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How to compete with big franchises

rob allen

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My 2nd podcast will be “How to my compete with big franchises” in the carpet cleaning industry. Lately I’ve gotten a slew messages from cleaners upset that big franchises with great USP’s moved into their area. Do you have any tips I can pass on to help others?
 

John Rockwood

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I would try and educate them that unless they are developing the same business model there is no need to be upset.
Owner/Operators have so much more to offer than the "Big Franchises".
Personal service.
A life long relationship of TRUST.
Expert experience.
You probably don't want their type of price customer.
Their techs usually don't care about the quality they deliver just the $$$$.
I seriously doubt that franchises are told "keys under the mat, just fill in the check and lock up when your done".
The loyalty you develop will far exceed all the $ the franchises spend on advertising due to no loyalty and poor customer retention.
Hope this helps Rob.
 

ACP

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It also wouldn't be unreasonable if assault rifle age was 25. I know I was an immature idiot when I was 18 and most kids are.

In the country and rural areas 16 is fine, they are raised different.

But a lot of kids these days are sitting on violent video games all day completely disconnected, probably depressed in many cases and the parents are becoming more disconnected sitting on Facebook not paying attention.

This can be a deadly combination if that reclusive basement video gamer gets a hold of an AR
 

Ed Valentine

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Sales in any industry is the same: Convincing the customer that your product or service is the best.

("If it were me" I would focus on:)

"I want you to realize that I am the owner; not just a 2 or 3 week employee. This is my business; this is the only thing I have known how to do for the past ________years and your satisfaction is my number one priority. And, that is how I build my business, one on one and not the volume that so many franchises may depend on.

In other words, sell yourself !
 
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Todd the Cleaner

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The big question is as we owner operators start to build a multi truck business how do we maintain the personal service of an owner operator? Is it possible? I like to think so but employees never will care as much as an owner does.
 

rob allen

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The big question is as we owner operators start to build a multi truck business how do we maintain the personal service of an owner operator? Is it possible? I like to think so but employees never will care as much as an owner does.

I feel it’s manageable from 2-5 trucks depending on ones capabilities to manage. Once past 5 it gets harder and harder to maintain “owner operator” quality. If possible at all.
 
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Todd the Cleaner

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To answer your original question I would say of course to offer top notch service. In addition to that I say get educated. There are so many resources available now that we didn’t have 25 years ago. I can’t say how much TMF changed my life when I left the big franchise and went on my own.

Franchises do have a lot to offer. I am glad I worked for one, I learned a lot from the franchise both what to do and what not to do.

One good thing you can learn from franchises is how you need systems to operate your business especially as you grow beyond one truck. This is one place I think franchises have most owner operators beat. I’ll admit as I started my own business in the beginning I was lax about putting any systems in place, that’s something I’ve really been focusing on this last year as I am growing.

One of the things that most franchises are lacking in is education. I worked for 17 years always being told that red stains don’t come out, that it was impossible to remove urine, that coffee and tea stains don’t come out, paint, ink, marker, the list goes on. I was taught to prespray the carpet, I had a general spotter for stains that the prespray didn’t take out, and after that if the stain didn’t come out it was “permanent”. While working at the franchise I really didn’t know about all the resources out there to help us learn. Most of the online forums and Facebook didn’t exist yet.

Another thing we can offer over the franchises is time. When working for the franchise we were given 4-6 jobs a day with a tight time schedule. There wasn’t any extra time for doing the little extras that mean so much to the customer. Franchises want you to get in and out and on to the next job. To make matters worse half the technicians could care less about customer service.

So to summarize I would say the 3 big things we have to offer that franchises don’t is personal customer service, education, and time. If you build your business centered around these things then you will not have to worry about what the franchises do or don’t do.
 
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OxiFreshGuy

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Franchises are volume type businesses who have the edge on you in marketing and branding power.

Owner-Operators have the edge on you (or at least they should) in better service and quality.

So in other words, if you don't mind doing the work yourself and having a very high profit margin, be an owner-operator and as Rob said, possibly build up to a 5 truck operation.

