The holidays are a great reason for your business to reach out to your customers. Whether you’re in the plumbing business, landscaping or perhaps electrical repair, no matter the service, here are four ideas to keep your business top of mind going into the New Year.
- Send a holiday e-card – Email is a cost effective and simple way to stay in touch with your customers. The holiday season is the perfect time to thank your customers for their business and also offer them something special—maybe a 20% discount on a maintenance plan heading into the New Year or a free service on your next visit. Offering a small service for free or at a significant discount gets your foot in the door with that customer. Play around with creating your email’s subject line, as it is the first thing your customer will read.
- Sponsor a charity – Create a campaign or event challenging your customers to help your business in a worthy cause. Not only are you doing a good thing for your community, but the “Halo Effect” casts a positive view of your business among customers. Nobody likes a Scrooge during the holidays, but for those running an HVAC or landscape business, those service calls may be down in the winter months. If you’re on a tight budget, a business can still contribute significantly by volunteering time to its favorite charity.
- Participate in an event as a company – The holidays are prime time for community events. Connect with your team and your community by participating in a parade, fun run, or Christmas tree lighting ceremony donning shirts with your company’s name. For simply the cost of the shirts, you can make hundreds to thousands of impressions just by being present at a local event.
- Add a little holiday cheer – In service it’s all about the details. If you’re looking to give a small gift to your customers, consider investing in promotional product with your logo and company contact info. A calendar with quick tips and reminders about your services throughout the year is practical for the customer and also gets your message across.
And remember: “The best way to kill a bad product is with great marketing.” Once you’ve implemented your plan, be sure to follow through on your promises and provide a great service. It’s important that your technicians understand the importance of going above and beyond this time of year. December can be a stressful time in the home without a backed-up toilet or malfunctioning microwave. Innovative marketing combined with expert, professional service is what makes a “Cheerleader Customer” who will sing your praises.
As part of The Dwyer Group® network of franchises, business owners receive professional marketing services. They also gain insight from connections with more than 1,600 franchisees world-wide. Learn more about The Dwyer Group’s seven service brands—Aire Serv®, Glass Doctor®, Mr. Appliance®, Mr. Electric®, Mr. Rooter®, The Grounds Guys® and Rainbow International®—by calling 1 (866) 696-1504 or at www.LeadingTheServiceIndustry.com.
WACO, Texas (Oct. 5, 2013) Glass Doctor, an affiliate company of The Dwyer Group®, was ranked No. 281 on the Next 300 list of global franchises determined by world-wide sales by the Franchise Times®. Franchise Times also ranked Glass Doctor on their select list of Top Automotive Services.
The Next 300 list contains the rankings of worldwide sales from each franchise brand. This year, Glass Doctor is ranked among globally known franchise brands such as McDonalds®, Subway® and Keller Williams Realty®.
As one of the largest full-service automotive glass franchise opportunities, Glass Doctor has over 170 franchise locations across North America. Glass Doctor provides expertise for business owners looking for new ways to diversify their business for expansion in both the flat glass and window cleaning industries.
“Glass Doctor is dedicated to forming and maintaining strong relationships with our franchise owners,” said Mark Liston, president of Glass Doctor. “These strong relationships then reflect on the value of the Glass Doctor brand.”
All six of Glass Doctor’s affiliate companies were also ranked on the Top 200 and Next 300 lists provided by the Franchise Times. Rainbow International® ranked No. 204, Aire Serv® ranked No. 315, Mr. Rooter® ranked No. 196, Mr. Electric® ranked No. 335, Mr. Appliance® at No. 383, and The Grounds Guys® at No. 468.
