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Inside The Grounds Guys: Unlock Multiple Income Streams with A Single Franchise

One of the most crucial aspects of running a business is maintaining good cashflow year-
round. However, most entrepreneurs think generating a steady amount of income month 
after month is a myth.
It doesn’t help that the demand for most products and services are subject to trends and 
Generally, businesses boom somewhere near the beginning of a product or services life 
expectancy, and you get to rake in huge profits during these periods as consumers flock to 
get a hold of the “IN Thing”.
In the middle, the demand for products and services usually rise and fall during peak and 
off-peak seasons (respectively), until they reach a period of obsolescence as defined by the 
changing markets.
As an entrepreneur, or a prospective one at that, it makes you think of how getting into a 
business can mean so many risks and uncertainties. Let’s face it...not everyone is good at 
handling change(s) and it can be extremely difficult when your investment and hard work is 
at the mercy of rapidly changing markets.
But what if there’s a brand that offers products and services that are in-demand year-round, 
and will hardly become obsolete even in the next decade or two?
We bet that would pique your interest! C’mon...a business opportunity with potentially little 
risk due to the high demand? A stable source of income that can potentially serve your 
family for generations? What’s that about?!
Today, we’re talking about The Grounds Guys, a Neighborly Company that offers multiple 
income streams. As a franchise, it allows you to earn from services like lawn care, snow 
removal and pressure washing, among other services, while offering top-quality products to 
your customers.
Get to Know The Grounds Guys!
The Grounds Guys began with a single vision shared between 10 brothers. Originally, they 
opened their doors as Sunshine Grounds Care in 1987, and in time, they became a widely 
recognized brand built on the principles of excellent workmanship, customer satisfaction and
real care.
What exactly does REAL CARE mean?
Well, The Grounds Guys abide by the simple values outlined in their company acronym 
“C.A.R.E.”, which are: Customers first, Attitude, Respect, and Enjoy life in the process! These
values remain consistent across all of their nationwide locations and set their landscaping 
and lawn care services apart from the competition.
The Grounds Guys was transformed with help from Neighborly, formerly Dwyer Group, in 
2010. Since then, The Grounds Guys has exploded nationwide with more than 180 franchise 
locations around the U.S. and Canada. Despite these developments, the company remains 
grounded in the same vision for hard work and value.

With so many branches around, it can be really tricky to maintain the excellent quality they 
are known for, if not for the similarly excellent people who strive to perpetuate their 
company values.
It’s our honor to have spoken with some of the incredible people behind this amazing brand!

Brains Behind The Grounds Guys.

The company’s continued success can be attributed to many things including systems, 
processes, services, but most especially, their PEOPLE!
Of the many brilliant minds behind The Grounds Guy, we had the awesome opportunity of 
speaking with John Dobelbower and Josh Sevick!
John Dobelbower is the current Director of Franchise Development at Neighborly for The 
Grounds Guys.
“I'm somewhat of a serial entrepreneur”, says John. “I've done all sorts of different things in 
the past. [I] started my first business when I was in college. It was actually in the home 
service business. We did house painting”, John continues.
After college, John decided to dabble in other ventures like life insurance and investing in 
scrap metal recycling. Those businesses took off and he ended up with large revenues, but 
he also found himself working 90-100hr work weeks.
“Hey, this isn’t going to work”, John quipped as he looked at his one-year-old daughter, and 
realized he needed to put a system in place in order to spend more time with his family 
while putting food on the table.
At that point, someone from Neighborly reached out to him to ask, “Hey, what do you think 
about franchising”.
Something in him clicked after hearing that question...
“Hey, if I could put people on the path of entrepreneurship, I can show them the way and 
the lifestyle that I've been able to enjoy and live, but they don't have to do the 90-100hr 
weeks...The idea resonated with me. So, I came over and the rest is history.”
As for Josh Sevick, he is the current President of The Grounds Guys.
His career didn’t start in franchising. “I was a financial analyst for one of the big banks and 
realized I really was into the analytics and the finance side of the world. So, I spent probably 
the next decade and in healthcare and technology companies, focused on finance and 
analytics primarily”, says Josh as he recounts his roots.
“So, I had started a small business working with entrepreneurs that had generational 
companies that no longer were going to be generational because the next generation didn't 
want them”.
Working with these entrepreneurs got the gears running in Josh’s head. Right in front of him 
are companies that were built for generations but are about to hit the dumpster, and this 
scene begged the following questions: How was this an opportunity for him and how could he monetize this situation?

