Partners in marriage and business, how one couple is making it work

Written by Jessy Howe
TWO MEN AND A TRUCK Franchisee Jonathon and Karen Crain
The thought of being in business with your spouse is enough to scare some away, but for TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® Multi-Unit Franchisee Jonathan Crain and his wife, Karen, the support and understanding from the experience far outweighs any negatives.

Karen and Jonathan met through mutual friends and quickly became inseparable. Karen sold the salon she owned and began working alongside Jonathan as the marketing manager at the Lakeland, Fla., location in 2010. Fast forward to 2016, and the happy couple is now experiencing great business growth. Between the Kissimmee and Lakeland franchises, they completed more than 3,500 moves in 2015 bringing in nearly $2.8 million in revenue. To top that off, they are expecting their first child!

Q: How did the two of you meet?

Jonathan: Karen managed a high-end salon and spa in Winter Springs, Fla., while I was in college at the University of Central Florida. Two of my female roommates worked for Karen at the spa. Unknowingly, Karen and I had both expressed interest in the other to friends. I said flippantly when I first met Karen, “I’m going to marry that girl one day.” Everyone laughed and said she was way out of my league. We had dated other people for a few years and happened to both get out of relationships at the same time. The timing was right and we began dating. We immediately fell head over heels in love and spent every moment of the next several years together.

Q: How long have you been married?

Jonathan: Karen was very patient while I opened the Lakeland franchise and pushed marriage down the road. She eventually sold the salon she owned in 2010 and began to work in the office with me. I proposed in 2011 after we had lived together for six years. We were married in November of 2013, and are now expecting our first child in June of this year, a little girl.

Q: Although no day is the same, describe a typical day at each of your jobs.

Jonathan: Our days are very different. We don’t always work the same schedule. Sometimes we ride into work together and sometimes we don’t. Our offices are on opposite sides of the building, so we don’t see each other much unless we need something. I take meetings and solve problems all day. Karen handles receivables and payables and QuickBooks. Karen also helps manage the customer service representatives. 

Karen: When I first started working with Jonathan my desk was in his office. That lasted about three months and eventually I needed my own space.

Q: How do you balance your work life and personal life?

Karen and Jonathan: “Work hard, play hard” was our motto for many years. With a baby on the way, the motto is now “work hard, relax hard.”

Q: What is the best part of having your significant other at work?

Karen: The best part about working with Jonathan is I can come to him with any issue, and he always has the best solutions.

Jonathan: The best part of having Karen at work is she helps keep me calm when major problems are happening. It’s kind of nice to go home after a bad day and for your spouse to completely understand what you’ve been through. Not many spouses REALLY understand what their spouse goes through on a daily basis.

Q: What advice would you share to others about being in business with their spouses?TWO MEN AND A TRUCK Franchisee Jonathon and Karen Crain

Jonathan: BE RESPECTFUL! That’s probably the best advice for marriage and working together.

Karen: Treat each other with respect, especially at work and in front of co-workers. If you have a disagreement about something, work it out privately. Also, try to have fun and lift the other person up if they are having a bad day. There are many times throughout the day that we take a break and just joke around together. I think it relieves a lot of stress.

Q: Are there any special plans for Valentine’s Day?

Karen and Jonathan: Valentine’s Day for us usually involves really great food. We either make plans for a great restaurant or stay in and make a gourmet meal together.

With a foundation as strong as this, Karen and Jonathan embody what it means to be the “Movers Who Care®” and are an excellent example successfully being in business with the one you love.

TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® is the first and largest franchised moving company in the United States. Let us move your career forward. Consider investing in us and becoming a franchisee today! Visit franchise.twomenandatruck.com to learn more about franchising opportunities.

Going into business with your spouse

When you think of wedded bliss, do you picture the demands, time, and stress of running a successful business with your spouse? Although it may seem like a lot to take in – everything revolving around your business in addition to the everyday stresses of taking care of your family and running a smooth household — it’s an endeavor which can be very rewarding and worth the financial and personal risk.