For more information regarding franchise opportunities with Glass Doctor visit www.glassdoctorfranchise.com. The full Top 200 and Next 300 list can be found online at www.franchisetimes.com
About Glass Doctor:
From windows to windshields to storefronts, Glass Doctor can handle any glass need. Glass Doctor also offers custom glass services, such as tub and shower enclosures, entry door glass and mirrors. Established in 1962 with one shop in Seattle, Wash., today Glass Doctor offers complete glass repair, replacement and services to the residential, automotive, and commercial markets at more than 300 locations in the United States and Canada. Glass Doctor began franchising in 1977 and in 1998 joined The Dwyer Group, Inc., an international franchisor of service industry companies. At that time the company’s corporate headquarters relocated to Waco, Texas. Now there are more than 175 Glass Doctor franchise owners across the United States and Canada. For further information or to find the location nearest you, visit www.glassdoctor.com.
Thank you to everyone who attended this year’s Annual Reunion in San Antonio, Texas. We look forward to seeing you next year at Reunion 2014 in Orlando, Florida! Watch the video to see just a bit of the fun our Dwyer Family had at Reunion 2013.
As an entrepreneur it is easy to become consumed simply running the business day-in and day-out. However, when business owner Laurel Miller found time to network at community functions, she discovered that being a community leader and successful business owner go hand-in-hand.
Laurel always wanted to play a larger role in her community of Murrieta, but until a few years ago, had little time outside of her full-time job to do so. Both her and her husband had jobs in the construction industry. Laurel was at one time an estimator and project manager for a general contractor and her husband built roof trusses. In 2006, the couple looked into opening a franchise as a way to build roots in a community they had lived in for more than 15 years.
“Part of us starting our own business, was so that I could become more connected to our community. We moved to this area in ’89 and for years we commuted out of town to go to work. When we started this business I wanted to be really involved,” said Laurel.
The Miller’s thought Glass Doctor® would be a great opportunity for them. Laurel and her husband knew from working in construction that when glass broke, people replaced it. Her husband was detail-oriented and had experience working with tolerances within 1/16 of an inch. This skill, they thought, would translate well into working with glass. They also felt the company was a good fit for them personally.
“We really liked the Code of Values®. We felt that it was a God centered organization. In the past, we had worked for people where that wasn’t a consideration. We decided that if we ever go to the place where we could own our business, that those values would definitely be part of our daily life.”
When the couple started the business, Laurel found that traditional advertising could quickly become expensive. However, with no commute and the flexibility to set her own schedule, she did have time to join the Murrieta Chamber of Commerce. For Laurel, this set the stage for her to grow her business and also begin a career in as a community leader.
“When we first started in this business, advertising was really expensive. However, what I did have was more time than money, so I got involved with the community. I devoted my time to the Chamber and spent time getting to know other business owners and also becoming an ambassador,” said Laurel.
In the last seven years, Laurel attributes her involvement in the community as part of the success of Glass Doctor of Murrieta. Many of her community meetings are either before or after work, which allows Laurel was able to attend and also work full-time. She said that at nearly every meeting she was able to meet someone new. When these contacts have a need, quite often they call, Laurel said.
“There’s people that I met three, four, five years ago that will call today. But it was all about networking and getting out into the community and it does come back,” said Laurel.
For Laurel, Glass Doctor provided an avenue for her and her husband to have a way to earn a living and also have the means to give back to their neighbors.
“From the horse rescues to SAFE, an organization for domestic violence victims, I feel like owning a Glass Doctor has given me the platform to be able to step out into the community and support the events that go on,” Laurel said.
Laurel has received many honors from her community including Small Business of the Year 2011 and Ambassador of the Year 2011 from the Murrieta Chamber of Commerce. Laurel also serves in leadership positions for a number of organizations including her local Rotary group, Professional Woman’s Roundtable, The Chamber of Commerce for Murrieta, Menifee, Temecula, and Wildomar communities, and Business Networking International.
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“If I change my name, I’ll lose all of my customers. I’ll have to start my business all over again from scratch.”
Choosing to franchise can be a tough decision for a small business owner who has a well established name in his or her community. The owner fears that once the business adopts a new name and a new look, this could alienate or confuse a client base that has taken years to build.
Naturally, the business owner wouldn’t want his efforts to be all for not should he take on a franchise, and neither is that in the interest of the franchisor. The franchisor should provide the training and expertise necessary in assisting the business owner in rebranding.
