Dave’s Stars and Stripes

Dave Laing joined Ed’s Garden Services in the Spring of 2017 to be an Ed’s Garden Operator in Andover. Prior to joining Ed’s, Dave had been a Works Manager for an engineering firm.

At Ed’s we pay a lot of attention to reviews and Dave has had some excellent ones from his customers. So, here goes – Looking back on your first six months, how did we do, Dave?

“Well, I was totally sure that I had made the right decision for me when I joined Ed’s. I’d really taken my time in my fact-finding phase. I had looked at lots of general information about franchising as well looking at other garden franchises. Ed’s were very open and honest.  They were always available to talk anything through and there was no pressure to take things to the next stage. I felt I was making my own decision to join and doing so with my eyes wide open.”

“My Ed’s experience has more than lived up to my expectations. My tailored training package was great. I particularly enjoyed learning from established Garden Operators, Mark and Paul, who did everything in their power to make sure I got off to a great start.”

“I’ve had excellent support from the Ed’s Office Team. One of the things I really like about Ed’s is the low-key professionalism. They just do exactly what they say they will. They also guide and support you to do as you set out to do, but not in an overpowering way.”

“I found the support of the office to be invaluable in dealing with all my early concerns. Sometimes you are looking for practical advice and sometimes it’s just moral support. It’s reassuring to know that there are people who have a lot of experience to help you along the way. Looking back, I think that if I had gone it alone with my business, I would have found this initial period extremely stressful but, with Ed’s, I have never felt out there on my own.”

“And the acid test…I had my first business review a few months ago. My performance has definitely exceeded my expectations.  Also, reviewing things objectively made me realise just how much my business had developed in a short period of time. All things considered, I’d have to give Ed’s a five star review!”

“I really enjoy the gardening too and feel fitter than I have for years. I get great satisfaction from transforming gardens. Quite apart from the stars, just take a look at my stripes!”

Wisley time again!

 

The Ed’s team is looking forward to another great training session at RHS Wisley this week.

No matter the season, Wisley is always an inspirational place to visit and the quality of our Wisley training sessions is excellent, with access to the best expertise in the gardening sector. We try to organise our sessions to coincide with the change in seasons to give our Operators the very latest expertise to help them plan for their season ahead.

Our Wisley sessions cover all things horticultural, with topics ranging from the latest in lawn technologies to planting techniques and a whole lot of others in between. We usually wind up with an open floor question and answer session. For the record, we STILL haven’t managed to come up with a gardening question that our expert can’t answer!

 

We always schedule for an early start for Wisley but without fail we get a great turnout of bright-eyed and bushy-tailed Ed’s Operators. This ranges from our newest to our ten-year veteran Ed’s Operators, all fired up to develop their ever-growing gardening wisdom. The feedback we get is that all our Operators find the training sessions really beneficial and interesting.

Before we leave, we are usually treated to a guided walk round the most interesting initiatives at Wisley, before their gates officially open. What better way for a gardener to start their day!

Ed’s scores a hat trick of three brand new Operators

Ed’s Garden Maintenance is the largest UK garden maintenance franchise, with a network of 44 Operators.

Ed’s is delighted to welcome three brand new Operators to our flourishing Ed’s team.

Pete Henchey has joined our ever-growing team of Operators to run his own Ed’s business in Sutton Coldfield. Pete was previously a college lecturer.

Dave Laing has joined Ed’s to run his own garden maintenance business in Andover. Dave was a works manager for an engineering firm before joining Ed’s.

And hot off the press… Bob Dulieu has just signed up to run his Ed’s business in Horsham. Bob was previously Managing Director of a Risk Management consultancy.

Whilst Pete, Dave and Bob have joined Ed’s from diverse career backgrounds, they all have the common goal of wanting to fully leverage the Ed’s brand to grow successful garden maintenance businesses.

And finally, here’s what Ed himself has to say…

We are delighted to welcome Pete, Dave and Bob into our team.  These are really exciting times for Ed’s and our brand is gathering a lot of momentum and is performing well. It is great to be bringing high-calibre individuals on board to share the action. We know that with the right attitude, armed with the Ed’s business model and brand, these businesses can really prosper as is demonstrated by many of our established guys.  We look forward to supporting our new Operators to realise the goals and aspirations they have set for their businesses.”

