LIFE CHANGING DECADE
Posted 08 Jul 2011
After being made redundant twice in two years, John Turnbull has built a business that turns over £500,000 a year
When John Turnbull was made redundant from the electronics industry for the second time in two years, he vowed it would never happen again.
Instead, he became his own boss and invested in a franchise with GreenThumb, Britain’s biggest lawn care company.
Million pound target
Now, 11 years later, his GreenThumb franchise, based in South East Hampshire, turns over half a million pounds a year, and John is looking forward with confidence to the day he reaches a million a year.
GreenThumb, founded 25 years ago, has more than 200 franchises nationwide and looks after the lawns of almost 500,000 customers throughout the UK.
A small number of virgin territories are still available for sale at £31,700 (plus VAT), especially in South Wales. And franchises are regularly being resold, often due to retirement, at varying investment levels.
GreenThumb has proved to be a business that can withstand an economic downturn - in 2010, while much of the economy was struggling, the company still recorded growth of around 10 per cent.
When John Turnbull bought his GreenThumb franchise in April 2000, he bought a virgin territory with not one customer. Working from home, using his dining room as an office and storing all his lawn care products in the garage, John quickly built up the business, often growing by 25 per cent a year.
Today the company, run by John and his wife Joanna, has an office and depot in Waterlooville, Hampshire and employs six lawn operatives, plus a business development manager and three administrative staff. They keep the lawns of nearly 6,000 customers in Portsmouth and the surrounding area looking lush, healthy and free from weeds.
Each lawn receives four feed and weed treatments during the growing season that keeps the grass lush and healthy all year round. During the autumn and winter months lawns are aerated and scarified. It truly is an all-year-round service.
Treatments start at just £15 and GreenThumb’s buying power means that it actually costs less to have your lawn treated professionally than to buy the materials from a DIY store and do the job yourself.
John has no regrets about investing in a GreenThumb franchise to avoid ever being in the position again where he could be called in to an office and told he was being made redundant.
Growth every year
He says: “We have had growth every year and when the recovery comes we will be in a good position to grow even faster. We now have a £500,000 turnover; I’m now looking towards £1 million a year - and I’m proud to say I have never had to make anyone redundant.”
John, 53, adds: “Being made redundant is horrible. I have experienced the pain of being told by your boss that he can no longer afford to pay you. And when it happened the second time in two years, I vowed I’d change my life so it never happened again.
“Looking back, being made redundant for the second time was the best thing that ever happened to me. All I would say to anyone who has recently been made redundant is to not be downhearted and treat it as an opportunity.
“I know it is easy to say, but I am proof that it can happen. My life is much better now than if I had stayed in the electronics industry. I’m earning a lot more money than I would have been.”
If you are considering a GreenThumb franchise, no previous horticultural experience is needed as full training is given. The company is looking to recruit individuals who are capable of building a profitable management franchise and have the drive to do so.
Prospective franchisees can attend regular seminars or a personal interview at GreenThumb’s North Wales head office to find out more about the company.
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