“When a new franchisee comes into the system, we emphasize that maintaining communication with the business’ existing client base is critically important. Also, when an existing business transitions to the franchise brand, we encourage the business owner to play up the positives to their clients, such as being part of a national network, advanced training and more efficient systems,” said Rainbow International® Sure Start Coordinator Craig Gjelsten.
4 Areas of Change
The time it takes to make the complete transformation will depend on the agreement between the franchisor and the franchisee, the size and structure of the existing business, and the training process. The Dwyer Group® recommends new franchisees allow about three months to transition to one of their brands. Below are five basic categories where business owners may expect to make the most changes in their existing business and how those changes could affect the customer.
1. Marketing Rebranding – Rebranding is the first step in the transition process and it occurs rather quickly. The franchisor is prepared with all the needed marketing materials such as van wraps, brochures, ads and templates for your location’s website. Technology allows the business’ existing phone number, email address and website to be redirected to new ones under the franchisee’s name.
2. Equipment/Technology – Depending on the existing business, it may need additional equipment and training. Often times, a new franchisee will expand its repertoire of services under the brand. Existing customers can take advantage of additional services from the people they’ve come to know and trust.
3. Financial Restructuring – Many franchisors have software and reporting methods that relate specifically the franchise business system. These tools provide more detailed financial information for the owner to build a successful business. Additionally, part of the financial restructuring could also entail a change in the business’ pricing scheme. If so, it’s important that the business owner take time to explain the enhanced quality of service and value associated with this change.
4. Organizational Restructuring – Under a franchise brand, the systems are put in place to help the owner be more efficient and effective. This leaves the business owner time to strategically build his business.
Communication Is Key
Successful new franchisees communicate with their customers and set the customer’s expectations.
“One thing we are big on is communication. We find that most of our new franchisees have a close relationship with their customers. They are excited about the transformation taking place in their business and that gets their customers excited. Ultimately, we want to assist them in providing the best service they possibly can,” said The Grounds Guys® Sure Start Coordinator Steven West.
Before making the decision to purchase a franchise, the business owner should research the franchisor’s support mechanisms in place that help new franchisees convert their business. Although the business owners will make changes to their businesses when adopting a brand name, they aren’t starting over. A business owner brings to the table knowledge of his local market, business contacts, technicians and staff, experience working in the trade and a customer base. All of the areas of a business that the owner has worked hard to cultivate fit into a franchise model and are a valuable asset to the new franchisee.
Be sure to read about the #1 franchising myth and franchising myth#2. We’ll be continuing the Myths of Franchising series over the next few weeks, subscribe to the Morning Huddle blog to catch the next update.
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By: Darlene Vise Sure Start Franchise Consultant, Glass Doctor®
Think about professional sporting teams. They go back to the basics once a year for pre-season training. Why? Coaches know that old adage “practice makes perfect” is incorrect. The correct statement is “perfect practice makes perfect”. That happens by continually going back to the basics.
Whenever a new Glass Doctor franchise gets started it seems there is so much to do. There is. We find, though, that the basics of getting started are often lost with experienced franchisees–as with experienced, independent business owners as well. When this happens, as a Franchise Consultant, I encourage these experienced business owners to assess the foundations of their businesses.
Remember when you started your business?
There are so many things that must be done to get a new business started. At the top of the task list is preparing a budget and a business plan. For Glass Doctor Franchisees, it is the focus of one of the very first meetings with a franchise consultant. Identifying current assets, projecting anticipated sales revenue, listing staffing requirements and, of course, itemizing the expenses necessary to produce that revenue are the future predictions that draw the picture of the business we envision. These are tangible things: the people, the paychecks we will write, the money we will deposit in the bank, the vans, the signs, the furniture, the equipment and supplies. We set goals to acquire these things and achieve the benchmarks that measure them.
Are you still making time to plan?
This planning process is a vital step toward the success of any endeavor, at the beginning and moving forward. Time to plan must be scheduled and given a place of primary importance. Planning, evaluating, making necessary changes and taking action are primary responsibilities for any business owner . . . it’s what leadership is all about. Have you scheduled your “planning” time for this week?
