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.
Even 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.
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.