“I ended up coming on board with a private equity group that focused on franchising and the
first deal we did, we had acquired a small services organization”, Josh recalled. The 
organization had around 100 locations, 50 of which were failing. They realized that the 
management was unfit to frow the business and Josh was asked to step in.
Long story short, Josh became CEO of that company, they grew from that 100 to 800 
locations situated across 17 countries. They later sold that business to a major insurance 
From that experience, Josh discovered his love for franchising and decided to join The 
Grounds Guys. “[Franchising] it's about changing people's lives! It's about helping people 
achieve their goals. I want to become an entrepreneur. I want the independence. I want the 
ability to provide for other people”.
Now that we know more about the brains behind The Grounds Guys’ success, it’s time to dig
into how to generate your own success!
But before moving any further...

Understand Why Businesses Fail.

They say understanding the problem means winning half the war!
From our correspondence with John and Josh, we’ve identified critical factors that 
entrepreneurs need to pay attention to. These factors are important in gauging whether 
your business is on a trajectory towards the moon or it’s headed for a bad crash landing.
In Josh’s experience, there are multiple things to be wary off but one factor that stands out 
is CASHFLOW. Josh tells us that, “it’s rare for a business owner to be unable to deliver good 
service. Typically, people get into business because they want to deliver good service. They 
enjoy that!”, however, “the thing that kills a business, especially smalls businesses and 
startups, is cashflow and financial management”.
In order to stay ahead of the problem, “we focus so heavily on mapping out [financial 
expectations] in the first year for our entrepreneurs. We don't want them over buying 
equipment, resources, staffing. We'll tell you when it's time to expand. We'll tell you when 
it's time to buy the additional equipment, the vehicles, etc.”.
On this topic, John chimes in with, “I think ultimately, it does boil down to cashflow, but I 
think [problems are] overarching”, in the sense that, “I was working all these different 
hours”, recalling how he used to wear all the hats in his business. “It's because I didn't have 
those systems in place. It's really easy to take your eye off of cashflow, right?”, John adds.
It can be really challenging to manage a business when you have to wear all the hats in the 
business. At a single moment, you can be thinking of income and expenses, supplies, hiring 
and firing, expansion opportunities; in that moment, it’s easy to lose track of key indicators 
like cashflow.
It’s a very common scenario for a lot of business owners but this shouldn’t hold you back 
from starting your path as an entrepreneur. There’s actually a brilliant workaround that you 
can employ!
John puts it this way, “It's hard to do when you're one person. But the thing that's nice about
franchising is when you have a system, when you have a support network...Neighborly has 
over 5,000 franchise. [That means] 5,000 of your closest friends are going through the exact same thing. 

We have franchise business coaches. We have local marketing specialists. We 
have 130 people in our marketing department alone. All these different people were there to
support our owners to take some of those hats off of them so that they can focus on what 
they really need to focus on –growing a significant, substantial business”.
That’s a lot of resources you can tap into as a franchisee! Each one will enable you to focus 
your energy on what you’re good at without sacrificing other aspects of the business.
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg! We know you’re really excited to get into the good 
stuff like:
“What else is in store for me when I join The Grounds Guys?”
“You mentioned multiple revenue streams?”
“How much do I need to shell out, and more importantly, how much do I stand to make?”

Multiple Revenue Streams Stemming From A Single Franchise?!

