The golden touch
During my business studies, I ran a mobile tire-changing business, visiting customers at their homes. I also repaired golf carts and tractors at Westwood Plateau Golf & Country Club in Coquitlam, B.C.
About six months after I finished my studies, I put a deposit down on a bicycle rental and repair store, but that was right when I came across the Midas franchising opportunity. I e-mailed the franchisor and they flew out to meet with me at Vancouver International Airport for an interview. Just one week later, I was offered the chance to buy a corporate location on Main Street.
I was 23 when I went through my franchisee training and turned 24 one week before taking over my store in July 2011. That made me among the youngest of Midas franchisees.
Running my franchise was very different from what I had expected. I hadn’t realized how much back-end work would go into it at the beginning. There was a lot of business-building to do, which took lots of hours, but I didn’t mind having to put in the time.
At the beginning, I was manning the front counter 99 per cent of the time, six days a week, from 7:30 a.m.
to 7 p.m. at a minimum. Then I would catch up on my paperwork on Sundays. Being in the store every day as the owner/operator really helps, as you get to see everything for yourself.
That said, I also focused on trying to hire the best people I could find right from the beginning. As a result of those efforts, my technicians today are some of the best I’ve ever met in my life. They really put their heart into their work. And after the first year, I also got more help at the front counter. We now have two front counter staff and four technicians, including one who’s been here since the shop was a corporate location. My front-end staff is amazing, too.
The first year was tiring, but worth it, as I roughly doubled the shop’s revenue, from $650,000 to just over $1.3 million. Since then, I’ve hit my goals every year and it’s been an awesome experience.
Another aspect of running my franchise that was more tiring at the beginning was my commute. I lived 25 km away from the shop, which meant a 60- to 90-minute drive in Vancouver’s traffic. Now, my wife Roxanne and I live just a five-minute drive away.
I also work from home a fair amount of the time. I can go through my accounting, payroll, invoices and key performance indicators (KPIs) to make sure we’re not missing anything. It’s important for us to really understand those numbers every day.
I’ll also go into the shop’s bays regularly to meet with the guys. We work on our processes to fine-tune the business. I’m certainly busy eight hours a day.
The way I share my business plan with my employees is through ‘day sheets.’ These record everything from the technicians’ hours and productivity to our costs for parts ordered from our main supplier’s warehouse. With this data at our fingertips, we can see what our margins and targets are and whether or not we are falling short in any aspects. If we are, we can then try to make adjustments so as to better achieve our goals.
While the day sheets do not delve into gross profits, they do help monitor whether we’re in the black or in the red. My technicians can see how they’re doing. Our goals are not just based on breaking even. We all strive to do better than that.