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Service brands go wide for sales


Here’s a statistic that jumps right out: AtWORK Group’s systemwide sales zoomed up 56 percent last year from the prior year. The temporary staffing company’s gain was by far the biggest increase in a diverse category that also boasts a few other standouts.

To wit: City Wide sales rose 28 percent. Precision Door Service and TEGG Service both posted 17 percent gains. And Roto-Rooter jumped nearly 16 percent—not bad for an 80-year-old brand with $976 million in systemwide sales and 527 units.

On the other hand, Valpak’s sales sank by nearly 18 percent, and Mr. Rooter’s sales were down by 4 percent.

For AtWORK, hitting $257 million in systemwide sales and 87 units in 2015 was a blessed resurrection. “Our low point was 2009. We were at 36 units and $66 million in annual revenues,” says Jason Leverant, president and COO.

AtWORK’s founder handed Leverant the management reins in 2011, and Leverant got to work. “We really, really focused on service,” he says, and also added several large national and regional employers to its list of clients. “So many of our offices were able to grow from zero to $10 million accounts.”

He’s even a bit cocky about one day catching up to Express Employment Professionals, the behemoth in the industry with $3 billion in systemwide sales and 739 units last year. “They’re literally 10 times bigger than us,” he says, but “we’re gunning for them.”

Frank Castillo, president, says Roto-Rooter has expanded its list of services from a basic sewer and drain plumbing company to excavation about four years ago, and to water cleanup and restoration a couple of years ago.

“We’ve had to re-invent ourselves,” he says, “because with the onset of better home-building and newer homes, there’s a lot less of that basic sewer and drain cleaning market out there.” Adding services “is expensive to get into if you’re going to get into it the right way,” he adds.

City Wide is another brand that believes in an expanding list of services. “It was a focus on really selling wide,” says Darin Hicks, COO. “We have 20 plus services that we offer and manage” for commercial buildings,  from parking lot repair to landscape to window-washing.

At City Wide, franchisees act as coordinators of all the independent contractors offering the services. “We think we can be the best in the world at managing independent contractors. We think we can be the best in the segment at dealing with issues when they arise,” Hicks says.

He closes with an aphorism that could apply to every service brand. “Eventually something’s going to go wrong. How we respond to it is, we think, the best in class.”

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