An interview with Chris Shkyria, co-owner of Lawn Doctor of Northern Illinois.
Q: Describe your business. What do you do?
Lawn Doctor of Northern IllinoisAddress: Deep Lake Road, Antioch Illinois
Owners: Chris and Julie Shkyria
Year business started: August 2004
Web address: www.mylawndoctorcustomer.com
A: We provide professional lawn care services to residential and commercial landscapes, using the highest quality, most effective and environmentally responsible fertilizers and pesticides.
Q: The franchise is expanding out here. Tell us about that.
A: We bought into the Lawn Doctor franchise system in 2004, investing our entire life savings into a dream of owning our own business and putting our future financial success into the hands of our entrepreneurial skills. We began with 49 customers and a territory that consisted of the Antioch, Lake Villa, Lindenhurst, Fox Lake and Gurnee ZIP codes and have built it into one of the most successful single territory franchises in the Lawn Doctor system with over 1,500 current customers. We just purchased the rights to a second territory consisting of Waukegan, Winthrop Harbor, Zion, Wadsworth, North Chicago, Lake Bluff and Lake Forest ZIP codes and hope to double our business within the next 3 years.
Q: What makes you different from the competition?
A: We take pride in our personal customer service abilities and local community involvement to succeed in a very competitive lawn care industry. We treat every customer like a friend or family member and attempt to speak face to face with our customers whenever we can rather than through phone calls and emails alone. We visit every property before, during or after services to insure customer contact and satisfaction. With over 20 years of combined experiences in the lawn care industry, we have developed a unique agronomic application program that provides consistently successful results for the lawns of Northern Illinois.
Q: What has been the most difficult obstacle in running or starting a small business?
A: Growing the business financially and operationally. There are many business skills needed to function a growing business and possessing all the skills needed is close to impossible. Hiring the right people who posses some of the skills is very important in creating a management team. So, I guess my own abilities and lack of business understanding.
Q: What do you enjoy most about operating your business?
A: Meeting people who live and work in the local economy and providing them with a service that enhances both their landscape and the enjoyment of their personal outdoor property. I love
hearing back from happy customers, especially ones who have previously used other lawn companies and have never seen the results that we can provide. And being outside most of the
day during the best time of year in the Midwest, summer.
Q: Is this what you pictured yourself doing when you were young?
A: No, When I was young I wanted to be a pro motocross and supercross rider.
Q: If you could give one tip to a rookie business owner, what would it be?
A: To do what you love to do and share the successes of your technical skills with your customers. If you don't truly love providing the service or skill you possess, then you will never reach your
full entrepreneurial potential or be able to properly train employees to provide the same level of service. When you can find unique solutions to problems that the general public faces, you can
easily sell your passion to both employees and customers.
-- Kim Mikus
• Every Monday we feature a small, suburban business. We want to hear about yours. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.