This annual list of the best lawn care/landscaping franchises was revised and updated on May 11, 2021.
Lawn care and landscaping companies provide a range of services relating to gardens and outdoor spaces, from mowing lawns to plant care to designing and constructing complex features. The outsourcing of these services by governments, businesses, and well-off families has significantly boosted the industry in recent years, and landscaping services in the US saw massive growth over the 2010s, growing from $68.3 billion in 2011 to $109.3 billion in 2019. The industry currently employs nearly 1.2 million people in America in over 600,000 businesses. It’s a big industry made up of small businesses.
Like most industries, the lawn care and landscaping industry suffered a setback in 2020. While outdoor work was still relatively safe to do during the COVID-19 pandemic, people had less money available to spend on lawn care and landscaping services. The industry declined to around $105.4 billion in value and is expected to stay at roughly the same level in 2021.
However, the industry is expected to start growing again in 2022, as the impact of the economic recovery is felt. Individuals and businesses will have the resources to pay for gardening services, and businesses in particular will need to start paying for these services again, as employees and visitors return to their premises. With an aging population increasingly unable to tend their own gardens, there is potential for long-term growth, as professionals take up the slack. Younger households also seem increasingly inclined to spend money on landscaping and maintaining their gardens, meaning that the industry’s growth is being driven from two directions and two very different demographic groups at once.
The industry is largely made up of small companies rather than big brands, and this makes it relatively easy for a new business to get established. One of the biggest challenges the industry currently faces is a lack of skilled labor. A franchisee with the skills and experience to do good gardening work, or who is willing to invest the time, money, and effort in training, could benefit from filling a critical economic gap. On the other hand, those hoping to run a franchise by hiring others may struggle to find the staff they need.
Franchisees in this sector can stand out by providing related services, such as pest control, installing and maintaining sprinkler systems, and clearing snow. Some of these are seasonal, and a broad range of services can help a business to stay active throughout the year, regardless of changes in the weather. It can also make you a go-to business for clients with a range of needs, helping to establish relationships, earn recommendations, and build the network of customers on which such a business relies.
Ultimately, this is a business for entrepreneurs who like to get their hands dirty, can maintain good rapport with clients, and who take satisfaction from applying their skills to see a job well done.
The Top Lawn Care and Landscaping Franchises of 2021
1. Lawn Doctor
Lawn Doctor has developed its own line of proprietary, patented equipment known today as Turf Tamer. The chain offers a wide array of lawn care services and customers can choose which services they want. Among the offerings are lawn maintenance, natural lawn care, fertilization, pH balancing/lime, core aeration, power seeding, soil enrichment, lawn pest control (including moles, fire ants, ticks, mosquitos, and grubs), weed control, lawn mower maintenance, disease control, tree and shrub care, and commercial lawn care.
The company claims to have the highest customer retention rate and the highest TrustPilot online review score in the industry. It also guarantees that if customers are not 100% satisfied, the company will make it right.
Founded by Bob Magda and Tony Giordano in 1967 and franchising since that same year, the number of locations has expanded in recent years to reach the current total of 592 (up from the previously reported total of 583), of which none are company-owned and all are located in the US.
2. Weed Man
Weed Man offers an array of lawn care services to customers, including weed control (Bermuda grass, crabgrass, Dallisgrass, moss, Nutsedge, etc.), pest control (white grubs, moles, fire ants, fleas, ticks, etc.), seeding, fertilization, disease control, aeration, pH control, vegetation control, soil revitalization, and organic lawn dressing.
The company emphasizes proactive prevention and integrated pest management (IPM). Franchisees can opt for starting a brand-new location or converting an existing company to the Weed Man brand.
Founded by Des Rice in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada in 1970 and franchising since 1976, the number of locations has been on the rise in recent years from 237 in 2011 to the current total of 349 (up from the previously reported total of 344), of which 41 are company-owned and 99 are located outside the US.
3. U.S. Lawns
U.S. Lawns is the only company on this list that focuses exclusively on commercial lawn care and landscaping services for business clients.
The company has six different categories of services, including lawn care (mowing, fertilization, irrigation, overseeding, aeration, dethatching, pest and disease control), landscape maintenance (mowing, edging, trimming, pruning, debris removal, weeding, spring cleanup, fall cleanup, and bed detail), irrigation (regular inspections, adjustments, service and repairs, spring startup, and winterization), landscape improvements (improving soil health, topographical changes to reroute water flow, native plants, water drainage and storage solutions for reuse, rain garden design and installation), hardscaping (elements of landscaping built from stone, concrete, or wood), tree care (trimming, pruning, fertilization, and other special treatments), and snow/ice management.
Founded in Orlando, Florida in 1986 and franchising since 1987, the number of locations currently stands at 240 (down from the previously reported total of 260), of which none are company-owned and all are located in the US.
4. The Grounds Guys
The Grounds Guys offers lawn care and landscaping services to both residential and commercial customers, including lawn and bed maintenance, landscape/hardscape, pest/weed control, fertilization, outdoor lighting, snow and ice management, irrigation, artificial turf, and gutters (for residential customers only).
This chain is part of the Neighborly (formerly the Dwyer Group) family of home service companies. Founded by Tim van Stralen and his nine brothers in 2010 and franchising since then, the number of locations has declined slightly in recent years to the current total of 188 (down from the previously reported total of 193), of which none are company-owned and 28 are located outside the US.
5. Spring-Green Lawn Care
Spring-Green Lawn Care works with both residential and commercial clients to deliver personalized lawn care services based on recommendations that come out of their turf assessment consultation. Customers who are not happy with how their lawn looks after Spring-Green’s services get a treatment for free.
The company is a little different from most in that it doesn’t do mowing. Instead, its services are focused on lawn improvement through fertilization, aeration, insect control, and disease control, which can be traditional or organic by customer preference.
Customers get a transparent quote upfront for a season’s worth of treatments, including a mid-season assessment to see if program adjustments are needed. Existing companies can add the Spring-Green methods as one of the services offered.
Founded by Bill Fisher in Naperville, Illinois in 1977 and franchising since then, the number of locations has grown slightly in recent years to the current total of 152 (up from the previously reported total of 143), of which 26 are company-owned and all are located in the US.
6. NaturaLawn of America
NaturaLawn of America is on a mission to delivery an eco-friendlier lawncare service by helping consumers understand how “the picture-perfect, weed-free, insect-free lawn is a myth that endorses unnecessary and irresponsible pesticide use.” Its greener approach uses a proprietary line of products made and packaged exclusively for the company, combining organic fertilization and Integrated Pest Management (IPM) to control weeds and insects.
Important to its approach is preserving the natural enemies of turf pests, installing newer turf varieties with natural pest resistance, and customer education on better mowing and water practices.
Founded by Beecher Smith and Philip Catron in 1987 and franchising since 1989, the number of locations has grown in recent years to the current total of 91 (no change from the previously reported total), of which seven are company-owned and all are located in the US.
An Important Note About Our Methodology
The franchises on this list were ranked according to the number of units in the franchise system. If you are a prospective franchisee searching for franchise opportunities that meet or exceed certain performance benchmarks for sales, profits, and return on investment, please check out this list of America’s Most Lucrative Franchises.