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Landscape management company uses franchise model to expand presence in Oregon and Colorado

PMG PHOTO: STEPHANIE BASALYGA - Sean Lindemann, an Oregon account manager with ManageMowed, takes photographs at a Beaverton condominium development prior to putting together a work estimate.

A Seattle-area commercial landscape management company has selected the Portland area as one of two focus markets for the launch of its move into the world of franchising.

ManageMowed, which traces its roots back 20 years, will offer initial franchise opportunities focused in Beaverton and Denver, where the company currently has satellite offices.

The company operates on what senior account manager Austin McCartney calls a unique model that eliminates the need for franchise owners to purchase and maintain a stable of expensive landscaping equipment.

"We don't have to have an 8,900-square-foot warehouse to house mowers and weed whackers and trimmers," McCartney said.

Instead, the company uses local third-party owner-operator landscaping companies as subcontractors, freeing up franchise owners to focus on providing customer service, inspecting sites to make sure jobs are completed to company standards, and drumming up new business.

ManageMowed founders Peter Roberts and James Jakobsen got their start as entrepreneurs two decades ago when they opened a company called Dig it. The Edmonds, Washington-based business focused mainly residential installations.

Around 2006, a drooping economy led the business partners to change the name and focus of their venture. Dig It became a commercial landscape management company called Greenpoint Landscaping.

No mowing experience neccessary

The company found solid footing when the economy started to turn around. By 2017, with an eye to moving the company to a franchise model, Roberts and Jackobsen opened satellite offices for Greenpoint in Denver and Beaverton.

Earlier this year, the company signaled it was ready to offer franchise opportunities by changing its name to ManageMowed.

While the company expects to eventually expand in Oregon and Denver, its keeping initial franchise locations close to its corporate satellite offices. In Oregon, that means franchise opportunities will be limited to already identified areas around Beaverton for now. That will ensure that Sean Lindemann, ManageMowed's Oregon account representative who works out of a corporate satellite office in the Beaverton City Hall Building at The Round, will able to provide support to franchisees, especially as they're starting out.

Because the ManageMowed model subcontracts with small owner-operator landscaping firms, franchise owners won't need landscaping experience. Instead, McCartney said, the ideal candidates will actually have backgrounds in sales or account management.

"We are nit-picky with the kind of people we want to work with," he added. "We're looking for people who can help grow the business."

Six figures

In addition to a basic franchise fee, the estimated start-up cost for a single location will run between $116,000 and $160,000, according to McCartney. The money ensures that a franchise owner can make quick turnaround payments to contractors once jobs are finished.

ManageMowed currently works with between nine and 10 small landscaping contractors in the Beaverton area and is looking to add more as the local client list grows, McCartney said. The company finds contractors through online job boards and online ads as well as by word of mouth and account managers handing out cards to companies whose trucks they see.

ManageMowed offers quick turnaround payment for jobs and also advises the landscaping businesses it contracts with on day-to-day matters such as preparing estimates, obtaining insurance and interacting with clients.

"We position ourselves as consultants," McCartney said. "A lot of people are just now starting new (landscaping) businesses, and we actively try to help them do that."

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