With over three decades of working in the horticulture sector, Est Sussex based entrepreneur Dan Lillywhite has replanted his roots for the second time by buying a Countrywide Grounds Maintenance® franchise business, covering Brighton, Eastbourne, Hastings and its surrounds.
Building a new depot in the coastal town of Seaford, Dan has now taken over the reins of the East Sussex franchise with a team of groundsmen, three branded Countrywide vans and a range of equipment and machinery. The business will continue to offer a range of services from grass cutting, shrubbery and gutter clearance to landscaping, line marking and winter gritting for businesses, schools, hospitals and facilities management companies.
Dan began his love of the outdoors and grounds maintenance when he was just 16 years old, going on to later study horticulture at college. His career path started at Countrywide as an apprentice in 1990, which then led on to Dan eventually buying equity in his first franchise in 2001. Four years later, Dan took the leap to buy the franchise out and achieved great success with his wife for the next 11 years.
Deciding to sell his franchise in 2017, Dan pursued his dream of restoring old classic cars, but soon realised he missed the world of grounds maintenance and the challenge and motivation of building a business. Dan was in the right place at the right time when Countrywide East Sussex became available and the business was a perfect match in terms of location and size.
Dan said: “I’m really excited to be the new owner of Countrywide East Sussex and to rekindle old friendships with the other 44 franchisees in the network. Since Countrywide was acquired over three years ago by Neighbourly, the largest franchisor of home service brands, the organisation is now able to offer the structures and economies of scale you only experience from being part of a far larger organisation. Being able to tap into support, advice and guidance will be an invaluable resource and help me to develop the business even further.
“Having briefly dabbled in other sectors made me appreciate and realise the value of running my own business, as well as being able to make the right decisions to suit my needs. My vision is to be the first choice for all commercial customers in the region, delivering an exemplary service all year round. I am very fortunate to have such a great local team already in place to help with the day to day running of the business and I’m really looking forward to growing the business even further and to forging relationships with our new and existing customers.”
James Kelly, Managing Director of Countrywide, added: “We warmly welcome Dan back into the Countrywide family again, where he will be part of a supportive network with the tools designed to facilitate growth and success. Dan’s past experience in Countrywide will be invaluable to his new business, and with his business acumen, coupled with the drive to consistently deliver a service level above expectations, he looks set to make his business a real success for the second time.”
When Dan’s not busy mowing a lawn or trimming a hedge for Countrywide, he loves nothing better than tinkering with his classic cars in his spare time!