Taking the time to assess your business and plan might also include an evaluation of the intangible, internal things needed to achieve what is envisioned. Often the intangible costs are overlooked, assumed or just plain taken for granted. Improved lifestyle, financial security, a flexible schedule and opportunity to control our own future are usually included in the reasons why to start a business. Taking assessment of things like: the number of hours to be spent at the office or shop (and away from family), the physical stamina needed—changes in lifestyle, health habits, sleep schedule—new skills to be acquired and personal weaknesses to overcome, will broadens one’s perspective to realize that it’s not just a business we are building . . . it’s a life.
Along with the things you want to accomplish and the items you wish to possess, also set goals that describe the person you want to become in the process. Envisioning the results will be the confirmation we need that the investment in our business and ourselves is worth it. Counting the cost ahead of time will prepare us for the commitment it will take to actually do it. Then just do it! After all, “Leadership is defined by action, not position.”
Glass Doctor provides business systems that assists franchisees in obtaining their personal and financial goals and a better quality of life. For more information on Glass Doctor or one of the company’s sister brands–Aire Serv®, The Grounds Guys®, Mr. Appliance®, Mr. Electric®, Mr. Rooter®, or Rainbow International®–visit www.LeadingTheServiceIndustry.com.
Glass Doctor® President Mark Liston talks with Matt Kelly, owner of the Glass Doctor of Cleveland franchise. As you read this exchange, you’ll learn how Matt Kelly experienced phenomenal growth in 2012.
“We agreed to do whatever was necessary and accept whatever risks were required.”
What was it, Matt, 22 years ago that prompted you to enter the glass business? Why glass and why Glass Doctor?
I left Progressive Insurance after 12 years and had offers to become the president of two other insurance companies. I tend to act quickly and didn’t. After a short time, I realized that I didn’t want to work for another company in any position. A friend had looked at Glass Doctor about a year earlier, so I put it on my consideration list. I chose Glass Doctor because of the large, fragmented glass market, the great trademarks and service package.
I lived outside of Cleveland and know that area well. Why did you choose to open a business there?
Once I turned down the other offers in California, I really didn’t consider moving. I had recently married, and I expected to be here long term.
You have to have seen massive changes in the business in more than 20 years. What are the major changes that you’ve seen?
In auto glass, there has been massive consolidation – not only Safelite, but across the independents as well. In flat glass, there has been virtually no change. It is much the same as it was in 1990 – what an opportunity for us today.
You recently bought two neighboring franchisees in Columbus and North Fairfield, Ohio, totaling 2.5 million customers. Tell me about them and why you decided to expand.
The franchisees had both personal and business reasons to sell, and the prices were right. I had expected these opportunities next year, but they became available sooner so I grabbed them. Both were operating largely the same as they did in 1994. Neither advertised, and both had poor market penetration. They weren’t working the system. I felt I could change them immediately and quickly grow them.
That brings me to the crux of why I wanted to showcase you. One of the first franchises I visited when joining Glass Doctor was yours. Today it looks NOTHING like it did three years ago. What happened to make you change?
Kathy and I decided if I didn’t change the business in a big way, then I would be sitting in my chair at Glass Doctor working 80 hours a week until I died. We agreed to do whatever was necessary and accept whatever risks were required. She left Glass Doctor, went to school and got a job in health care with good benefits. If our bets went bad and Glass Doctor cratered, we wouldn’t starve. Then we went to work on Glass Doctor. Now, I work 90 hours a week, but there is a huge bright light at the end of the tunnel.
I’m not sure if I can say “Cleveland Clinic” but this is the group that you’ve “founded” in the past year. Why did you choose the seven other people that are in the original group?
