-Written by Erik Sargent
Much has changed about the world from 1993 to the present time, as society is moving faster than ever and technology is dominating the landscape of everyday life.
Twenty five years has also seen great change for TWO MEN AND A TRUCK and for Franchisee Tim Lightner, who in 1993, purchased his first franchise location in Madison, Wis. After working for a period of time in the construction industry, Lightner was ready to change things up and run his own business when he heard of the small, franchised moving company based out of Lansing, Mich.
The idea of operating a moving business seemed simple enough, and for Lightner, he was ready to buy in.
“I recall at the time thinking that it seemed to be a pretty straight-forward business,” Lightner said. “There were no widgets to sell, no materials required, and at the time it was very straight-forward. It seemed like a basic exercise in managing people, customers, and employees. Over the years, of course, businesses have become much more complex and sophisticated, but back then we could run the business out of our home, and it literally started with two men and a truck.”
Fast forward to 2018, and Lightner operates two franchise locations – both in Wisconsin – and is one of the longest-standing franchisees in the TWO MEN AND A TRUCK family.
The process for becoming a franchisee has changed significantly since 1993 when Lightner joined on, and he reminisces about his time spent preparing to open his first location.
“The process was much different back then, there were only two people working at Home Office – Mary Ellen Sheets (founder) and Sally Degnan,” Lightner said. “Training was three days long, and took place at the office on Kalamazoo Street at the Lansing TWO MEN AND A TRUCK franchise. I remember it was located in an old gas station, and I remember stepping over the old car lift in the repair bay! We went out in the field on a piano move to learn how to move a piano. It was a short but simple process that got us up and running. Even back then, once we got back home and started moving people, Home Office was there to answer questions and help us come up with solutions to problems.”
Joining the system at the very beginning of the company, Lightner has seen the incredible growth and transformation of TWO MEN AND A TRUCK from a close point of view. Even as things have changed, though, some of the steps of getting started as a franchisee have remained the same a quarter century later.
“Some of the biggest challenges I faced in becoming a franchisee included securing the financing to start the business in the first place, and then wearing the many different hats necessary during the early stages of the business,” Lightner said. “I was part mover, part driver, part HR, part marketing, part accounting, part manager, and so on. It was very rewarding and interesting to fill so many different roles, and it has given me a lot of insight into the issues our employees face on a daily basis.”
With 25 years as a franchisee in the same area, Lightner has been able to watch the growth and development of many employees – both at his franchise locations, and at the Home Office location.
He points to this as one of the most satisfying parts of this long journey, and he looks forward to continuing to watch new team members advance in their careers.
“My favorite part without question is seeing people develop, grow, and change as they work their way forward with the company,” Lightner said. “From fellow franchisees, Home Office staff, and most of all our local employees. There is so much opportunity for growth and experiences at TWO MEN AND A TRUCK. This has been my favorite part of being a franchisee by far.”
For those who are interested in a potential franchising journey with TWO MEN AND A TRUCK, Lightner would recommend it to those who are looking to work in a model that’s bigger than themselves.
“I would recommend it, but only if that person understands they are not operating as a sole entity, but instead they are working with much larger, successful network of employees, franchisees, and Home Office staff,” Lightner said. “That understanding is the key to being a successful franchisee.”
TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® is the first and largest franchised moving company in the United States. Let us help move you forward! For more helpful tips and information on moving services subscribe to our blog and like us on Facebook.