Owned and Operated #82 - Power Washing: Franchise and Business Model with Aaron Harper

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Ever wondered how power washing can turn into a booming business? Join Aaron Harper from Rolling Suds as he reveals the secrets behind turning power washing into a thriving business in this episode. Believe it or not, most of their customers are actually other businesses! Aaron walks us through his journey, from his beginnings to jumping into various franchises. Learn about the power washing industry and how Rolling Suds is making an impact by serving other businesses. If you thought power washing was just about driveways, think again!

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John Wilson: @WilsonCompanies on Twitter
Jack Carr: @TheHVACJack on Twitter

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Owned and Operated Episode #82 Transcript

Today on Owned and Operated, we talk with Aaron Harper from Rolling Suds, a power washing franchise. I had no idea how involved power washing was. Most of the power washing that I've been exposed to is some one or two tweets or some people on TikTok. So this was fascinating. The biggest unlock was most of the customers are B2B.

It's other businesses had no idea. This was a great conversation. We dive into his history. We dive into the other franchises he's worked with, and we talk about the power washing business model. Great episode. Thanks for tuning in.

Welcome back to Owned and Operated. Jack, what's up dude?

Jack Carr: Hey, how's it going?

John Wilson: Good man, good. I'm pumped. We've got Aaron Harper on with us today from Rolling Suds. Welcome to the show, Aaron.

Aaron Harper: Hey, how's it going, John? How's it going, Jack? Good to see you guys. Thanks for having me on.

John Wilson: Yeah man this is gonna be good. We're pumped to talk washing. Which I don't think we've covered that business. We did gum blasting. Which is probably the closest that we've gotten.

Jack Carr: Yeah we haven't touched this. I was thinking about it the other day and going, man, this is one of those ones that you actually see a lot too, in terms of offerings. I'm really interested in digging in on some of the details here.

Aaron Harper: Me too. I'm excited, guys. I've listened to a lot of your episodes. You guys have a great podcast.

John Wilson: Yeah. We do our best. I don't know if it's that good, but we do our best. Cool. Aaron, could you give us a little bit of background? You were sharing just off camera how you worked on another franchise, which I thought was as interesting as Rolling Suds. So maybe tell us a little bit about that and then we get to dive into Washing.

Aaron Harper: Yeah. So I've been in franchising for years. That's my background. So I actually didn't have any experience in power washing other than 1 failed attempt at using a power washer 1 time. So I'll catch you guys up to speed. Both of the businesses that I've helped franchise. I was a W 2 employee at and they both became the biggest brand in the world in that specific industry franchise brand.

So it started with carpet cleaning. That business was purchased by a big property restoration company. They wanted to build a platform company of brands. They put the leadership team from the carpet cleaning franchise in charge of their platform division. Bought a brand called the patch boys. That brand needed a lot of help.

It was a hundred units sold 40 franchisees. Five of them were happy. When I got involved, some not great numbers, it was also COVID. So it was June of 2020 and they're like, Aaron, sell this. And I'm like, hold on you know, not going to do that. Like we got to put systems in place first and call all the franchisees, ask them what they needed from us.

It was that like age old franchise or lied to them. Terrible story. So we built systems, earned everything they needed, marketing, training, recruiting, helping with scaling the business, financial modeling, business coaching, first franchisee. We launched at 30 grand his first month. Had no experience in drywall repair was profitable.

So I took that business then and grew it in 24 months by 223 locations in two years. We became the biggest drywall repair company in the world. Every one of those locations opened, they opened with full time labor hired prior to going to training and the phone ringing and training with the marketing sources.

So we had also grown Belfour, the company I was working at to 12 brands were 4, 700 locations, 55 countries built the second largest platform company of service brands in the world from a unit count.

John Wilson: owns patch now?


Aaron Harper: So I worked for Belfour, Belfour bought patch boys from the founder, founder exited immediately. And then we rebuilt it.

John Wilson: When you say, just so I understand the numbers that we're talking about here. So a hundred sold 40 franchisees, five that were happy. So that means that at some point we sold a hundred units, but only 40 were active. Just so I'm hearing this right.

Aaron Harper: No. So 40 franchisees will typically own multiple franchises. So it's 40 franchisees that own a hundred territories. Five out of those 40 franchisees were actually like running a good business and happy and like, you know, didn't regret their decision.

