Russ Jundt has had an entrepreneurial spirit since he took an entrepreneurship class at St. John's University in 1987. His first business was a utility construction company called Under Ground Logistics, Inc. (UGLI). Jundt opened UGLI with his life-long friend and business partner Tom Olson.
Though UGLI was successful, the two friends wanted to reproduce their skill set with a replicable business model. However, the two men didn’t know anything about franchising. In 2005, Jundt and Olson joined Outdoor Living Brands (OLB) as the first Mosquito Squad franchisees. OLB is the parent company of four national home service franchises.
Working with OLB gave Jundt and Olson the insight they needed to build their own franchise model and expand Mosquito Squad to six new locations. The two sold these six locations but kept their Twin Cities location, a decision that would later work in their favor.
In 2010, Russ decided to get into the irrigation industry. With his previous experience installing irrigation systems and a franchise business model that could be implemented, Russ began researching the industry and found that roughly 1.5 billion gallons of freshwater are wasted each day in the U.S. His research revealed that the cause of this waste was inefficient landscape irrigation systems.
The things Jundt uncovered during his research prompted him to create the first national landscape irrigation franchise based on the concept of water conservation. At the Irrigation Association Show in November of 2010, Jundt was introduced to smart irrigation products that address water waste issues. This would eventually lead to a partnership with an industry-leading turf and landscape equipment company.
Russ took his new franchise idea to Outdoor Living Brands and proposed the concept. Though the company wasn’t on board at first, they did offer him valuable advice. After applying their feedback, Russ took the idea to the TORO Company who showed interest and gave insight into the landscape and irrigation industry.
Tom and Russ set up the Conserva Irrigation beta test site in the Twin Cities where they studied field protocol and marketing techniques. From there, the two developed a proprietary process to audit irrigation systems on a 100-point scale and showed homeowners the amount of water they are wasting and how to reduce water consumption by 60%. As the test site gained more attention, OLB offered to run a pilot program with a handful of early adopters throughout the nation. The pilot program gave Russ and Tom the opportunity to collect useful data and observe regional distinctions in irrigation design and techniques.
Conserva was launched as a national franchise under Outdoor Living Brand in June 2017. It is the first national irrigation franchise. Conserva helps the average homeowner conserve 33,000 gallons of water every month, as well as save around $170 on their monthly water bill. To date, Conserva’s 16 franchisees across 31 territories in the U.S. have helped to save over 100 million gallons of fresh water.
Conserva continues to be dedicated to our founding concept and we are committed to providing current and prospective franchisees with beneficial business opportunities.