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Where do you see Zones in 5 years – 10 years time? You’re expanding internationally now. What is the plan for NZ and Australia? Will HO move elsewhere?
NZ will remain our head office location. We have discussed this among the directors several times and all agree that NZ is where we want to be.
NZ will always be the base for Zones. As the business grows internationally it allows us to invest in better systems and other resources that each franchise benefits from.
As our business experiences exponential growth across Australia, we will explore the possibility of establishing a base in Australia.
Are the Directors looking for an Exit from the Business soon and sold to 3 rd party? If so what is the timeline for this
Unlike many other businesses, we are growing Zones as a long term asset for ourselves not as a business for sale. This means we are investing in creating a robust business infrastructure not a quick fix to get a good sale price. You will see that reflected in the large number of people in Head Office.
How many franchised businesses do you have now? How many in the past 12 months (new ones)?
We are continuously adding new franchises to the group, see attached link for latest Franchise numbers.
We currently have 23 franchises in New Zealand, and have had 3 new ones sign up in the past 12 months. We are looking for 62 in total in New Zealand.
In Australia, we currently have 6 Franchises and we are looking for 285 in total in Australia.
The group consists of four companies: Refresh Renovations, Zones Landscaping, Oncore Maintenance, and we have recently introduced "We Sort it" to our portfolio of companies. As of August 2023 , we have over 140 franchisees operating within the group across New Zealand, Australia, UK and USA.
Has any franchised business of yours ever failed/not worked out? What happened in this/these case(s)?
We have had businesses who have decided to exit. In all cases they failed to properly apply the proven business model and processes, for example:
Being unable to build and manage their team.
Focussing only on large projects and rejecting small projects. This is risky because even if you have quite a large turnover you will have geared up you overheads and then if one project falls over it leaves a big gap in cash flow and you still have overheads to cover.
Failing to do sufficeint marketing. You can get to a certain turnover but unless you are filling up your pipeline with leads you can’t bring on enough work to grow. We know what the levels of marketing need to be but if people refuse to invest appropriately, their business don’t grow.
In all cases we work with franchisees to help them out of any holes they fall into but in the end if they refuse to make the necessary changes and follow the business model, their business will not prosper.
Joel Johnston (ChCh)
Joel's background was that he was a part-time gardener who wanted to grow his business. The reason Joel failed was that he lacked confidence and was unable to clearly explain to customers the Zones offer. His sales didn't grow and in the end he decided he wanted to return to being a part-time gardener.
Shane Woonton (Queenstown)
Shane was unable to build a team around him, I think this was because he was unable to relate well to tradespeople and build relationships. He didn't fail as such (ie didn't liquidate), just "closed the doors" and decided to return to his previous career in outdoor clothing.
Jacob Matchitt (Tauranga)
Bit of a longer story for Jacob, but I would sum it up by saying he did not follow the business model and advice from franchisor and ended up running out of money. Examples of not following the business model were (a) not allowing for the costs of his project manager in project costing, (b) getting too involved in day to day running of projects therefore losing focus in sales and marketing resulting in big gap in his sales pipeline (c) taking focus off marketing.
Stu & Debbie Gill (Franklin)
Stu & Debbie chose to go back to their previous careers, their failure points were (a) not acting on advice from franchisor around performance of their project manager (who wasn’t the right person for the role) and (b) getting too involved in day-to-day management of projects (due to their Project Manager not having the right skills). As they got too involved in projects, their sales pipeline dried up.
Tracey & Glen Barker (North Shore, Auck)
They moved from their territory to the Coromandel to live. They also built their business to be too reliant on one large commercial customer who accounted for up to 70% of their revenue, who then stopped trading with them, leaving them with a very small pipeline.
What mistakes have you made and learned from?
We have learned a lot based on our experience and have evolved the business accordingly - which is an advantage for new franchisees coming on now!
These are the key insights that we have learned:
Landscapers (generally, there are exceptions) don’t make good business managers: In the pilot phase of our sister company, Refresh, we recruited builders and tried to turn them into managers. That didn’t work and we helped them out of the business and realised we needed to recruit commercial people with a customer focus to run and manage the business and they employ builders to run and manage the construction side of the business.
