Why leaving your career and pursuing business ownership is worthwhile

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Nearly everyone knows the feeling of sitting at your cubicle, frustrated at both your lack of productivity and the reason behind it – you aren’t exactly thrilled with your job, or at least certain parts of it. As you sit there doing mindless work for someone else and spinning your tires in the mud, you begin to wonder what your purpose is, if you’ll ever make an impact, and if you’ll be sitting in this same spot every day for the rest of your working life. Continue reading

Developing our brand in the 50 best cities for entrepreneurs

TWO MEN AND A TRUCK

Written by Charles Staky

Starting a business is a tough thing to do. Uncertain markets coupled with pressure from competitors, unexpected costs, and slow revenue growth are all things that can stand in the way of success for a new business. Many times these forces can even be strong enough to push a young business out of the market completely. Fortunately, TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® is a franchise system and when a new franchisee opens a location, they’re given tools and protocols systems that have been proven making their chances of success much better than those who start on their own. Beyond the name brand recognition and the guidance of corporate office support staff, the market conditions in which a franchise is opening is one factor that must be addressed. Entrepreneur Magazine’s August edition included a piece featuring “The 50 best cities for entrepreneurs.” These cities were picked based on a variety of factors including unemployment rate, business tax rates, percentage of college-educated residents, cost of living, commute time, projected household income through 2020, and many more. With so many variables, this top 50 list seems to be a very good indicator of friendly markets to open a business in.

As we looked over the list we noticed several of our TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® franchises already call these cities home. Even better news – there are franchising opportunities available in several cities featured! The combination of locating in a favorable market and starting a business with the proven practices a national brand results in a huge head start for any entrepreneur.

We reached out to a few TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® franchise owners in locations near the open markets on the top 50 list to see if they felt like their markets were favorable areas to own a business. To no surprise, they seemed to agree.

“It’s a growing market with ample opportunity. When you are in Richmond, Va., you get a sense of how many industries actually do business here,” said TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® Richmond Franchisee Nathan Bocock. “Not only does state government play a huge part in the economic success, but education, manufacturing, healthcare, and the financial services industry all have a large presence.”

While Richmond did not make the list, a few cities close by — Fredericksburg and Alexandria—both did, and they most likely can feel this same positive energy. Bocock, a multi-unit franchise owner, said he has seen faster growth in his Richmond location when compared to his other locations system-wide. The growth, however, is not totally attributed to the business-friendly ecosystem of the area.

“The population is good and transient, which means more potential customers in general. However, there is some competition so marketing, public relations, and maintaining a good brand image and presence is key to growth,” says Bocock. While a business-friendly market helps, a plan for growth must still be established. This is where the franchise system can help a business. The TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® brand brings legitimacy to the table and with it comes the help of our corporate-based franchise marketing support team who can help a location with everything from awareness advertising to public relations. This assures a location in one of these entrepreneur-friendly cities can tap into their market.

Another location who can attest to the Entrepreneur article is Sioux Falls, N.D., which sits at number 21 on their top 50 list. Sioux Falls Franchisee Jeff Lodike agrees it is a great place to be.

“We knew right away during our exploration visit, this area was it. Sioux Falls is a beautiful, streamlined city, and we were amazed at how friendly everyone was. The winters are a little tough, which took a little adjustment coming from St. Louis,” said Lodike. “Overall, we are very excited to be here and would recommend it to anyone that asked.”

While Sioux Falls may be off the market, another Dakota city, Fargo, N.D., comes in even higher at number seven. Just three and a half hours to the north, Fargo is one of 15 cities on the where there is opportunity to open a TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® location. This area stands out as it would most likely give the same friendly atmosphere which has allowed the Sioux Falls location to grow 167 percent through June 2016. Sitting high on the best cities for entrepreneurs list indicates the opportunities for growth in Fargo are most likely greater than those of its neighbor to the south.

“Entrepreneur cities are perfect for the brand. These cities value hard work, an iconic brand, and the effort that goes into creating a great customer experience,” said TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® CEO Jeff Wesley. “They also appreciate our brand story and how much we continue to give back to entrepreneurship, communities, and charities.”

However, the excitement surrounding the success franchises in these cities are experiencing, while immense, is overshadowed by the opportunity the brand has in the cities not yet colonized. As we work toward our vision in the coming years, Wesley says the brand will to continue to innovate and focus on customer service. Even after 80 months of consecutive growth, there is still room to improve and grow.

“People are always moving and we want every move to be the best customer experience. Our team loves the opportunity to come into work each day and improve upon our success,” said Wesley. “We will never stop being proud of the brand, but at the same time, we respect the need to work harder in order to continue performing and exceeding our customer expectations today, tomorrow, and into the future.”

