Nigel Gamble traded in his corporate job to run a Lawnkeeper franchise eight years ago, and he hasn’t looked back
A Lawnkeeper franchise is an attractive business idea to someone who works outdoors, or in a similar trade. However, its proven business model and comprehensive training mean it is a fantastic opportunity for anyone looking to build a successful new career, even if they come from a very different background.
Nigel Gamble is one of the longest-standing franchisees with Lawnkeeper, having opened his business in Aylesbury back in 2014. Before that, he worked in a number of high-end media roles, including producing multi-media guides for museums and art galleries, and he even worked at the BBC for 25 years.
Feeling the need for a change after so long in one career, Nigel was determined that the next phase of his life would be defined by running his own company, and doing something completely different. However, he didn’t initially have a clear idea of what this should be.
“I didn’t have a big new idea or new product in mind, so I started looking at a lot of different options,” Nigel says. “However, I really wanted to be sure it was something I enjoyed doing, and I always found gardening and looking after my lawn very satisfying. I wanted to be outdoors and not be doing any more long commutes. Most of all, I didn’t want to be in the corporate world anymore, and I wanted to be my own boss.”
When Nigel discovered the Lawnkeeper franchise his first step was to spend some time talking with the founder, and he immediately felt this was something he could do. He was attracted by the business model and how it could give him the new life he was after, but also by the reduced risk that being part of a franchise could offer him.
Nigel explains: “Because it was a franchise, it never felt like I was doing something risky and crazy. Everything has gone according to plan – in fact, it’s gone even better than we planned! With Lawnkeeper, I feel like I am truly seeing all the benefits of my hard work and effort. I also really enjoy seeing the results of my work on people’s lawns. It is very satisfying!”
For Nigel, joining the Lawnkeeper franchise has been an investment that has continued to pay off year after year. Lawnkeeper territories are calculated to allow not only plenty of customers for the initial operation but with a large enough potential customer base to keep expanding for many years to come. In 2018, Nigel took on a new employee and bought a second van to start meeting the increased demand he was receiving. Once word spreads about what a Lawnkeeper expert can do, there are more than enough customers out there in each territory to expand to a very lucrative multi-van operation.
Nigel has now reached a point where he has had to stop taking on new customers. He explains: “Our books are full! Until we decide to grow again, we are just taking names and numbers to follow up in spring when the days are longer and we can fit more in. In this business, there is always plenty of work year-round.
“Business has continued to grow steadily for us every year. We thought Covid was going to be a problem, but other than stopping for the first few weeks in lockdown, customers were more than happy to keep going with our services.”
Many home services have seen a boom over recent years, fuelled by people spending time at home during the pandemic. However, unlike many other home services, lawn care is not an expensive luxury by any measure, so is not affected by uncertainty in the economy. People value their homes and gardens more than ever before and continue to be happy to spend a small amount every month to make sure they have a space to live and work in that both looks and feels great. It can even keep up the value of their homes, as a beautifully kept lawn has a huge effect on how buyers perceive value.
Nigel’s clients continue to value the service he provides. He says: “Customers keep coming back to us because they know they are always dealing with someone who knows them and knows their lawn. A friendly face they can always count on. The service they can expect from a smaller, more personal, lawn care company is always going to be better than some relatively unknown lawn technician coming in from a big company who changes every month and doesn’t understand what they need. We’re personally invested in everything we do, and that really shines through in how we take care of our customers’ lawns.”