John Wilson: Yeah. When you come into a situation like that, I would have to imagine that there's gonna be some churn of franchises or franchisees. How many of those get salvaged versus how many churned?

Aaron Harper: So you have to have a very realistic discussion with every owner about what their expectations are about the business and like whether or not those expectations are realistic. And there are some that we just knew weren't going to happen. So we were going to get them out, move on. But there were some where we had to be like, we're going to try to work this out for the next six months.

But if you think you're going to run the business from a different state while keeping your job full time, like that's just not going to work. you're going to take a loss. We were able to turn it around. Like I was pretty proud of what we did. The franchisees, like I'm still friends with them on Facebook.

Like they know my kids' names. Like we turned it around and like. Those franchisees were successful and I'm super proud of what we did. And I was being asked to like speak at different conferences at franchising about how to do it the right way. I think we could have done better. But I wasn't in charge of like the operation side of things.

I was more on the development and selecting franchisees. I was really involved in helping restructure it at the beginning, but once we had it in place, it was time to grow it. And that's when I grew it by 223 locations when I thought we were ready to open them.

John Wilson: Yeah, Can I ask some questions about the drywall patch business?

I think I've said this on the show before, but in 2019, we launched a handyman concept around that idea. We were never going to franchise it. We were never going to do anything interesting with it at all other than. We're plumbers and we open a lot of walls. Like that was the sum of our philosophy here. So we're like, Hey, it'd be sweet if we could capture more value and close those walls up. Ended up being difficult. A weird business, but if all you do is patch, that probably makes it easier.

We were like handy men. so anything you read that as anything. Without getting into like FTD stuff, what is a standard truck produced in drywall repair? I'm trying to like envision this business and how big they can get. That's just interesting.

Aaron Harper: Yeah. We shot for about 800 a day per technician, so either a half day job or a full day job. And that's the way we looked at it. It was a hard business because we required skilled labor and I know you guys are in skilled labor, but like, we're trying to find like a very specific drywall technician who doesn't know how to run a drywall business, but like, likes doing drywall repair. There's not that many of those in a market. And there was only so many customers. It's just people who had holes in their walls. So like it was good. We did well with it. We had franchisees doing over a million a year. It wasn't as scalable of a business as I believe rolling suds is.

Which is why, I transitioned I also didn't own anything. I was an employee and so this is the first one I've owned or that I own. I'm the majority owner of the company.

John Wilson: What was the biggest patch? Was it, patch boys?

Aaron Harper: Yeah. The patch boys. Yep.

John Wilson: What was the biggest patch boys? Like how big can it get?

Aaron Harper: When I left, I think one guy was doing like 1. 4, I think he was on track to like 1. 4, 1. 5, but I mean he was like three years in,

John Wilson: yeah.

Aaron Harper: Not bad.

Jack Carr: Yeah. And I guess the idea is you buy multiple locations, right? So that's where you really get your scale is you're buying four territories, five territories, same playbook. You know how to run one, you know how to run the other ones. And that's how you eventually get to that four or 5 million is you have to own five territories, right?

It was that a common thing that you saw? I know you said that some of them owned, to follow John's point is what was the biggest owner? What did they own? Like 20 territories and they ran a 20 million.

Aaron Harper: No. So that was an emerging brand. When I got involved, it was like three and a half years in. And keep in mind, like there weren't a ton of operators out there, being established. So when I left, we were like on year five six ish of the franchise brand and the franchise kind of life cycle, but yeah, our best guy probably had like five, six territories.

Jack Carr: That's pretty decent if even if they're each doing, what, 500 to three quarters and you're still in that three to 4 million territory. It's not terrible.

Aaron Harper: Yeah, it was a good business. It had its challenges, but I think we did really well with it. I learned a ton. I was able to take everything I learned from there and like, make it better and now apply it to,

John Wilson: The next project. Yeah. So, when is the standard customer a homeowner Like a plumbing company that opens up holes in walls or like property management doing tenant flips.

Aaron Harper: So it's, customers who had a plumber come out or an HVAC person cut a hole in the ceiling, like had a leak restoration company, like they need to do a flood cut, Those were the customers that we had. So residential consumer, there was almost no commercial side to that business.

