Q&A with Bill Michaud, Multi-Unit Franchisee of ManageMowed
Name: Bill Michaud
Title: Multi-unit franchisee
Years in franchising: 1
Bill Michaud set out to follow his entrepreneurial spirit in franchising for the first time in 2021. As the owner and operator of two units in North Carolina for ManageMowed, a leading commercial landscape management company, he is looking forward to diving headfirst into the franchising sector after working for 25 years with large corporate companies as a metallurgist and quality manager.
Why did you choose to franchise with a service brand?
I had no idea about the number of different franchises out there when I first began my search with the help of Mike Hall. When people typically think about what constitutes a franchise, they think about those traditional food and dining concepts. Mike introduced me to a whole other sector of the industry, which was service brands like ManageMowed.
It was really important to me when I decided to invest in a franchise that the concept I chose was a good fit for me in terms of both my personal values and financial assets. My background in quality management was better suited for service brand opportunities, where I could use the skills I’d learned as a manager to build relationships with the communities my business serves and become a resource for my customers, no matter their needs.
How did you choose the sector and brand you did?
As I mentioned, I was looking for a franchise opportunity that really aligned well with my personal values and financial assets. It became apparent to me early on in my search that service concepts were suited for my skill set.
Honestly, I never thought that I would end up in the commercial landscaping sector. However, with ManageMowed, I saw the opportunity to bring a much-needed service to the Charlotte area. The franchise opportunity was unique to the others I was also considering because the service can be provided without the need to secure costly real estate through buying land or renting a storefront. This allowed me to open my business rather quickly after signing the agreement.
As the owner of ManageMowed South Charlotte and ManageMowed Matthews, I will be able to connect local landscaping vendors with commercial clients who need their properties’ landscaping maintained, but might not have the time to manage and employ their own crews. There’s a lot of relationship-building and customer service that goes into the position, which was exactly what I was looking for in a franchise opportunity. I enjoy being able to interact with my customers on a personal basis and help fulfill their needs.
What different skill sets are required for service brand franchising?
A service brand is different from other sectors of franchising. While other concepts may focus on driving a profit through their products and offerings, service brands drive revenue and engagement primarily through relationships with their customers.
One skill I believe is essential to owning and operating a service brand is being able to listen to the customer. You need to be able to find out what they really want from your business and how best you can help them. I find that I create the best relationships with my clients when I’m able to take a step back and let them talk. Those are the times I learn the most about them and their needs.
Another skill vital to the success of a service brand is being able to create long-lasting relationships with your customers. This means being sincere and earning their trust so they continue to choose your business time and again. If you’re overly promotional or come on too strong with your sales pitch, you run the risk of making your clients feel as if you view them as a number rather than a person.
What are the advantages of choosing a service brand?
When I think about this question, I think about it from two different perspectives, as both an owner and a customer of service brands. Coming from a corporate background, I really enjoyed the fact that ManageMowed wasn’t a large corporate company where I would be perhaps one in 200 or 2,000 different new franchise operators in the system. The corporate team is looking to grow and build their business with input from their franchisees. I think this really speaks to the value that the entire brand puts into creating meaningful and trusting relationships with others. As a team, they understand how to align their goals with the goals of their franchisees, and I appreciate that.
From a consumer perspective, ManageMowed, like many service brands, wants the best for its clients. As an owner and operator, I’m fully invested in my clients’ satisfaction. It’s similar to the relationship between the franchisor and franchisee because my goals are always aligned with my clients’ goals. When they see an increase in sales or foot traffic, I know that we’ve both won at the end of the day.
What would you recommend to anyone considering a service brand?
For other prospective franchisees considering a service brand, I would recommend that you look for something that will fit your own personal aspirations and works well with your financial goals as well. While there’s inherent risk in owning a business, no matter the concept, with service brands the amount of risk you take on also matters. When it came down to it in the end, I chose to franchise with ManageMowed out of the other brands I was looking at because providing a service like landscaping maintenance is something inherently lower risk than a business focused on childcare or household pets. Also, it’s important to make sure that your business model has a Plan B for providing your service if your Plan A suddenly is unavailable.
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