Design and build is much better than the tender model: Our sister company, Refresh, originally had ‘design and build’ as an option but also responded to requests for tenders. Data from the franchisees showed that ‘design and build’ was a far superior model so that has become the standard process.
Follow the model and process: As outlined in the answer to question 4 above, franchisees who invest in building their team, invest in marketing and maintain a good mix of projects prosper. As we have constantly invested in analysis, process improvement and IT systems we have seen the speed of growth of new franchises increase
What are the most important keys to success in the business? What are the most common pitfalls?
Keys to success
Invest to drive leads
See all leads
Utilise the franchisor and franchisee network
Follow the process
Invest in resources/team...
Pitfalls are the opposite
What are the most important attributes of a successful Zones franchisee?
Focussing on delivering a great customer experience
Driven to succeed and invest in their business
Good leadership, ability to build the team and make sure everyone is doing their job
Following the established process and successful formula
Using the systems to keep on top of sales, administration and business results
What direction is the franchise company moving in? For example, is it adopting new technology as it becomes available/affordable? Do you foresee any new technology on the horizon that might affect costs for franchisees?
Zones has a bespoke I.T. system, Zones CONTROL, our Franchise Businss Management system which is proprietary and we continue to develop / improve it with our in-house team of developers.
The business is web and digital system oriented. We are constantly identifying new opportunities and developing new systems.
Have you already made special/preferential arrangements with any banks, lenders for funding? Do you have accreditation status for funding with any banks, lenders?
We have excellent relationships with a number of the major banks, who rate the Zones franchise system highly.
For finance, we recommend going through brokers who will get you the best deal. The most common way to finance is through equity on property you may have.
Zones is a very low cost of entry model with very little required in the way of overheads. There is no requirement for commitments such as property leases, fit-outs, stocks or machinery, etc which are often required in other franchise systems.
Do I need any landscaping knowledge and/or experience to be successful? Are the most successful franchisees ones with landscaping knowledge?
No, the model doesn't require it. The model is about bringing commercial people into the landscaping industry who then manage teams of people that are in the landscaping industry (In the pack that was supplied to you at the briefing meeting you will see profiles of our franchise owners).
Why wouldn’t I go out and set up my own landscaping company and get some off the shelf project management software to run it?
You can definitely do this. If you aspire to build a landscaping company with revenue of $1m plus, you would need to be confident that you can perform at the top 1% of all contracting companies in the residential construction sector and also be willing to go through many years of trial and error learning, and be prepared to make a significant investment in systems and processes.
Zones franchisees are achieving at this level within 1 or 2 years of starting their franchises.
There are three aspects to running a successful business in the construction sector. If any one of these isn’t in place, it is very difficult to operate a successful business.
Of these three aspects, most stand alone companies would find it very difficult to have even one in place. To develop these three platforms requires millions of dollars of investment, and many years of learning and ongoing improvement.
Zones continues to invest and improve year on year, and ramps these investments up in line with growth. Because of our scale, we are far ahead of any other landscaping company, and will continue to outpace other renovation companies companies as the business grows. Small operators are fragmented and don’t have the ability to invest, so Zones will continue to improve exponentially ahead of competitors.
Key out takes from Harvard Study “Achieving Scale in the Residential Remodeling Industry” (2014):
“Due to the many obstacles to scale economies facing the residential remodeling industry, such as low barriers to entry, volatile business cycles, highly customized work, and difficulty attracting capital, the industry continues to be highly fragmented, with the vast majority of remodeling companies operating as relatively small, single-location businesses that likely will not experience any significant growth over their life-cycles.
“Evidence suggests that remodeling firms able to overcome these obstacles enjoy significant benefits from scale.”
“Remodeling companies successful in expanding have used some combination of organic growth, vertical integration, and strategic partnerships with nationally known manufacturing and retail brands, franchisors, or outside investors.”
"Moving forward, the industry is likely to continue evolving toward greater opportunities for scaling and consolidation.”
“The average size of remodeling contractors in terms of annual revenue is significantly smaller than other major sectors of the economy”.
“Residential remodeling contractors are even smaller in scale that the typical establishment serving the fractured lodging and food services sector.”