This Neighborly company offers so much for franchisees and their clients alike!
The Grounds Guys is 1 of 29 brands owned by Neighborly, where each brand guarantees 
high success rates for their franchisees. Each brand is a leader in their specific 
niche/industry and The Grounds Guys is no different.
The Grounds Guys is largest residential lawn maintenance company in the U.S. However, 
lawn maintenance is actually just a small part of the company’s full list of services!
John gives us a better picture of what they offer, “we're a full service landscaping company. 
And what I mean by that is we do things like weeding, fertilization, treatments. Kind of like 
what you think about when TruGreen or The Lawn Doctor come to mind.” 
John sets themselves apart from the competition by saying, “that's (landscaping) their one 
service vertical. We have 26 different service verticals. We do things like hardscapes, 
irrigation systems, artificial turf, snow removal plants. We even put up Christmas lights in 
the winter. Pretty much anything that takes place outside of the home or office, that's kind 
of where we live”.
“I always start with that, Lance, because I think the biggest misconception about The 
Grounds Guys is that all we do is cut grass. We do it six to nine months out of the year. 
That (misconception) really couldn't be further from the truth”, John clarifies.

The Grounds Guys is able to go around the usual challenge that most companies face: 
offsetting losses during the off-peak season. They offer a variety of services that caters to 
the different demands across the entire year. Not only are consistently earning month after 
month, your clients are also never without your wanted attention!
“Whether that's a high end residential customer or whether that's a local commercial 
customer, that's our guy. And what we've done is we've carved out a niche that gives us 
long-term recurring relationships”, John adds.
But what’s a business if not a dream when you don’t even know how much you’re shelling 

How Much Will It Cost to Take Part In This Opportunity?

As unbelievable as it is to hear what The Grounds Guys have in store for you, wait until you 
hear this...
It’s more affordable than you think!
When asked about how much the investment for the franchise is, here’s what John has to 
“[It’s] between 80,000 and 200,000. The vast majority of our owners come in with about 
$150,000, whether that's through an express SBA loan, or through ROVs program, or cash. 
Come in with $150k and that’s enough to buy a new truck, new trailer, new mower, new 
equipment, startup marketing, pay the franchise fee – the whole nine yards! And [you’ll] still
have about $50-60k left as your working capital to go out and really run and ramp up the 
From an investment standpoint, that’s a really low rate for a business with so much 
potential. If that ain’t bang for buck, then what is?
Now, we know how much it’s going to cost. But what’s going to be your personal 
investment? What’s it going to take to multiply your initial investment and ascertain your 
financial and business success?
What Do Top Franchisees Have In Common?
Being constantly exposed to a great deal of successful franchisees under their care, Josh 
didn’t break a sweat outlining what it takes to become “TOP Franchisee”.

1. They’re great at handling people (people managers).
2. They adhere to the proven systems that the franchise put in place.
3. They manage the customers really well and they build strong relationships with 
4. They don’t need to have experience in the field/industry.
5. They develop great leaders within their organization so that they can focus on the 
bigger picture.

It’s through their Top Franchisees that The Grounds Guys can maintain incredibly high 
customer satisfaction rates. “We have a high net promotor score and it doesn’t happen by 
chance. It happens because we’re proactively targeting these (see above outline) types of 
behaviors”, Josh states.
(If you think other popular brands have high scores, wait ‘til you get a hold of The Grounds 
However, despite these commonalities, their Top Franchisees also have their differences and
that’s mostly associated with their background. Most of them do have experience running 
small businesses. Then there are executives, and others who worked 9 to 5. There are also 
those who’ve no idea about the landscaping industry nor running a business.
What’s awesome about The Grounds Guys is no matter where you come from, so long as 
you have the above qualities (or the potential for them), you and the franchise will go far! 
Even if you don’t start out with those qualities but do have the potential, you can generate 
the success you’re after. “That's what our coaches do. They take owners from day one and 
they groom them”, says Josh.

Running Your Business As A Semi-Absentee Owner.

