Richard Larkin is the President & CEO of Clean Air Yard Care Inc. Richard is also the President of Victoria BC’s premier Business Coaching firm, Success Biz Coach. Having started in the franchise industry in the late 70’s and worked in a variety of capacities through the 80’s & 90’s from a broker and consultant to becoming a franchisor, he is well known and respected in the industry. His enthusiasm for Clean Air Yard Care and his excitement about its future growth and potential is contagious.
BeTheBoss.ca: Tell us about the Clean Air Yard Care concept.
Richard Larkin: We stand out from the crowd in the way we deliver our services. Our equipment can do anything our gas & oil powered competition does, without the pollution, smell and the noise. In addition our operating costs are less because we aren’t burning any gas or oil. All of our equipment is charged and powered by solar energy which is free. We can operate completely “off the grid” when it comes to supplying power to our equipment.
BTB: How and when did you become involved with Clean Air Yard Care?
RL: I was first approached as a consultant in the fall of 2011 and partnered with the Founder, Barry McLean and formed the new company, Clean Air Yard Care Inc. and the Franchise division in the summer of 2012.
BTB: What was your background prior to joining Clean Air Yard Care?
RL: I have been involved in the Franchise and Business development arena since the late 70’s. I have been a Franchisor going back to the early 80’s and a Consultant and broker in the early 90’s. I started a Business Coaching firm in the early 2000’s which is still going strong today www.SuccessBizCoach.com where I have worked with the principals of many businesses including Franchisors to help them improve their operations and achieve the goals they set for themselves and their companies.
BTB: What are some of the advantages of being a Clean Air Yard Care franchisee?
RL: The main advantages will be in the positive way they will be accepted in their communities. Once people experience the quality of the work we do, that’s competitively priced, without the smell, pollution and the noise, the Franchisee will have a customer for life. We believe our business model is the future of our industry and feel that many will agree it’s good to be at the beginning of something that is new and exciting. The management team behind Clean Air Yard Care has over 40 years of franchise and business experience and is committed to the success of each and every franchisee that joins our team.
BTB: Who is your ideal franchisee?
RL: Someone who cares about the environment, has the drive to start and grow a business and is well connected in their community. Someone who isn’t afraid of hard work and loves working with people. Our ideal candidates will want to have several locations and territories they can manage. We want team players who will contribute their ideas and share our passion, values and vision for this company.
BTB: Tell us a little about the eco-landscaping industry?
RL: While some may think the landscaping industry is green, there is actually a difference between conventional landscaping and sustainable landscaping. And it all comes down to one straight-forward fact: sustainable landscaping is environmentally-friendly. Most of the data and research on eco-friendly practices focuses on organic fertilizers and various best practices. There is little to compare with the use of battery and electric equipment using solar energy as the power source.
BTB: What are some of the greatest lessons you've learned in growing this franchise?
RL: As we are just launching the company I can only draw on my experience and implement what I believe are the vital steps to the success of any Franchise. Our number one focus will be on franchisee profitability and systems that will allow them to sustain their profitability. This commitment to our franchisees will ensure our long term success. We strongly believe in the importance of establishing great relationships through constant communication with our franchisees. We will value franchisee input and ideas that will create a team environment. We put a lot of effort into our selection process before we award a franchise. Choosing the right candidates is vital to the health and success of the entire franchise system. We also recognize the value of staying on trend and moving and growing with technologies as they change. It’s important to understand that even if you’re on the right track, you’ll get run over if you’re just standing there.
BTB: Do you have a mentor or is there someone you use for inspiration?
RL: I am always inspired by those who take the time to share their experiences, successes and failures and what they have learned from them. Napoleon Hill, Michael Gerber and Jim Collins to name a few. One of my favorite franchise books would have to be Lonnie Helgerson who wrote “Five Pennies” about the proper way to build a franchise mega-brand.
BTB: What advice do you have for someone looking to acquire a franchise?
RL: First and foremost, have a passion for the business you choose. Expect to put in an above average effort and know that business ownership doesn’t begin at 9am and end at 5pm. Determine the lifecycle of the business, is it trending upwards or out the door? Be ready to act on the information you gather, if the opportunity is good, someone else will recognize that as well. Be sure you get to know, like and trust the people you are doing business with, you will be connected for a long time to come.
BTB: In your opinion, why do you think Clean Air Yard Care would be a great opportunity for someone?
RL: Of all the franchise opportunities on the market today, I can’t think of one that triggers as much passion and enthusiasm. Whether people share our passion in protecting the environment or in the use of renewable energy sources, they will understand and appreciate our concept. We have been validated by numerous accolades and awards in our local community and it’s only a matter of time that our franchisees will share the same spotlight. And that’s good for business.