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Turning a Passion into a Million-Dollar Franchise Concept

We all have something we care about, whether it be our community, protecting animals, or caring for the environment. For Conserva Irrigation® Vice President and Founder Russ Jundt, water conservation was an important passion that led to a million-dollar franchise concept. A long-time entrepreneur, Russ is no stranger to the hard work and dedication it takes to start a business, run a chain of franchises, and even develop a national franchise concept. From his first business to heading a national franchise brand, Russ’s journey is a testament to how a passion can lead to incredible opportunities to share your passion and make a difference in the world.

From a Start-Up to Franchise

Russ’s first exposure to the world of business ownership happened when he and life-long friend Tom Olson first opened a utility construction company they called Under Ground Logistics, Inc. (UGLI). As their new business grew more and more successful, Russ and Tom wanted to expand their company and create a replicable business model that could be franchised across the country. With no franchise experience to speak of, however, the pair needed to find a way to first learn more about franchising.

Together, in 2005, they decided to join Outdoor Living Brands (OLB) as the first franchisees of the Mosquito Squad brand. During their time with OLB, Russ and Tom perfected their franchise system and expanded to a total of seven locations throughout the Minnesota territory.

In 2010, Russ’s passion for water conservation led him to the irrigation industry, where he was surprised to discover that there were no landscape irrigation franchises in existence. Sensing a need, he set off to create his own.

Through some careful industry research, Russ discovered that about 1.5 billion gallons of fresh water are wasted each day in the U.S., thanks to inefficient landscape irrigation systems. Often, overwatering causes water to run off into streets and drains, and systems frequently are set to run when scheduled, even when the weather outside is wet. Conservation of fresh water is a critical effort homeowners should look into, since less than 1% of the Earth’s surface is covered with fresh water. This makes it one of our most valuable—and frequently wasted—resources.

Armed with this knowledge and his passion, Russ developed the idea of the first national landscape irrigation franchise with a focus on water conservation. He researched smart irrigation technology that could reduce water waste. Together, he and Tom fleshed out their idea and devised a strategy for their irrigation franchise.

Building the Franchise

Russ first approached Outdoor Living Brands with his idea, since he had found them to be an excellent resource in his past work with them and Mosquito Squad. While not completely convinced about his plan, OLB offered advice and support for his ideas. With their feedback in mind, Russ approached The TORO Company to become a strategic partner. Interested in his ideas, the team at the TORO Company offered further insight into the landscaping and irrigation industry.

Tom and Russ set up their own Conserva Irrigation shop in the Twin Cities to test their idea and study field protocol and marketing techniques. Through this location, they developed their proprietary process for auditing irrigation systems and a 100-point scale to assign scores. Using this evaluation method, home owners can learn how much water is being wasted by their irrigation system, and allows the team at Conserva Irrigation to offer options and recommendations to reduce their water usage by up to 60%.

As the beta test site of Conserva Irrigation began to flourish, OLB offered the opportunity to conduct a pilot program, using a handful of early adopters across the country. With the help of these early franchisees, we were able to gather meaningful data, observe regional differences and learn how to best market our services.

In 2017, we proudly launched Conserva Irrigation as a national franchise under the umbrella of Outdoor Living Brands. This made Conserva Irrigation the first national irrigation franchise. As we grow and expand, our team at Conserva Irrigation is excited to continue to help property owners save money and water with smarter irrigation systems tailored for their needs.

Looking for an Irrigation Franchise Opportunity? – (804) 621-7167

With Conserva Irrigation, the average homeowner can save up to 33,000 gallons of water every month, which translates into saving about $170 on their water bill each month. To date, our efforts have saved more than 100 million gallons of water, thanks to our 16 franchisees who have brought Conserva Irrigation to 31 territories in the U.S.

Conserva Irrigation strongly believes in water conservation and helping homeowners do their part to conserve water while saving money. We also believe in providing current and prospective franchisees with the opportunity to run a profitable business, working in a reputable company culture. In fact, some of our franchisees are on their way to reporting up to $500,000 in revenue for their first year, with only a $40,000 to $80,000 investment. As our brand grows, we’re excited to announce that we are on track to have 400 locations by 2025! We are incredibly grateful to all the people who have helped us along the way, including Outdoor Living Brands, TORO®, and all our franchisees and customers.

Are you seeking the opportunity to join a nationally recognized irrigation brand as a franchisee? Discover our opportunities for irrigation franchises today by calling (804) 621-7167. Don’t wait to take the next step in owning your own business!