“Two-thirds of the estimated 650,000 general and special trade contractors are self-employed, and fully half of establishments with payroll have total annual revenues of under $250,000.”
“The twenty largest general remodeling companies account for only five percent of the total general remodeling receipts.”
“The high fragmentation of the residential remodeling industry means that remodeling contractors have much more limited buying power and leverage with their suppliers than the more concentrated segments of the construction sector.”
“Larger-scale remodeling firms suffer significantly lower failure rates across the rocky business cycle. Remodelers with estimated receipts of $1 million or more during the beginnings of the last industry upturn in 2003-04 had a failure rate of only 2.7 percent that year.”
“The proven, replicable business model and support of a franchise company offers an opportunity for faster and more predictable growth.”
“These low and stable failure rates for the largest remodelers are in stark contrast to the roughly 20 percent failure rates for smaller remodeling businesses.”
“With so many small contractors and such high fragmentation, it is not surprising that the failure rate for remodeling contractors is relatively large. Even during the last industry upturn, more than a third of remodeling contractors with payrolls failed between 2003 and 2007, and remodeling firms that started up in 2003 had a failure rate of over 50 percent by 2007.”
“A final significant obstacle to achieving scale in the remodeling industry is difficulty attracting capital. Bank financing is sometimes hard to access, with lenders discouraged by the high levels of volatility and risk in such a fragmented industry.”
“Typically, investors seek businesses that offer scalable and replicable opportunities for profit, have good systems and processes in place to do so, and have a strong management team.”
“The evidence for the benefits of scale in the remodeling industry is compelling.”
“Comparing the revenue growth of larger-scale remodeling companies to that of the industry as a whole shows that larger-scale remodelers benefit from significantly stronger revenue growth.”
“Larger-scale remodeling contractors benefit from higher revenues per employee, which implies that they enjoy greater labor productivity.”
“Manufacturers and distributors have already benefited from a streamlined supply chain in the other construction sectors, and they recognize that similar efficiencies could be gained if the home remodeling industry were more consolidated as well.”
“Participating in peer networks and business associations should be “mission critical” for any remodelingnbusiness, and might be the single biggest differentiator between successful and unsuccessful businesses in this industry.”
“Franchisors are seeking to expand their operations and brand by partnering with business- and marketing-savvy entrepreneurs, who may not necessarily have a remodeling or construction background.”
"Franchisors are looking first and foremost for leaders with strong business acumen, as opposed to trade skills, because sales, marketing, management, and leadership skills are more critical for successfully operating a franchise business.”
“The size of the residential remodeling market is estimated at $300 billion, and with such a large and fragmented market, there is an opportunity for companies that are organized, differentiated, and focused on brand building to capture market share and build large-scale businesses. And with the successful establishment of more large-scale businesses in the industry using sophisticated business practices, the low-cost-of-entry contractor may start to have difficulty securing quality clients.”
This report was published by Harvard University in 2014. We picked it up and have adopted the principles within it to guide our growth strategy. With several years behind us, we’ve proven the insights to be correct.
It is very interesting to note that since the establishment of Zones, no other companies have started which have so stringently implemented these principles, or even attempt to begin to replicate what we’ve achieved. As a consequence, Zones is now the largest residential landscaping group in New Zealand, and we have a head start in terms of ability to re-invest that revenue. With our long term first move advantage, we believe we are now in a position where we will always be better than competitors. Our view is our leadership position in the industry will only grow.
We just need the right franchisees, and Zones will continue to toward our objective of market domination, and obtaining a significant share of the overall landscaping market.
How does an economic downturn impact the renovation market?
The renovation and landscaping market is extremely resilient, in the GFC the new home and commercialmarket dropped by 40 - 50% and the renovation market only dropped by about 7%. When the economy is tight banks are still happy to lend money on renovations as there is an asset they can lend against.
Do new builds impact the landscaping market?
Yes they do, they bring in additional future landscaping work. In general people will look to landscape their properties within about 1-3 years.
How was the market size calculated?
BRANZ (Building Research Authority NZ) http://www.branz.co.nz/cms_display.php produced a study on the size of the renovation market of New Zealand, of which landscaping is a sub-set.