Opportunities for growth are present everywhere in current TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® territories as well as areas the brand can grow into. By encouraging franchises to take advantage of their local environment, the tools offered by home office support staff, and by continuing to work to exceeding customer expectations, the future remains bright for this brand. It appears 80 months of consecutive growth might only be the beginning.

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.

Franchisee Feature: Tyler Whalen and Justin Tangeman

Tyler and Justin front of truck

Written by Katie Peterson

At TWO MEN AND A TRUCK®, we value members of our company who exemplify a strong work ethic and core values we were built on, and we love to celebrate them in any way we can. This is where Tyler Whalen and Justin Tangeman come in. The two began working as movers for the same franchise in Iowa during their first summers out of college. Both Justin and Tyler became movers under the assumption they would work for the summer and move on. After recognizing the opportunity in front of them, Tyler and Justin stayed much longer than a single summer, and are now co-franchisees of the Omaha, Neb., location.

Tyler and Justin met on the job when Justin, who had been working at TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® for about a year, interviewed Tyler for a driver position back in 2010.

“We actually didn’t hit it off right away. Tyler was just a pain in the butt employee for a while when he started, he complained about everything,” jokes Justin.

“It’s true. I just didn’t take the job very seriously upon hire. I figured it was just something to get me through the summer,” Tyler agreed.Tyler and Justin pointing to truck

Eventually, Tyler and Justin began seeing eye-to-eye and both their business and personal relationship has grown tremendously over the years. Now the two have teamed up to run the Omaha office that has since grown to be the successful franchise it is today.

Justin and Tyler have been franchisees in Omaha together for just over a year, and in this short amount of time, have executed more than 8,000 moves and in 2015, achieved the highest revenue the Omaha location has seen to date.

What did advancing yourselves in the system look like? What kind of positions did you hold before you became franchisees?

Tyler: I started out as a mover/driver for this small office and then moved into the office to be a kind-of CSR/manager. The office position was really a jack-of-all-trades because we were so small. I was in the CSR/manager position for about a year and was able to become a general manager after the location really took off and began to get a lot of business.

Justin: I was a mover/driver for a while and then I started doing some training, in-home estimates, and scheduling moves over the phone. My position required me to be a jack-of-all-trades doing everything I could for the franchise. After that I just kept taking on more responsibilities. I began on more managerial responsibilities, book keeping , marketing, and eventually moved to Tulsa, Okla., and was assistant operations manager for a large location there, and that’s where I first became a franchisee.

How do you like being a franchisee for TWO MEN AND A TRUCK®?

Justin: We love being franchisees. It’s so fun, every day is a challenge and something different. You get to do all the different tasks that come with it. Some days you have the hoods popped on the truck and you’re making sure it’s ready to run, and other days you’re sitting at the round table having a meeting and working on the business side of things.

What do you want to tell team members starting out as movers or drivers about the TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® franchise system?

Justin: Continuously work hard and strive to get to the next level, nothing is going to be given to you unless you work for it.

Tyler: The possibilities are really endless. It really just comes down to hard work. I remember from annual meeting listening to one of the original “two men” Jon Sorber say how important it is to always act like you are in the position above you. If you are a mover act like a driver, if you are a driver act like a trainer, if you’re a trainer act like you’re the manager, if you’re a manager act like the general manager, strive to take that next step and be proud of what you do and you are going to be rewarded for it. At TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® the biggest thing we are pushing right now is to build your bench. Building a solid team and creating a positive  culture with people who want to work hard and take initiative in what they do, there’s a future for them.

Which TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® core value most resonates with you?

Justin: Being my best and having fun. When you’re having fun at work it doesn’t seem like work at all, so we like to try and have fun while still working hard.

Tyler: A big one for me is giving back to the community. It is pretty cool to see  the difference we make with our trucks being able to move stuff. A big one we get into is doing bike drives and working with local businesses where we donate our men and trucks to be able to transport donated bikes. It’s just being able to do the little stuff like that where it takes such a small amount of time but makes such a big difference for the kids receiving the bikes and the people who need them transported. It’s pretty cool to see the impact we can have in our community.

Tyler and Justin know what it means to be part of the company who Moves People Forward®. We want to thank these franchisees for helping to make this brand the success it is and being an example of all you can achieve with TWO MEN AND A TRUCK®. Thank you, Tyler and Justin, for being our featured franchisees! You deserve it!

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.