More likely, you’re looking towards owning a business so that you get to enjoy flexibility that
a regular 9 to 5 can’t offer, without worrying about putting food on the table and taking care
of your family. 
But with all that management and development talk, you must be wondering what that 
means in terms of work hours. 
In the world of franchising, there are brands that require you to be owner-operator, where 
you run the business (at least) 40 hours a week. However, that’s not necessarily the case 
with The Grounds Guys! You’re able to run the business as a semi-absentee owner.
“So when we say semi-absentee, the emphasis is on semi and not on absentee”, John 
There is a need for you to have a finger on the pulse of your business. You need to 
understand what’s happening to your business on a day-to-day basis. BUT that doesn’t 
mean you have to be there all the time. You always have the option to hire a manager who 
will be running your business on a day-to-day basis.
To give you a better perspective, this is what John has to say, “think about the most well-
known franchise out there...When’s the last time you walked into a McDonald’s and you see 
the owner standing behind the counter? That doesn’t happen. The same thing is true here”.
Josh also has this to say, “ I always laugh when I hear people saying, ‘just show up and you 
can print money’. That's not it. This is business and it’s inherently tough. We've got 
consultants that meet with you every couple of weeks, that are coaching you, helping you 
understand what’s what.”
“I always kind of operate off of the perspective that there is no finish line. It's a game that 
lasts forever. And so you'll want to make sure that you've got people around you pushing 
you to always do better”, however, “[it] doesn't mean you have to work harder or more 
hours, right? It means we have to work a little bit smarter”, Josh adds.
At the end of the day, it’s about tapping into the resources that the franchise has prepared 
for you, and leveraging those to suit your management style that allows you to focus on 
growing your business. Running your business doesn’t have to be difficult especially when 
you have the great culture that highlights productivity and success.
Speaking of which, what’s the kind of culture you can expect when you join The Grounds 

A Culture That C.A.R.E.s for YOU

The Grounds Guys abide by the simple values outlined in their company acronym “C.A.R.E.”,
which are: Customers first, Attitude, Respect, and Enjoy life in the process!
Everyone in their organization abides by these values and that’s what makes it easy to 
reach success! With The Grounds Guys, it’s about having everyone really involved in the 
business and fulfilling their specific roles to the best of their abilities. It’s a mutual 
relationship. Everyone has to do their part!
“My job and our team's job is to make sure you have everything you need – the right 
support. Sometimes it's the right kick in the rear end”, says Josh. Their team will provide you
with the systems and software, coaching and guidance, and they’ll make sure you have all 
the support you can get, including moral support.
However, you have to do your part to. It’s up to you to bring you’re A-Game, your values and
your commitment. As Josh puts it, “values are intangible and you can’t actually build it. It 
has to come internally from the franchisee”.
And when everyone gets their jobs done, the whole franchise benefits – that includes you, 
your customers, the franchisor, and everybody else taking part in the business.
To give you a clearer picture of what it means to grow together, Josh gives you this example,
“One of our franchise owners, somebody that just has a great heart for this business, started
a Facebook group for owners. He moderated it. He put the criteria out there and all, but then
it became too much for him to handle. And so he asked, ‘Hey, can you guys manage it’. 
Obviously, we were happy to put this Facebook group. What you'll see is owners all over 
Canada and the United States. That have been in the business for a long time and they'll 
come up with something we’ve never seen before.”
Starting from a single owner, productivity and benefits trickled down to everyone. At first, it 
was The Grounds Guys taking over the group. Next came all the other franchisees who piled 
on great ideas and innovations into the group. The group served as a forum where everyone
could help and be helped. It also became a great avenue for networking and building strong 
lasting relationships.
It’s that kind of culture where everyone walks side-by-side towards success – the kind of 
culture we’re sure you’d love to be a part of!
Aren’t you just itching to start your business with this awesome franchise right now? Well, 
no need to wait any longer because here’s how you can start working with The Grounds 

Starting Your Journey as an Entrepreneur with The Grounds Guys!