 

Ed’s welcomes Paul

Here at Ed’s, we are delighted to announce that Paul Wellington has recently joined Ed’s to set up his garden maintenance business in the Thurrock area.

Ed's Garden Maintenance - Paul Wellington

Paul knows the turf (excuse the pun!) very well already, having previously been a black cab driver in the area. He is now fully operational and is delivering a full range of gardening services including hedge trimming, grass cutting, lawn turfing, pressure washing and garden tidy ups.

Paul is rearing to go with his new business. Here is what he has to say about embarking on his new venture:

“I have a lot of customer service experience from working as a cabbie and I know how important it is to go the extra mile to make your customers really happy. For me this is all about delivering excellent garden services and building a strong reputation in the community. I’ve spent time learning the ropes with other Ed’s Operators and the training I have had has been second to none.

“I feel very well prepared to take on the challenges of running an efficient business. Prompt, reliable and efficient is our mantra and it is at the core of our business. It is a bonus that I really love the outdoors and am thrilled to be behind a lawn mower rather than a steering wheel.”

“I’m just at the starting post with my Ed’s business but it is fantastic to look around and see established Ed’s Operators running thriving garden maintenance businesses. I look at them and think – That will be me in the not too distant future!”

Neil splits his business and Ed’s welcomes Warren

Ed’s Garden Maintenance is the largest UK garden maintenance franchise, with a network of 42 Operators

Ed’s is delighted to welcome Warren Emsden on board. Warren will be running his Ed’s business in Petts Wood. Warren has joined us as a result of Neil Collis, our Ed’s Operator in Sevenoaks, taking advantage of the opportunity we have in Ed’s for Operators to split their businesses.

Splitting businesses is an innovative concept within Ed’s whereby established Operators can package up a grouping of regular customers and sell and hand over this business on to a new Operator.  The rationale for this is that it is a great way to create value across the board.  This is because it demonstrates a three-way win for all the parties involved:-

  1. Neil realises a substantial cash sum and in the process streamlines his business to increase his focus on his core geographic area, which we know maximises ongoing financial returns as travel time is greatly reduced.
  2. Warren buys a franchise including the foundation of a group of high quality customers, with Neil nearby to help him with any transitional issues.  As a result he can be profitable from day one and further reduce the risks of start-up.
  3. Ed’s gets a new Operator in Petts Wood. This is another building block in growing the Ed’s brand, which we know has far-reaching benefits across the whole of the network.

Warren says “What a great way to start with Ed’s! I have a bank of profitable customers from Day One, which is just brilliant. It totally eliminates the apprehension of having to start something from scratch.  Also, before I go off on my own, Neil will spend time teaching me the ropes of the business and making sure that the handover of customers runs really smoothly.  I’m feeling hugely positive about the whole venture and am looking forward to working hard to build even more value into this business.”

Neil’s view is as follows, “There were lots of reasons underpinning my decision to join Ed’s, but the business splitting facility was really the icing on the cake. I’ve built up a really robust business since I started through a combination of hard work and discipline to follow Ed’s business model to the letter. This gave me a brilliant platform to carry out my first business split in September 2016, when I sold a bank of customers in the Sidcup area to Karl Husher.  I really enjoyed working with Karl on making it all happen and Karl is now doing really well with his Ed’s business.  The success of my first business split motivated me to do another one and I have every confidence that Warren will make the most of this opportunity.  I don’t know of any other franchise where you get the scope to do deals such as these and I’m certainly making the most of it. I feel like I’m really getting into my stride in splitting businesses now and am already thinking about doing some more.”

We wish both Warren and Neil all the very best with the future development of their businesses.

RHS Wisley in Springtime

The Ed’s team had a great training session at RHS Wisley today. We had a really good turnout of bright-eyed and bushy-tailed Ed’s Operators, all fired up to develop their ever-growing gardening wisdom.

As always, our Ed’s expert on all things horticultural, led a brilliant session, covering topics ranging from the latest in lawn technologies to ladders and a whole lot of others in between. For the record, we STILL haven’t managed to come up with a gardening question that he can’t answer!

We were delighted to welcome some of Ed’s most recent Operators to their first ever Wisley session. Neil Miller (Rustington), Haydn Jones (Southbourne) and John Spencer (Maidenhead) all joined Ed’s over the last few months and they have just finished their induction training and are rearing to get started with the gardening season ahead.

