentally sound business.”
The investment for an Envirocare franchise is £43,000. Funding is available via the main franchise banks for up to 70 per cent of the total start-up costs. Franchisees will need £16,000-£18,000 in unencumbered funds and the desire to build a substantial business with a turnover in excess of £250,000 per annum.
Envirocare is an associate member of the British Franchise Association and Dan Archer has been on the board of directors of the bfa since 2008.