Ask any business owner to define the key to success and chances are they’ll say growth. Increasing the customer base and market share are indicators of this progression, and without it, a company will struggle to remain competitive.
In my 21 years in the restoration industry, I have learned there is no faster and more effective way to grow a restoration business than through franchising. The systems and processes put in place at the corporate level are an integral part of effectively catering to clientele in the home services space, especially when it comes to expansion. Because the industry remains fast-paced, support is the backbone of running a successful business.
In my experience as a franchise owner, relevant growth is made possible when the franchisor/parent company offers the right kind of support through a proven, systematic approach. This is exactly what we have at Rainbow International Restoration of Southwest Mesa because our franchisor, Neighborly, has provided me with the tools to successfully scale my business.
Benefitting from systems and support
I joined the Neighborly family in 2017 after nearly two decades in the restoration industry. I’ve seen a lot of companies in our business come and go, many of them guided by outdated ideas or practices that didn’t prove solid enough to attract customers. Working with a parent company like Neighborly gives me the relevant systems, procedures, and support to allow for organic growth.
Let me give you an example of this support. Through the Neighborly network, I have access to dedicated franchise coaches who are always ready to help. The specific coaches we work with change over time, which makes sense because advice at a startup level is vastly different than when the business hits millions of dollars in annual revenue. But regardless of business growth stage or economic cycle, Neighborly is there. Thanks to this level of support, my business has grown rapidly year over year.
Let old habits go
When I joined the Neighborly family, I’d already gained years of experience in the restoration business, so I considered myself an experienced veteran. I purchased Rainbow International of Southwest Mesa in 2016, and I guess I expected to run my new business the way I’d always done it. After all, I’d been pretty successful. But I learned quickly that while my ways of doing business weren’t wrong, they weren’t as effective as they could be.
Old habits may be hard to forget, but if they hold your business back from reaching its potential, it’s time to kick them to the curb.
In my first year with Rainbow, I’ll admit I didn’t see much growth. Looking back, I realize now that the delayed growth I experienced was a result of me not being as open to change as I should have been. I needed to evolve and align with the way Neighborly conducted operations. Once again, my franchise coach was there, challenging me to try a new approach for 30 days. If I didn’t see progress, he wouldn’t ask me to do anything else again. I complied, and instantly saw revenue growth. I haven’t looked back once.
For the last five years, my company has grown at a steady pace. Old habits may be hard to forget, but if they hold your business back from reaching its potential, it’s time to kick them to the curb.
When scaling a business, human resources will always be a top issue, no matter how much support a franchise has. From finding the right people to identifying the ideal pay scale, there’s never a shortage of obstacles with hiring and retention. I know this to be true because throughout my career, employing key personnel has remained one of my very biggest challenges.
Oftentimes, people just don’t want to work. To combat this fatigue and incentivize new hires, we’ve priced ourselves as one of the highest-paying companies within our market. My business offers 22% more in starting wages than many competitors in our area — and even compared to other companies in the industry. As a result, we expect more out of our employees, but we don’t leave them to figure it out on their own. Every week, we train employees to make sure our operation exceeds industry standards. Neighborly trains me, and I use that knowledge transfer to ensure my employees are best equipped to keep the business moving forward.
Expanding our horizons
Neighborly offers a tiered approach to growing a business, which is essentially a blueprint to success. You can be in the best industry and have the most robust business plan, but there’s no substitute for a solid foundation of tools, procedures and support. With Neighborly, I can take the necessary steps to expand my business — steps that have proven to work for many franchise owners before me. My plans for growth have already begun. Earlier this year, I purchased a 17,000-square-foot building, which gives me the autonomy to continue operating with greater freedom and less worry about rental rates.
Why am I so confident that my business will support scalability? It all comes right back to that blueprint. Neighborly has helped many of its franchise brands grow and expand their reach to become increasingly successful due to their hands-on approach. It takes the best-of-the-best ideas and practices from these successful franchises and applies the learnings to all brands in the company lineup. In other words, Neighborly also continues to scale and grow. The company wants every franchise owner to succeed, and the caring, can-do attitude of executive leadership proves it.
Position for success
Data reveals that our market population is increasing at about 5% a year. I see this as the opportunity for more work, and a deeper talent pool for hiring more employees. Franchise owners need to be ready to hire the right employees, and be agile enough to capture new business. Scalability and growth are dependent upon both. I’m grateful to work for an organization that understands these fundamentals, and helps me position my restoration company for continued success.