And it’s not only our newer Operators who enjoy being back in the classroom listening to the pearls of wisdom. Our seasoned Operators enjoy the sessions just as much, always find out lots that they didn’t already know.

Here’s our veteran of veterans, Ed himself, looking very attentive in class…

Ed on the road

Ed had a great day on Friday, escaping from the Ed’s Office and travelling up to Norfolk to meet Ed’s Operators John Marshall, Stuart Thackery and Ian Waters, who all run their Ed’s businesses in that lovely corner of England.

Ed loves days out like these and says “ It is always great to get out on the road and meet our guys on their own turf (excuse the pun!) I find it really rewarding to go to see them to catch up face to face on what’s going on in their lives. The guys get lots of opportunity to get together with the whole Ed’s team but they have a real hub established in Norfolk and it makes a lot of sense to get together with them to focus on their specific region. Although there is always lots to do in the office, I make a point of freeing my diary and having days out such as these in different locations as they are really worth the effort.“

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(Left to right) Ed’s Norfolk Operators Ian Waters, Stuart Thackeray and John Marshall with Ed Mauleverer

John Marshall says “There is real value in getting together like this and chatting through local matters. I think it’s great to be part of the whole Ed’s team but at the same time have a really supportive local Operator network. One of the great things with Ed’s is that the protected areas are so clearly structured, you are never in direct competition with another Operator – you work alongside each other and help each other out when you can. In Ed’s there is a great buddying system where established Operators are paired up with fledgling ones to give them practical and moral support. I am an experienced Ed’s Operator but last year moved from the South East to Norfolk. It has been great to tap into local area Operator knowledge.

Furthermore, the fact that Ed has grass roots (another pun, sorry!) experience of running his own gardening business like us as well as excellent business skills is hugely helpful and makes you feel like every angle is covered. You get great support from the Ed’s Office generally and it always feels very personal rather than Corporate. Being a gardener can be quite a lonely job but it’s just not like that at Ed’s. You get the best of all worlds really – lots of freedom and great support from all sides. In my region, the Ed’s Operators know each other really well now and it is great to meet up socially. What better way to spend a sunny Friday afternoon!”

Ed’s keeps it real

Ed’s is the UK garden maintenance franchise market leader with 37 Operators. We are also the fastest growing UK garden maintenance franchise.

We’re thrilled with our success but never arrogant or complacent about it. We attribute this success to a whole mix of factors but we firmly believe that our values are at the core of our success. At Ed’s we place huge value on integrity and authenticity – that’s to say, good old-fashioned honesty and “keeping it real”. These values are at the very heart of Ed’s and run right through our business. It is simple; we deliver what we say we will at every turn. At the coalface, it’s what differentiates us from a lot of the competition. Our Operators consistently deliver excellent garden services with integrity and a smile. Our mantra is “prompt, reliable and efficient” and that’s what our Operators are. We do exactly what it says on the can (or the van in our case!)

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It’s precisely the same principle when it comes to recruiting new franchisees. We are very clear about what we offer in our package and are completely ethical and transparent in our approach. We create no illusions and tell it exactly as it is. In Ed’s what we offer is purely the opportunity to run your own business delivering excellent gardening services whilst having fun, freedom and flexibility to shape things as you wish. We provide a great business model, which if followed properly, gets good results and we work closely with our business owners to support them to get it working right for them. We go the extra mile to support our Operators and they know that we are always there for them. The result is motivated Operators who feel that they have the best of both worlds as they have their own successful businesses but still feel secure as part of the Ed’s team. That’s it, pure and simple.

When someone is considering joining Ed’s, we do our best to portray life as an Ed’s Operator for exactly what it is. It’s not absolutely perfect 100% of the time (life never is) but it does tick a lot of boxes. We feel that by giving people the true picture, they are far more likely to make the right choice for them and, if they do decide to come on board, stay committed to being part of Ed’s. It’s one of the reasons we welcome potential franchisees going out on the road with established Operators and give them carte blanche to ask whatever they want. More importantly, we give our Operators carte blanche to tell them the whole truth – no script, no hype, just honesty.

