This annual list of the best lawn care/landscaping franchises was revised and updated on June 1, 2022.
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. A lawn and landscape professional might be pruning bushes one day and building a walkway the next, or spending weeks on end mowing in the summer.
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 over 1.2 million people in America in over 620,000 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. Mandatory business shut-downs and the costs of mitigation measures also interfered with work. The industry declined to around $105.4 billion in value.
While some industries are still struggling with the long-term impact of the pandemic, lawn care and other gardening services have bounced back in a big way. By 2021, the market size was already an estimated $115 billion, not only equaling but significantly exceeding its pre-pandemic revenues. Expectations that it wouldn’t start to recover until 2022 have proved wrong, thanks to the hard work of gardeners and a relatively swift economic recovery. Individuals and businesses already have the resources to pay for gardening services again, and businesses in particular need to keep these services in place, as employees and visitors return to their premises.
With an aging population increasingly unable to tend their own gardens, the industry has potential for significant long-term growth, as professionals take up the slack. The growth of multi-family apartment buildings with outdoor areas is further contributing to this growth, as they usually rely on professionals for garden maintenance. Younger single family households seem increasingly inclined to spend money on landscaping and maintaining their gardens, meaning that the industry’s growth is being driven from three different directions and demographic groups at once. In an age when middle class professionals are relatively financially rich but time poor, and many haven’t learned the skills to maintain their own gardens, it makes sense for them to spend money and save time by getting a professional job done.
Increased costs and supply chain issues, particularly for fuel and fertilizers, are having an effect on these businesses, as are rising labor costs, but it’s a cost businesses are able to absorb. Increased demand makes it easier to push up prices and so to come out ahead.
The lawn and landscaping industry is largely made up of small companies rather than big brands, and there are no major players with a market share above 5%. 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 make up for less gardening work over the winter, helping a business to stay active and profitable throughout the year. 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. At the start, business is likely to consist of low-value clients paying for small amounts of work, so it’s critical to get the recommendations that lead to more and bigger jobs.
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 2022
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 steadily expanded in recent years from 453 in 2012 to the current total of 606 (up from the previously reported total of 592), 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 264 in 2012 to the current total of 362 (up from the previously reported total of 349), of which 45 are company-owned and 95 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 has declined in recent years from a high of 267 in 2016 to the current total of 224 (down from the previously reported total of 240), 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 begun growing again after several years of decline and currently stands at 211 (up from the previously reported total of 188), 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 (no change from the previously reported total), 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 93 (up from the previously reported total of 91), of which 11 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.