The Sprinkler Guys® - CFE, Peter van Stralen

Date: MAY 21st, 2014

Topic: Interview with a CEO

Peter van Stralen, CFE- with over 20 years of business success to his credit, Peter is a certified franchise executive and the visionary leader of Sunshine Brands™, parent company to The Grounds Guys® and The Sprinkler Guys® franchise systems.

Peter is passionate about sharing the culture of C.A.R.E. by teaching the principles of C.A.R.E. Leadership. He and his company were recently featured on the hit TV show "Be The Boss Canada" and he is the author of the book “CARE Leadership” which shares the extraordinary story of how the ten van Stralen Brothers built their company from the ground up.

Peter shares how eight simple but powerful leadership principles helped a small start-up grow into a multi-million dollar brand. In his spare time Peter can be found fishing with his kids or conquering the local hills on his mountain bike.

BeTheBoss.ca: Tell us about The Sprinkler Guys® concept ?

Peter van Stralen:The he Sprinkler Guys® brand is are lawn irrigation specialists. We focus on upgrades, repairs and maintenance of irrigation systems at commercial and residential properties. We specialize in using the latest technologies for water conservation to protect the investments that property owners make in their landscapes. Like our sister company The Grounds Guys® we are not just another irrigation company; we are all about culture, innovation, and professionalism. Our company is based on The Culture of C.A.R.E. – Customers First, Attitude, Respect and Enjoy life in the process!

BeTheBoss.ca: How and when did you become involved with The Sprinkler Guys®?

PV: When I was 18 and my brother Tim was 19 we started two companies, Sunshine Landscaping and Sunshine Tree Service. Over the years all ten van Stralen brothers joined forces to eventually form The Grounds Guys®. I became CEO of Sunshine Brands™ in 2005 when we began to transition to a franchise based business. After successfully launching and growing the Grounds Guys® brand in Canada we created a strategic partnership with Blue Jay irrigation of London Ontario to launch our second brand The Sprinkler Guys®.

BeTheBoss.ca: What was your background prior to joining The Sprinkler Guys®?

PV: I’ve worked up through the ranks from team member to team leader, to ops manager. I completed my HLT diploma and began managing our commercial division. I worked in sales and business development before becoming our VP of franchising. I graduated as a CFE – Certified Franchise Executive after taking on the role of CEO.

BeTheBoss.ca: What are some of the advantages in being a The Sprinkler Guys® franchisee?

PV:

  • Excellent systems for safety, efficiency, profitability and quality
  • Cutting edge technology
  • Peer to peer sharing and learning
  • Coaching and mentoring
  • Well respected brand
  • A home office team working hard to help our franchise partners succeed

BeTheBoss.ca: Who is your ideal franchisee?

PV: We are looking for someone who wants to be a part of a brand that is revolutionizing an industry. The right candidate will understand that “we are not in the landscape business - managing people, we are in the PEOPLE business - managing landscapes”.

BeTheBoss.ca: Tell us a little about the green industry Market?

PV: Canada's ornamental horticulture's economic impact is nearly $14.5 Billion according to a study by Deloitte & Touche, the Canadian Ornamental Horticulture Alliance (COHA), and the Canadian Nursery Landscape Association (CNLA). We have found the potential for growth in this industry is enormous. It is also a very rewarding industry to build a future in. There are so many physiological and social benefits derived from natural green spaces, and we have the privilege of keeping those spaces green and growing at homes and businesses across the country. In Canada the irrigation industry is a seasonal business, which presents the right opportunity for those looking to take part of the winter season off.

BeTheBoss.ca: What are some of the greatest lessons you’ve learned in growing this franchise?

PV: I have learned that people are our most valuable asset, not machines. The more we invest in the well being, as well as both the personal and professional development of our team, the more value they bring to the company. I have also learned the importance of focusing on a clear set of values and principles in business and letting them be our moral compass. Our code of C.A.R.E. states:

We show that we CARE by putting the needs of our

Customers First, by always having a positive and helpful

Attitude and by treating everyone and everything with

Respect. By living our code of values we

Enjoy life in the process.

BeTheBoss.ca: Do you have a mentor and is there someone you use for inspiration?

PV: Growing up and working closely with my Dad and nine brothers I was immersed in positive influences. Today, I continue to develop my leadership team with passionate and professional people. I am also a voracious reader of business books, which helps me keep inspired and growing.

BeTheBoss.ca: What advice do you have for someone looking to acquire a Franchise?

PV: Take your time and do your research. Make sure you fully understand the business model, the commitment required, and the culture of the company you are investing in. When you find the right opportunity, it will be very rewarding.

BeTheBoss.ca: In your opinion, why do you think that The Sprinkler Guys® would be a great opportunity for someone?

PV: My brothers and I have been involved in the green industry for almost 25 years. Our strategic partner and president of The Sprinkler Guys®, Bruce Lively has been in the irrigation business for over 30 years. Through hard work, perseverance and a dedication to the culture of CARE, we have been able to achieve our personal and financial goals. We believe that we have developed the right brand, operating system and support program to open the doors of opportunity for anyone who has passionate for caring and who is willing to chase their dreams.