Scotty Milas' All Things Considered Franchising Podcast with Jon Denton

September 13, 2023 00:20:01
Scotty Milas' All Things Considered Franchising Podcast with Jon Denton
All Things Considered Franchising Podcast
Scotty Milas' All Things Considered Franchising Podcast with Jon Denton

Sep 13 2023 | 00:20:01

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Show Notes

Jon Denton joins Scotty Milas on Scotty’s podcast, “All Things Considered Franchising" Podcast.

Scotty Milas is a successful franchise consultant and podcast host. Jon is the Director of Franchise Development for Heroes Lawn Care, a brand under Horsepower Brands. Jon comes from a tech background and became a part of Horsepower Brands less than a year ago.

Jon shares his journey from a tech background to franchising and explains how Heroes Lawn Care offers an investor model with multiple revenue drivers. He discusses the benefits of the semi-absentee executive model and the support provided by Horsepower Brands. Jon also highlights the importance of hiring and maintaining employees and the success profile of a Heroes Lawn Care franchisee. Jon states, “We have an internal HR acquisition talent team. We’ve taken a lot of guesswork out of it.”

Scotty asks Jon about Heroes Lawn Care.  Jon replies, that Heroes Lawn Care offers multiple revenue drivers, including fertilization, irrigation, pet waste removal, and mosquito flea and tick spray.  Scotty loves the concept of brands having multiple revenue streams.

Additionally, Scotty asks Jon if there is anything that still surprises him in franchising.   Jon sums it up perfectly with a sports analogy. He says, “Franchising is like the NFL.  Everybody has a playbook, and some are more successful than others.”

Key Takeaways:

Scotty Milas can be reached at [email protected] and at (860)751-9126

Jon Denton can be reached at https://www.linkedin.com/in/jondenton/

#allthingsconsidered #scottmilas #businessownership #franchiseopportunities #horsepowerbrands #heroeslawncare #franchisedevelopment #semiabsenteeownership

 

