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.

For the love of business: Making the most of marriage and franchise management

It’s February. The month when northerners begin to experience winter battle fatigue, when New Year’s resolutions have elapsed, and when candy company Necco produces 100,000 pounds of candy hearts daily in order to meet the holiday’s demand. That’s right, we are smack-dab in the middle of the month which invokes Saint Valentine and all things love. And while millions of Americans are selecting the perfect card for their sweethearts, and while children are carefully addressing commercially exploited card sets for their pint-sized friends, some married couples across the nation are considering a much more serious commitment – owning a business together.

DSC_5858 2The TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® franchise system boasts several successful businesses franchised by lovebirds. One very brave couple took on three of the most life-changing (and stressful) events in a matter of 10 months. A marriage, a cross-country move, and the launch of a business in less than a year would be challenging for anyone; too much to consider for many. But this passionate and practical couple truly made their experience look like a breeze.

Alicia Sorber Gallegos and Pedro Gallegos married September 2011. Within 10 months their lives were packed into a trailer, and with a solid business plan and a lot of love, the couple set off on the adventure of a lifetime: opening the first southern California TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® location.

IMG_1025 (4)Q: How did you and Pedro meet?

Alicia: We met in college when I was studying abroad in Ecuador. Pedro is from Ecuador and he had just returned from studying abroad at Michigan State, where I went to school. We never met at MSU but coincidentally ended up meeting at an MSU get-together in Ecuador.

Q: Pedro, can you highlight Alicia’s and your educational and professional backgrounds?

Pedro: Alicia has a Bachelor’s degree in Spanish, with a focus in business. Her professional experience has included marketing and communications. She worked in a variety of sales and marketing roles for TWO MEN AND A TRUCK®, and her last position was marketing manager for a group of franchisees with locations is Chicago, St. Louis, and Salt Lake City. I have a Bachelor’s degree in economics, a Master’s degree in finance, and my work background is primarily in corporate finance. Prior to opening the franchise I worked as a financial associate on the valuation team for a large public accounting firm.

Q: Alicia, at what point did you decide to open up a business together?

Alicia: Interestingly, owning a business was something we always wanted to do individually. I became more interested in opening a franchise after working in a start-up environment at the Chicago TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® location. Over time, Pedro and I developed professionally and realized our skillsets complemented each other very well. It made sense to be business partners, and it was a positive decision.

IMG_1005Q: Pedro, why did you select San Diego to open a TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® franchise?

Pedro: We researched the area, and the demographics fit what we were seeking. We were attracted by the fact that there are no other TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® franchises in the area, which has its disadvantages from a brand perspective, but it allows for expansion in our local market. And, let’s be honest. The weather in San Diego is amazing! It was important for us to find a place where we would want to put down roots; San Diego offers a great lifestyle.

Q: Alicia, now that you have been open for 1.5 years, share your biggest challenges?

Alicia: In general, the biggest challenge has probably been managing our expectations and staying patient as we build momentum. It’s hard to know what to expect when you are going into a new market, and there was less brand awareness than I anticipated.

Q: And, Pedro, what has most surprised you about running a business with your spouse?

Pedro: I’m surprised how well we work together. It’s actually been very easy; we’ve learned a lot from each other.

Day 5 in the car and still all smiles

Day 5 in the car and still all smiles

Q: What is your favorite part about running a business with your spouse, Alicia?

Alicia: We get to share the adventure of starting a business and all that comes with it. Less than a year after we married, we packed up all of our belongings in a trailer, drove across the country and started a new life in San Diego. There are stressful and demanding aspects of what we do, but we are genuinely having fun. Starting a business demands a lot of time and energy, so I’m grateful we’re in it together.

Q: How do you divvy up the workload, Pedro?

Pedro: Alicia and I are responsible for different areas of the business: I manage operations and finance, while Alicia oversees sales and marketing. We work hard to stay within our areas of responsibility as much as possible so we don’t step on each other’s toes. With that said, we cover for one another when necessary.

Q: Alicia, what is your advice to spouses opening up a business together?

Alicia: In order to make it work, I think it’s important you share a vision of what you want to accomplish. And you and your employees need to have a clear understanding of who is responsible for what. Opening a business might not be for every couple, but it’s been such an incredible experience for us. I couldn’t have picked a better business partner.

Q: Pedro, how will you celebrate Valentine’s Day?

Pedro: We’ll probably do something low-key, like a nice dinner at home and drinks at one of the restaurants by our place.

In their first full year of business, Alicia and Pedro’s San Diego franchise grossed $765,000, launched local Movers for Military and Movers for Moms® initiatives, and added 20 jobs to the local community. While love may not conquer all, it certainly can be an inspiring and motivating factor in owning a business together. With a strong foundation and managing expectations, love can build a franchise.

For more information on starting your own TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® franchise location and the performance information available to prospective owners, click here.