TWO MEN AND A TRUCK®’s unique ability to connect with the communities in which it operates has always been the driving force of the brand’s success. Until recently, however, its service hadn’t extended beyond major cities across the U.S. As a result of extensive research, the moving franchise knew there was opportunity beyond saturated urban areas, so it developed a mini-market model in 2017 as a means for growth into markets that were previously neglected due to their size.
Where before the brand’s franchise disclosure document didn’t allow franchisees to serve smaller populations, the mini-market model gives franchisees the option to develop the TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® brand in areas with a population between 100,000 and 200,000. More than a year and a half into its implementation, it’s clear the shift in strategy has created an entirely new avenue for TWO MEN AND A TRUCK to pursue development.
Franchisee Ben Heslop, who launched the brand’s first mini-market in Montana with his brothers, Eric and Brian, and their father Jim, said executing on the intangibles and putting brand values into action are the main reasons his business has snowballed. The Alabama natives used to frequent Montana with their parents growing up, and Ben knew he always wanted to move there permanently as an adult. The Heslops were introduced to TWO MEN AND A TRUCK through Eric’s work as a banker in Alabama and quickly recognized a need the brand could fill in Montana. So, Ben took the leap and moved his family north, opening the business in May of 2017.
“We were conservative in our initial projections, but we experienced such an influx of customers that we had to totally readjust our budget due to our business’s growth,” Heslop said. “After seven months of operation, we had met our five-year budget goal.”
As far as why the brand resonates with the customer base in his mini-market, Heslop said some of it has to do with the lack of competition, but the area’s emphasis on small, community-run business has brought the most benefit.
“We make a point of getting out into the community and developing relationships”, he said. “The biggest thing for us is holding ourselves to TWO MEN AND A TRUCK’s standards regarding the value of great service. We strive to always put our customers first and do things the right way. That caught on and trended really fast for us. We got a great response that has continued to drive business for us.”
Approximately 900 miles southeast, Justin Woods and Rob Graham own and operate another TWO MEN AND A TRUCK mini-market in Cheyenne, Wyoming. The two were introduced to the brand when Graham’s uncle, who works at the TWO MEN AND A TRUCK Home Office, approached them about opening a franchise through the mini-market model in their area. After falling in love with the model, the two did their homework and determined it would be extremely viable in Cheyenne’s market.
“Since booking our first move in February of 2018, we’ve completed over 250 moves and have a 97.96 referral rating, which we are thrilled about,” Woods said.
Woods says the success his business has experienced can be traced back to community outreach in the form of partnerships with local charities, in particular. “I think the moving industry has a bad stigma that movers don’t care,” he said. “Making ourselves known in the area through exemplary service has really helped us take off.”
Both franchisees cited the importance of word of mouth in these smaller communities. Because TWO MEN AND A TRUCK makes the moving process easy and stress-free, delivering a consistently positive experience has helped generate leads based on referrals. Heslop said he’s noticed an “intimate community aspect” to these markets that doesn’t exist in larger areas, which is why he believes service-centric businesses like TWO MEN AND A TRUCK are poised for success.
“In my experience, what helps mini-markets, in general, is that I myself am out there to personally promote my business,” Heslop said. “We succeed because of our commitment to service. In small communities, if a business can create connection points that show they help everyone as opposed to a select few, people are drawn to that, which grows a presence.”
“The reality of it is there are people who need to be moved everywhere and they’re all looking for someone they can rely on,” Woods added. “Cheyenne is booming, and similar cities are on the rise as well. That's one of the key reasons why I think this model works.”
Recognizing its value and potential through multiple success stories, TWO MEN AND A TRUCK plans to make the mini-market model a development focus in 2019. The move adds further weight to the brand’s already competitive franchise offering, as mini-market startup costs are as low as $115,000 to $276,000. Financial requirements for mini-market models are also less than traditional locations — prospective franchisees are required to have $80,000 in liquid assets and $160,000 in net worth compared to $150,000 and $400,000, respectively, for a full market area.
“Now more than 18 months in, we’ve seen our first and longest-standing mini-market generate more revenue than 45 of our standard markets,” said TWO MEN AND A TRUCK CEO Jon Nobis. “Clearly, there is a tremendous opportunity for growth with this model that we plan to continue pursuing. We opened two mini-markets in 2017 and another in 2018, and our goal for 2019 is to pursue this avenue aggressively. We’re excited about the incredible growth potential ahead.”
TWO MEN AND A TRUCK is planning to partner with at least three qualified franchise partners this year to open new mini-market territories. Prime mini-market territories are located in Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, Colorado, Georgia, Iowa, Idaho, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, North Carolina, North Dakota, Nebraska, New Mexico, , Ohio, Oklahoma, , South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Washington, Wisconsin, West Virginia, and Wyoming. To learn more, visit https://franchise.twomenandatruck.com/mini-market.