People make the brand: Who’s franchising with TWO MEN AND A TRUCK®

Written by Jessy Howe

In 2015, the TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® system experienced a record-breaking year concluding with 72 months of record growth and more than $400 million in revenue. Through providing outstanding customer service resulting in a more than 95% referral rate, we’ve continued to grow and set ourselves apart from others in this space.

Over the next four years, the moving industry is predicted to grow and evolve substantially. We expect a similar upward trend and to continue evolving while keeping a keen eye on meeting the needs of our home and business customers. No matter the size or distance, we want to be the preferred mover with a professional team customers can count on for a stress-free, efficient moving experience. With a vision and a franchise system that is committed to Moving People Forward®, our customers can trust we will be here to meet their unique needs.

As we continue to expand, we rely heavily on our people to successfully move the brand forward as a system of one. In 2016, we will hire more than 9,000 employees in total and sign on 30 new locations. Having been named as one of Forbes 2016 Best Franchises to Buy, we are excited for this significant year ahead.

The infographic below illustrates our growth and breaks down who is franchising with TWO MEN AND A TRUCK®!

FD infographic

TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® is the first and largest franchised moving company. There are currently 349 U.S. locations and 35 internationally between Canada, Ireland, and the United Kingdom. We are proud to have 2,586 trucks and 6,545 system employees helping to complete two moves per minute on average! Each location is independently owned and operated.

For more information or to learn about opportunities in becoming a franchisee at TWO MEN AND A TRUCK®, visit franchise.twomenandatruck.com to begin moving your career forward!

A franchising family

To celebrate Father’s Day, we’re highlighting a unique and successful franchisee partnership: the Knowles family. The Knowles are a three-man team who have taken business ownership by storm. The trio consists of Larry, and his two sons, Ryan and Jeff. The trio owns six TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® locations in Ocala, Fla., Pasco, Fla., Spring Hill, Fla., and Tampa, Fla.

Owning a business with family certainly has its advantages and disadvantages. The Knowles have done a superb job running six businesses all while keeping the family peace!

Is it difficult to work with family members? What’s their secret? How do they make it work and still get along at family gatherings? Jeff let us in on their business secrets.

“There are certainly times we all get on each other’s nerves,” said Jeff. “In the end, our love for each other and our family holds the ship together. I run the Tampa office, and Ryan runs the Pasco office. My dad is a CPA and is in charge of making sure the books are in good shape. We are separate most days, but talk on the phone frequently. It’s a pretty well-oiled machine.”

Jeff, Ryan, and Larry rarely talk business at family gatherings –they tryto just enjoy everybody’s company and avoid work conversations when their family members are together.

There are plenty of benefits that come when working with your family members. For one, you have a team of family members to help make big decisions. You don’t have to take the leap alone and you have each other’s backs.

IMG_0241Even though the Knowles are a close family, the three of them are very different individuals.

“I’m laid back, Ryan likes to be hands-on, and my father is the number’s guy,” said Jeff. “I’m sure we’d be all over the board if we took the family DISC assessment. Sometimes our personalities clash and that can be difficult. In the end it’s important to empathize with each other and try to see the big picture.”

For anyone considering opening a business with siblings and/or parents, make sure you have the right family chemistry and all take on specific and different roles to avoid stepping on each other’s toes. It’s also important to be on the same page with short-term and long-term visions, and to make sure you keep communication open. It’s also wise to take Jeff’s advice and avoid business talk at family gatherings as much as possible, as enjoying free time and taking a break from any kind of work is important in maintaining a good balance, regardless of what industry you’re in.

As a successful multi-unit franchisee with many years of experience, Larry has offered some advice for family members who are thinking about franchising with TWO MEN AND A TRUCK®.

Hire a strong management team. Have a management team you can trust. Take your time hiring managers, don’t just fill the position to fill the position. Interview your candidates to make sure they are well-suited and a good fit for your business and the culture you’ve created.IMG_0243

Take your time growing. Develop an efficient machine before drastically expanding your fleet. The efficient machine consists of crew leaders and customer service representatives that can resolve problems and satisfy customers without you having to hold their hand. The secret is minimal turnover. Pay them well, train them well, and they will stay.

Send your employees to the corporate facility. Multiple times throughout the year, TWO MEN AND A TRUCK®/International’s headquarters in Lansing, Mich., has training for employees in the system, from specialized training for movers and drivers, all the way up to franchisees. Even if you are far away, send your customer service reps and management team to Lansing for top-notch training. The franchisor has numerous resources and loads of experience in each area of the business.

Hire well-rounded movers. Your movers are the face of the company. They are in direct contact with your customers. It’s important your movers are polite and well-spoken. Keep them happy; it helps to pay them well, and offer benefits and paid time off. You want your movers and drivers to be exceptional brand ambassadors.

