July 2019 Archives

How do you grow a business from startup in 2016 to $4MM in 2017, $9.8MM in 2018 and on target for $12MM in 2019? To understand the how, you must first learn about the who.

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From Ernst & Young to Enron to UBS to JP Morgan - and maybe a few stops in between - life for Bob Hillier and his family was never boring.

After spending seven years with Ernst & Young, one of Hillier's clients, a little company called Enron, "stole me away", said Hillier.

With that, he moved the family to Texas. It was 1998. "I was 27 years old when Enron went bust," Hillier recalled. There was no rest for the weary, though. He quickly rebounded and accepted a tech position at UBS. Almost zig-zagging the country, the Hillier's now found themselves in Connecticut.

The New England charm was lovely. The weather? Not so much. But mostly it just didn't feel like home to the long time Texans. Two years in, Hillier was looking for his next opportunity. And challenge. It didn't take long for JP Morgan's tech group to scoop him up. The Hillier's headed back to the Lone Star State, landing in Houston this time.

Though each new position and each new town took a toll on his family, Hillier never regretted the learning experience. He always knew that he was working towards something bigger and better. He was perfecting his craft. He was gaining invaluable experience while building a professional reputation for himself. He was maintaining financial security for his family. Hillier eventually made another career move; this time to Bank of America - no relocation required.

In Houston, the Hillier's had finally found a place they could call home.

In 2008 Bank of America announced plans to buy Merrill Lynch in a reported $50 BILLION deal. "The Bank of America - Merrill Lynch merger proved to be a huge 'corporate America' learning experience for me," reflects Hillier. "It changed everything."

Like so many, Hillier grew tired of the corporate life and the travel. He began to research opportunities that would afford him more time with his family. "I wanted to try something completely different, so I looked into several different franchise systems. I learned that restoration was a lucrative (and growing) market, so I visited ALL the restoration franchise models.

I read a lot about Paul Davis the man, and I felt like he was a bit like me - a risk taker, an innovator, and he was able to see the positives in bad situations and learn from them. This is where my researched ended and my choice was made."

Since 1966, Paul Davis Restoration has been providing restoration and cleanup services to the residential and commercial market. They are the experts when it comes to cleaning up after disasters such as water, fire or mold. With more than 300 locations in the US and Canada, Paul Davis is continually growing.

One of the many innovative aspects of Paul Davis Restoration is how they collaborate with insurance and other industries to improve efficiency in restoration of property damage.

About nine months after Bob Hillier invested in his own Paul Davis Restoration franchise, he struck what he thought would be a sweet deal with FEMA. It seemed like the perfect fit for his business, and it was FEMA after all. What could go wrong? Sadly, devastation struck the Gulf Coast when hurricane Harvey paid an unwelcome visit.

The too-good-to-be-true deal to build 2000 houses with FEMA fell through. True to Hillier's nature, and exemplifying what he himself admired in Mr. Paul Davis, he didn't wallow. Hillier found the positives in what, for many others, would be considered a disastrous experience. "I learned from this and lost some dollars," he said; "but the silver lining was that we found lot of talented people through that experience who work for us today."

And that is the attitude that gets you from a 5,000 square foot facility in 2016 to a 37,000 square foot facility in 2019! Hillier's business has grown from 3 vehicles to 17 to 28. "We have grown so much in just three years! We have outgrown our warehouse space twice. We continually add new staff and new vehicles. This business went from nothing to $9.8 million in TWO years!" beams Hillier.

"I knew all my life that I was working toward something bigger. I knew the travel and the long hours would amount to something. Today I have a thriving business that I can be proud of, four great kids and an equally wonderful wife. They are all also proud of my accomplishments and the fact that all four of them will be, at some point, in college at the same time, keeps me financially motivated, Hillier said with a laugh. "And we get to do it all in a city that we love."

Hillier cites consolidation of the three most important parts of his business as one of the main keys to the success of his team.

"80% of our business is organic growth; meaning maintenance of commercial and residential properties," Hillier concludes. "Things like bursting appliances, heaters, we maintain businesses and sustain homes with mundane repairs. But that's necessary upkeep. Then we have our storm based/disaster work. The secret is the bigger we are in organic business, the upkeep etc, the more storm-based jobs with risk we can take and manage. That's the part where we can really help people and it's rewarding.