I asked the guys to come to Cleveland because I had lost my bearings. The changes Kathy and I designed had taken root better and faster than we had expected. All of the customary dynamics of the business had changed. I was getting scared. The biggest mistakes I have made at Glass Doctor were made when I thought I knew better. So, I asked a few people I knew well and respected even more, with large Glass Doctor shops, to look at what we had going in Cleveland. I needed their confirmation – or the opposite – in order to make sure I didn’t run this train off the tracks. These guys together could run about any major corporation in the world. And they came to Cleveland to help me – and all of us. In business, it really doesn’t get any better than this.
Did you invest in any additional advertising expenditures?
We negotiated with all major Yellow Page (YP) vendors to significantly increase our exposure to achieve domination in their books. We also conduct multiple pay-per-click campaigns concurrently.
Shark Tank? What is it and what has it done for you?
It is a program developed with Nationwide Inbound. If a quote is given and the prospect doesn’t say “yes,” then that lead is in the garbage can. All targeted profitable jobs in major market areas are called back within 15 to 20 minutes. I’ve given Nationwide latitude on pricing and on service commitments. (Remember, I’m making zero profit on them.) By calling back with this program, we have received a quarter million a year in good business.
“It’s a matter of mindset and personal commitment.”
Give me the top five things one must do if they expect to get the results you’ve received?
1. Be willing to accept the pain. This is really hard. 2. Expect many difficult conversations. Your folks know all your weak points and (will tell you) all that is wrong with your Glass Doctor operation. Remember, you know the same about them. But now, it will be out all over the floor, and you will all need to deal with it. 3. Believe in Pay-For-Performance (PFP). For your good people, this is their only way to significantly increase income for their family. For you, it turns “fixed” labor expense into a variable cost. For all, it is the enabler for fast and constant business improvement that positively affects all. 4. Be willing to be different. We are Glass Doctor. This is not a subject for debate. If it is not your cup of tea, find something else to do – whether employee or owner. 5. Find your sweet spots – and exploit them. Go for the business with the most positive cash flow first. Your A/R Cash Customer account (customer deposits on jobs) is your best friend. Sell those big jobs. Get those big deposits. Install those jobs fast. Feed your checking account. Growth is expensive.
How do you create a culture of such trust and transparency?
Be willing to patiently sit and accept their criticism on how you operate, and then they need to see you make the changes based on their input. By the way, they are almost always right.
PFP – Pay for Performance. What is it
Simply put, we identify the few key successful actions that generate income, cash flow and profit. We pay our people only when they successfully do those tasks. This forces us to track and report on those key business activities weekly and directly tie that to individual payroll. This causes both the business and team members to do those tasks better and to be constantly finding ways to do them even better. The details are really not that hard. What’s hard is changing the business and people – and be willing to change yourself.
Do you believe EVERYONE should do PFP?
Two more groups traveled to Cleveland to become “Clinics.” Why did you invite them in, and what do you expect out of them?
I told the group when they arrived my purpose was purely selfish. I need Glass Doctor to grow and achieve a market position nationally in order for me to meet my personal financial goals by increasing my business value when I sell my business. I expect them to work together to grow their businesses, build our brand and allow us to be the national market leader we can become. This is a strong group of people, and this is what I know they will do. So, when is the next group going to step up?
Uniforms? I noticed you dress different than how you dressed the first time I met you.
You have to walk the walk and look the look. Everyone now, including me, wears a red shirt daily!
Let’s talk about the future. What do you see for auto? How about flat?
Our leverage is in flat. I fully expect to become that 800-pound gorilla of flat glass in my marketplace. We are well on our way there now. In every market I have analyzed, the flat glass competitive marketplace is in retreat, at an increasing pace. A key part of Glass Doctor strategy has always been the three-legged stool – auto, residential and commercial. The stronger we make our flat glass presence, the more we grow our auto business. All three components fund advertising that builds each one. The competitive auto glass marketplace is deteriorating in many markets. This will likely be a real tough winter for many in the auto glass business, as 2012 results have sent many into the down period already in survival mode. Our strategy is to dominate both YP.com and Internet advertising while driving down our cost of lead generation. We are beginning a large commitment to Outside Sales in 2013. Through our Columbus purchase, we gained an excellent Outside Sales Rep. (OSR) with many years experience calling on insurance agents – and who is now energized to generate apartment complex customers. In Cleveland, we have added an OSR experienced in generating relationships with apartment and commercial property management. Coming into 2013, our problem is we underachieved in 2012. We came in far below our 50 percent growth goal. By quickly assimilating and growing the acquisitions, continuing strong growth in Cleveland and in our OSR investment, we aim to get our plan back on track. Looks like another year of 80- to 90-hour weeks for me.