This report said that the total market size, in 2013, was just over $6 billion. This total is made up of consented and un-consented projects. We then looked at the total consented works in NZ which gave us the ratio of consented : un-consented works. We then got the consented value of all projects, by council territory, added the un-consented amount (by using ratio previously calculated) which gave us the total renovations undertaken, by council territory, by year.
We estimate that Landscaping is approximately 15% of the renovations market so 15% of $6 billion is $900 million.
We then allocate one franchisee for every $15m market. Here is the basic calculation for the Manukau territory: Consented and un-consented total renovations and landscaping market size per year is $355 million (approximately). 15% of $355m is $53 million. 53/15 = 3.5.
Therefore allocate 3 Franchisees for this territory.
What are the market drivers for Landscaping? Do you have any research on this?
Different sectors of the market have different drivers. For example the property owners are looking for lowest cost renovations so we don’t focus on that segment. The segment we focus on is homeowners in the top 3 socio economic groups. The initial target is women who are looking to improve their home for social and lifestyle reasons. Common triggers are changes in family life stage (births, ageing of owners, parents and children), selling or buying homes. We have years of research on this topic through the Traffic marketing group.
The reasons for renovating are pretty varied but our marketing team track the queries being made in Google and produce articles to answer the main query clusters. That way we know that our digital messaging is always addressing the main consumer triggers and will rank better than anyone else on Google.
What exclusive rights to a territory do I get? Can my territory be eroded by the franchisor? At a later stage can I sell off part of it if I choose to? How do you define a territory: eg, number of businesses, homes, geographical area, people, type of population?
The number of franchisees in your area is limited and protected in your franchise agreement. The size of territory is calculated based on the size of the landscaping market with a ratio of one franchise for every $15m of annual landscaping work. Your territory can not be eroded by the franchisor, it is protected in your agreement which states the number of franchises in your area.
You will set up a business which acquires the franchise license. You can bring new partners into that business at any time. If you are intending to change the franchise management we need to approve the change.
If you want to sell you franchise business you are free to do so provided you are not in breach of your franchise agreement. You set your price you want to sell it at. We do not take a commission but will recover costs incurred in the administration of the sale. We reserve the right at approve the new owner to make sure they are suitable and will not damage the brand for the existing franchise holders.
What do you see as the future of the industry you are in? How is digital or other disruption affecting it? Where does this company stand in its industry? What do you do to help Franchisees keep up with developments?
One way of looking at Zones is as a ‘web-enabled’ business. We invest heavily and continuously in this area. The landscaping sector of the industry are pretty much ‘digital dinosaurs’, so this gives us a massive advantage. We have a strong IT team constantly improving the web and digital infrastructure and providing training and IT support to franchisees. We also have a programme of producing video clips in the manuals for ongoing support.
The landscaping market steadily increases over time at about 2-4% a year. It does not fluctuate like the new home and commercial construction markets. Those markets are volatile and fluctuate in response to the current economy. In the GFC, New Home Construction fell by over 40%, The renovation market had a very minor dip of about 7%. The same pattern happened in Australia and the UK. The renovation (of which landscaping is a sub-set) sector is exceptionally robust.
Besides the franchise fee, what other costs are involved in buying the franchise and getting established? How much working capital is required?
This is covered in the briefing. All you need is a car, phone and computer and you can run your business from home. Working capital, such as an overdraft facility, is to help cover your costs while ramping-up the business. This is all in a spreadsheet during due diligence.Covered in the briefing , all you need is a car, phone and computer and you can run it from home. Working capital, such as an overdraft facility, is to help cover your costs while ramping up the business. This is all in the spreadsheet that was provided.
Are all costs paid in one go, or in stages? What is the timing?
Franchise fees are paid upon the signing of the agreement
Working capital is typically an overdraft facility rather than an upfront cost, which is only used as required.
Royalties and local marketing are monthly costs.
Are the sales figures or financial results of other franchisees shared for purposes of comparison as benchmarking is a valuable tool?
When we meet to have our regular business reviews, we look at progress versus business plan and also benchmark versus other franchisees on conversion rates and also financials (P&L).