Invest in a marketer. As soon as you can justify the cost, hire an employee with a marketing background to do your marketing. I promise, you will reap the benefits.

Larry, Jeff and, Ryan are a power house. Their family dynamic makes the trio a top franchisee team in the system. For more stories like the Knowles, subscribe to our blog. TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® is the first and largest franchised moving company in the United States. For information on franchising with TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® visit, twomenandatruckfranchising.com.

Knowles trio takes TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® franchising opportunities by storm

The beginning

Larry Knowles, Jeff Knowles, and Ryan Knowles are a TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® franchisee trio with six locations in Florida. Larry, Jeff and Ryan’s father, conducted his first move in March 1993. Since then, his footprint has expanded with the help of sons Jeff and Ryan.

Nineteen years after their first franchise opened, the family has taken their business by storm and expanded the brand in Florida with six locations in Tampa, Pasco, and Spring Hill.

Together, the Knowles family, who are Michigan natives, tells an interesting story.

Larry’s friend, Duane, was a TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® franchisee who loved the system and had great success as a small business owner. It didn’t take Duane much time to convince Larry to open a franchise in Tampa, Fla. After all, Larry is a CPA with a diverse background in accounting which was a huge draw when he considered starting his own business.

“The thought of getting out of the Michigan winters and running my own business was very appealing,” said Larry. “It was a little scary moving to Florida without knowing anyone.”

Larry picked up his family and moved to Florida at the end of 1992. Little did he know how much his life would change and how much success would be achieved as a business owner.

Expanding their business

Five years after Larry’s franchise opened, Jeff became involved in the business. Ryan saw the opportunities TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® offered and joined his family members a few years after Jeff. Once Larry’s sons joined him, the dream team was created, and they were able to significantly increase the number of trucks and franIMG_0240chise locations.

“With them on board we became more efficient, I would recommend anyone starting a franchise to have a family member working full-time in operations,” said Larry. “Right now, we have five relatives working with us, at one time we had six!”

Jeff reminisced on their team communication and giving back to their employees.

“We’ve been lucky enough to have three minds tackling issues,” said Jeff. “We communicate well (most of the time) and this communication has taken a vital role in our success. Our management is eager and confident and can see the big picture at the end of the day. Not only are our managers great, our frontline staff – movers, drivers, customer service representatives — are, too. Our frontline lives out the core values and we give back to them because of it. Without our frontline, we’d be out of business. Sometimes that’s easy to forget.”

The future

It’s clear that talking about future business plans excites Larry, Jeff, and Ryan and they are eager to continue expanding their footprint even more. As a system, we’re excited to see what is in store for the Knowles family!

“We’ve been blessed to have great employees in place that we trust and are extremely confident in,” said Jeff. “It’s exciting to watch them grow as managers and hopefully franchisees.”

The Knowles invest a lot in their employees which is why we believe they’ve continued to see success through the years. To learn more about TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® franchisees subscribe to our blog.

TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® is the first and largest franchised moving company in the United States. Visit twomenandatruckfranchising.com for more franchising information.

What to know when reviewing a franchise agreement

So, you are investing in a new franchise business. Congratulations! At this point, you may be close to reviewing the franchise agreement where the franchisor grants you, as a franchisee, the right to be part of the system. The franchise agreement outlines the partnership between the franchisor and franchisee while providing outlines for how the business will be run. Before you sign the franchise agreement, be sure you are looking it over carefully and consider these points as you’re reviewing the document.

How long does the agreement last, and what are the terms of renewal? There is no specific time required for a franchise term, they usually range from five to 20 years. It’s important to verify whether the term of the agreement is long enough for you to recover your initial investment.

Do I have exclusive rights to the area I’m purchasing? There can be many different ways franchise companies divide territories, and territories don’t necessarily have to be exclusive. Be sure you know what you’re getting for your money.

What fees will I be charged? Common fees include an initial franchise purchase fee, a renewal fee, a transfer fee, royalties, advertising fees, technology fees, and training fees. In addition, franchisees may be required to use certain vendors at their own expense. Make sure you understand all fees and what they’re for when making financial projections.

Is the agreement negotiable? If the agreement is negotiable, this is a red flag. You should want the company’s franchise agreement to be uniform because you want your fellow franchisees to be required to operateFranchise Agreement by the same terms under which you are operating. This ensures the brand you are investing in retains its quality and grows its value. Uniformity of franchise agreements also gives franchisees more power as a group.

