Lawn Doctor, one of the nation's largest providers of lawn-care services, is now part of the Fort Dodge marketplace.
Todd and Holly Narber, of Fort Dodge, have acquired the franchise to bring the company's high-tech approach to keeping lawns healthy and beautiful to a large part of central and north central Iowa. In December, they launched Lawn Doctor of Ames-Fort Dodge and Urbandale-West Des Moines. This business is headquartered in Fort Dodge.
This is Lawn Doctor's inaugural entry into the portions of the Hawkeye State the Narbers will handle.
-Messenger photo by Joe Sutter
Jordan Narber runs the Lawn Doctor “Turf Tamer”, which is designed to apply a metered amount of fertilizer no matter how fast the machine is going. Narber’s parents Todd and Holly Narber recently acquired the Lawn Doctor franchise for a large central Iowa area including Fort Dodge, Ames and Des Moines.
"Currently, we have 56 communities that we will service," Todd Narber said. "It was a new business from the ground up. It wasn't an existing franchise. So we hit the ground running quickly in December to get the business up and going for this spring."
Lawn Doctor specializes in creating impressive lawns and keeping them that way.
"Lawn Doctor's whole theory is to take care of the health of the lawn," Narber said. "We offer fertilization and weed control. We also do core aeration and power seeding. We have a product called Yard Armor, which is insect control to keep the insects out of your lawn."
Shrubs and young trees are also candidates for Lawn Doctor care.
"We treat them for insects or fungus or diseases that might hit," Narber said.
The company focuses on lawn care. It does not do mowing or landscaping.
Narber said the mission is quite straightforward.
"It's simply anything that has to do with growing and caring for the health of your lawn and the outside perimeter of your house," he said. "Keeping the curb appeal up. Keeping the value of your home up. Adding beauty."
Building a strong Lawn Doctor presence in parts of Iowa where this service is new to potential customers is a family undertaking for the Narbers.
"Right now we have Holly and I," Todd Narber said. "We have our son, Jordan, and our daughter, Chloee. Our son is a freshman at Iowa State. He is 19. Chloee is 16. She's a junior at Senior High. Everybody is pitching in and helping out to get this thing up and running."
The younger Narbers will be assisting part time while still in school.
Todd Narber said launching a new business is a complicated undertaking.
"Holly and I are working diligently day in and day out, burning the midnight oil getting things up and running," he said. "That's not only fun, but challenging."
And the pieces are rapidly being put in place.
"We have a growing list of clients in 15 communities already," Narber said. "We're here to get business and we're going to earn it. We're growing our business one lawn at a time."
A sales staff, based in Ames, has been hired and begun its work.
"We're doing quite a bit of marketing throughout the Des Moines metro area," Narber said. "We're doing marketing here in Fort Dodge. We're doing marketing in Ames."
As the business evolves, an assortment of lawn-care technicians will be added to the mix. Narber stressed, however, that the owners plan to be very intimately involved in day-to-day operations.
"I'm absolutely hands-on and will continue to be," he said. "I think that's the best way to manage a business. We strive to give the best customer service and we guarantee it. If you are not satisfied, we are going to do everything we can to make it right for you."
Meet the Narbers
Holly and Todd Narber were born in Chariton. They were high school sweethearts who graduated from Chariton High School in 1987. Both then studied at American Institute of Business in Des Moines. The Narbers have been married for 24 years. They have been in Fort Dodge for a dozen years. Todd Narber has been in retail and management for more than two decades.
"I know how to take care of customers," he said.
Community involvement has been a high priority for the couple. Todd Narber is a former Greater Fort Dodge Growth Alliance Ambassador.
He is vice president of the Grace Lutheran Church Foundation. Holly Narber has long helped raise money for the American Heart Association through serving on the committee that orchestrates the annual Sweetheart Gala. She also has been involved in breast cancer awareness work, is a past president of the Fort Dodge Community School Foundation and is president of the Fort Dodge Athletic Boosters.
This is the first business the Narbers a have owned. They researched options for more than a year before settling on Lawn Doctor, Todd Narber said.
"It was a good fit," Holly Narber said.
Her husband agreed.
"We just enjoy being outside," he said. "Part of our makeup is the outdoors. We like to camp, boat and fish and spend time in the yard. We garden. Outdoors is a natural fit for us."
About Lawn Doctor
Lawn Doctor was founded in 1967. Over more than four decades, it has grown into a major player in the lawn-care industry with more than 460 franchise locations all across the nation. Narber said it is currently expanding its presence in Iowa.
Even though Lawn Doctor has become a huge corporation, Scott Frith, who became its chief executive officer in 2011, posted a message on its website that captures a vision for the company that is very much in sync with what the Narbers have in mind locally:
"Lawn Doctor started in a hardware store over 45 years ago on Main Street, literally. My father (Russell Frith) opened up some of the very first franchises, and we've just grown so much since then. What's great about this business is that it's really a people business; you can develop long-term relationships with customers. I'm excited about the amazing innovation that we continue to have today that's going to fuel even more growth."