Meet the Franchisee: Jonathan Bell from TruGreen Downlands

We sat down with Jonathan Bell, owner of TruGreen Downlands to chat about his experience as a TruGreen franchise owner.

Jonathan started his TruGreen business in 2016 after working in many different types of businesses and sectors including leisure, retail, pubs, clubs, restaurants, and childcare. During this time, he was able to get a feel for leadership roles as both a managing director and a CEO.

After what had already proven to be a successful career in these sectors, Jonathan decided that he wanted to do something for himself and start his own business. He knew he wanted to work in a different sector and try something different, the only problem was, that he was not sure what.

“I wasn’t really sure at the beginning of that process what I wanted to do, and the first thing I decided was gardening. But when I looked at that, I really didn’t think there was a sustainable business I could grow, in that, there are only a certain number of customers you can look after by yourself. So, I moved from there quite quickly to the lawn care services sector and I looked at a number of franchises.”

Jonathan knew that he wanted to go the franchising route because he knew that in moving into a new sector, he would need more support. When he then found ServiceMaster and TruGreen, he says he was reassured by the amount of aid that would be given to him as a business owner on multiple fronts.

“I knew a little bit about lawn care but I didn’t know enough – and one of the reasons I chose ServiceMaster was when I went to speak to the people at ServiceMaster there was a corporate feel to the organisation so I recognised that they had an HR department, an IT department, and a brand manager, and that made me feel comfortable about them. There was a structure that I recognised and would give me that sort of comfort and support as I went through to start running my own business.”

Jonathan says that to this day, the best thing about running a TruGreen business is the support he gets in every aspect of business operation from ServiceMaster.

“Having the support of all of the highly motivated people at ServiceMaster, across the board, but in particular the technical support means that you’re able to find out information about the technical side of lawn care if you need help with that – and in the early days, you do. But also, the support from It with the brand software, but also the marketing department, which is vital to help grow the business.”

He says that this gives the network a great community feel which was very lovely to have during the COVID19 pandemic and subsequent lockdowns.

“ServiceMaster facilities us [TruGreen franchise owners] getting together to support each other, and actually when COVID started in 2022, it looked like the meetings, where we used to go and meet each other around the country a couple of times a year, would stop. But we actually moved forward a step with our meetings by moving to Zoom meetings or Teams meetings every Thursday night. And that’s really good because it gives the franchisees the ability to share their own journey, to learn from people who are further down the road than you are, and then as you move on, for you to share that with newcomers. It’s really good to run your own business but have that support network where there is a safe place for you to explore options and learn how to develop and grow your business.” 

It is this growth that Jonathan has appreciated the most during his time at TruGreen. He reflects on leaving his two-week TruGreen training academy where he learned all of the necessary steps and processes to run a TruGreen business, back in 2016.

“I started a business over five years ago and I left the academy at TruGreen with a van, and all the kit and no customers. And I’m sitting here today with over 250 customers and a sustainable business that is growing. In the last year I’ve taken on a full-time employee who is salaried, I put a second van on the road to meet that demand and I’ve been able to offer employment to a couple of people every year. It’s really important to me that I’ve been able to generate something that other people can benefit from too.”   

If, like Jonathan, you would like to be supported by a professional and friendly team to grow your own successful business, get in touch with our franchise sales team today by filling out a contact form or by calling 0116 275 9005 to enquire about available territories near you.

Written by Tom Page, Digital Content Writer