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The Franchise: Ontario, Canada-based lawn care service Weed Man USA was established in 1970 and has been franchising since 1976. Having exhausted its territories in Canada, the company has been growing in the U.S. and now has more than 500 U.S. territories and $150 million in system sales.
Andy Kurth begins working at his father’s new Weed Man Madison franchise as a part-time job during his freshman year at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He eventually joins full-time and rises to the position of general manager.
“Weed Man actually asked my dad to help bring Weed Man into the United States. He hired me after college to basically cold call and help sell franchises.”
Kurth buys out the Weed Man franchisee in Brookfield, covering the whole metropolitan Milwaukee market. He eventually grows it from $400,000 to $2.5 million in annual revenue.
“Our best years of growth have come in the last three or four. We also bought out within a two-year period the Fox Valley, the Green Bay/Appleton market, as well.”
Kurth launches a western Chicago Weed Man franchise in partnership with two of his managers. Two years later, he partners with two other managers to buy franchises in Austin and Denver.
The Kurth family’s Weed Man franchises, under the umbrella company Future Retirement Inc., have grown to about 200 employees (55 in Milwaukee) and $10.5 million in revenue ($2.5 million in Milwaukee).
“In Milwaukee, we’re basically a March to November deal. We’re not your traditional do everything landscaping company. We don’t do snowplowing. We don’t do winter work.”
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The franchise fee
It’s about $17,000 to open a Weed Man territory that covers 150,000 people, and takes another $50,000 to $100,000 to grow a new market, Kurth said.