The New Jersey native worked for a Lawn Doctor franchise for 10 years before taking over his own operation.
Harold Tamburro began working at a Lawn Doctor in New Jersey in the late 1980s, just a couple of years after graduating from high school. A hard worker with an outgoing personality, Tamburro quickly worked his way up to a management position despite his young age. Tamburro worked at that Lawn Doctor for a decade, in that time meeting owners and corporate team members from across the franchise network.
When a local Lawn Doctor owner was looking for someone he trusted to take over his business as he retired, he thought of Tamburro, who eagerly accepted the offer. Today, nearly 30 years after he was hired at Lawn Doctor, Tamburro oversees multiple territories of his own, and he has no plans of slowing down anytime soon.
“I was really hustling back then,” Tamburro said of his time as an employee. “I worked through every aspect of the business. I worked with clients, learned the equipment inside and out, and managed the daily operations. By the time I was running my own operation, there wasn’t much to learn. The only real change was I started earning a lot more money.”
In addition to his wealth of experience with the business, Tamburro benefited from the support of his wife Tracey, who he met shortly after starting as an employee at Lawn Doctor.
“Running your own business takes a lot of work, even if it’s work you are familiar with, as it was for me,” Tamburro said. “Having Tracey to help out with sales calls and office admin was really important in that first year.”
After Tracey graduated from college, she was able to dedicate herself full-time to the operation, working in the office hiring staff and shaping policies. That position was short-lived, however, as Tracey soon stepped back from the business to focus on raising the Tamburros’s two young sons, Harold and Hunter.
“One of the best things about the business is that we’ve always been able to manage it in a way that fits with our lifestyle,” Tamburro said. “So when we had our kids and Tracey wanted to spend less time in the office, that wasn’t an issue. We’re always busy, but we can always make time to spend with our family. We take a vacation every year and we coached our kids in several different sports as they were growing up. We’ve always been able to work the business around our personal life.”
Tamburro’s oldest son, Harold, is 20 now and works for his father’s Lawn Doctor. Hunter graduates from high school this year will join the family business part-time while he pursues a business degree. The extra help is not wasted, as Tamburro’s Lawn Doctor business now covers multiple territories throughout the New Jersey area.
Accounting for the steady growth of his business over nearly two decades, Tamburro said his success is due largely to his management style, which prioritizes team building and compassion.
“Camaraderie among our team is essential,” Tamburro said. “I know what it’s like to be on that side of the business, so I can relate to everyone I work with. I try to emphasize that we’re a team and make everyone feel that they have some ownership over what we’re doing. The people I work with all have different concerns in their lives, I try to be aware of that, and I ask only that they come in and do the work the right way.”
That management strategy has paid off. Tamburro said he’s seen very little employee turnover, and some of his team members have stuck with him since he first started the business nearly 20 years ago. That success has not gone unnoticed by Lawn Doctor’s corporate team. Eric Martin, Lawn Doctor’s vice president of franchise development, said Tamburro serves as a prime example of how Lawn Doctor owners can build sturdy operations through team-building.
“Employees want to see that their leadership is invested in the business. Otherwise, why should they care?” Martin said. “That’s exactly where Harold excels. “His team knows he was on their side of the business, and they see him as a hands-on owner, not just somebody who sits in a back-office and writes their checks. Harold shares that attitude with all of our most successful leaders, the ones who build something special with our model.”
Tamburro said he’s committed to remaining a hands-on leader, and not just for the sake of morale. Working directly with clients and technicians is part of the job that Tamburro said he enjoys more than anything else.
“Every day, I talk to clients, I respond to service calls, and I work with technicians to help manage their work,” Tamburro said. “Even after all these years, there are new issues we haven’t run into before, a new fungus or a tricky service request. We can handle anything a client throws at us, but it’s figuring out exactly how to deal with those things that keeps the job interesting.”
Tamburro and his team are not left alone to find solutions for every new issue they encounter. Tamburro said he maintains strong relationships with both the corporate team and other Lawn Doctor owners in the area.
“I speak with people from corporate often,” Tamburro said. “There’s a general philosophy in the franchise of open communication. I also have quarterly meetings with other franchisees in the area. Since we all have separate territories, there is no competition, and everyone is there to help each other. That’s one of the things that has kept me with this business all these years. You won’t find that with other businesses.”
Tamburro said the growth of his business has been organic, and when he started, he didn’t set out with a plan for large-scale expansion. As he approaches thirty years with Lawn Doctor, Tamburro said he’ll continue to grow the business when and where he can.
“Lawn Doctor has phenomenal name recognition, and if you put yourself out there and let people know that you are around and ready to service them, you are going to continue to find more and more business,” Tamburro said. “As the years went by, we continued to pick up new territories, one at a time. The business is primed to grow, you just have to work it.