"If I were to offer any advice to someone starting out or looking to purchase a franchise, I would tell them not to be afraid to take a risk - don't be reckless, but get out there and try new things, and always look for something good, even in the bad times."

For more information visit Paul Davis Restoration - North Houston, or call 281-886-7755.

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About Paul Davis Restoration

Since 1966 Paul Davis Restoration has restored residential and commercial properties damaged by fire, water, mold, storms and disasters. The experts at Paul Davis understand the complex process of recovering from property damage and provide complete services; there is no need for the expense and confusion of hiring multiple contractors. Paul Davis is a one-stop shop for disaster damage and restoration. Paul Davis Restoration has more than 375 independently owned franchises in the United States and Canada. The professionals at Paul Davis are certified in emergency restoration, reconstruction and remodeling. For more information, visit the company website at www.pauldavis.com.

Many social seller swear by their SSI score.

Others, equally adept at selling swear at the SSI score.

Lots of opinions, what's yours?

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Several years ago, Joe Caruso, wrote a very well received story "ABC's Shark Tank Sushi Franchise Fiasco."

Now, we want to present a slightly different & more upbeat story -- How to Pitch to the Sharks. Stay tuned for the final in September.

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After Rodney and Sharron McDuffie retired from long and successful careers that included both the U.S. Armed Forces and the U.S. Government, the Raymore couple was looking for an attractive business opportunity to bolster their pension income.

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So on April 15, Rodney, "61 years young," and Sharron, "59 years younger," as they note, officially opened for business as franchise owners with Floor Coverings International, whose representatives visit customers' homes in a Mobile Flooring Showroom stocked with thousands of flooring samples from top manufacturers.

Floor Coverings International Lee's Summit serves customers throughout greater Kansas City, including Lee's Summit, Raymore, Belton, Blue Springs, Freeman, Peculiar, Raytown, Harrisonville and Grandview.

Sharron retired after 30 years with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), where she was a Technological Hazards Specialist assigned to several nuclear power plants throughout Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska and Iowa. Rodney retired from the U.S. Navy with 25 years as a Yeoman Administrator before joining the Department of Immigration, where he spent more than a decade before retiring as an Immigration Supervisor this past February.

"We had started talking about what we would be doing in life with retirement approaching and looking forward to living the lifestyle we were comfortable in after more than 30 years working for the government," Sharron said.

"And we were not sure that once we retired on a government pension, if it would be enough. We are still pretty young and in good health, so we started looking for a business we could purchase that also offered plenty of flexibility, such as being able to work from home when we wanted to."

In Floor Coverings International, the McDuffies found a company that has tripled in size since 2005 by putting a laser focus on consumer buying habits and expressed desires, its impressive operating model, growth ability, marketing, advertising and merchandising. Floor Coverings International further separates itself from the competition through its customer experience, made up of several simple and integrated steps that exceed customers' expectations.

The McDuffies are also very excited about having the opportunity for their children to play a role in the business. Their oldest son, who just earned his master's degree in Public Affairs, is "more excited than my husband and myself," said Sharron, while their youngest son, who just graduated from high school, is looking forward to joining one of their flooring installation teams where he will gain the necessary experience to later become a Project Manager or Design Associate. A daughter, currently a middle school biology teacher, might join the business as an office manager or Design Associate while her husband is assisting with local marketing.

"Since we have been up and running, the whole family is seeing what a great opportunity it is by joining or just participating in this family business," Sharron said.


Floor Coverings International is the #1 Mobile Flooring Franchise in North America. Utilizing a unique in-home experience, the mobile showroom comes directly to the customer's door with more than 3,000 flooring choices. Floor Coverings International has 150-plus locations throughout the U.S. and Canada with plenty of opportunity for continued expansion in 2019. For franchise information, please visit www.flooring-franchise.com and to find your closest location, www.floorcoveringsinternational.com.

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This page is an archive of entries from July 2019 listed from newest to oldest.

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