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 for franchise opportunities.

Franchising Forward: Meet Bert Kolz, multiunit franchise president

bertkolzMeet Bert Kolz, president of Black Wolf Group and overseer for eight TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® franchises across three states. Having a diverse professional background prior to joining TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® has been integral to Bert’s successful transition into his role as president of Black Wolf Group.

After working in corporate America for 25 years and gaining experience in finance, marketing, and general business, Bert began working for the Black Wolf Group, a private firm which owns several TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® franchises. He has worked for well-known companies such as Arthur Anderson, Rust-Oleum, Ben Franklin Retail Stores, Lands’ End, and Grainger. TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® caught Bert’s attention when he learned the company is an industry leader and the Core Values closely match his own.

Successful businesses or, in this case, franchises, often have recipes for success or key factors which come into play. To run a successful operating unit Bert’s philosophy is simple: hire good people; provide superior customer service; and utilize the tremendous amount of resources already available within the franchise system.

Many franchises have defining moments within their history which led to their success. This defining moment isn’t really a “moment” for Bert, but instead a defining attitude. He describes this attitude as his franchisees’ willingness to accept the risk of expansion, embrace change, and accept the TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® vision. This defining attitude has proved to be an excellent contribution for Bert and his team. Black Wolf Group has seven general managers running his franchise territories and all of them started as movers and drivers for TWO MEN AND A TRUCK®.

Not only does Bert have the right attitude but he also believes in firmly promoting within the company and giving others fantastic TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® opportunities. When asked about the reason behind these beliefs he said:

 “TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® has the best trained and most customer-focused employees in the moving industry, we only need to look within the system to find the best employees.” 

Black Wolf Group currently owns 11 TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® franchises. Within the next five years, Burt and his team hope to maintain double-digit sales growth at each of their TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® locations, adding both trucks and jobs to the system while taking market share from competitors. Which is certainly attainable for the group!

Bert’s success in overseeing multiple franchises has led others to wonder what’s key to his success. His advice to future franchisees “Take care of the customer and the rest will take care of itself.”

For information on starting your own TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® franchise location and to access performance information which is available to prospective owners click here.