Q & A with Weed Man Franchisee, Tom Mauer
Tom Mauer, owner of Weed Man Springfield, MA
and Weed Man Hartford, CT
, always had a passion for the green industry and the outdoors. During his college career, his education revolved around landscape management. After college, he joined forces with other entrepreneurs to open their own full-service landscape business – complete with lawn care, planting, mowing and snow plowing.
While he and his partners focused on all aspects of growing the landscape business, Mauer wanted to find ways to take the lawn care piece to the next level. They hired consultants and worked with marketing services that helped grow the business, but Mauer still felt it had potential to grow faster and larger. He began researching the benefits of franchising – which included the ongoing support of marketing, branding and advanced systems to improve efficiency within his own operation.
Mauer took the leap and purchased Weed Man as a compatible, add-on business. After seeing just how far he could go as a Weed Man franchisee, he decided to sell his share of the landscaping business he spent 20 years creating in 2005.
Q: Can you share how the add-on business got off the ground?
Majority of the time is spent on the interactive planning process, which is what drew me into the franchise. Being able to use the Weed Man name came with some brand recognition (was one of the first U.S. franchisees), but the honest benefit was the support it gives you to grow as a business owner and how it teaches you to execute. By following the franchise’s five-year and 10-year plan, the latter of which I’m currently on, I can say it delivered. Weed Man continues to do so across the system and as a result, it has a variety of franchisee success stories. They all followed the plan.
With growing a successful business, we already knew how to build a budget and compare our performance against it. With Weed Man, it was more than a budget – it was building a detailed and carefully thought-out business plan. You annually build off your business, and there are no assumptions in business planning. There is no evidence to say just because you did this one year you will do this much more the next. We make sure we look at everything closely and are strategic about ongoing planning. If you want a certain amount of customers, they will tell you what steps are required to get there. We build out how many customers we have, how many we’re going for, how we plan to retain existing, etc.
Q: What was it about lawn care that made you want to own and develop that aspect of the business?
Early on in my landscaping career, I read a lot of trade magazines and saw it was a booming industry. I was intrigued with the growth of a renewing service with recurring revenue. It’s a customer-service business and if you do a good job, people will stay with you year after year.
Q: What has been your proudest moment as an entrepreneur?
In 2015, I was honored as Weed Man USA’s Award of Excellence
recipient and received the Marketing Performance (over $1.5 million) Award
at the company’s annual conference. Both awards are testaments I made the right decision to go with Weed Man to achieve the business growth I was seeking, along with the support system of meticulous planning and marketing plans. Even with the business challenges that arise, I feel good about the team I have in place and worked hard to hire and retain. All of my people are focused on delivering great results and understand what excellence means. You grow through the people, and when everyone understands the ‘why’ behind what we do, that’s when the company takes off.
Q: What are some other benefits of being a Weed Man franchisee?
Weed Man continues to develop marketing and technology strategies, improvements to our systems and processes and fully supports our marketing, technical and customer service team with the great staff in the Weed Man head office. The entire Weed Man franchise network is also a great resource to share ideas, successes and best ways to grow the business. You don’t just have access to corporate, but you also have access to your regional sub franchisor – a lot of depth within the support availability. Today, we own nine territories in Massachusetts and Connecticut and continue to focus on growth.
Q: What’s next for you and the business?
I’ll focus on developing the growth plan. We have room within our territories, but due to distant geographies, certain areas will require us to establish new offices. I have employees that have been with me since the beginning, and my daughter is also a manager. They will be a huge help and part of the future planning discussion.
>> Read Tom's Weed Man Success Profile
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