John discussed with us how EASY it is to start franchising. As he talked about joining The 
Grounds Guys, he made sure not to skimp on the details that showcased how their awesome
culture extended to their process of on-boarding franchisees.
The Grounds Guys employs a multi-pronged approach. “What would happen is I would have 
an initial conversation with whoever that candidate was and it's more of a ‘get to know you’ 
[conversation]. Of course, I'm going to tell them some information about The Grounds Guys. 
We're going to see if there's mutual interest there to even have a second conversation”, 
says John.
Besides showcasing their systems and processes, John also puts the candidate on the phone 
with some of their existing franchisees so that the candidate can hear a more relatable 
account. Typically, a candidate would have 2 or 3 of those conversations before proceeding 
down the line.
The next step involves John pulling out a map for the candidate, and then discussing the 
demographics, worst-case scenarios in the business, among other details that the candidate 
needs to know to reach a highly informed decision. After which, John puts the candidate on a
call with one of their executives before scheduling a session wherein the candidate gets to 
meet the executive board (the ones who decide whether to award the franchise or not).
After meeting with the executive board, the candidate then waits for one of three outcomes:
outright approval, conditional approval, or denial. Regardless of the outcome, what John 
would like to emphasize is that the process they employ will always aim to give the 
candidate his/her best options, steering him/her into the best direction that best fits their 
qualities as an entrepreneur.
See how The Grounds Guys keep generating success scenarios for everyone involved with 
This brand is screaming Win/Win, from their values, the people they employ, their 
investment offers, their franchisees, all the way to their systems and processes!
But the BIG question has yet to be answered. After considering all of the above, there’s one 
more consideration left to be tackled...

How Much Do You Stand To Earn!

Without further ado, let’s get down to the BIG ONE!
Earnings claims and margins aside, John has this to say:
“Our top territory last year did about $3.147 million. Our average guys who’ve been with the
franchise for three years and over did about $703,000 last year. Even those below three 
years have made big numbers! And what about the lows? Also big numbers!”
John continues, “whenever we go through the FDD conversation, we really dive into those 
details with our candidates”. However, as is with the rest of the details, it’s the existing 
franchise owners who can truly attest to these claims. By speaking with the franchise 
owners, candidates are able to get a clearer picture about the franchise, including how much
they stand to earn.
With all these great information made available to you, we can’t imagine there’s any reason 
left as to why you wouldn’t start your business.
Come to think of it...
What are you waiting for?

Let’s GO!

Towards the end of our conversation, John leaves us with a great analogy:
“If I can get you into the Masters Tournament, golf’s most prestigious event, and I can give 
you one of two things, either the best set of clubs or the swing of any player throughout 
history (where you get to choose the player), which one would you choose? The clubs or the 
swing? The best swing, all day, every day, right? Because you and I both know that Tiger 
Woods can get on a plane and go to a garage sale, buy three clubs and beat the cr@p out of
you at mini golf”.
What does that have to do with business and franchising?
John points out that any franchisor worth their salt will always have pretty clubs.
They’ll go, “look at how great my marketing is”, or, “look how great my recruiting retention 
programs are”.
John continues, “Neighborly (and The Grounds Guys) is no different. We have the finest clubs
out there, but at the end of the day, it's about our franchisees going on to play the game, 
right? So, we want to really differentiate ourselves and not be a ‘club manufacturer’. We 
want to be a ‘swing’. We want to come alongside our owners, show them how to play the 
game, how to play it in a very, very big way”.
Josh also leaves us with his parting words:
“If anybody is interested in helping maintain, enhance and create the best looking lawns and
landscapes in the community, we'd love to talk to you! I think at the end of the day, at a 
minimum, you'd probably learn some interesting things by going through our process”.
We don’t know about you but we definitely struck gold just by learning about The Grounds 
Having reached all the way to this part, we’re pretty sure we’re on the same wavelength as 
you, and you’re considering starting your entrepreneurial journey with this awesome brand!
Want to get in touch with The Grounds Guys? Head on over to: 
To learn more about everything you WANT and NEED on franchising, investment, financing 
processes and options...
Tune in to our Podcast Show: Eye On Franchising with Lance Graulich
Interested in looking for more business opportunities?
Visit our website: https://ionfranchising.com/ 
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