View Full Transcript

Episode Transcript

Speaker 1 00:00:06 Hello everybody, and welcome to another episode of All Things Considered Franchising, powered by Scott Milas franchise coach.com. I am your host, Scotty Milas. All Things Considered Franchising is a podcast devoted to the entrepreneur, people seeking to get into business ownership for the first time, explore franchise opportunities or independent opportunities, I should say as well. Although primarily franchises, Scott Milers, franchise coach.com is an organization that I am president and founder of a consulting organization that helps people research and explore those franchises, helping them build a business model, and of course introducing them to the brands that fit their profile and what they're looking for. So today's guest is an interesting guy because he comes out of that, uh, and he'll correct me if I'm wrong, that tech background that has migrated into franchising and, and, and I guess there's a tie here between Tech, digital and franchising. Uh, and we're continuing our series with Horsepower Brands and we're speaking to, uh, John Denton, director of Franchise Development for Heroes Lawn Care. Welcome John to the show. Speaker 2 00:01:14 Thank you, Scott, for having me. I'm glad to be here. Speaker 1 00:01:16 Yeah. I, uh, you know, uh, kind of going, uh, doing some history, taking some notes here, um, you, you've come out of that SS a a s digital Tech background, and I'm just kind of curious because tech plays a role in franchising, uh, especially on the franchisee support side, uh, through the franchisor. So, um, what got you into franchising? How did you migrate into this and maybe connect some of the dots in technology before we get into Heroes Lawn Care? Speaker 2 00:01:47 Yeah, great question. Um, I started a little bit, uh, a little bit less than a year ago, um, here at Horsepower. I originally, um, met a friend through, um, cybersecurity software. I hired him and he eventually came over to Horsepower after we had separated after a two or three year run in cybersecurity. And he had told me about this opportunity at, uh, horsepower Brands. Um, I had no background in franchising. I had no desire to be in franchising at that point. Um, really hadn't even been exposed to what, besides Ace Hardware, McDonald's and Burger King, those types of things, had really no idea what franchising was. I came in and, uh, sat with the team and having that software as a service or that SaaS background, I was drawn towards Heroes Lawn Care, um, early, uh, early on. And it, it resonated with me that they, you know, it was treated like, um, a software, a data, a technology company, uh, speaking of horsepower. And they were using, you know, very high margin, very low labor services to be the vehicle, right, to help folks diversify some portfolios. So I thought about it in the long run and I said, okay, lawn care, probably what most brokers, what most consultants, what most candidates probably think when they hear lawn care, they probably gloss over. Um, but this is really designed to, to be an investor model, um, to acquire revenue in multiple different services. So that fit what I came from having multiple levels of software experience. Speaker 1 00:03:15 Interesting, interesting. Uh, well, you know, just to educate our, uh, our, our listeners here is Horsepower Brands is a franchise sales organization I would consider to be, uh, horsepower, uh, brands to be one of the top three FSOs, they call it franchise sales organization. Not only are you offering, uh, brands that you own, own yourselves, uh, Josh, and uh, Zach, but, uh, you're also providing all of the startup, uh, uh, steps to get someone open, the marketing support, the operational support, uh, some FSOs and I always caution people when using an F S O, uh, sometimes FSOs in a position where they just sell or award the franchises and then they turn you over to the franchise or, and a lot of people get lost. So, uh, I think horsepower represents the F s O model, uh, like I said, uh, a one. So, uh, but you're with Heroes Lawn Care, um, an interesting brand because, um, you know, uh, lawn care has, I, I know for me as a, uh, pet peeve, I mean, I always, I'm always looking for somebody who can take care of my lawn and, and do it the right way, and it's hard to find some time. Speaker 1 00:04:25 Tell us a little bit about the brand, um, and, and, and go from there. Speaker 2 00:04:30 Yeah, I'll, I'll start with the concept of why we brought this brand to life in the beginning is when you look at horsepower as a, as a portfolio company, there's eight now brands that we have for a candidate to choose from to help, again, build wealth, build a better future. So when you think about heroes inside that portfolio, we have what I call a mini horsepower going on at Heroes. 'cause we have four franchise concepts that are available under Heroes Lawn Care. So it's fertilization, it's irrigation, it's pet waste removal, and it's mosquito flea and tick spray. So we've taken some of the best, most high are the, some of the highest margin businesses in the lawn care space, and we've combined them under one umbrella. What it's designed to do is give only semi absentee and executive owners the ability to invest in multiple franchises at one time, um, therefore seeing a bigger cash return, hopefully, as, as you build the business. Speaker 1 00:05:28 Well, you know, I, I'm glad you brought that up, John, because I am, as a coach in helping people research and explore opportunities. I am a big fan in brands that have multiple revenue drivers, um, and, and, and, and revenue drivers that tend to be recession resistant, technology resistant. What I mean by technology resistant is, is that you're not competing with Amazon. Now, obviously Amazon cannot mow your lawn, uh, and the other, some of the other services. But, um, talk a little bit about those revenue drivers because that that's, you know, that's, that's educational to our listening, uh, audience, that it's just not one revenue driver. Speaker 2 00:06:09 Absolutely. And as you know, finding a good, solid, profitable recurring revenue franchise is, is rare. It's difficult to find one that can obviously build big. Um, the same, that concept was thought about here. We did not want one concept, we wanted four. That way you have value to the homeowner that no one else has in the, in the market. So, fertilization standalone concept, you'll have a fertilization, it'll be its own ecosystem. You have the own marketing truck technician and you have irrigation. Think about how much irrigation work is needed in these markets, right? We do everything that's on top of the ground, so it's on and off the properties fairly quickly. Um, and then mosquito and pet waste removal are two of the highest gross profit margin lines of service in the home services business. So it's all about density and home services, as many as you can get in a