We provide benchmarking data across a wide range of business drivers.
May I see actual franchisee accounts which confirm (or otherwise) your projections?
Due to confidentiality, we cannot share actual accounts. The spreadsheets we have provided are based on the data we have across our franchise group.
During the due diligence process, you have the opportunity to meet some franchisees and will be able to discuss financials with them on a one on one basis.
What aspects are involved in the opening launch of the franchise? What are the costs and who pays for it?
There is not a launch event as we are not a food franchise that requires a big launch to start.
Your marketing will be activated when you commence. Leads will start being entered into your Lead management system for you to follow up.
Your franchise fee covers the cost of signwriting your car, setting up your web presence and other marketing collateral.
When premises are involved, what costs can be expected for finding, establishing and preparing the premises for commencement? Who pays for it?
You would probably run it from home for the first year or two. As your team expands, you may want to look into a small home based or commercial office. This cost is covered by your business.
Do you have a launch strategy (Go to market) for a new franchised territory? If so what does this look like or is the induction summary you provided/covered briefly in the material?
Yes, we do have a launch and induction plan. You should have that document in the pack that has been sent to you. We would expect to set you up with some live leads in your induction programme.
How does the franchise use social media? Are there standard pages or can I manage my own? What assistance/policies are in place to control the use of social media by franchisees? Or are these controlled by HO?
There is an extensive digital and web programme. During induction we will set you up with your personalised web page. All this is managed and provided for you.
What dollar value is spent on marketing? What type of marketing can help with say decks and how fast do these take effect compared to the say larger projects?
Zones spends hundreds of thousands of $’s a year on National marketing and resources to build the brand, develop online platforms and programmes and other marketing material.
You spend a minimum of $1,000 a month on local marketing and we help you put together the most effective programmes based on experience from the group.
The marketing support we provide can be targeted to generate different types of leads to manage your mix of small, medium and large project leads. Small projects like paths and patios might have a cycle time of 4 weeks from lead to completion. Large projects might take 6 months.
What kinds of marketing programmes do you run for Franchisees specific regions? Ie to you do localised advertising, 0800 phone numbers for a specific franchisee? Store seminars etc how do they work and open homes? What help will I receive in arranging local advertising and promotions? Are there standard promotions (eg, radio adverts) available for my use? Would be good to get an idea of all these marketing programmes and understand how and when to apply then and the effectiveness of them or how they are measured. An understanding of how my marketing efforts can be measured to my specific results ie call for action points to a specific phone number or landing page etc.
In addition to the national branding and marketing, we provide a great deal of marketing support for your local franchise marketing that breaks down into 4 types:
Digital and on-line marketing: we provide resources to plan and implement cost-effective campaigns on your behalf.
Customer relationship marketing: we provide tools, databases and training to help you generate repeat sales and referrals.
Trade relationship marketing: we help you build networks and campaigns to generate leads from various trade sources.
General marketing communications: we provide collateral and marketing support to help you run local campaigns. A personalised 0800 number is one of these tools.
We provide a marketing toolkit, training, benchmarking and other marketing resources to help you with local marketing.
Do you have minimum performance levels, or a minimum fee? If so how achievable are they? What happens if I don't meet them? Have franchisees ever failed to meet them? What happened? How secure is the franchise tenure?
We don’t have a minimum fee. We do agree minimum performance levels with you as that helps you decide on the speed you want to grow your business and is necessary for planning and benchmarking. If franchises don’t meet them we work with them to see what’s needed to bring them back on track. We don’t use this as a mechanism to weed out franchises - it takes a huge effort to get good franchises so our incentive is to do everything we can to make it work for both parties. Sometimes it doesn’t work out.
Going forward, how many franchisees will you award in a territory?
The number of franchises in a territory is determined by the size of the renovation and landscaping market in that area. The number is defined in your franchise agreement.
How is my compliance with the franchise system measured? What happens if I don’t comply? How long do I have to remedy any problems?
We develop a business plan and an annual operational master plan with you and have quarterly review meetings with benchmarking to help you achieve your plans. Everything in the plan is part of the coaching. We work with you for as long as it takes providing support.