Is the agreement one-sided? It is pretty typical for franchise agreements to contain provisions which may seem favorable to the franchisor, such as the ability of the franchisor to make enforceable changes to policies at any time or broad termination clauses. By investing in a franchise, the most valuable asset you are getting is the brand. You do not want all of your hard work into your franchise to be undermined by the actions or inactions of a fellow franchisee. Franchise agreements must be strong to protect that investment.

Contracts are essential and the terms are important, but remember that good franchise systems are built on solid relationships. You want to be a part of a proven, successful system with happy franchisees. Talk to existing franchises within the system you are considering before pulling the trigger.

TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® is the first and largest franchised moving company in the United States. For information on starting your own TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® franchise and to access performance information which is available to prospective owners, click here.

How the military prepared me to be a TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® franchisee

Terry BrunsTWO MEN AND A TRUCK® Boise franchisee, Terry Bruns, didn’t always think franchising was in his future. Starting out in the military, he learned firsthand what it means to work hard and use systems to succeed in business. See why he believes his military background has prepared him to be successful as a TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® franchisee.

Q: Tell us a little bit about your military background.

Terry: I joined the Air Force straight out of high school, I even celebrated my 18th birthday while in basic training. I was a wideband communications equipment specialist, essentially an electronics technician working on a particular type of communications equipment. After basic training and a nine- month technical school, I had my first duty assignment in Scotland where I met my wife. After a year and a half, I went to Grissom AFB Indiana where I finished my enlistment.

Q: What made you decide to franchise with TWO MEN AND A TRUCK®?

Terry: After eight years buying, rehabbing, and reselling houses, I took a break when the housing market imploded. I thought it was going to be temporary and then I would go back in to real estate, however after about a year and half off, I decided I would explore buying or starting a business. I really wanted to buy an existing business but soon found that most them are for sale because there is something wrong with them and the owner is looking for someone to bail them out. I then looked into franchising and after a very long search, I stumbled upon TWO MEN AND A TRUCK®. The values and the way they did business seemed to be a perfect fit for me. On top of that, my strengths were in logistics and sales, so if fit me very well on many levels. With every other opportunity I explored, the more I looked, the less interested I became, to the point I wondered if I was just afraid to take the leap. Once I started looking at TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® though, the more I looked, the more interested I became.

Q: How has your military background helped you run a franchise?

Terry: With the military I learned a lot about systems and the importance of them. Once I was stationed at Grissom AFB, I went into a staff position that was all about logistics and it was certainly a strong suit for me as well. Here I discovered the importance of preparedness as well as how to respond when things were not going right and how to move forward in a positive manner.

Q: Explain why you feel TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® is a good work environment for military personal.

Terry: TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® has a great sense of brotherhood and camaraderie which is something I think a lot of people miss once they leave the military. The sense of discipline helps a great deal as well. As mentioned previously, knowing the importance of preparedness and how to respond to the unexpected, allows you to really capitalize on skills you develop while in the military.

Q: What are some big accomplishments you’ve recently made at the franchise?

Terry: We are about two and a half years old and there have been more challenges than I expected. Primary due to turnover in a couple of key positions. Even though we currently we have 20.3 percent growth in our revenue, we haven’t experienced the growth we wanted or even that we should have accomplished. However I am very proud of the fact we maintained world-class standards through all the difficulties, and this year, we have maintained a 98.4 percent referral rate. We focused not on being “better” than our competition, but on being the “best we can be”. As a result, we have set the bar in our market very high. Even compared to the TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® system, which as a whole sets a very high standard, we have been able to maintain a position very near the top in every measurement for customer service and for that I am very proud of our team. Overall we have had success and are blessed to be part and share the brand that is having record success around nation.

Q: What are your future business goals?

Terry: Our growth projections for 2015 is 36% year over year while maintaining over 98% referral rate and over 4.8 overall satisfaction. It is important to us to keep the customer service ratings that high as we believe that reputation is of higher importance that just the growth on its own. I believe we are only at about 30 to 40 percent of our markets potential at a minimum, so we have a lot of work ahead of us just in our market and that is our number one focus. We continue to build a great team and are in the process of fully implementing open book management which will allow us to continue building our already great team and provide opportunities for our team members. With that being said, I want to provide as many opportunities for our team members as I can so we are allowing ourselves to think about expanding into another market soon. If things go as planned we hope to be planning a new market opening in the next 12 to 15 months. With the setbacks we faced this past summer, we know we have a lot of work to do to get there and although it’s not a sure thing, with the team we have, it is certainly possible.

Like what you hear about the TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® system? Be sure and check out twomenandatruckfranchising.com for franchise opportunities.