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Training is another area where it is easy for franchisors to say they will deliver lots and in reality not do that much at all. At Ed’s we value our Operators above all else and train and support them to make their garden maintenance businesses as successful as they can be. We don’t just say that we are committed to training – we really are. Why wouldn’t we be given that a successful Operator network is the key measure of the success of Ed’s? We offer excellent initial and ongoing training, bespoke business coaching and have a great buddying system which pairs up our new Operators with established ones. The investment fee we receive from new franchisees is not sent away somewhere to be stashed in our coffers – indeed we invest a substantial part into the development of the franchisee. The investment fee funds the training and support that we consider to be critical to Operators realising their full potential.

Finally we are full members of the British Franchise Association (bfa), which is the voluntary self-regulatory body for the UK franchise sector. In a nutshell, the bfa promotes ethical franchising practice in the UK. In order to quality for this membership status, the bfa demands very exacting and stringent standards of business ethics and transparency of business practices. Many franchise businesses choose not to become members of the BFA but at Ed’s we welcome being held to account and having to conduct our business to these high ethical standards. Indeed, we wouldn’t have it any other way.

Franchisee Support – The Ed’s Way

Ed’s has changed a great deal since Edward Mauleverer started his garden maintenance business in Wimbledon back in 2003. We are now the UK garden maintenance franchise market leader with 36 Operators and we’re going from strength to strength. Whilst we are thrilled about this, we never lose sight of the fact that the truest measures of Ed’s success are the individual success stories of our Operators. We value them above all else and continuously strive to get everything just right to support them to make their garden maintenance businesses all that they want them to be.

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Simon Swindells (Torbay) and Paul Brunton (Bristol) – Ed’s newly established West Country ‘Buddies’

We have thought long and hard about the best ways to provide our Operators with all the guidance and support they need throughout their Ed’s journey. We know that some other franchise operations, as they grow larger, move to a ‘regional’ management structure, where franchisees are put into regional teams reporting into a regional Head. However, to go down that route just didn’t feel right for us – at Ed’s we really don’t like to do things too ‘Corporate’ as it just doesn’t fit well with our culture, which is all about delivering excellent gardening services whilst having fun, freedom and flexibilty to shape things as you wish. We work closely with our business owners and regard our team as one big Ed’s family.

In line with this thinking, we have developed a unique approach to supporting our Operators to reach their own goals. There are three key building blocks which fit together to provide all the support they need:-

(1) Excellent and continuous training – It goes without saying that we provide a great initial training package in all aspects of running an Ed’s business. However, just as importantly, we believe that training should be a continuous process which, if it is taken seriously by both franchisor and franchisee, contributes greatly to keeping Operators’ business thinking fresh and their motivation levels high.

(2) Bespoke Business Coaching – We provide every Operator with tailored one to one business coaching with our in-house experienced business coach from the day they join Ed’s. It’s easy to see how this service is hugely helpful when you are starting up and you are still learning the ropes. However, as Ed’s businesses flourishes and new challenges emerge, business coaching is valued by even our most experienced Operators. It creates the right conditions for Operators to step back from their businesses and consider the best ways to tackle challenges, to meet goals and to draw on shared experiences across our network. We make it optional after the first few months with Ed’s , but it is testament to its effectiveness that not one Operator in our network has opted out of it.

(3) Buddying – We have a buddying system which is as simple a concept as it sounds but is extremely effective. Whenever a new Operator joins Ed’s, we immediately partner them up with an established and successful Operator who becomes their informal mentor. For example, Simon joined us just a few weeks ago to build his Ed’s business in Torbay, Devon and he has already been paired up with and has spent time with Paul, who is running a thriving business in Bristol. We find that this approach works brilliantly – the new Operator has direct access to the knowledge and experience of someone who has been in their shoes not all that long ago. The established Operators benefit from the relationship as well. As Steve Frise, one of our most experienced Ed’s Operators, says “ The new guys can be really good to discuss things with from my perspective too – they are fresh to the business and can have great ideas which they just haven’t put in place yet. It’s a win-win really. ”

So that’s the potted version of how we help our Ed’s Operators to run their own successful businesses with an excellent and reassuring safety net. Our support framework is very structured and rigorous but handled in a flexible, friendly and informal way – and it sits very well with our values. Some might say it’s ‘belt and braces’ but we really wouldn’t be happy with anything less – why would we be when it is such an important thing to get right?