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Five Years for Card My Yard—But Don't Send Just a Card


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Amy Arnold, left, and Jessica Stanley display a Card My Yard stakeout celebrating their franchise’s fifth anniversary.

Amy Arnold and Jessica Stanley met at Bible study in Austin, Texas, both with “little bitty kids, and we were trying not to join the 9 to 5 workforce,” says Arnold, co-founder of Card My Yard, which has just reached five years in business and topped 150 units in 32 states.

“We were trying to come up with a business…that could use our brains and creativity but not check into an office,” she said. Card My Yard is a rental service where customers order custom yard greetings complete with stars and balloons starting at $70 a pop to celebrate family and friends. 

The two had seen a similar service but added a “heavy focus” on technology, hiring a website developer so customers can order everything online and the job is routed to the local operator. Franchisees then stake the yard with whichever message they’d like—as long as it’s rated PG—and then haul everything away a day or more later.

With a flat fee a low $3,000 to franchise and average sales a slim $19,000 per year after Card My Yard takes its cut, Card My Yard is meant to be a supplement to income for family extras, the founders say, not a sole income. 

“It’s usually a difference maker for their household to have additional money,” says Arnold.

Diana Moore is a franchisee in the Atlanta area. “I lived in the neighborhood in Austin where Jessica and Amy started the business, and not only saw the product in the yard but saw everyone comment about it, and thought it was a brilliant concept,” she said.

The second franchisee outside of Texas, Moore said getting going was difficult because no on had heard of it. “I had to work really hard. I found out I could post pictures all day long, but until someone drives by and sees it in a yard, they are blown away,” she said.

“I was at craft fairs, I was at vendor events, I was putting up free yards for my kids’ school, I was putting up free yards at the race finish line. I needed people to see it. I was doing maybe 10 or 12 yards a month, and maybe nine of them were free.”

“Now I’m averaging 30, 32 yards a month, and it sells itself,” she said. “I don’t have to work that hard at selling it any more, unless I’m like I want to make more money.”

Jessica Stanley, co-founder, says her favorite “yards” are those for military families, welcoming service members home. “Those are emotional and exciting. We love to be part of that,” she said.

Arnold said her most meaningful yards have been for “last day of chemo celebrations….or hip, hip hooray, last chemo day,” she said. Bringing light to a dark situation, we love doing stuff like that.”

Don’t ask a Card My Yard franchisee to use off-color humor, though—they’ll steer people away to other suggestions, such as an emoji or a clean substitute word. “We built our business on spreading joy, so we steer away” from wording that would not be happy for everybody, as Stanley put it.

 

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The latest news, opinions and commentary on what's happening in the franchise arena that could affect your business.

Tom KaiserTom Kaiser is senior editor of Franchise Times. He can be reached at 612.767.3209, or send story ideas to tkaiser@franchisetimes.com.
 
Beth EwenBeth Ewen is senior editor of Franchise Times. She can be reached at 612.767.3212, or send story ideas to bewen@franchisetimes.com.
 
Nicholas UptonNicholas Upton is restaurants editor at Franchise Times. He can be reached at 612.767.3226, or send story ideas to nupton@franchisetimes.com.
 
Laura MichaelsLaura Michaels is editor of Franchise Times. She can be reached at 612.767.3210, or send story ideas to lmichaels@franchisetimes.com.
 
Mary Jo LarsonMary Jo Larson is the publisher of Franchise Times Magazine and the Restaurant Finance Monitor.  You can find her on Twitter at
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