It was all residential customers that had holes in their walls.

John Wilson: I had somebody doing some drywall at my house, which by the way, like I totally get this Drywall guys are ridiculously difficult to find. That's why we launched a concept around like, we're a 20 million dollar company, we can't find somebody to close up our walls.

It's crazy. So like, totally get it. But we had somebody doing some drywall work at our home. And they were describing how most of their work is for something called Redwood. Which is like an apartment community. And they just go in and they flip units all day long. And that's like, That's his business, which is interesting. And he gets paid a thousand bucks a unit to just go in and like patch it. I don't know.

Aaron Harper: that was one thing, like there was no challenge getting franchisees leads,

John Wilson: Yeah. Just go on Facebook or talk to plumbers, I guess. That's interesting. But yeah, I can definitely see the ceiling for it. Okay. I'm trying to think if there's anything else I want to know about drywall patching. Like, there's probably so much, but like, Alright, wait, so average ticket was either, like, four to eight hundred bucks. Probably, cause you're either selling half days or full days. Lead gen was a lot of B2C or like referrals from the contractors. All right, so you'd follow them. Okay, I'm gonna make you rate it which we usually do whenever we're talking about new models 1 to 10 how hard is it to launch a drywall repair

Aaron Harper: yourself or with a franchise?

John Wilson: Give me both, bro

Jack Carr: Yeah.

John Wilson: I'm curious.

Aaron Harper: Yeah, I think it's probably like 7 out of 10 in terms of like Difficulty if you don't have a franchise, I would say if tens being like the most difficult. I didn't really I guess I didn't ask

which direction the scales going. Okay.

I would say, if you've got a good franchise brand behind you, especially where we were at, because we were first to market.

Probably like a five. Any service business you're gonna have to dig in and you're a hunter. Like, it

doesn't matter whether it's drywall repair, HVAC, plumbing, solar. Like, you're out, you're hunting for the leads, right? it's different than a QSR where you just build the location that's probably what I would rate it.

John Wilson: Okay, and the most challenging thing here is the labor.

Aaron Harper: Labor.

John Wilson: I can believe that, because drywall's tough. It's very easy to make a mess, so you really have to be cautious about who goes where. And they have to do it perfect.

Aaron Harper: And they have to be nice,

John Wilson: They have to be nice?

Aaron Harper: Yeah, like kind of hard to find like someone who's also good at drywall and like nice to I guess the reason why, like, it's just, hard to find these people. You can't train them. They have to have five or more years of drywall experience.

And so you know, our franchisees sometimes would be like handcuffed to a bad employee. They couldn't be quick to hire and quick to fire because it was hard finding another one. Now, the reason why it goes from a seven to a five is we built systems for them. They all had employees recruited prior to going to training.

Aaron Harper: Like we didn't let them go to training without at least one guy hired. We provided all of the resources to find them, pay structures, all that. But like, you got to retain those people. You got to be constantly recruiting. It was a challenge.

John Wilson: If you're a home service entrepreneur that's just starting out, or is early on in the journey, and you haven't broken the five million dollar revenue mark, we've got an event for you. This spring in Cleveland, March 19th to the 21st, we're hosting an event at my office. It's going to be awesome. Honestly, some of the most impactful visits of my career have been visits to companies that were larger than we were, that we could take lessons from, and see how they're doing stuff.

Like get a behind the scenes look, how are they structuring warehouse? How are they thinking about call centers? Can I talk to their managers? Can I understand what their KPIs are? We're going to dive into all that stuff. We are here to help people get above 5 million in revenue. So join us in Akron, Ohio, March 19th to the 21st for a breaking 5 million event.

Love to see you there. Details are owned and operated dot com.

Okay, Patch Boys. Alright, so you guys sold a bunch, it was attached to Belfour, and that makes total sense. Like, that was smart.

total respect to that attachment. Alright, and now, you left, you partnered with somebody.

You franchise their business. And you said, I think 76 units year to date?

Aaron Harper: We hit 80. today.

Jack Carr: Oh goodness.

Aaron Harper: Thank you. 80 units, 27 franchisees.

I looked at like two dozen businesses last year, actually.

Jack Carr: How did you decide on pressure washing? What was the reasoning behind that?