What are you doing that takes 80 to 90 hours? Analysis? Marketing?
New things. If I stopped doing new things I could probably work 20 hours a week. I now look at the business differently. Quite frankly, we failed in 2012. We grew only 25 percent. Our goal was 50 percent and we WILL hit that in 2013. There is no more “good enough.” If someone steps back and takes an honest look at their business, they will see 1,000 things they can do to grow by 50 percent. For me, that included expansion into other markets, changing the inside configuration of our trucks and the list can go on and on.
Final question – how does a Glass Doctor franchisee achieve the dreams they had the day they joined us?
The Columbus purchase has been a real eye-opener for me. I walked in there and, with all confidence, told the employees things were going to change. I told them that we are Glass Doctor. And if anybody doesn’t want to be in that world that’s OK, they can leave. We filled the Internet with Hyrell job postings. Good candidates for all positions come walking in the door. I declined to hire three of the four current techs. We added some really good people to the really good team we chose to keep. In less than a month since the purchase, we have a great team that needs minimal, if any, supervision, functioning virtually identically to the Cleveland location 2.5 hours away. While a number of key people from our team have been focusing on bringing up Columbus, the team in Cleveland hasn’t missed a beat – we’re up 50 percent over last year month-to-date in December. It’s a matter of mindset and personal commitment. I chose to see Columbus as a new “first day” in an eight-year-old business. Interestingly, what we have done with so much pain, caution and hard work over the last two years in Cleveland has really given me that “first day” opportunity here too. It is easy to get beat down in this business. We tend to focus on the problems and issues of the day – many of which are “delegated up” by our people. By the time we get to the things we really want to do, the day is over. And then the next day is over. To achieve our dreams, we need to hire that intern and fix or fire that tech or ISR that has made us feel that we can’t ask them to do what we really know they need to do. We need to get back to that “first day” feeling. The goal of everything we do is “autopilot.” People who love their job will treat each other with respect and take personal responsibility to do what is necessary to grow the business
In 2012, Dina Dwyer-Owens, Chairwoman and CEO of the Dwyer Group®, donned a cap, a wig, and a set of pearls to go undercover in her very own company. Faith Brown, Dina’s undercover alias, was an ordinary office assistant who was ready to trade-in her desk for a drill to get hands-on experience as a technician. As Dina received hands-on training in four different branches of her franchise, she not only received valuable insight into the front-line operations of her company, but also met some of the extraordinary people who make The Dwyer Group a leader in the service industry.
Deeply dedicated to her employees, her father’s vision, and a strong advocate for the company’s Code of Values®, Dina continuously demonstrates the qualities of an “epic boss” even after her experiences on the original episode. As such, Dina is scheduled to appear on a special episode of “Undercover Boss: Epic Bosses” airing nationally at 8 p.m. EST, Friday, May 17 on CBS.
Be sure to tune in with Dina as she reflects on the impact of her experiences as Faith Brown, and how The Dwyer Group has grown since last year. In the meantime, Dina shares her wisdom and experience for being an epic boss.
“The best tips I have for being a great boss is to focus on the 3 things that help a boss be great,” says Dina.
- Be your Best Authentic Self- in my case it’s living my faith and leading the company by living R.I.C.H.:
- Customer focus
- Having fun in the process
- Surround yourself with a great team, both professionally and personally.
- Have clear systems for success and train to those systems.
To learn how to apply systems for success, recruit a strong team, and implement the Code of Values® into your current business visit www.leadingtheserviceindustry.com or call 1 (866) 656-1504 for more information.