How soon in my investigation of the franchise can I take away a franchise agreement for a legal opinion? Is the agreement negotiable?
We will provide you with a draft of the legal agreement for you to peruse and take to a franchise lawyer to get independent advice (this is normally supplied 2 - 3 weeks into your due diligence once you are ready to proceed to legals). We do not change contracts because we would soon lose any structure which would undermine the whole franchise. However we can acknowledge certain clarifications or amendments in attachments if we all agree to them. Generally we find it is best for you to focus on getting to grips with the business model first and when you are comfortable with that focus on the legal side. If you try to both at the same time it can get confusing with lawyers trying to provide commercial advice (which is not their expertise) and accountants trying to provide legal advice (which is not their expertise).
If I wanted to expand going forward, would I get first preference for an additional territory?
Yes, as long as your current territory is meeting its targets and there is a franchise available in the territory you are interested in.
On what basis can the franchisor terminate the agreement?
There is a breach process outlined in the legal agreement, for example if you are damaging the brand. It is not in our interest to terminate franchises so we always do everything we can to support a franchisee.
What is the term (length) of the franchise agreement? What happens at the end? Do I have the automatic right of renewal? If not, what is the position?
The agreement is 5 + 5 + 5 years with a right of renewal at terms no less favourable. In other words, the agreement doesn’t revert back to us. You carry on and just cover the legal costs to renew the agreement. Details are in the legal agreement.
What if I want to sell my business? What is the procedure? Do I have to sell it back to you, or can I sell it externally? What approval do you need to give to a new owner? What restrictions are there affecting my right to sell the business? Do you help me to find a new owner? Do you charge any fee? Does a new owner get a new full term on the franchise agreement, or take over my existing one? Who would train any new owner? If the franchisor, is there a fee?
The business is your asset to sell. You can go to a broker and ask for as much as you like. We don’t take a fee out of the sale. We will recover transfer costs - see the franchise agreement. If you want us to we will help you with the sale. It is in our interest to get a new franchisor to carry on the business. We do retain the right to make sure the new franchisor is suitable for the business. We provide the necessary training and support to help the new owner be successful.
What will happen if I don’t like the business? On what basis can I terminate the agreement?
You can sell the business as long as you are not in breach for some reason. See the legal agreement.
What would be the procedure in case of of transfer of territory?
Simple process, we do a letter of agreement which both Franchisor and yourself sign. This can happen if a territory is still available. There is even an opportunity to transfer to a territory in another country if you were considering that as an option in the future.
Selection & Training
Do you provide on-going training in the form of courses, workshops, conferences, seminars, regional meetings, refresher or follow-on/advanced courses? Are these covered in my monthly/license fees?
Yes, we agree to a 3-month onboarding program, and all of the above, which are included in your fees.
Training on the Zones systems and processes is ongoing and generally not charged for separately.
Do you provide training for any staff I employ? Are these covered in my monthly/license fees?
We regularly offer lead management and sales training, as well as project delivery and various admin/business management training. We require you to attend some of those trainings with your employees so that everyone understands their roles in the business. Generally this is included as part of the fees. Exceptions would be discussed on a case by case basis.
How long does the initial training last? Where does it take place? Is it based in the Auckland HO?
Our initial training / induction is done at the HO and normally takes 2 - 2 ½ full days with 2 - 4 days in the market with an existing Franchise owner.
On what basis do you choose your franchisees? How selective are you?
As mentioned in the briefing, we are looking for commercially oriented people who want to grow a large business by investing in the business and their team and not for landscapers who want to be on the tools.
Because we have limited the total number of franchise territories that will ever be available, we need to make sure we appoint people who will be successful because our success depends on making sure they are successful.
We do not appoint people who we feel do not have the capability to succeed.
What are the most important attributes of a successful franchisee?
The most important attributes are a positive attitude, and a strong motivation to succeed. We recruit growth-minded franchisees that understand they are managing a business, not a series of projects. That means managing teams of employees, trades, suppliers, etc. This is a sales oriented, people business.
Franchisees must understand that we are accountable to the customer for issues that arise.
Exactly what level of support can I expect? Is there any technical support, or on-going research and development especially in the IT System?
