Cade Howard owns The Grounds Guys Of The Golden Triangle in Bridge City, Texas. He opened his franchise in March 2012 with a small roll-in landscaping business. His sales are taking off and he doubled his business last year and could be on pace to reach the $1 million mark this year if his impressive momentum continues!
From left: Courtney, Cam, Clarke and Cade Howard
Dianna: What was your initial motivation to purchase a The Grounds Guys franchise?
Cade: I wanted success beyond my knowledge and capabilities. I needed training in many areas of business and felt like The Grounds Guys was the answer.
Dianna: As a franchisee since March 2012, how have you grown your business? You have doubled your business and are on a trend to make significant gains again this year!
Cade: Persistence is key. We’ve had bad years. We’ve had years where we went backward instead of forward. I never wanted to give up or accept failure, so we just pressed through the hard times. I strive to be likeable and build relationships. Our marketing is probably sub-par and could use some improvements. Most of our customers come from either word of mouth or seeing our trucks out doing work. Being friendly and likeable goes a long way.
Dianna: What do you believe are the three most important characteristics of a successful The Grounds Guys’ franchisee?
Cade: Be truthful and relatable to customers and employees, be persistent, and be willing to sacrifice and to go the extra mile when necessary.
Dianna: You recently closed a $14,000 contract – can you share best practices?
Cade: That job actually turned out to be over $18,000! When I meet a potential customer about a landscape job, it’s all about the customer; their needs and wants. If they are looking for a small install just for curb appeal, I do my best to present a design that is tailored to their needs with my experienced input. People appreciate that because many of my competitors swing for the fence every time and end up turning people away. Always be thorough with job descriptions and pricing so customers understand what they are getting. Always prepare a professional design that is easily understood. I’ve found if you treat each customer that way, the larger jobs will come and you’ll create long-lasting customer relationships.
Dianna: What percent of your business is residential and commercial? How do you market to and retain these different customers?
Cade: 30% is residential and 70% is commercial. For residential customers, word of mouth and branded vehicles is key. For commercial clients, it’s a mix of feet on the street and branded vehicles around town.
Dianna: Tell us about your employee recruiting and retention experience. What works and what doesn’t?
Cade: Recruit for attitude and the willingness to work. You can train for everything else. Show you appreciate your employees – that helps retain great people.