How did you get into the industry?
Jaime and I met and fell in love in high school. She was a freshman and I was a senior. I knew when she graduated I wanted to marry her so I went into an electrical apprenticeship in Des Moines. The apprenticeship was 5 years long, and the further along you went the better you were paid. We were wed when I was a third-year apprentice, making just enough to get by. 10 years later we decided to start our own electrical business, Integra Electrical. The business was started out of the need for me to provide for my family. We had just closed a failing business, an ice cream store, and I put the tools back on, going back to my roots to provide. 2006 was our first full year in business. We started like so many others sub-contracting for general contractors. 8 years later we changed the way we did business and went full into residential electrical service work. That is what we do today, only residential service work.
What’s new in the business or in the franchise model?
The way we motivate our team, the way we compensate our team and the way we serve our customers. We motivate our team with leadership that guides each person on the team to know exactly what they contribute to help the team win. We compensate our team based entirely on the revenue that each member generates for our team. And we serve our customers, practicing twice a week scripting, rolling the red carpet out literally, and being well-trained uniformed technicians.
Where do you see opportunities or challenges for the franchise/business moving forward?
I see opportunities when I think of where we came from. Had we had someone in the early years come beside and disciple us, showing us the numbers, and how to properly operate a company, it would have saved us so much time. The number one opportunity is being able to leapfrog a franchisee past the huge learning curve and help them gain much success very rapidly. The challenge I see in franchising is validating our operating system works flawlessly no matter where it is implemented. And rapid change when a system is not operating correctly or giving us results we expect.
What is your goal for the business moving forward?
We want to see 3 franchisees sold in the first 12 months after taking our concept to market. In year two we want to see 5 more sold, and in year 3 ten franchises sold. By the early part of year 4, we want to see at least twenty successful franchises operating around the Midwest and beyond.
Talk to us about training and support and how do you deliver. We have staff in-house that operate our systems flawlessly, and they are available to talk between 7 am and 5 pm central Monday through Friday. The people we employ execute on the very systems that franchisees use every day. When a franchisee needs additional leadership coaching, Jaime and I are available to set up appointments to go over those issues as well.
Your most difficult moment at the business?
Learning how to lead our team 4 years ago was a hurdle I was not expecting. We grew so fast with me at the helm, in the field, doing it all, that when the time came to have to employ people to execute those tasks, I didn’t know how to lead them.
This took a toll not just on my team, but on my marriage as well. Because I didn’t know how to lead our revenue was stagnant year after year for about 3 years. Again, had I had someone who could have warned me to prepare for leadership, I could have leap-frogged that frustration, or at the very least shortened the learning curve.
Define your franchise model:
Training and Support Model? We have franchise number 1 in Indianola, a model with net profits above 20%.
We will bring new franchisees to our office for the first week and then spend a few days at their location helping them set up their systems, completing service training ride alongs, and making sure they are following our service process.
What is the Fee Structure?
$35,000 upfront investment with a 6% franchise fee.
A population north of 200,000 people within a 30-minute radius of the office.
Day in the life of a Franchisee? At 7 am show up at the office, answer the phones, book service calls, dispatching technicians to service calls, training technicians on the soft skills of customer service, and at 5 pm head home. We are close Saturdays and Sundays except for emergency service.
What does your franchisee do in the business every day?
Manage the business from the office, booking calls, training technicians, tracking Key performance indicators, dealing with customer service issues.
Who is the ideal franchise candidate?
The ideal candidate is someone with an electrical background, perhaps they even have been in business for themselves and are ready to really grow beyond subcontracting. They are eager to learn, humble to the council, and will execute with excellence the systems that we have in place.
What goals do you have for the franchise model in the future?
In the first year have a full-time franchisee advocate in place at our business that can coach, travel to the location, and assist in the success of new franchisees. We want to see the franchise scale and have enough growth to add a second franchise advocate in year 3.
For more information on the franchise, visit WWW.INTEGRAELECTRICALFRANCHISE.COM