You can expect a lot of support in general, and yes, there is technical support for IT, and it is being constantly enhanced. We developed it as a cloud-based business management platform because none existed that fit our global design and build business for residential renovations. Having our own system means that we aren’t held hostage to the development schedule of any 3rd-party platform and we are free to develop custom features specifically for our business.
How do you help with my fit-out? Who supervises it? Who do I use? Who do I pay and how? What recourse do I have for faulty workmanship?
No fit out as you are running it from a home office and then eventually you’ll move into a small commercial office. This cost would be for your business.
The HO marketing team will provide you with all the branding and design support required at a cost recovery rate.
How often would I see or hear from you? Is there any support system between franchisees? Would I receive feedback on my performance? How will I know how well I'm doing?
Defined frequency in your first 3 months and then at least every 3 months when we do your quarterly business review.
You are also welcome to make contact and come see us at HO at any time if need be.
Through the lead management system we are able to see what your pipeline is looking like compared to your peers and if we spot any issues we will contact you.
Is there any support system between franchisees? Would I receive feedback on my performance? How will I know how well I'm doing?
Support from franchisees: franchisees establish their own informal networking but we also encourage and provide opportunities to network in more formal or facilitated environments like annual, mid-year conferences and webinars.
Performance feedback - definitely. We establish your revenue targets from Day 1 of induction. We will arrange to conduct your quarterly reviews to go over your goals, and make sure you’re on track to achieve them. If you are not, we will give you the support you need to achieve them.
What benchmarking systems do you use? Are comparisons of performance across key areas available to all franchisees? Is there help in analysing areas for improvement?
Yes, we benchmark conversion rates, and also financials so we can help improve your business.
What would happen if I had operational problems that I was unable to solve? What help would I get?
As above, your dedicated Franchise Business Manager/operations person will help.
What benchmarking systems do you use? Are comparisons of performance across key areas available to all franchisees? Is there help in analysing areas for improvement?
As mentioned previously we review the agreed annual business plan and also benchmark versus other franchisees in lead conversion and also the Profit & Loss statement / business financials.
What on-going support services do you provide? Do you have a programme of visits and meetings to monitor progress and advise on improvements? How do you run the support function?
Yes we do a minimum of 3 monthly business reviews. We have a Operational resource and his/her role is to help you get up and running and then help you to get up and running and then help you grow your business.
We have a half yearly operational franchise conference and an annual international conference which includes training, benchmarking and networking with other franchises.
What support would I receive during the opening period of my business?
As much as you need, 23 day induction, 3 month on boarding and then minimum every 3 months business review.
What support would I receive during the opening period of my business? What does that look like compared to support say in my year 2 of business?
Each franchisee starts with a two-day induction at Head Office that covers business management, marketing lead management and sales. Project delivery comes later when you sell your first project.
Additional support is ongoing - coaching over the phone, in person and via teleconference is on an as-needed basis.
Much of a franchisee’s needed support is built directly in the form of manuals, FAQ’s, etc. that all comprise a vast knowledge centre. During the due diligence process, you will be given access to our live manuals to explore the depth and breadth of our knowledge base, which we are constantly developing.
You can arrange additional trainings as needed/on request.
We also require all franchisees to attend annual conferences, where we share updates and best practices, both formally and informally via networking with other franchisees.
You also get support from fellow franchisees! We have a forum on Facebook to ask anything you need, from referrals for trades and suppliers to costing in GST for projects (which we already train you to do anyway).
What would happen if I had operational problems that I was unable to solve? What help would I get?
All the help you need. That’s what we are here for. Most operational problems are teething issues that every franchisee goes through and we’ve built up our answers over time in the form of coaching, system functionality, training and documentation. You most likely won’t encounter an operational issue we haven’t already addressed a dozen times over.
Do you provide operational manuals and instructions? Are these regularly updated? Are they online?
Yes, yes, and yes, as covered above.
Is the business seasonal? When is the best time to start trading?
