An unexpected benefit of being a franchisee

A couple of weeks ago, we had a fairly big challenge occur for our Cairns franchisees, Tim and Madonna.  Their trailer containing their Gutter-Vac machine and all of their equipment was stolen when they were up in Atherton doing a big job over a few days.

This is only the third time in 20 years that a trailer has been stolen.  Now before I go on, all of our franchisees are completely insured so the story ends well.  But what I realise now on reflection and a discussion I had with Madonna, how much more stressful this situation could have been had they not been in a franchise and just out on their own.

Firstly, when Tim discovered the trailer had been stolen from the car park of where he was staying, he of course called Madonna who was at home in Cairns with their kids.  It was only 7.30am and once Madonna was off the phone with Tim (who was now calling the police), Madonna felt very much on edge as she was stuck an hour away from Tim, wanting to do something, but nothing she could do.

So Madonna jumped onto the closed Facebook group we have for our franchisees to ‘talk shop’ in and posted that their trailer had just been stolen because as Madonna said ‘she need to tell someone!’.

By coincidence, Tracey had arrived at Head Office early and was checking the Facebook group and saw Madonna post her ‘news’.  Tracey text me and said she would call Madonna to find out if this was indeed actually happening.  By the time I arrived at the office just 20 minutes later, Tim was on his way to the Police station to make a formal report – with images in hand of the trailer.  Madonna and Tracey had organised to let the media know, put posts on Facebook pages in the area (who knew there are specific Facebook pages to report crimes and to be on the lookout!), plus Carl and Elizabeth – our Townsville franchisees – had already offered their second trailer to Tim and Madonna to use whilst they waited to either find their trailer or to get a new one through insurance AND they didn’t expect any payment, just happy to help out.  As Elizabeth said ‘If I was in that situation, I’d hope someone would do the same for us’.

Messages from other franchisees offering support and seeing how they could help flooded in over the next hour.  Madonna and I talked about options and what the next steps were.

Madonna called our main insurance providers ‘Insurance Made Easy’ and because we have been working with them for quite some time now (James even comes along to our conference each year), they made the process of applying for the insurance to get a new trailer and machine really easy.

By the end of the day, Madonna took to the Facebook group for our franchisees again to thank everyone for their support – especially Carl and Elizabeth from Townsville for the offer of their second trailer because it meant that they would only have 2 or 3 days of downtime without tools compared to what could have been 6 weeks and when you realise that it was really busy in Cairns (booked out solid for the next month with more work coming in the door) this could have been a major problem for their business which is only 18 months old.  In fact, if they weren’t in a franchise, this could have spelled the end of their business.  Madonna made the comment that she was grateful they were in a franchise and it got me thinking to see that this is an unexpected benefit of being in a franchise.

This is certainly not a story I want to repeat in our group, but it did give me a feeling of pride that our franchisees really do work as a community, as a family, to help and support each other.  More than happy and willing to help each other, not just in words, but action.  It made me proud that in times of need, we have the team – not just in our office, but also with our suppliers – to help our franchisees.

Being in a franchise means you are in business for yourself, not by yourself and this is a great story to demonstrate that.

If you are wondering, over the next few days, every franchisee was posting what they use to secure their trailer to prevent theft and also found a stack of new products.  Even Tim posted his new device to the Facebook group for what he was using on his borrowed trailer from Carl and Elizabeth from Townsville!

So an event that could have killed a small business if they were on their own is a demonstration of just the added benefits that most people don’t know or talk about for being part of a franchise.


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