Disaster mitigation is hard work, but both PuroClean franchisees we interviewed found great satisfaction helping people handle a crisis.
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Asking existing franchisees if they would sign up with the brand again is one of the most revealing questions a prospective franchisee can ask of somebody already in the system.
PuroClean franchisee Jason Smith liked his first experience with the brand so much that he bought back into the concept after selling his original location when his family moved from Maryland down to Florida in 2013.
His first PuroClean office opened in Maryland two years earlier, in 2011. After Smith moved to Naples in 2013, he continued running the location from afar before ultimately selling in early 2017. He immediately regretted selling and almost as quickly started planning to open a new one down in Florida.
His Maryland location was incredibly successful, and Smith wasn’t sure lightning would strike a second time, but he ended up tripling down by opening a new Florida office and going in on another franchise in suburban Detroit with a longtime friend who didn’t have Smith’s background in disaster restoration, which predated even his first PuroClean franchise.
Disaster restoration can be intensely draining, with situations ranging from frozen pipes to a catastrophe such as a fire or hurricane. Smith derives tremendous satisfaction in being the best part of a roundly negative situation.
“Every day you’re dealing with someone who’s going through a crisis, most of them having never gone through something like that before,” he said. “Dealing with people in a time of need can be stressful in and of itself.”
Reflecting on his previous years with another restoration brad, ServPro, before becoming a franchisee, Smith said that brand felt like it was so large he was losing touch with the customers.
Before joining PuroClean, he spoke with another Maryland-based ‘zee who ran one of the most successful units in the entire system. From the company’s team environment for franchisees to its stellar customer service, he said those same attributes are at play, which moved him to sign on the dotted line a second time.,
Now with two franchises, one in his back yard and the other a flight away in Michigan, Smith has found similar levels of success twice more. He flies to Detroit for two days every month to check on the operations and meet with his business partner.
“It comes in waves,” he added about the busy seasons. “It’s constantly balancing resources, but the ultimate thing that drives you aside from the financial piece is you can honestly go to bed every night knowing you helped someone in a time of need.”
Wayne Terry, a PuroClean franchisee in Jacksonville, Florida, took a different path after his own home flooded. Insurance ultimately paid the claim, but his experiences with the adjuster and restoration company were bad enough that they lingered in his mind for years to come.
He didn’t call it a mid-life crisis, but when he turned 38 years old he got the itch to own his own business like his father and sisters. The urge was so strong that he chose not to renew his contract as a purchasing consultant and began looking for his next act.
He thought that process would take six months or so, but two years later he was down to his last $20 in his checking account. At a friend’s suggestion, he met with a franchise broker who gave him a skills test to uncover what industries would be a good fit. Thinking back on his flood, the idea dawned that he could do a better job than the companies he worked with all those years ago. And he figured he could swing a $150,000 loan to get started as a franchisee.
“I said, I can either sign this and get a loan tomorrow and eat, or I can not sign this and probably sell the furniture in my living room just trying to eat,” he recalled, adding that PuroClean’s trainers told him the difference between success and failure was marketing.
“I was out there beating the pavement every single weekday,” he said of his first year in business. “If I got a job, I would change into my technician clothing and go do the job, and if I wasn’t too sweated up afterwards, I’d change in the truck again and go out and continue to market. I wanted everybody to know that I existed, I’m out there, that if you have mold or you have water, I’m here and I can do this for you.”
During our own digging into the brand, our research team outlined a solid Item 19 that included average and gross sales for franchisees based on the number of years they’ve been operating. In addition, the brand and its CEO Mark Davis have been savvy about nabbing media coverage when disasters are in the news—which has become the new normal in recent years.
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