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.
Glenn Buckland was a customer service manager in an Austin, Texas, grocery almost three decades ago, when he decided to get off that particular career ladder. "I liked the idea of having something that was mine even better," Buckland recalls thinking. So, he purchased a Chem-Dry franchise there in Texas and, following a move to New Mexico, an existing Chem-Dry in Albuquerque. He then added an N-Hance Wood Renewal franchise to his business portfolio. While the two businesses made seem different on the surface, what Buckland says they have in common is proprietary technological advances together with eco-friendly techniques that he believes lifts both above their respective competitors.
Name: Glenn Buckland
Franchise owned: My original Chem-Dry was in Texas. Now, my wife Kati and I and our business partner, Pat Wallace, own Chem-Dry of New Mexico and N-Hance Wood Renewal of Albuquerque.
How long have you owned a franchise?
I have owned a franchise for 28-and-a-half years, since I was 22 years old. While working for someone else, it didn't take me long to realize that my real success would come through ownership, not employment.
I knew that with franchising, I would have a better chance of success with a proven business model. My wife Kati and I also enjoy working for ourselves and having the flexibility to balance work and life as we see fit.
What were you doing before you became a franchise owner?
I worked in a grocery store in Austin, Texas, as a customer service manager and was doing well. If I had stayed, I would have climbed the ladder pretty quickly. For my first real job, I was lucky to be working for a company that cared for its employees. Having a boss was the one thing that didn’t sit well with me, however.
Even though I liked the job and could see myself being successful there, I liked the idea of having something that was mine even better. I’m glad I was able to have the experience of working for someone else first, because it shaped how I run my company and work with my employees.
Why did you choose this particular franchise?
I chose both Chem-Dry Carpet Cleaning Franchise and N-Hance Wood Renewal Franchise because they’re both unique in their industry. Both companies feature proprietary technological advances, making their services more eco-friendly, more affordable and more convenient for the consumer, and providing superior results compared to the competition.
There was a franchise available in my area and I saw that the opportunity with Chem-Dry could be as big as we wanted it to be. We run seven routes a day and there is still a lot of growth potential out there for carpet and upholstery cleaning, tile and stone cleaning and wood renewal in the residential and commercial sectors. Anyone can be successful with Chem-Dry and N-Hance, if that person has good organizational and resource management skills and knows how to plan, forecast and scale a business in a measured, careful way.
Where did you get most of your advice/do most of your research?
I first read about Chem-Dry in Entrepreneur magazine in the 1980s, and what grabbed me was the affordability of the franchise and the fact that it was a unique service. To prepare myself, I took advantage of the large network of owners Chem-Dry provided to use as a resource. Talking with current and former Chem-Dry franchisees showed me the pros and cons of owning a franchise.
The same was true with N-Hance. I knew some of the challenges going in and was thankful that I had the support system behind me to push through the first years when we were getting the business up and running.
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What were the most unexpected challenges of opening your franchise?
Making the phone ring and executing effective marketing programs. Managing cash flow is also a big lesson. The volume of work naturally ebbs and flows, so understanding how to manage the business during the ebbs was critical when starting out. For those reasons, building brand loyalty among our key customer demographics remains a huge focus. Once we get customers, we are good at keeping them, because they appreciate how professional we are when it comes to carpet and upholstery cleaning and wood-renewal projects.
What advice do you have for individuals who want to own their own franchise?
Make sure the business has enough working capital and established markers for hiring the first employee, and stick to that time line. Work at least 40 hours a week on some part of your business. Have a business plan and work it, measure it and revise it every day.
What’s next for you and your business?
I’ll continue to refine processes and make sure we are replicating successes. I want to develop our company’s culture and further empower employees to provide the best customer experience possible.