TruGreen/ChemLawn: What Happened?
Anyone over the age of 40 likely remembers lawn care giant, ChemLawn. This national company had trucks in nearly every neighborhood, spreading their services far and wide. With such astounding market share, how did this corporation virtually disappear overnight?
Changes started in 1987 when ChemLawn sold to Ecolab and the Duke family was no longer in charge. This sale brought along brand expansions into new markets like landscape construction and more. Then, in 1992, ChemLawn sold again to ServiceMaster, who owned the likes of Merry Maids and Terminix. Both companies brought along their own share of problems, not the least of which were ChemLawns growing notoriety for damage from using toxic lawn chemicals.
Soon after this merger, ServiceMaster decided that ChemLawn needed a total rebrand and that the name which had become well-known should be downplayed. Thus, TruGreen ChemLawn became the new moniker, and then finally just TruGreen.
This name change didn’t do much, however, to deceive consumers. Issues with professionalism, customer support, and services were still highly prevalent.
Over the past 2 decades, this once dominant company has seen notable decline in business. The decline is credited to multiple factors. A major issue is the growing desire for natural organic lawn care. The days of being comfortable, or at the very least naïve to, dangerous chemicals are gone. The general public’s growing awareness of what they’re consuming (and yes- putting in and around their homes) has largely contributed to the company’s waning, but it’s not all.
Greater knowledge has revealed one of the biggest fundamental flaws with the TruGreen business model. A national company/brand works for many industries – food, cars, etc. – but lawn care poses unique, localized challenges. The cookie-cutter business approach is impossible to maintain for an industry that relies so heavily on climate, weather, topography and the like.
Consumers are quickly realizing that in order for their lawn to see the best success, they need businesses that are not just well-read on their area, but are experts in it. This tailored approach is impossible to get with a national company like TruGreen ChemLawn and is instrumental in their decline.
Looking to Improve the State of Your Lawn?
Of course we recommend hiring a local lawn care company to do the job. This is the only way to ensure that you’re going to get personalized service and the best solutions for your lawn.
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