-Written by Erik Sargent
After a nearly a decade of selling construction equipment, Dan Shunk resigned from his position and found himself looking for a new career path.
Shunk had received his degree in agricultural engineering from the University of Illinois, then moved to St. Louis, Mo., with his wife, Rene, where he earned his MBA from Washington University. When he had completed his MBA and it was time to move back to Champagne, Ill., the Shunk’s found themselves looking for a better solution to moving than doing it all by themselves.
Online research led them to TWO MEN AND A TRUCK, which had positive reviews, and Shunk gave them a call. The Shunks were able to get successfully moved back to Champagne, and his research into TWO MEN AND A TRUCK showed him a window into a lifelong dream of his – owning a business.
“My dad owned his own company, and my maternal grandfather did, too. I have known for most of my life that I would be self-employed,” Shunk said. “We developed specific criteria for what we would do and how we would do it. We needed to be community-focused, customer service-oriented, have a positive workplace, be profitable, and to have the opportunity for significant growth. During the due diligence phase of the process, TWO MEN AND A TRUCK kept passing our tests.”
After nearly two years of researching the company and acquiring a license to operate in the state of Illinois, Dan and his wife, Rene, put pen to paper and signed on to be franchisees with TWO MEN AND A TRUCK the summer of 2008. It was a major leap of faith for the two, but one that has paid off after nearly a decade of franchise operation.
“We signed the first agreement in June of 2008, and attended a three-week training session in July,” Shunk said. “At the time, our kids were three and one years old, and they came to Lansing, Mich., with us, where we all lived in a hotel room. Looking back, the experience seems crazy. I had just resigned from my job, and we had no other income. We had our kids in daycare while attending the training sessions.”
Fast forward to the present, and things are a lot different for the Shunks. They are multi-unit TWO MEN AND A TRUCK franchisee owners, with four different locations across the state of Illinois.
Success has followed their decision since that summer in 2008, and Shunk has enjoyed the process of becoming a multi-unit franchisee.
“I enjoy being an independent owner, and having a network of like-minded individuals to interact with,” Shunk said. “The franchisor (TWO MEN AND A TRUCK) is developing new and exciting tools for learning, understanding, and growing our business, but the true heart of the system lies within the franchisee network. Some of my closest friends are TWO MEN AND A TRUCK franchisees.”
As a business owner, there is a lot for Shunk to process on a daily basis, especially with four different franchises. He knows much of what happens at each location falls on him at the end of the day, but he credits his prior business experiences for helping prepare him for the good and bad that comes with business ownership.
“[My previous experiences] taught me diligence, patience, and the importance of consistency,” Shunk said. “My last position was long hours, lots of travel, and time away from home to get the job done. Many weeks consisted of many nights of travel, with days starting when I woke up and doing reports into the evening. I knew the importance of becoming a respected member of the industry and having people trust my intent. If something went wrong, I learned not to blame people, but to start fixing the process of things. People will make mistakes – in fact, that’s the best way to learn.”
With things going as smoothly as they have over the last decade for Shunk, it would be easy to sit back and relax, but his mindset is focused on continuing to improve each location.
He works to match the success of other franchisee groups in the TWO MEN AND A TRUCK network, and wants each of his own franchise locations to be a place where people want to work.
“My goal is simple – to be the best TWO MEN AND A TRUCK franchisee group, and I love that there are others out there trying to do the same,” Shunk said. “I want to provide the best work environment for our staff, the best customer service to our customers, and the best process, plans, and execution. It’s that daily effort to be the best that motivates and rewards.”
Shunk feels that a franchising opportunity with TWO MEN AND A TRUCK can be an incredibly rewarding experience for potential business owners, and would recommend the chance to anyone willing to put in the proper time, hard work, and financial backing.
“Franchising with TWO MEN AND A TRUCK must be extremely personal and can have a profound impact on you and your family,” Shunk said. “This isn’t a hobby business – it’s immersive and grows to be a huge part of you. You can have a huge impact on your community and your staff. As long as you are willing and able to make the personal, financial, and time investments required, the type of business you can create can have a great impact on you and everyone it touches.”
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