Lawn Pride is the newest brand under the Neighborly umbrella and the home services platform's 30th. Neighborly now has more than 5,000 franchises across 18 verticals serving 12 million customers in six countries.
"If you back up, about eight years ago we had seven brands. Since then, we've done over 20 acquisitions," said Mike Bidwell, Neighborly's CEO who has driven the acquisition spree. "It took us 30-plus years to get to six or seven brands, and the last eight to get to where we are today."
Lawn Pride, a single operation in Indianapolis formerly owned by Andrew Neher, had "very impressive-looking facilities. You can eat off the floor. The service vehicles all look pristine," Bidwell said. "The owner, the founder is just very, very particular."
Neher has exited the business. Joshua Sevick, president of The Grounds Guys, another Neighborly brand, will oversee Lawn Pride's integration. "Our intention is to franchise Lawn Pride; we bought a great local operation," Bidwell said. "Revenue was impressive, and it had a very strong bottom line."
Lawn care and fertilization is "a category that we really wanted to get into. It's typically six, eight services a year. It's a very sticky service," he said. "That was all very appealing to us, because it serves our strategy to be a hub" for a wide variety of home services.
Neighborly also recently bought Plumb, a plumbing company serving Denver and Colorado Springs, Colorado. It will not franchise Plumb but rather convert it to Mr. Rooter, a Neighborly brand that started franchising in 1972.
Bidwell said the strategy behind the acquisitions is to create "this Neighborly hub for home services. What we had then, six brands" in earlier days, "would not be a marketplace. As we thought about fulfillment of the customer, we knew we needed a whole lot more verticals. Today we've got that."
Last year private-equity giant KKR & Co. bought Neighborly, at the time with 28 brands under its umbrella and $3 billion in system sales—double the amount just three years after Harvest Partners' purchase in March 2018.
"They've been great," Bidwell said about KKR. "They continue to be very supportive of our acquisition strategy. They've been a pleasure to work with. I would say, because of their scale, they've been very useful with regard to contacts and resources that we can pull in. They have an incredible network." Read more about KKR's purchase of Neighborly here.