-Written by Erik Sargent
Around this time a year ago, Robbie Barnes was working as an operations manager for the TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® Greenville, S.C., franchise location, a position he had held since 2013.
Fast forward to March 2018, and the phones went live and the first official move booked for the new Beaufort, S.C., location, which is now under the leadership of Barnes as he transitioned to a new franchisee role. Barnes was the winner of the 2017 Mary Ellen’s Moving People Forward® Scholarship program, an extensive, year-long training program where winners are awarded $50,000 toward the opening of their own franchise location.
“We could not be more excited to award Robbie and name him as a TWO MEN AND A TRUCK franchisee,” said TWO MEN AND A TRUCK President Randy Shacka when Barnes was announced as the scholarship winner in September. “This program and Robbie’s advancement throughout our system is what this brand is all about. TWO MEN AND A TRUCK is truly dedicated to moving people forward and providing that next opportunity. Robbie seized the opportunities that were present to him, utilized the support of his mentors, and took in every resource available to grow both personally and professionally to reach that next level.”
It was a well-deserved honor for Barnes, and now, he’s learning the ropes as a franchisee.
“Everything is going well, I’m just excited to get things moving,” Barnes said. “We officially opened up on March 12, and by that Friday, we had a move booked, so it was great when you consider we only had our phones up and running for a short period of time.”
Working with Bryan and Rebecca Feldman – franchisees at the location where Barnes was the previous operations manager – he has been on a rapid learning curve as he tries to adjust to the nuances of being a franchisee.
“It’s just trying to cover everything at once,” Barnes said of the adjustment. “It’s not just marketing, but things like making sure I’m a member of the local chamber of commerce and going to those events – just doing everything. I’m deep in the weeds on everything.”
While there is still a whole slate of new material to learn, his prior experience has made certain aspects of the job a lot smoother during the transition.
“[Everything from] running the trucks to understanding who I need and how many people I need, those types of things are very easy for me,” Barnes said. “Going from 20 trucks at my previous franchise location to two trucks here is definitely a lot easier to manage. Also training, stuff along those lines and just working with my guys and making them understand the importance of living and working by the core values.”
As with every new franchise that opens up within the TWO MEN AND A TRUCK family, the teams put in place are the backbone of every operation. Without the proper staffing – and the proper people on those teams – a franchise will not succeed.
Barnes fully understands the importance of this, and has a clear vision of the type of people he brings on to work with him.
“It’s just finding guys who are willing to work every day, and who are willing to buy into your core values, like integrity,” Barnes said. “Trying to have people who have that integrity and will do the right thing when nobody is watching, because you can’t be everywhere at once. Guys that are going to have the care and treat everyone like they would their grandmother.”
Beaufort has gladly welcomed a new moving option to its community, especially with a brand name like TWO MEN AND A TRUCK it already knows and trusts from other locations.
“We’re lucky. We have a lot of brand awareness already because of the help from our Savannah, Ga., location,” Barnes said. “A lot of the chamber and the local groups around here are really excited to have a franchise that is local, and an option that won’t cost them as much.”
It’s been barely over a month since the official first move of the Beaufort franchise, but things are already looking up for Barnes.
For now, his main focus is on tackling one goal at a time and working to help grow the staff and trucks at his location. He and his team are also working to establish themselves more within the community. “My definite plan is to be running three trucks by May,” Barnes said. “That’s just short-term, and I’d also like to add another member to the office staff. We started off later in the year, but I’d love to be involved in a fall marketing campaign. Just working to do a little bit more and more each time around, just get stronger, and hire more people.”
TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® is the first and largest franchised moving company. Let us move your career forward. Consider investing in us and becoming a franchisee today! Visit franchise.twomenandatruck.com to learn more.