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Investments in Weed Man, @Work bear fruit


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There are single-unit franchisees, and then there are the big, multi-unit kind. Weed Man USA’s three-year-old effort to develop the latter type is paying off big in this year’s results.

Weed Man has developed an extensive multi-unit franchisee training program that covers everything from how to do an acquisition, how to create a 10-year business plan and how to compensate employees at different levels so they own part of the franchise.

“It takes a different skill set to be able to run a mom-and-pop type of franchise, to growing these to multi-million-dollar lawn care operations. That’s where we kind of shine,” says Jen Lemcke, COO of the Oshawa, Ontario-based Weed Man USA.

Weed Man is sold out in Canada, but last year went on an expansion tear in the United States. They added 89 territories last year (a territory is 150,000 in population.) Of that, 14 license agreements and 43 territories were expansions by existing franchisees. There’s plenty of room ahead though—1,600 territories are still to be sold, and she expects over the next seven to eight years to be halfway there.

Weed Man, whose CEO is her father, Roger Mongeon, started as a franchisee itself in Canada before outpacing the franchisor and purchasing rights to the United States in 1996. “We’ve done it all. We’ve seen it all,” she says, and now is intent on helping others duplicate their track record.

@Work Group is another standout on the business and home services list, and it, too, traces the roots of today’s good fortune to investments made in 2011. That year, President and COO Jason Leverant convinced ownership to re-commit to service and double down on franchising efforts.

For example, @Work’s web presence was “shaky” prior to the re-boot. “We partnered with the top marketing firm in the industry. We did a full re-brand and brought it under this wonderful domain of @Work.com. We completely 180-ed it,” he says. Today the franchise has thousands of job applicants coming through its portal each month; before it had mere hundreds.

Express Employment Professionals is the big player in the space, Leverant points out, with everybody else mixed in the middle. Leverant believes it’s @Work’s time to break out. “We’re the scrappy up-and-comer vs. the big guy out there," he says.

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