September feature: Santa Ana Franchisee Juan Reyes

Written by Katie Peterson

For more than 30 years, we have embraced our motto of Moving People Forward®. We love to see people progress through our system, and we are so lucky to play a part in the lives of such great members of our TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® family. Moving his own career forward, an integral member of our system, Juan Reyes, began his TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® career as a part-time employee while finishing his Bachelor’s degree at Columbus State University. He quickly realized his part-time job was something more and that TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® offered a great foundation to begin his career. More than 10 years later, Juan is now franchisee of the Santa Ana, Calif., location with a long resume of experience within the system.

Juan reyesHow did you first hear of TWO MEN AND A TRUCK®?

I first heard of our company while pursing my Bachelor’s degree at Columbus State University. My wife actually brought it to my attention. She thought I would like the company because I preferred working manual labor jobs, and it turned out to be a great fit for me.

What has your climb through the TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® system looked like?

I think my background is similar to most franchisees and franchise managers in the system. I started off in the system as a mover and held that position for about three months. Being trained and earning my spot on the trucks was really important because it allowed me to gain the experience I needed to move up the ladder. I shifted into the driver’s seat soon after and spent another six months on the trucks. Through some transitions going on at the franchise, I became a trainer for roughly nine months until my position shifted into a sort-of move manager. Around my two year mark I was promoted to operations manager, and after another two years I was promoted to the general manager position. After about six years as the GM, I had the opportunity to partner up and open the Santa Ana, Calif., location as a franchisee.

What is your most memorable moment within the system?

I would have to say my most memorable moment was receiving the email on June 30 of 2014 from TWO MEN AND A TRUCK®’s President Randy Shacka saying I was selected to participate in the first ever Mary Ellen’s Moving People Forward. This scholarship program puts candidates through one year of extensive training to further develop their knowledge of a franchise system. During this year, candidates participate in online classes and live webinars, in addition to working with departments at Home Office on management assignments to continually improve their management skills. That was a great day. It was at a very pivotal time in my life where decisions needed to be made for my future. That email made my decision pretty easy and has turned out great for everyone involved.

Did you ever imagine your journey with TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® would lead you to where you are today?

In the beginning, I honestly didn’t. I started off working as a mover part-time to keep me busy while I was in school. As time went on, my vision changed and so did my focus.

What are your goals moving forward?

My goals and plans moving forward are to continue to develop my immediate and surrounding areas as a franchisee.

What advice would you offer someone looking to get involved with TWO MEN AND A TRUCK®?

My advice to someone thinking about getting involved in our system would be to take a chance at endless opportunities. It’s a long road so you have to be patient. Take the time to learn your craft and try to make everyone around you better whenever you get a chance to.

What does TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® mean to you?

Family!!

We are so happy to have you as part of our system, Juan. Thank you for all your hard work, commitment to the brand, and for being our September franchisee feature! 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.

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.

July franchise feature: Brian Stern and the Boston, Ma., franchise

Within the TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® system, there are several success stories of movers becoming managers, managers becoming franchisees, and so on. For Boston Franchisee Brian Stern, his story is no different. He’s moved up the ranks in his 10 years with the company, starting as a mover, becoming a driver, trainer, customer service representative, manager, general manager, and now franchisee. To say Brian has experience in every field of the business is an understatement. Now, he’s finding the perfect fit in Boston as he works to grow the brand in a new city.

July FD blog headshot“It is especially rewarding being able to look back and see where you came from,” said Brian. “It allows me to really paint a picture of what this company has to offer when speaking to current managers, CSRs, or even a new hire.”

Currently there are three locations up and running in Boston and year-to-date, the locations have seen more than 30% growth. There are also plans to open a fourth location early 2017, which will be essential in helping with their truck parking needs due to their growth.

Since opening the first Boston location November 2015, the entire team takes pride in the worthwhile community events and charities they’ve had the privilege to be involved in.

“Boston has welcomed us with open arms. One of the most rewarding things we have been part of would have to be the Boston Marathon. Our reputation of giving back to the community apparently spreads fast. Nine months after opening, we were contacted by the Boston Athletic Association. We were able to assist them in fine tuning the logistics and set-up of their 26 course medical tents. This is an area in which they had struggled for years. After several meetings and debriefings on our performance, they are working on a contract to lock us in as a full-time partner. We are thrilled and proud to be part of something that is so important to everyone in Massachusetts,” said Brian.