Landscaping has evolved beyond being a strictly seasonal endeavor and has become a year-round industry that thrives in various ways throughout every season. While traditional perceptions might associate landscaping primarily with spring and summer, modern practices and techniques have diversified the services offered. From winter plantings to sustainable design, landscaping professionals now provide a comprehensive range of services that cater to the changing needs and aesthetics of outdoor spaces regardless of the time of year. This shift towards year-round engagement has not only made landscaping a sustainable business model but has also highlighted its importance in maintaining the beauty and functionality of outdoor environments throughout all seasons.
What are the most important keys to success in the business? What are the most common pitfalls?
It’s not a state secret of what creates success - our business model is simple and the market opportunity to consolidate residential landscaping sector is now self-evident, and franchisees have problems when they do not follow our process. Follow the process and use the systems in order to deliver our value proposition - giving customers a less stressful landscaping experience while delivering a high-quality outcome.
Franchisees have problems when they do not follow the process! Many franchisees have proven this to themselves when they try to disprove it. We’ve learned the hard lessons in the past from franchisees that have acted in some way counter to our business model and executed our process poorly. The Zones Process is designed to allow franchisees to successfully sell and deliver projects to their customers while scaling a multi-million dollar business, but the onus is on the franchisee to adhere to their operating obligations as stipulated in the manuals, and to achieve their revenue targets, which we help with.
What requirements do you have for the vehicle? Do you need it from the day the franchise becomes operational?
White, late model or brand-new vehicle. Need it from day 1 as you need to go see customers.
If you vehicle is in good condition but not white, a very viable option is to have it ‘wrapped’ in white as part of the sign writing process.
Your vehicle will be sign written for you as part of your start up pack.
Who pays and provides for signage and setting up of the vehicle for the use of franchise?
First vehicle is part of your initial start up pack (so free for you)
Will I get trained to do my bookkeeping and meet the legal requirements of running a business? I’m aware you use Xero do we get trained and supported on it.
Absolutely - we need you to do business the “Zones way,” so offer training on all of our platforms, not just Xero.
What help will I receive in arranging local advertising and promotions?
As much as you need.
Do you have a Franchise Advisory Council? How does it work?
We have excellent communications with franchisees. Several areas have informal groups which we support if required. An FAC hasn’t been requested.
How accountable is the franchisor for the funds provided by franchisee for local, digital and national marketing?
Zones is responsible for the national brand marketing and providing the web and digital platforms for marketing. The 1% marketing fee makes a contribution to this resource.
Franchisees are responsible for the marketing required to generate sufficient leads to meet their growth targets. Their local marketing budget covers this.
Zones HO provide digital and marketing staff resources and the web and digital platforms for the franchisees to run their marketing programmes. Franchisees can use other resources but have to have the marketing activity signed off by head office to ensure it meets marketing guidelines.
The Zones local marketing handbook provides proven marketing programmes to help franchisees with their marketing plans. It covers Digital marketing, Customer relationship marketing, Trade relationship marketing and General marketing communications programmes.
How are marketing programmes decided on? What kind of consultation is there with franchisees about what they want/need? What is the process for evaluating success?
An Operational Business Plan is set up with each franchise. This includes the marketing plan for the franchise based on their growth aspirations. This plan is reviewed with each franchise quarterly and adjusted as required.
The GM’s from each country develop a Zones company Operational Business Plan that incorporates the franchisee business and marketing plans.
Business and marketing plans are discussed at 6 monthly and annual conferences which provides input for improvements
Is there a formal system for franchisees to make suggestions? Test new ideas?
You can submit new ideas via email and they will go into the development schedule to be prioritised and considered as new features, but you can also submit new FAQs, glossary terms, etc. for consideration to help us grow our knowledge base.
What systems do you have for keeping franchisees in touch with you and each other? Eg, mailings, e-mail, intranet, closed social media groups, text alerts, telephone support, personal visits, newsletters, seminars, regional meetings, conferences. How regular are these?
Weekly newsletter from HO
Internal facebook page
Direct emails from HO managers
Quarterly individual, 6 monthly operational and annual international conferences and meetings
Individual business plans and coaching from Area manager and head office managers
Plus many more ............
Get in touch today
Thank you! We will be in touch within the next 48 hours (business days). If you would like to call us immediately, please contact us on 0800 90 00 96
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