The lawn-care franchise is the first joint venture for the husband and wife team
Terri and Curtis Krupp share a diverse work history. The married couple met in the Airforce nearly 25 years ago, and Curtis has continued to work in defense and aerospace ever since with his work taking them across the country from Colorado to Iowa to Hawaii to Nebraska and finally to Texas. Terri did “a little bit of everything,” including working in education for a time before opening a taekwondo studio. The Krupps found success in a variety of fields, but they always wanted to own something for themselves. Last year, they made that dream a reality, opening two Lawn Doctor territories in Rockwall, Texas.
“We got to a place where we thought, ‘if we are ever going to open a business, we might as well do it now,’ so we decided to make it happen,” Terri said.
Curtis said he’d been waiting to open a business until the right partner came along. It only struck him last year as Terri began investigating business opportunities that she might be that partner.
“I’ve always done interesting work, but I’m not a businessman, and I had no business acumen, so I’d hoped a business partner would come along,” Curtis said. “Last year, Terri brought up the idea of starting a franchise, and she has experience working in multi-level marketing and direct sales, so she’s always had an entrepreneurial spirit. We realized it was something we could do ourselves.”
Terri and Curtis decided to partner with a franchise broker, who introduced them to a variety of franchise concepts. Terri said Lawn Doctor quickly stood out.
“All of the franchises we looked at were interesting, but Lawn Doctor just seemed perfect,” she said. “You don’t need a lot of employees, you get to work outside and you don’t need a storefront, which were all features we were looking for.”
Crucially, Lawn Doctor also provided a model that the Krupps could adopt while Curtis kept his day job as a systems engineer for an aerospace systems company.
“One of the key things we were looking for was something that would get us both on board at a reasonable pace while Curtis stayed at his regular job,” Terri said. “Lawn Doctor has very reasonable startup costs and doesn’t require a ton of management if you aren’t trying to grow right away.”
The Krupps opened their first two Lawn Doctor territories in December, allowing them time to train and prepare their operations before the servicing season begins in late winter.
“We’ve got about a ten-month servicing window in Texas, but we started in the off-season, so we were able to fit in a lot of training and preparation,” Terri said.
Despite their plans to start slowly, the Krupps have already seen an enormous demand for their services, and they are planning to transition Curtis out of his day job to work on Lawn Doctor full time within the next two years.
“We’ve been blown away by the response,” Terri said. “We’re just trying to keep up with demand. It’s been awesome. Curtis has a great job, and they need him, so he’s going to stick with it for a while, but we plan to have him working on the business full time in about 24 months.”
In the meantime, Terri and Curtis are getting some assistance from their son, who works for them as an assistant technician, and their two daughters, who help out on the phones and with events. Terri said they plan to hire on new full-time employees within six months, sooner than they originally anticipated.
Even with the small family crew and a growing customer base, Curtis said they’ve been able to keep the business running smoothly thanks in part to Lawn Doctor’s simple and effective software and equipment.
“It’s all turn-key,” he said. “All of the software, all of the equipment, it makes running both the business side and the servicing so easy.”
According to Eric Martin, Lawn Doctor’s vice president of franchise development, the Krupp’s path to Lawn Doctor is not an unusual one.
“We find a lot of great owners who come from successful careers but wanted to start something for themselves,” Martin said. “It’s an ideal business for families who want to work together. The Krupps are a great example of that. Curtis still has a career in aerospace, but they wanted to find something they could build together. Already they’ve brought their kids in, and they have been able to grow the company without Curtis having to leave his job.”
One of the reasons that Lawn Doctor attracts family operators may be that the franchise itself is run like a family business.
“We went to discovery days for a number of different franchises,” Terri said. “Lawn Doctor’s was the only one that really felt like a community. It was like a tight-knit family, and it seemed like working with them would make us part of their family. A lot of franchises make their branding about community, but with Lawn Doctor you can really see that in every aspect of the business. It’s not just marketing, it’s real."