July FD blog runners

The Boston team has also been very active in the Massachusetts’s Mover’s Association, and Brian has recently been voted onto the Board of Directors for the organization.

“Knowing how important these associations are to our industry, I’m really looking forward to the learning opportunity and will put my best foot forward to give back to the association,” he said.

Being a major hub on the I-95 corridor, Brian said they’ve had the ability to partner with many other TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® locations down the east coast to maximize interstate revenue and move even more people forward.

As TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® growth continues, east coast opportunities are still available! Check out the territories in Bridgeport, Conn., Northern Virginia, Frederick, Md., and Providence, R.I.

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.

The joys of owning your own franchise

Written by Melanie Bergeron

Melanie Bergeron, chair TWO MEN AND A TRUCK®/ INTERNATIONAL, Inc.

Melanie Bergeron, chair for
TWO MEN AND A TRUCK®/ INTERNATIONAL, Inc.

When I first started my franchise, I remembered thinking what a relief to be spending all of my time and energy on my own business! I was amazed to see the harder I worked, the faster my business grew.  It was exciting to set goals for my little business and blow past them. If something wasn’t working, I simply tweaked it a little and tried something else. As the owner, it was satisfying to monitor progress and quickly see the results of changes I made — and as long as it was within the confines of my Franchise Agreement, I could make operational changes whenever I wanted, no permission needed! The sense of freedom was exhilarating.

There was huge joy in making my customers happy. I loved reading the reply cards and the positive feedback and sharing that with our frontline staff. I was proud of the positive workplace culture we built. I wanted people to look forward to coming to work, make them feel appreciated, and motivate them to be their best.

I also had the freedom to set my own hours! When I noticed that I wanted to work on my business ALL the time, I realized I had to pull myself back. This business was like my baby and I wanted to nurture and take care of it constantly.  While my friends were showing pictures of their new babies, I wanted to show them pictures of my new trucks — they were my babies!

Melanie with her first used truck in Atlanta 1987

Melanie with her first used truck in Atlanta 1987

Being a business owner gives you the ability to offer your services to help the community. The sense of community appreciation and simply giving back is very gratifying.

As I grew my franchise, I needed to add staff. It was so exciting! As I stepped back from the day- to-day processes, it allowed me to work on other parts of my franchise business that I really enjoyed.

I also had the comfort and confidence in knowing that if I had a question, or was stuck in a situation, I could call Home Office or one of my fellow franchisees. An email or a phone call would always provide a feasible solution to a problem; there is no need to reinvent the wheel when you are in a franchised business, as there’s a good chance someone else has already experienced that issue and successfully resolved it. I always felt supported and a part of a community that encouraged me to succeed!

The greatest joy about a franchised business is that you are in business on your own, but you are not alone – there is a wonderful network of support resources and experienced individuals available to assist you in your journey to success!

To learn more about the TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® franchise system and franchising opportunities visit our website.

You get what you pay for: A new way of thinking about the cost of a franchise

scalesHave you ever wanted to buy something you were excited about, so much so you justified the cost, even if it didn’t make sense from a cost/benefit perspective? And, have you ever bought something on which you spent all of your discretionary cash, but then you had no funds to maximize the enjoyment of that item (e.g. you end up eating McDonald’s in Italy)? It happens to all of us at some point in both personal and professional settings. If you are pursuing a franchise opportunity, however, this behavior can turn a great thing into something you would like to shove in a closet and never mention again.

To avoid turning your franchise dream into a cast-off, it helps to first understand the true costs and benefits of being awarded a location(s). If you are only considering whether you can afford the franchise fee and initial projected investments, you are missing some major components of a diligent review of the opportunity. Here are a few tips to improve that diligence and to increase your understanding of the cost/benefit structure:

  1. Have the franchise developer explain the franchisor view of the franchise fee.  Is it just the cost to use the brand in a certain market? What do you get in the startup process once you pay that fee to set you up for longer-term success? Certainly you are pursuing the franchise because the brand and opportunity appeal to you, but try to dig deeper to see if the fee is only a pay to play to participate with the brand or is only viewed as the entry-level investment of a partnership.
  2. You should certainly review and understand investment ranges presented in FDDs, but it wouldn’t hurt to ask other franchisees in the system regarding their initial investment or question the franchise developer as to how those ranges are collected and calculated.  You should also perform an independent review with vendors to ascertain estimates of costs yourself.  And go Sherlock in your attempt to uncover hidden costs! This is not meant to imply that franchisors are willfully hiding costs, but every business has costs (e.g. state regulations) which might not be apparent on the surface.
  3. Finally, invest the time to understand any royalties, recurring fees, or cyclically driven costs of operations which are part and parcel with the opportunity. You should at least be able to sustain those as your revenue generation ramps up. And please, please ask questions about break-even and timeframes. This tip takes us to a bigger discussion, one of costs versus investment.

