'A brilliant opportunity'

Reading an advert for lawn-care franchise TruGreen in a national newspaper, Tony Lawrence found the future business he would run with his son Edmund.

At the time, Tony was working in financial services and Edmund was about to finish his 'A'-levels. 'My son has always wanted to work outdoors,' Tony explains. 'It was something that was very important to him, so I thought that this would be a brilliant opportunity for him.' After speaking to TruGreen, the pair's enthusiasm for the concept grew and they launched their Hertfordshire business in 2004. 'Edmund received plentiful and comprehensive training,' reveals Tony. 'There was a lot to take in but it covered everything from marketing, to banking, product knowledge, and lawn-care itself.'

With an effective initial marketing campaign, Tony was delighted when work started coming in straight away. However, the business started to grow quickly and was going so well that Tony decided to join his son in running it. 'I was planning to wind down my career,' he reveals, 'but the TruGreen business was going from strength to strength.' Taking on a 'behind the scenes' role in their home-based business, Tony has left his son to: 'do what he loves - getting outside to do his work while meeting new people every day.'

Tony and Edmund enjoy independence, the ability to work on their own terms, and benefit from TruGreen's continual support. 'They give us good advice,' he says, 'and are always there at the end of the phone should we need them.' Now advertising in the local press, as well as sponsoring a youth golf tournament, Tony is positive that the business will continue its success: 'The business benefits from a very high level of customer referrals and this is only going to get better.'

With Tony's eldest son Thomas planning to work with them in the near future, their TruGreen franchise is turning into a real family business.