Edward Mauleverer founded Ed’s Garden Maintenance last year, supplying the horticulturally-challenged with gardeners throughout southern England.
Imagine the scenario: your lawn needs mowing, your bushes are unkempt and your patio needs a wash. Forget the shoddy workmanship of local kids, or the overpriced “landscape gardeners”, go for the fixed-price service that guarantees a competent handyman at a time to suit you.
Mauleverer is very hot on service. He’s struck a service agreement with his operators whereby every enquiry receives a call-back within the hour. “In actual fact,” he adds, “Once you request an estimate, you’ll usually get a call within two minutes.”
The “service is king” approach is working. Ed’s Garden Maintenance is already so popular that all ten operators have smashed their first year targets, generating over £40,000 each. Turnover at the company is £50,000 this year, with £150,000 predicted for next year.
Before you think, “What’s this tiddler doing in RB?” Know this: it’s pure profit. Bar limited staff costs (Mauleverer covers much of the head office grind himself), this is cash that can be invested straight back into the business.
New franchisees pay £10,000 – £15,000 to get up and running, thereafter forking out £200 per month for marketing and £250 for management costs. It’s a solid business case for everyone involved. “There’s one competitor who was charging £25,000 per year to come on board,” says Mauleverer. “So we’re the most cost-effective choice for would-be-gardeners.”
New recruits spend time on the road with current operators to make sure they’re up to the task, but once on board, they are relatively autonomous, choosing their working hours, building up repeat custom and looking after their own equipment.
They do, however, use the bespoke Ed’s Garden Maintenance software, and Mauleverer takes care of the advertising, chairing regular meetings on how to drum up trade.
Mauleverer believes that the marketing has been crucial to the firm’s success. “By having several operators contributing a fixed fee, we end up with a significant spend,“ he says. “Our competition struggles with that side of things. It’s win/win. If an operator is successful, they still only pay £200, so their percentage spend is relatively lower than people that need a lot of support.”