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Advice From a Multi-Unit Franchisee: Robert Lyons, Tide Cleaners

1851 Franchise spoke with Lyons about his journey in multi-unit franchising and advice for the next great multi-unit owners.

Multi-Unit Franchisee: Robert Lyons

Franchise: Tide Cleaners

After working in real estate development post-college graduation, Robert Lyons’ early career was disrupted by the 2008 recession. He shifted into a role in franchising, helping to manage over 100 franchisees across North America. As he gained more experience in the industry, Lyons began considering entering the business as a franchisee himself. Now, he is a multi-unit franchisee with a network of Tide Cleaners locations across multiple markets nationwide.

1851 Franchise talked with Lyons about his journey in franchising, his accomplishments in the industry and his advice for other entrepreneurs looking to become the next great multi-unit franchisee.

“You have to build your team. That first location, it’s your baby; you feel like you have to be there all the time,” Lyons said. “But it’s so important to develop managers — develop who’s the next man up … Really building that team from the ground-up is key to enable you to free up the ability to grow as an organization.”

A summarized transcript of Lyons’ interview with 1851 Franchise has been included below. It has been edited for clarity, style and brevity.

1851 Franchise: What is your franchising story?

Robert Lyons: After college, I worked in real estate development until the 2008 crash. Then, I joined a franchise managing 104 locations across the U.S. and Canada. That experience led me to become a franchisee of Tide Cleaners and start Consolidated Cleaners with a partner.

1851: What attracted you to the franchise opportunity with Tide Cleaners?

Lyons: We were drawn by Procter & Gamble's reputation and the power of their brand, especially their move into dry cleaning.

1851: Did you plan to scale from the beginning?

Lyons: Our original agreement was only for two units, but that was mostly to make sure that we could get into the business and figure everything out. We aimed for significant growth, and after we felt confident with those two locations, we quickly expanded to 33 across Florida, North and South Carolina, and Ohio.

1851: What challenges did you face as you scaled?

Lyons: Initially, getting stuck in daily operations was tough. It hindered our ability to focus on growth and finding new locations.

1851: What’s the best part of being a multi-unit owner?

Lyons: Having the freedom to focus on strategy and growth while providing opportunities for our team to advance within the company.

1851: What advice do you have for aspiring multi-unit franchisees?

Robert Lyons: Build a strong team from the start so you can delegate and focus on growth. Having the right team in place has been crucial for our growth over the past 11 years.

Watch the interview above or on YouTube.