Dick Stieren, longtime Burger King executive, Omaha, Neb.
“I wanted something where I could control my own destiny and apply my skills and be successful. I live in Omaha. Warren Buffet is here, and he never invests in something he doesn’t understand. When I started looking at these franchises, I thought, is it something easy to understand? In the restaurant business, if it snows and people don’t come to Burger King that day, they don’t eat twice the next day to make up for it. I was looking for something where if the weather dampens your business, the demand is built up. It doesn’t go away. I was looking for a business that was renewable, not overly complicated and very successful.
Steve Sarafin, Sparta, N.J.
“I still continue to grow every year. I started initially by hiring somebody right from the get-go, so there were just two of us. We were running one guy to a truck. Now, it’s two men per vehicle. Right now I have seven vehicles. The sky is really the limit, depending on the area you’re in and how aggressive you want to get. I continue to grow; I’d like to be in the $1.5 million to $2 million in growth sales.”
Rolland Williams, Franklin, Tenn.
“The thing we like about a service-type business like this is that the inventory levels are really low. I don’t have to stock up on a whole lot of shirts and ties and shoes or food or whatever to put on my shelves to hope customers come in and buy it. I do have to invest in equipment like vans and pressure washers and so forth, but my inventory is low. That’s just capital goods. What I sell is a service my guys can perform.”
Dragan Malesevic, Jacksonville, Fla., after two months of owning his franchise
“I already have 40 customers. I’m already booked for April and parts of May. Those people are already repeat customers. It fits me. In my last job, I had a lot of sales, and I always loved it. I love talking to people. I like to go out and see what personality does that person have and how do I approach this person and that person. Talking to my customers — it’s natural to me.”
Mike Boone, Raleigh, N.C.
“I told my techs, and I tell other potential owners the same thing: One strong point is we do a lot of things. One of the weak points is we do a lot of things. Generally, it’s good when you’re starting up a business. It’s a business where you generate cash flow almost immediately, and you’re not out there making cold calls, unlike Fish Window Cleaning. I think that’s a plus. You’re not trying to establish a restaurant or a B2B-type business. Your people seek you out. It’s easier to generate cash flow with a service business, and it’s not a 24-7 business. I work on weekends a lot of times, but I don’t schedule work on weekends. Some guys do, but you have that flexibility.”