Kevin Newman | Crain's San Antonio

In this ongoing series, we ask executives, entrepreneurs and business leaders about mistakes that have shaped their business philosophy.

Kevin Newman

Background:  

Kevin Newman and his brothers Curtis and Steve have been franchisees of Two Men and a Truck in San Antonio since December 2014. Two Men and a Truck is the largest franchised moving company in North America, with more than 380 locations and 2,900 trucks operating in 42 U.S. states, as well as in Canada. Each location is independently owned and operated.

The Mistake:

My mistake was not having the confidence to make a decision and move on it. Almost three years ago, with no prior experience in the moving industry, my brothers and I started operating Two Men and a Truck. Steve had managed people before, but Curtis and I were relatively new and had very little management experience.

So when we took over these locations — we had combined two separate, pre-existing Two Men and a Truck locations — we had to rely on our managers but also had to manage those managers to ensure everything was being done correctly.

That was daunting because one of our managers had about 10 years of experience in the industry. We didn’t but still had to manage him.

It took us longer than we would have liked to feel confident enough to put certain processes in place and solidify our vision for the franchise.

If you’re a franchisee, make sure to use the support system already in place. 

The Lesson:

If you’re a franchisee, make sure to use the support system in place. Taking advantage of that system would have helped us feel more confident a lot sooner, which would have helped us get the ball rolling on the business earlier. We were trying to reinvent the wheel.

We didn’t know how expansive [the parent company’s] network was until we started going to annual meetings. Getting to know other franchise owners, for example, felt good because we shared some of the same issues and were able to talk them over and come up with creative solutions together.

Look at it this way: You’re not paying all your franchise fees to figure everything out on your own. The Two Men and a Truck franchise has business consultants, as well as people dedicated to risk-management, human resources, training, and the like. If you have questions about something, they usually have a team dedicated to [answering those questions].

Taking advantage of this system set us up for success.

Follow Two Men and a Truck on Twitter at @TwoMenAndATruck.

Photo courtesy of Two Men and a Truck