Service Franchise Opportunities: Why one small business owner decided it was time to grow
While Justin Johnson, owner of 1-800 WATER DAMAGE of South Metro Milwaukee, grew up in the restoration industry, he hasn’t always been a member of the BELFOR Franchise Group family. Before converting his existing business into a 1-800 WATER DAMAGE franchise, Justin independently owned and operated a fire and water damage restoration company. After considering his personal goals and long-term vision for his company, he decided he wanted to be a part of something bigger. We sat down with Justin to hear why BELFOR Franchise Group’s service-based franchise opportunities stood out to him and how his transition to a member of our community has greatly benefited his business.
Q: Tell us about your previous business before becoming a member of the BELFOR Franchise Group family.
A: I always knew I wanted to go into the restoration industry as my career path. When starting out, I struggled to find an organization that I connected with. I didn’t want to work for a company that I didn’t share the same values with, so I decided to start my own fire and water damage restoration company.
Q: What made you decide to convert your business into a 1-800 WATER DAMAGE franchise?
A: After a few years of being on my own, I began to consider what I wanted for not only my business, but my life long-term. I realized what I was really lacking was a support system to tap into and decided I wanted to be a part of a bigger brand. So, I began researching potential franchises and that’s how I came across BELFOR Franchise Group
Q: What stood out to you about BELFOR Franchise Group?
A: A friend of mine who used to work with me had branched out and opened his own 1-800 WATER DAMAGE location. He reached out to me to tell me he had found a company that believed in everything we were looking to build ourselves. As I started to look further into 1-800 WATER DAMAGE and BELFOR Franchise Group as a whole, I fell in love with the culture – it was everything I was looking for in a company. The level of support that BELFOR Franchise Group provides to its franchisees is unparalleled.
Q: Did you have any initial reservations about converting your business?
A: I’m somewhat cynical by nature so when I’m first meeting someone or introduced to something new, I’m always skeptical. It’s a matter of trust – gaining trust and trusting someone else. I spent a lot of time getting to know everyone at the BELFOR Franchise Group home office, and they were extremely patient with me throughout the process, which showed me a lot about the character of this organization. They weren’t just trying to push me into a contract I wouldn’t be happy with. Secondly, I worried about royalties as any existing company would – will it be worth it? Once I got over this hurdle, I’ve seen our bottom-line increase and I tie that directly to becoming a member of the BELFOR Franchise Group family.
Q: What was the converting process like?
A: As I mentioned, it all starts with research and really making sure you connect with the franchising company. Make sure your visions align. Once I made the decision, it was way easier than I had thought! What I didn’t think was possible, the brand made possible. From rebranding to training to our operation systems, the home office provided us with the tools we needed to succeed. At first, I had many worries: Are we starting over? How do I communicate this to our current clients and referral partnerships? However, when we began the transition process, it seemed that everyone was excited that we were becoming something bigger and better.
Q: What benefits have you seen to your business since converting?
A: First and foremost – revenue. Our bottom line has increased significantly. From an operations standpoint, the level of support we receive is outstanding. My mind is blown by the amount of access that we have to anyone at any level of the business, even aspects that aren’t necessarily part of the industry – for example, I have unlimited IT support. As an owner of a small independent business, whenever we had an issue we would think, “What do we do? Who do we call?”. The BELFOR Franchise Group team is always available by phone whenever you need them. More locally, because we are now part of this large brand, we are moving at lightening speed. The large commercial clients that we have been prospecting for years, we’re now able to begin those relationships because they trust our backing and it feels great.
Q: Lastly, what advice do you have for someone that may be considering converting to a restoration franchise?
A: Depending on where you are in your business, in terms of size and development – if you haven’t given thought as to why you’re doing this or what your values are, do so now! Figure out your long-term goals and your vision for the company. For me, culture is the number one pillar for building a successful business. Make sure the potential franchise company you are considering shares the same values and ethics as you. If the culture is right, everything just follows. In my experience, if you have taken the time to understand your foundation and you’re looking to transition into a company focused on integrity and family, then 1-800 WATER DAMAGE and the BELFOR Franchise Groupis the perfect fit.
If you are interested in BELFOR Franchise Group’s service-based franchise opportunities, contact us today!