Franchisee Josh Payne has seen his business grow significantly in the last 18 months.
If you ask TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® franchisee Josh Payne who he credits most for his success as a business owner, the answer is easy – Mike Lacey.
Lacey, who has been part of the TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® team for 15 years, was Payne’s boss and mentor for five years at the Butler County, Ohio TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® location before the two partnered to purchase the Canton, Ohio territory 18 months ago.
“Now we kind of work side-by-side and I pick his brain when it comes time to making tough decisions,” Payne says of Lacey. “He’s been very influential in helping me succeed in my new role as a franchisee.”
To reach the level of success that he’s seeing now, Payne had to put in all the time and effort you’d expect when starting a business in an untapped market. The research process was tedious and time consuming. Before committing, Payne and his team analyzed everything in Canton, including its total population per ZIP code, median income of potential customers and moving rates in the community.
“From previous experience, we understood the importance of being in a saturated market with clusters of the population that earned the income necessary to place the franchise,” Payne says.
By examining income brackets of $45,000, $65,000 and $85,000, Payne created a calculation which took the total population per income bracket and incorporated the total number of moves in the area over the past few years.
“We were able to get a pretty good handle on how many trucks we could have in driveways on a consistent basis based on the pricing model we had in mind,” Payne says.
All of that initial research and continued hard work has certainly paid off in a big way. Payne and his team achieved their revenue goal of $1 million in just 10 months.
“We completed over 1,000 moves within our community and we achieved over 95 percent referral rates,” he says. “We are now focused on achieving 97 percent referral rates this year.”
The momentum behind TWO MEN AND A TRUCK®’s new Canton location is strong. Payne says the key to that success started with hiring great employees.
“We want every driver and every mover that we hire to be successful in the long run,” Payne says. “It’s not just about my company — we really are a team,” he said.
Payne makes an active effort to keep drivers and movers employed at his location, which is something that he says is very challenging in the industry.
“Our retention rate is a little bit higher than some of my peers,” Payne says. “But I’ve got a very solid management team who understands the core values.”
Keeping customers happy and coming back is one of those core values. Noelle Burak, franchise development manager at TWO MEN AND A TRUCK®, says that’s one of Payne’s biggest strengths, along with how driven he is to succeed.
“He’s implemented a team atmosphere and has the business knowledge as well as the system knowledge to succeed,” says Burak.
Payne says he’s a firm believer in creating processes for everything within the franchise. With so many moving parts on a daily basis, the process, or roadmap as Payne calls it, puts employees in positions to succeed.
“Our processes are documented and easily found for reference when needed,” Payne says. “We have created a culture of accountability. Everyone from the top down is accountable to each other.”
Burak says Payne is fortunate to have started a franchise in Ohio where the TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® brand is well established. And Payne plans to continue building on that heightened level of brand awareness going forward.
“With an open territory, he was able to position himself in a market where the brand awareness was high,” Burak says.
Payne took full advantage of the resources in front of him. He says it’s amazing how simply asking questions and talking to other successful franchisees within the TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® system helped him. The best business advice he ever received was to avoid impulse decisions and wait before deciding to increase investment costs.
“If you think you need more trucks or more marketing dollars, wait three months and re-evaluate,” Payne says. “Very rarely do you still think you need it. If you utilize a period to sit back and wait, you figure out a way to survive without compromising your goals.”
Payne’s long-term goals for his TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® business don’t end in Canton. He recently purchased additional territory rights in Canton, and is searching for additional opportunities in surrounding states including Michigan, Indiana, Kentucky and Pennsylvania.
But according to Payne, much of that potential growth is dependent on markets providing the right opportunity for success.
“After summer, we’re looking to get into a different area depending on the timing,” Payne says.
Just like Payne was mentored by Lacey, he’s now bringing that same experience to members of his own team. He’s helping his operations manager, Jared Button, learn the ins and outs of the TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® brand.
“I have kind of guided Jared the same way I was guided since day one, starting with the basics and giving him a great understanding of our core values and understanding that your people come first. By doing that from the get-go, your customers will then be taken care of and continue to come back,” Payne says. “At the end of the day, that’s how long-term success goes from being a goal to being a reality.”