Franchise Players is Entrepreneur's Q&A interview column that puts the spotlight on franchisees. If you're a franchisee with advice and tips to share, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
A few years ago, the carpet cleaning industry was far from Reuben Rock's area of expertise in digital marketing and ecommerce. However, when he decided to move to Milwaukee, Wis., he realized he needed to create his own job to live where he wished. Originally, Rock was drawn to restaurant franchises. However, after a little bit of digging, he realized that there were other, lesser known franchises that might be a better fit. Here's how Rock became a Heaven's Best Carpet Cleaning franchisee.
Name: Reuben D. Rock
Franchise owned: Heaven’s Best Carpet Cleaning in Milwaukee, Wis.
How long have you owned a franchise?
I wanted to move to Milwaukee to raise my newborn son near family, but I couldn’t find a job. Franchising provided the perfect opportunity to create my own job while leveraging a proven business model.
What were you doing before you became a franchise owner?
I spent 10 years in digital marketing and ecommerce working for large companies like Hilton Worldwide, AutoZone, and Servicemaster. I also built a number of online businesses and dabbled in real estate.
Why did you choose this particular franchise?
I was immediately attracted to Heaven’s Best after my first phone conversation with them. The people seemed genuine and shared a lot of reassuring information about how other franchisees have been performing. Heaven’s Best also doesn’t place many restrictions or requirements on your advertising efforts, so I could freely make use of my digital marketing background to launch and grow this business.
How much would you estimate you spent before you were officially open for business?
$30,000 for the territory and equipment package, $17,000 for my first cargo van, and $3,500 for startup capital.
Where did you get most of your advice/do most of your research?
I actually had several in-depth conversations with the team at Heaven’s Best. We went back and forth for several months before I decided to move forward. I also spoke with a franchise consultant (Joel Libava) outside of the Heaven’s Best organization to make sure I was on the right track.
What were the most unexpected challenges of opening your franchise?
Learning how to do the actual carpet cleaning process. I attended training at the corporate office, but there is no substitute for hands on experience in the home services industry. Every job is different, and you learn how to handle the more difficult situations through trial and error. Other Heaven’s Best franchisees and the CEO of the company have also been incredible resources whenever I have questions.
What advice do you have for individuals who want to own their own franchise?
Spend a lot of time in the research phase and explore multiple verticals. I started out thinking I would purchase a restaurant franchise. After I learned more about home services, the lower startup costs, and the higher margins, I ended up buying a carpet cleaning business. Be realistic about the type of work you are comfortable doing. Odds are you will be handling the majority of the day to day work until you are financially able to hire employees. Make sure you are willing to get up every day and do the job.
What’s next for you and your business?
I’m in the process of hiring my first employees and hoping to purchase my second van by next year. Once the Milwaukee location is fully ramped up, I hope to purchase more territories in Wisconsin or elsewhere.