For some, it may seem like too much. Many married couples prefer to separate work from family life. However, the TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® system sees many married couples run successful, multi-unit franchises and learn to grow a marriage within a new normal!

Several franchisee couples have found their skill sets complement each other, allowing them to split responsibilities in the business. In addition to complimenting each other’s skill sets, many married couples embody and show strong passion for the company’s strong community values and core principles.

For example, take longtime Franchisees Brooke and Les Wilson.

Les worked as a TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® mover while in school at the University of South Carolina. He eventually became general manager of the Columbia, S.C. franchise. Les thrived on the daily interactions with the movers, drivers, and customer service representatives. He also loved providing customers with excellent customer service, and realized he could see a viable career in this industry.Brooke and Les

Les teamed up with a group of investors and purchased the rights to the TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® franchise in Charlotte, N.C., just after graduating from college in 1999. In September 2004, Les partnered with his wife, Brooke (who started her TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® career as a customer service representative) to open the Durham, N.C., franchise. From there , the married duo continued expanding their franchise profile throughout the east coast. They added Henry County, Ga., January 2007, Eastern North Carolina January 2008, South Fulton, Ga., October 2008, Raleigh, N.C., November 2012, Bethesda, Md., November 2013, and Columbia, Md., April 2014.

Originally, the Wilson’s decision to work together as a couple was out of necessity more than anything. Brooke was the primary customer service representative in the franchise and Les managed the move crews and performed onsite move consultations.

“We realized within three months that the business and our marriage was suffering as we were simply spread too thin,” said Les. “We hired our first customer service representative and then a full-time move consultant within the next few months to ensure not only the success of the business but our sanity as well.”

As they soon found out, their business relationship thrived because their business strengths complemented each other beautifully.

“She is detail-oriented and I am more of the extroverted ‘sales guy’,” said Les. “She has always managed the financial end of the business while I have concentrated more on the sales and operations side.”

Having separate areas of focus and balancing each other out at the workplace sounds easy, right?

“The challenging part comes when things are not operating in an optimal fashion,” said Les. “When this occurs, the issues can and will come home with you and any points of contention can spill into your personal life.”

Les recommends husband-wife business owners keep work at work, and focus on one another’s business strengths while at the office.

“I operated a successful TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® franchise before Brooke became involved in the business. With her help and attention to detail, our level of success has sky-rocketed and has taken our locations to levels that I could never have imagined, nor accomplished without her,” said Les. “The reason we have been successful in business is our compatibility. My weaknesses are Brooke’s strengths and vice versa. Our marriage has worked because we have stayed fairly successful in ‘leaving it at work.’”

The Wilsons are excited to continue growing their successful TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® operations. They plan to continue improving processes and hiring on team members to take their franchises to new levels. Once these goals are accomplished, they will consider expansion options to determine what markets work best for their teams to thrive.

Watch more on Brooke and Les, here.

You can also learn more about Joel and Janelle Dowley, Florida franchisees, here.

Be sure to check out the TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® YouTube channel for additional interviews and fun videos to learn more about the company!

Franchise with TWO MEN AND A TRUCK®

Has TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® captured your interest? The TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® franchise system is the largest, fastest growing franchise brand with an integrated way to run a moving franchise. We are constantly investing millions annually to improve our operating system. With a proven track record of growth and the highest customer service referral rate in the industry, we are posed for even more success in the coming years. We are setting records at all levels and whether you are an accountant, insurance agent, doctor, or CEO, we have the system and results for those looking to invest and own their own business.

It’s important to understand TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® views their franchisees as long-term partners. The partnership is between the franchisee and Home Office to strengthen the brand and its success. The partnership between franchisees and Home Office requires a large amount of communication and engagement. We work daily to move our franchisees, customers, and communities forward.

Visit our website for more exciting information on TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® and our franchising model.