TWO MEN AND A TRUCK is the largest franchised moving company in North America. In business for over 25 years, it currently operates in the United States, Canada, and Ireland with 220 locations and over 1,400 moving trucks. Each location is independently owned and operated and sells boxes and packing supplies. Locations complete both home and business moves as well as packing and unpacking services.
Randy Shacka is TWO MEN AND A TRUCK’s Chief Operations Officer. Randy’s first position at TWO MEN AND A TRUCK was that of intern, while finishing his mechanical engineering degree at Michigan State University. Since then, Randy has played nearly every role in the company — from mover and store manager to franchise development specialist, Chief Development Officer and his current title of Chief Operations Officer. Randy has been with the company for 11 years.
Franchise Chatter (FC): Can you tell us how TWO MEN AND A TRUCK got its start?
Randy Shacka (RS): TWO MEN AND A TRUCK began as a simple job for brothers Brig and Jon Sorber, who were looking for work during the summer break from high school. With an eye towards their dad’s old green pick-up truck, they began by moving yard waste, brush, and just about anything people wanted hauled away.
Business really began to pick up after the boys’ mother, Mary Ellen Sheets, posted an ad in the local weekly paper, complete with a hand-drawn logo she created on a whim. Mary Ellen continued to get calls after the boys left for college, so she hired a helper to facilitate moves while she worked away at the day job she’d held for more than a decade.
Fast forward 25 years and TWO MEN AND A TRUCK has become one of the nation’s largest local and long distance moving companies, with more than 200 independently-owned locations and more than 1,400 trucks on the road each day. The company continues to use that same hand-drawn logo Mary Ellen drew many years ago.
FC: What are some of the things that set TWO MEN AND A TRUCK apart from other moving companies, whether franchised or non-franchised?
RS: Unfortunately, the industry is rife with unlicensed movers who believe buying a truck is the only requirement to become a mover. TWO MEN AND A TRUCK recognized this as an opportunity, so we built a brand that focuses on a personalized, high touch moving experience for our customers.
We are known as “The Movers Who Care” and one of our core values is the Grandma Rule — a simple message for all of our employees which says to treat everyone the way you would want your Grandma treated. Our core values and mission statement are not words on paper. Everyone believes in them here.
Franchisees, managers, and movers also utilize Stick Men University, a state of the art training facility that delivers instructor-led and online training, and features a full two story apartment and a 26-foot truck for hands-on moving training for the frontline staff. In addition, classroom education focuses on customer service training and underscores the importance of giving back to the communities in which we operate.
RS: Very few of our successful TWO MEN AND A TRUCK franchisees come from the moving industry. In fact, our franchisees come from every imaginable walk of life — stay-at-home moms, former sales people, engineers, accountants, furniture store owners, recent college graduates, retirees looking for a second or third career. The one quality that isn’t required is preexisting knowledge of the moving industry.
The most common personality traits among our successful franchisees are a strong desire to succeed and a willingness to learn from others who have grown within our system.
FC: Can you describe the ideal territory for a TWO MEN AND A TRUCK franchise?
RS: We have a number of proprietary analytics that guide our counsel on where to build a store, but in general terms, we service top DMA markets, as well as mid and tertiary markets. There is a threshold of density within the communities we look at that help guide our decisions based on the number of business and home moves that any given market may generate.
FC: What kind of training and support do you offer your franchisees to maximize their odds for success?
RS: The aforementioned Stick Men University is really a deep dive into all aspects of running a franchise operation — everything from how to position a door jamb protector to how to operate QuickBooks, how to hire movers and how to utilize business intelligence to continue to grow.
We have franchise business consultants that join our new franchisees in the store to get them out of the gates properly. We have invested heavily in specific skill sets within our Home Office to bring specialized support to the franchisees.
We offer continuing education from Home Office in the form of webinars (real time and/or recorded) on everything from utilizing social media, to reading and understanding a key dashboard report.
Perhaps most unique is our network of franchisees itself. We have a group that really takes care of each other — everyone is an open book willing to share details on marketing budget allocations, employee retention programs, community programs that are working and those that aren’t. Our franchisees are on the front line every day, and we foster an environment that encourages taking care of each other.
FC: What is the initial investment and typical ongoing expenses for a TWO MEN AND A TRUCK franchise? What can you tell us about its profit potential?
RS: Depending on your location and size of your service area, you could get a franchise up and running for as little as $173,000. That would include two trucks, license agreements, facilities, rent, etc.
Profit potential ranges, of course, but I can definitively say that more than 38% of our franchisees gross more than $1.3 million per year. In 2011, 70% of our franchisees grew double digits and 15% of our franchisees grew more than 50%. This is before the return of the housing market, so there is an obvious opportunity in the immediate future and beyond.
RS: We are ultimately a people business which can bring the greatest challenge. Fostering an environment of accountability, development, and finding the right people that will continually challenge you (in a positive way) as a franchise owner takes time. You can’t achieve success alone. But that is part of the benefit of joining a franchise system — the proven methodologies, processes, and practices that we have in place to help you achieve this.
The other area is change. As a business in this industry, change is constant. Each day can be different which makes it exciting. Your ability to adapt to change combined with a proven system is a great mix for success.
FC: Can you name a few franchise companies (inside or outside your sector) that you admire, and why?
RS: I admire the story of McDonald’s and the history they have. They’ve been able to evolve with changing times and have a very structured approach to training and development, which is great.
FC: What are your growth plans for TWO MEN AND A TRUCK and how do you plan to scale the business?
RS: Our goal is to be, hands down, the #1 moving company in the world. Our growth is tied directly to that focus, and that means every move we complete must deliver on our mission statement, which is to continuously strive to exceed our customer’s expectations in value and high standard of satisfaction.
We’ve consistently ranked at the top in customer service, and we’ve been able to grow at an outstanding rate during the past three years due in large part to our daily approach to our work. Our growth is particularly remarkable when you consider the struggling real estate market in which we are so closely tied.
We celebrated the best year in our company’s history in 2011, and we expect double digit growth again this year — and a new benchmark to celebrate in January 2013.
FC: Is there anything else you wish to share about TWO MEN AND A TRUCK?
RS: We’re growing! If you are thinking of a second career, or jumping out of corporate America to start your own company, I’d encourage you to give us a call. We’d be happy to discuss open areas we have available, or even put you in touch with a local franchisee in your area who can share their firsthand experience.
Regardless of what franchise system you are looking at, you have to love what you do. I’m confident in saying that our team loves the work we are privileged with each day.