TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® franchisees share how their fathers provided guidance in their lives

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-Written by Erik Sargent

After celebrating Mother’s Day last month, it’s now time to celebrate another important day of the year – Father’s Day.

At TWO MEN AND A TRUCK®, we often talk a lot about the influence of a mother in our lives, but the role a father plays is equally important. Whether it’s grilling out in the backyard, going fishing, watching or playing a sport together, the memories and bonds people form with their fathers can last a lifetime. Continue reading

Fathers and franchisees: Bob and Cory Christensen

Christensen fathers day blog pic updated

The Christensen’s with Illinois Governor Rauner

Written by Katie Peterson

Father-son duo Bob Christensen and Cory Christensen master the challenges of running a family business, and the occasional tennis match. Just in time for Father’s Day, the Christensen’s offer up advice and share their experiences of going into business with family and the joys and challenges that go along with it.

Bob and Cory are multi-unit franchisees based out of Illinois with three franchises in Rockford, Peoria, and the Quad Cities. The pair got involved with the TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® family after Bob began researching business opportunities and realized if he wanted to achieve the most success he could, he would need the help of a partner. Bob enlisted the help of his son Cory and the two quickly realized they were a dynamic team.

According to Cory, he’s had an interest in the moving industry for a while. “I actually told my parents that after college I wanted to get into the box industry,” said Cory “My theory was everything comes in a box, even boxes come in boxes, so you can’t go wrong.”

When choosing Cory as a partner, Bob knew the importance of picking someone who complimented his strengths and weaknesses.

“You must find that family member that can offset your weaknesses so together you are stronger,” said Bob. “If two business partners, whether family or not, both have the same skills, one is useless.”

The Christensens make family business partnerships look easy, but more importantly, they excel as a family. Bob and Cory have found prioritizing family over their business has given them continued success. Bob believes it is crucial to not completely consume yourself with the business, because if you do, all other external functions take a backseat.

“My favorite part about being a dad is seeing the growth of my children both personally and professionally, especially as it relates to them being good fathers,” said Bob.

Cory says he has learned a lot from his dad in the business context, but even more from him as a father, “I admire Dad’s optimism and entrepreneurial spirit in business, but he has always been a good family man.” The pair are coaches of the Rockford 5-6-year-old “coaches pitch” baseball team, which Cory’s two oldest boys play in. This year the team is currently 3-0, although they aren’t technically supposed to keep score. Both Bob and Cory love to play sports, especially tennis and other racquet sports, and spend time playing together whenever they can.

Bob and Cory say they have learned a lot from being involved with TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® as a family.

“One of my favorite parts about being involved in a family business is starting a legacy of owning many franchises and seeing your children and possibly grandchildren enter the family business,” said Bob.

As for advice to others considering going into business, Bob points to TWO MEN AND A TRUCK®’s core value, “be your best and have fun.”

“Whatever you do, be the best you can be,” said Bob. “But you have to have a sense of humor and enjoy what you are doing, or you end up not paying attention to your ultimate success.”

Together, Bob and Cory have created a family tradition of upholding the values and practices of TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® and have achieved success as a family unit and family business as a result, with an increase in sales from $5,923,490 in 2014 to $8,946,424 in 2015 and a total of 49,918 moves since their first franchise opened in 2008.

Thank you, Christensen’s, for all you do for TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® and happy Father’s Day!

 

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.

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.

First-Class Franchising Father

Being a dad is full of both rewards and challenges. Being a dad AND a business owner takes strength, grit, and courage. As Father’s Day approaches, we want to highlight an exceptional franchisee who is a father and grandfather.

Tom Connolly is the franchisee for TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® Delaware North. He’s also a loving husband to his wife, Pat, dad to Don, Doug and Maureen, and grandpa to Kaley, age two, and Liam, six months.

Tom ConnollyAfter a successful career in pharmaceuticals, Tom decided to retire early. But, being the business man he is, he soon became bored. That’s when he and his son, Don, began considering owning their own business. Don was doing well managing a franchise outlet in another industry and it seemed like owning a business was something they could build together. In the late 80s, Tom used TWO MEN AND A TRUCK®’s services after his brother told him how great it was. Coincidentally during their search for franchising opportunities, TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® popped up. Tom believed the brand was very strong and the customer focus was something he and Don respected and shared.

“We opened our franchise in July of 2007 just in time for the worst economic setback anyone less than 90- years-old has ever seen. We could have let the times derail us but we believed in the power of the brand.” – Tom

After more than 30 years of working in corporate America, including senior roles in Fortune 500 corporations, Tom believed he had learned it all. TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® proved to be both a fresh learning experience and a chance to build something special with his son.

“The mutual respect we have now for what we each bring to the table might have never been possible. It leaves me wishing I could duplicate that with my other two children.”- Tom

Don ConnollyFrom day one the father-son duo worked side-by-side, sharing in every key business decision.

“Don was very good at some skills I lacked and conversely, I think he realized and embraced my career experience.”- Tom

Today Don acts as general manager and runs the day-to-day operations. In early 2012, Don was added to the franchise agreement which formally added “franchisee” to his title.  Tom believes most of the success of the last year was built on Don’s efforts.

Father’s Day

Every Father’s Day Tom and his family make an effort to spend the day together.

“I lost my Dad before I turned six. The lack of those early memories impacts every Father’s Day for me. Not in a sad way so much but more as a reminder that my kids and I should enjoy the moment and each other while we can. In that spirit, I am forever feeling my best memory is still to come.”- Tom

Every year is different for the family, and this year, little Liam is being baptized on Father’s Day. Tom believes that trumps any tradition.