neighborhood or in a, in a, in a, um, you know, a territory from the density side obviously creates higher profit margins. But these are all cross marketable services. They're all recurring revenue, and they all play well off each other for the homeowner to say, Hey, we've got a four in one concept, one bill, one head of the snake to chop. Those types of things are very valuable in the territories that we're in. Speaker 1 00:07:19 That's interesting. Um, you mentioned semi absentee executive model, and it, and it's incidental because a little later today I'm gonna be doing a, uh, training session, uh, to some other consultants on what semi-absentee is because, you know, it, it, it, it, it draws a lot of attention, but there are a lot of hidden answers, uh, to what semi-absentee is. So knowing that, because of my experience in all my years, decades of being an an entrepreneur and understanding business, can you explain what, how, how, um, horsepower and hero lawn care looks at semi-absentee and what your definition of a semi absentee owner is? Speaker 2 00:08:04 Yeah, great question. So, first of all, I think it comes from the support side, semi-absentee. Anytime you buy into a business, whether it's existing business or a franchise, you have to have these pillars of support that are pushing in your direction at all times, right? That's how you scale, that's how you build the business. So we do not use those third party, um, preferred services. We actually have built out these support models or support, uh, services internally. So everything from HR lead generation, the fleet department, uh, bookkeeping, everything that is needed from a day-to-day operational standpoint is powered through our corporate office by horsepower employees, US-based call center, right? So we've taken the guesswork out of, like you said, coming around the corner and being surprised as a semi-absentee owner that you have to now go out and navigate the call center world, right? To try to find a vendor, right? Speaker 2 00:08:54 Right. So when you think about semi-absentee, there's a lot of work that goes into that. Well, here at Horsepower, we've taken a lot of that guesswork out of it. Yes, you still have to be involved in our business. We want that five to 10 to 15 hour a week semi-absentee owner that has vision, that has strategy, that has people, processes, and a lot of optimistic mentality, right? We're looking for an empire builder. So for me, I'm not looking to create a lawn care executive. Um, we actually don't take anybody from the lawn care industry into our branch, right? So we're very selective on the people that we choose. And usually there's a good match. Somebody has an optimistic personality, wants to build a big business. There's four service lines, all recurring revenue. It's, it's a, it's a good match. Speaker 1 00:09:39 So let's talk, you know, one of the big questions we're talking to John Denton, his director of franchise development, uh, with Horsepower Brands. Uh, he covers the heroes of lawn care, um, uh, brand that's, uh, under their umbrella, and we're talking about semi-absentee, uh, their, their definition of what a semi-absentee franchisee looks like in their system. And that includes someone who understands or doesn't wanna go out and get all of the additional, um, uh, operational marketing tools needed to be a semi-absentee horsepower provides that as part of the package. And, and I know your package or your investment is more structured for the complete package versus attracting people in on the lower side and then saying, well, now you gotta spend money for this. But before we dive into the investment level, one of the big questions today that always comes up on a service-based brand or any brand that requires labor, is how are you assisting, uh, uh, franchisees, and I know you have your HR department as far as hiring and maintaining, uh, uh, uh, employees helping the, the franchisees, uh, maintain their employees, because that's a big question today. Speaker 2 00:10:52 Oh, yeah, absolutely. It's one of the main questions that we can get on, on from all of the candidates that we get sent is labor. You know, one of the reasons why we don't play in, um, a high labor low margin space like mowing, edging, and trimming in the lawn care world is, uh, kind of a transient labor system there, right? So we utilize the services that require technicians to have licenses, spraying applicator backgrounds, right? So it's a different level of employee. Um, we have incentivization packages that are obviously put in place to keep these employees happy, culture driven, right? Rowing upstream for you on a daily basis. So we have bonus plans and all that good stuff. And you said it, right? We have an internal HR acquisition talent team. Um, again, one of those, uh, surprises around the corner that we took out, right? Heroes specifically has 17 launched franchises in the first nine months of business, which is an incredible feat. And we've hired all 17 of those general managers through our recruiting firm. Um, so we have a certain idea of a person that we need in that business to help that semi-absentee owner push that business forward through that territory. Speaker 1 00:12:01 That, that's interesting because, you know, you, you've really taken a lot of the legwork out for a franchisee. You've made it simple for them to come in and not simple, I, I don't like to use the word simple, let it simple, but it, nothing's every simple. But, um, you, you've made a, the process step by step as far as being able for a franchisee to delegate versus coming in and trying to put all the pieces to the puzzle together and then delegate and build the business. So the ramp up time becomes a little bit quicker. Speaker 2 00:12:35 Absolutely. Speaker 1 00:12:36 Absolutely. Speaker 2 00:12:36 One of Speaker 1 00:12:37 The, we're vest in the business Speaker 2 00:12:38 Too. Yep. I'm sorry. We're vested in these plans. So we, we own it, right? We need them to scale, we need them to launch correctly, um, and, and do it and maintain that, right? And that's, again, just make, and that's how we make money. But, and just we wanna see the success increased. And once you do that, you start building empire builders, people that see that early success and wanna drop brand number two. That's what we're here for, Speaker 1 00:13:00 You know, what type of franchisee, uh, you mentioned 17 so far in the short timeframe that you've launched the brand, but what type of franchisee are you seeing or are you seeing as being successful? I mean, you mentioned the executive model, you're not looking for somebody necessarily out, uh, of the lawn care business, but tell us a little bit about the profile that you're seeing that is potentially that successful franchisee. Speaker 2 00:13:30 Great question. So I always start with, I've got vice presidents of General Motors down in Atlanta. I've got mortgage industry execs in