Lawnkeeper are a professional lawn care franchise company based in North Yorkshire. Lawnkeeper currently have fifteen franchisees across the UK and are growing fast. As part of their expansion plans, the management at Lawnkeeper realised that they needed to look at technology to help them increase their efficiency and improve the visibility of their network, allowing their franchisees to concentrate on what they do best – providing a healthy lawn to be proud of, all at a reasonable price.
For Lawnkeeper to continue to expand it was important for them to get away from the time-consuming manual paperwork that running a growing franchise network can entail. Instead, they wanted to work with a system that could generate consistently priced, professional customer invoices and then use those invoices to automatically calculate management service fees with minimal effort. Most of all, Lawnkeeper knew the system had to be extremely simple to use in order for their franchisees to see it as a benefit, not a burden.
As with most franchisors, visibility across the franchisee network was critical to Lawnkeeper, allowing them to monitor their franchisees and offer advice where necessary. To do this, they needed a system that allowed their head office to view data for the entire franchise network, whilst only showing franchisees their own data.
Given the amount of time Lawnkeeper’s management spend “in the field” (quite literally), the system needed to let everyone in the company see the key financial information, metrics and resources, wherever they were. This would enable both head office and their franchisees to be able to see resource availability, job schedules and key metrics whether they were in the office or out on a job – allowing customer enquiries to be quickly and accurately resolved.
Company Director, Sam Langrick was finding that the system he had used when he started his franchise was struggling to cope as his business grew, and the overheads of calculating and invoicing for management service fees were starting to impact on the growth of his franchise network. He had decided to invest in software, but was finding it hard to find a product which would suit all of his needs without spending a vast amount of money.
Initially, Sam looked at buying an off the shelf “boxed” product, but found this was less than ideal as it did not adequately reflect how his business processes worked – and the software companies expected them to modify their processes to fit the system rather than vice-versa. Equally, all of the boxed products simply contained “generic” franchise functionality – the core functions performed by all franchise networks – rather than accurately reflecting the nuances of the lawn care business.
Sam Langrick was referred to GreyRidge Software by a franchise consultant, where he then found out more about Franchise 360 – a software product designed by GreyRidge specifically for the franchise market. After initial discussions with Sam, GreyRidge immediately sent one of their analysts to the company to understand the core processes underlying their business. Sam found that unlike the boxed systems he had looked at, Franchise 360 contained all the core functionality needed to manage his business and deliver services to franchises and customers, but could be tailored to fit his business like a glove.
As Franchise 360 re-used generic components, it allowed GreyRidge’s developers to focus on tailoring the software to the areas that made his franchise unique – ensuring he ended up with business software which fitted his company perfectly and provided a high return on investment.
Once the analyst understood Lawnkeeper’s requirements, the basic scope was documented and signed off by Sam and the requirements were turned into a plan for modifying the software. GreyRidge provided a quote based on this basic scope, but made it clear that Sam would have feedback and visibility of the development process, with the ability to make any minor modifications he wished within the overall scope without additional charge.
Within a week of the development process beginning, a prototype system was provided to Lawnkeeper to allow them to provide input into the development of their system. As each section of the project was completed, it was reviewed with Sam and other end users, and their feedback was incorporated into the system before the area was signed off.
The developers of Franchise 360 worked in concert with the end users of each area of the system, ensuring that each section was designed round their needs and reflected their day to day workflow. The system was designed from day one to be simple and user-friendly so that all members of staff could pick it up quickly and use the system on a daily basis without needing a high level of IT knowledge.
The completed system was tailored to facilitate each of Lawnkeeper’s core business processes and was signed off and finished after just 4 weeks. At the end of the process, GreyRidge sent one of the development team who had worked on the product to train the entire company so that they were proficient in every area of their system.
As Lawnkeeper have become more and more comfortable with the system over the years, they have been able to ask for changes to the system in order to streamline the administration of their business even further. Additions such as paperless billing (invoices generated in PDF and emailed to clients directly) have simplified their billing process and also provided a highly professional customer experience.
Whenever Lawnkeeper have come to GreyRidge with suggestions, the developers have always been on hand to suggest new ways to streamline their processes even further, to answer questions from the end users or to make minor modifications to the system to simplify things even further.
When Sam Langrick was introduced to Franchise 360, he was thoroughly impressed that he could have a system which was built for and around his company, without it costing him the earth. Since the system was built specifically for his company, it could mirror the specific day to day tasks in his business – like allowing his franchisees to order grass treatment products and record lawn analysis results, focusing on improving efficiency in two key areas of his business.
Firstly, Franchise 360 helped the efficiency of Lawnkeeper’s billing process, allowing professional, branded, PDF invoices to be automatically generated using pricing defined by head office, ensuring that prices were consistent and accurate throughout the entire network. The ability to build an invoice by simply selecting the relevant products and having the system automatically populating the pricing and customer details saves the franchisees hours of administration each week, allowing them to spend more time generating leads.
Secondly, Franchise 360 helped Sam manage the franchise network by automatically generating the management service fee invoices every month and by providing full visibility of his franchisees data when logged in as head office. This frees up Sam’s time to expand the franchise network, and a document library built in to Franchise 360 allows Sam to add central marketing collateral such as news stories and articles that can then be downloaded and used by his franchisees.
By using Franchise 360 Sam is now able to oversee every aspect of his franchisees’ performance and manage the entire network more efficiently, making the whole business more productive.