If you want to be a Franchise, realize you are not going to be a high quality provider, not that you can't be a medium quality provider, but in most franchise cases they want to make MONEY which means cutting corners by having lower technician salaries due to higher marketing costs as they require a higher % of new customers.

Owner-Operators rely on a higher percentage of returning customers.

FYI I ran the largest Oxi-Fresh franchise in the country. I witnessed these things first hand. Got sick of it when they started telling me to blatantly lie to customers and my technicians because they wanted to "grow to 25 vans" within 2 years. We had already grown to 11 vans within 3 years.

I was fired on August 2nd, 2018. 2 years later, they have actually dropped down to 9 vans (two of them were totaled), their quality service score went from mid 80's% to the 60's%. They've lost their good standing on Google Local Services and have not grown at all in sales.

So even in a Franchise, quality, systems management, training technicians and CARING about them and your customers is the recipe for success.

Now I'm doing the same thing as an owner-operator. It's hilarious to see how much higher my profit margin is. I make the same amount of money doing half the work I used to do.
 

rob allen

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Great comments.
 
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True Pro

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Customer experience. Blow them away with customer service and be likeable. Being good at cleaning helps. LOL
 
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rob allen

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SkylinePrints

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it's easy to point out what is not to like about the franchises but flip it around and challenge yourself to ask what are they doing well that you can do or make better. SS has been around since 1947. They have to be doing something right.
At the end of the day, the franchisee is an O/O that decided to buy a business model vs re-creating the wheel. They are registered locally as small businesses just like the rest of us. The success of a franchise comes down to the franchisee and how they implement/run their business. The same is true for O/O's. I've seen some that are really good at owning their own business and I've seen some that are "OMG, what the hell was that" businesses.

So, what are some of the things the "big guys" do that are best practices we can all implement?
 

OxiFreshGuy

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I think the problem is Franchises in 2020 are much different than what they were back in the 90, and 00's.

They've become smarter at marketing. Dumber at cleaning. I haven't seen a single franchise that is actually furthering the technology of cleaning or the techniques. In fact, they seem to be cutting more and more corners as they try to pay more and more to the guys in "corporate" who are 2nd or 3rd generation and have never cleaned a carpet a day in their life.

Biggest lesson you can learn from Franchises is that Marketing is the cornerstone of your business if you want to grow. Quality is the follow-through. Which they are sorely lacking nowadays.
 
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John Rockwood

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I can see that they advertise heavily and will take any job on. They don't die by price but "dominate" by price. This could be a bad or good business model it just depends on your point of view.
 

OxiFreshGuy

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I think an owner operator who is business savvy would make more money doing it themselves in this industry.
 

True Pro

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If the big boys were able (which they may) to develop relationships with the client like OO's can they would rule. I believe the client likes knowing who they are dealing with. They have trust and faith that they will be taken care of. I doubt they let you in and leave blank checks to be filled out for the big franchises while they are at work or on vacation.
 

OxiFreshGuy

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Downfall of franchises is they pay their techs like crap. So they can cash bigger checks up top.

So techs become a revolving door. The culture turns into toxicity because the few at the top make a lot of $$$ while the guy walking in the door has no chance of ever increasing his station.

I saw this first hand and experienced it first hand. I grew a franchise that I didn't even own to $1.2 million in revenue by year 3.

Owners basically acted like I didn't deserve anything, literally told me I couldn't "handle" the stress of managing a company because I was running the show by myself working 7 days a week, sometimes 16 hours a day. All I asked for was an assistant manager. They went to conventions and bragged about our sales numbers which the smarter owners figured out meant we were using truck mounts.

I was paid $55,000 a year to run a $1.2 million dollar company.

Contrast that to my company now. I can pay myself $55,000 working half the hours and NO employees. Go figure. Just working 1 truck when I want.

No point in owning a franchise where 30% of your revenue goes to assholes who don't know you and don't care about you.

Oxi Fresh corporate wastes money like water. All they ever do is blame the franchisee on why he doesn't make more money.

Zerorez I've heard is very similar. It's always good for the guys at the top.
 
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