Nashville. I've got other franchisee owners across the country. So it's a, it's a mix of business owners, executives, high-end W two earners. Um, and what I'll say is that they're very good with people processes and improving what they see from a visionary and a strategy standpoint, 3, 5, 6, 12 months down the road. Like they, they can spot these areas where they can pivot. Um, I have five military veterans. Um, I think two of 'em are still active in the family, and I've got five standalone female owners. Wow. Interesting. Yeah, absolutely. Um, and as a girl dad, I'm proud of that too. So it's, uh, it we're, we don't really hone in on a specific characteristic other than a semi absentee net worth that's certain around, and then again, have they moved a business forward? Are they successful in their current careers? How are they successful? You know, we pinpoint those types of characteristics early and try to match those with Right. You know, what we're bringing to the table. Speaker 1 00:14:34 Interesting, interesting. Um, just to switch back to your side of the story, um, yeah. Being involved in franchising now, uh, you know, time flies, I guess the, the clock has been ticking for you, you've gotten your feet wet. Um, what, what surprises you most about the franchising industry? What, what do you, I, I mean, did you have any preconceived notions prior, uh, about franchising prior to getting into it? I mean, just curious because I mean, uh, there are a lot of preconceived notions about franchising that, you know, it's all about the franchisor. They're gonna rob you blind. And I mean, now that you've kind of been in it for, you know, coming up over a year now, what are your thoughts? Speaker 2 00:15:16 Yeah, a couple things. Like, I, I definitely had a skewed vision coming in. You know, I was, again, hadn't really thought about like home services and, and how, how they build wealth for people, um, over time and, you know, the, the need for these businesses on a home and being bouncy in a recession, um, you know, all those things never crossed my mind. And then the one thing that really sticks out to me, um, is the number of people in this country that are one foot in of corporate America and one foot out of corporate America, right. Looking to, looking to, in three, five years down the road, get out of that and do something on their own and be a, be an entrepreneur or, uh, you know, expand their portfolio or whatever it is. And that to me is, uh, is, is is a blessing because I get to help those folks use horsepower, use heroes as that vehicle. Um, you know, it's, it's amazing that you've got a good broker, franchisor, franchisee, triangle relationship as well. Right? Um, so you, you have everybody pulling for the success of that franchisee, which I think, especially, I think I'm kind of spoiled because I came into franchising sitting in a horsepower seat. I've never experienced any other franchisor or franchise sales organization. Right. Um, not saying that I will in the future, but, um, I, I definitely like where I sit and, and the approach and the structure and the help and the support that they give these franchisees. Speaker 1 00:16:36 Yeah. I mean, they are second to none. And I, you know, I I, I've used the analogy, and I heard this many, many years ago, is that in franchising, starting a franchise business is, if you put it into a sports analogy, it's like starting on third base and you're, you're getting home being, you know, trying to, you know, you're, you're going from third to home to be successful, where as if you're an independent, you're, you're getting into the batter's box for the first time and now, you know, you're trying to get around all the bases hit that grand slam. So, uh, I I I, I thought that was, uh, great John. Um, I'll give you, Speaker 2 00:17:12 I'll give, I'll give you my analogy real quick. So I say to folks, franchising to me is like, like the N F L, everybody's got a playbook, right? Right. Some are more successful than others, right? Some players are more successful than others that follow those certain playbooks, right? So there's a, there's a whole myriad of, there's a why, it's why you audible every now and then, but there's a reason why a coach calls a play and you run it, right? Speaker 1 00:17:33 Right. Exactly. Exactly. Yeah. It's, uh, and, and it's funny because, you know, I get the question a lot from my clients, you know, why do people fail in franchising? Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, and, and I tell people that people fail for three reasons. One, uh, they didn't really have spouses significant other support from the beginning, so they put a square peg, round hole and try and get any support. They have been underfunded, which goes back to what we talked about, that you front load your costs saying, Hey, look, this is what it's gonna take to operate this business for X amount of months. Versus now that you're in now you gotta go out and, and, and, and, and, and three people are just underfunded. I mean, they just don't realize the cost of starting a business. Um, so, uh, John, if somebody's interested in talking more to you about, uh, heroes Lawn Care, what is the best way for someone to get in touch with you? Should they reach out through you, connect for you on LinkedIn? Should they email you? Speaker 2 00:18:26 Yeah, absolutely. Connect with me on LinkedIn. Um, my email's, uh, readily available. Um, you can also reach out to our ops department. Um, ops department usually controls my, uh, my early scheduling on my calendar. Yeah. So, um, would love to have, uh, obviously multiple different ways of, uh, of, you know, connecting with franchisees potentially, you know? Speaker 1 00:18:45 Right. Well, John, it's great to have you on the show. We hope to get you back in the next six plus months just to give us an update on how Heroes is doing, but it sounds like a really exciting brand. Uh, and of course, anything run by Zach and Josh is going to be successful. We know that. And as somebody who's been around them, uh, for a long, long time, uh, there's no doubt that, uh, horsepower and of course, heroes is gonna be a player in the franchising space. So I appreciate you taking the time to be with us. Um, this is Scotty Milas, uh, the host of All Things Considered Franchise powered by, uh, Scott Milas franchise coach.com. If anyone has an interest in learning more about, uh, heroes Lawn Care, or any of the horsepower brands, you can, uh, reach out to Horsepower directly, or give me a call at (860) 751-9126. Email me, Scott at scott milas franchise coach.com. Visit my website or visit the, uh, all things considered franchising, uh, podcast channels on Spotify and YouTube and other various, um, uh, uh, places, uh, to watch podcasts, I guess. So John, I wish you all the best and, uh, again, stay in touch. Speaker 2 00:19:53 Likewise. Thank you for having me.

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