I have seen many people focus on whether they can afford the franchise fee and initial costs.  Sometimes, they even convince themselves they can make the lowest number in the investment range work. They then plan to stretch their finances to either cover that lowest buy-in point or they don’t acquire additional capital in support of anything beyond that low buy-in point. This is not a path that you want to go down, nor should you pursue a franchise opportunity with a franchisor who doesn’t match your financial bandwidth nor cares whether they do. Sweat equity is great, but it won’t completely make up for a capital deficiency. And capital is not just about covering your costs; it is about investing beyond the costs to maximize your experience and achieve success more quickly and/or with less professional AND PERSONAL strain. Just like you don’t want to eat McDonald’s on your dream trip to Italy, you don’t want to buy something you then don’t have the capital to invest in a growth-oriented proposition. And the stakes are much higher on the downside than eating hamburgers in Italy. Therefore, let’s shift your viewpoint a little to set you up for success.

You need to shift your diligence process from buying a franchise to one where you see yourself as an investor in a system. How happy are other investors in that system? What was their cost/benefit and risk/reward mindset when they invested initially, and how do they view things now? Does your franchise developer speak in terms of investment and partnership? This is the language an investor should use or recognize when trying to find an opportunity that will build them not break them. May you find that franchise opportunity which matches your dream!

7 traits of successful franchisees

FranchiseeIt takes a certain personality to be a franchise business owner, and even with enough capital, the end result isn’t guaranteed to be successful. Although many think franchising is similar to being an entrepreneur, there are certain characteristics required to become a franchising star.

How do you know if it’s meant to be? The TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® franchise development team formed seven key traits potential franchisees should embody for optimal franchise success:

1. Ability to follow a system: The most valuable component of entering a franchise system is that a time-tested road map has already been created for you. The process kinks have been ironed out, the methods have been tweaked, and the system has been proven. As long as you abide by the system and stay on course, success will follow.

2. Willingness to ask for help: As a business owner, you’ll find yourself in situations you haven’t experienced before. The franchisor is there to support and guide its franchisees. The willingness to ask for help is central to maintaining a healthy business partnership as well as aiding the franchise business to a healthy position. A franchisee’s staff can also be there to support the franchisee in their endeavors. The ability to delegate work when necessary will not only relieve stress from the franchisee, it will also foster team development as a whole.

3. Effective leader:  Individuals who have experience leading a team make model franchisees. The power to deal with people, to lead a team, and to communicate well with others are notable skills to have as the boss of your own business. The franchisee will train and manage their team, and it is essential they learn correctly from the beginning.

4. Excellent communicator: With any business, communication is key. This holds especially true in a franchise system. The franchisor will need to stay in contact with the franchisee to share updates and insights and the franchisee needs to communicate to the franchisor how their business is doing. Moreover, they need to consistently communicate to and connect with their staff.

5. Result driver: A good franchisee pays attention to results and realizes actions alone don’t guarantee achievement. Franchisees should concentrate on meeting objectives, focus on cost and quality, and hold performance to high standards.

6. Be reliable: Excellent franchisees tend to be reliable and all-around solid individuals who are careful but not necessarily risk averse. When a franchisor awards a franchise, they are entrusting the new franchisees to continue growing the brand and contributing to the system. The franchisee must have the skills to be consistent and the ability to manage the operation effectively.

7. Be resilient:Starting a business is full of challenges, and even the most prepared may face setbacks, but the franchisees who thrive learn from it and continue pushing forward. They see the big picture and know it makes them stronger as a person and businessperson. They realize the importance of staying motivated by relishing the long-term results.

Think you’ll make the perfect franchisee? Visit www.twomenandatruckfranchising.com to read more about TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® and our ongoing growth and open markets.

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.