Lincolnshire entrepreneur swaps head hunting for hedge trimming

Franchise Owners Nov 12 2019
By Elliott Boyden

With over 22 years of experience in the recruitment sector, East Midlands born and bred Nick Akroyd has swapped his life of CVs for a grounds maintenance franchise business, Countrywide Grounds Maintenance®, covering Lincolnshire and South Humber.

Nick has taken over the reins of the Lincolnshire and South Humber franchise, with depots based in Doncaster and Grimsby, an existing team of eight groundsmen, four branded Countrywide vans and a fleet of equipment.  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.

A serial entrepreneur, Nick has spent the past 15 years building up a successful recruitment firm with his brother, ABA Consulting, and prior to that, seven years at Hays, a leading global specialist recruitment group.    With a vision to be the first choice for all commercial customers in the region, Nick brings transferrable management skills to his new franchise, from business planning and strategy to sales and marketing, staff engagement and customer care and satisfaction.

Searching for a new business venture and a fresh challenge, Nick chose to go down the franchising route and made an investment in a sector with a brand which was established, growing fast and recession proof.  Countrywide was the perfect fit, particularly as it was part of larger network of over 43 nationwide franchisees, and the largest franchisor of home service brands, Neighbourly, which he could tap into for advice, guidance and support.

Nick Akroyd, Regional Manager of Countrywide Lincolnshire and South Humber, said: “After 22 years working in the same sector, 15 of which were heading up my own business, I was keen to experience a completely different industry and achieve the same level of success again.  Having extensively researched opportunities to purchase an existing business, I found the Countrywide franchise opportunity and it ticked all the boxes.  It not only provided me with the freedom to run my own business, but also with the structures and economies of scale you only experience from being part of a far larger organisation.

“Another key motive for moving into the grounds maintenance sector was to find a business that my children would be interested in joining and I would feel comfortable passing on to them.  I am really excited to be the new owner of Countrywide Lincolnshire and South Humber and I am very fortunate to have such a great team already in place to help with the day to day running of the business.  I am looking forward to growing the business even further and to working with our great team of groundsmen and customers.”

James Kelly, Managing Director of Countrywide, added: “We have seen an increasing number of ambitious individuals like Nick who are looking for a new opportunity to start their own business in a supportive network with the tools designed to facilitate growth and success.  We are so pleased to welcome Nick to the Countrywide network, and the combination of his business acumen and drive to consistently deliver a service level above expectations, look set to make his business a real success.”

When Nick’s not busy mowing a lawn or trimming a hedge for Countrywide, he enjoys playing all sports, in particular rugby, judo and football.  He has dedicated many years coaching rugby to juniors, including his son, at his local club in Retford.

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