Aaron Harper: So I like many of the people on, S and B. Twitter or X or whatever it's called these days, how to check checklist of things I was looking for in a business. And for me, it was when I was analyzing business, like how many of the boxes does it check? And I was not like seeking out a pressure washing business.

It's just like I met them at a franchise conference and they're like, we're going to power washing, not franchising. I was like, great, know nothing about power washing, know a ton about franchising. But It was only one that checked all the boxes for me. So like I had the same thing that everyone else has recession resistance fragmented industry, I wanted unskilled labor after everything that we're talking about you know, something that was need based, something that was niche.

I like niche businesses. I think they do really well for a variety of reasons but there were two things that I was like, that were like really hard to find on any of the businesses I analyzed. And one was a difference in product offering, right? So like a service, know. But it's different than everyone else and is objectively better.

So think proprietary process. so rolling sides, they took me on a job and it was 3000 square of a house and they did it start to finish 25 minutes, set up, tear down everything. I was like, I thought it took an entire day to do these types of jobs. So that was mind blowing. So figured out they have this proprietary technology.

No one else has, which was really interesting. The other thing I was looking for was little to no competition in the franchise space. So one of the reasons we were able to take off with Patch Boys is we were first to market in the franchise space. Since then, we launched 300 plus units.

Since then, there's like six or seven drywall patch franchises that have like tried to ride the wave. But we were first, right? It's always going to be first. And so there are franchises out there that do power washing, but they do windows, they do gutters, they do painting, There wasn't like a national leader in power washing.

And so, that was really interesting to me. And so I was able to find both things with this business that I wasn't able to find anywhere else, which was the difference in product offering and little to no competition in the franchise space.

John Wilson: Yeah, so same questions about the business that I had about Patch Boys. What's an average day? What's an average ticket? And I don't understand the model very well, right? So like, walk me through the basics of power washing.

Aaron Harper: We just focus on residential and commercial power washing. Residential is going to be houses, driveways, decks, roofs sidewalks, chimneys, like everything on the exterior of a home. That's the residential side of the business. The commercial side of the business is where the business becomes really interesting.

So we've cleaned water towers, casinos, college campuses, HOAs, municipal buildings, government buildings shopping centers, tennis courts libraries, like you name it, fast food restaurants, and the equipment that we have were built for the massive commercial jobs, like We carry a thousand gallons of liquid.

It's a 16 foot box truck. it's a pretty big operation. And so the majority of our business is commercial because we're built to handle jobs that, like, the guy who has a 300 machine and a gallon of bleach just, like, can't do. And he's not going to because it doesn't make sense for him.

He's knocking doors and doing 300 houses, which is fine.

John Wilson: So who does that before, you guys enter the picture? Who's the doing this?

Aaron Harper: There's usually very little consistency in the customer, the client relation, like the customer that has 29 Taco Bells, for example, he doesn't have someone who's like consistent that can handle the 29 Taco Bells on a quarterly cleaning. Typically, there might be like one, two, maybe three major guys in a market, but they've got like two to three trucks, maybe four trucks.

And one of those trucks is being run by the guy who manages the trucks. Like I've listened to your guys podcasts about like, the one to $3 million range. Like most power washers are in that range. They're doing all the things. They don't have like any kind of scale. yeah, so that's where those are the people we're competing against.

And even with that, like one to 3 million range, like they're typically doing windows, they're doing Christmas lights, so like they're all over the place. We've been able to really capture a lot of the commercial market share when we go into these different markets we've entered.

As a result, I think of the fragmentation of the industry and most people are doing the power washing themselves and we're bringing in like business owners. You know what I mean?

Jack Carr: There's something to be said about bringing in a brand too, right? You're bringing in a trusted brand, a name, a backing that essentially guarantees a service versus Joe Schmoe's pressure washing, who it just doesn't have that same kind of. feel and look to it I think that you get when you're trying to get the contract for the Tennessee Titans stadium, that they want someone who can handle that and make sure that they can handle that.

That's interesting though. I never thought of it from a large commercial standpoint that all of these places are ordering pressure washing. What is the larger tickets look like? So you talked about the 29 Taco Bells on a quarterly basis. Hotels, I would assume something similar that you're doing these big projects quarterly buying something like that,

Aaron Harper: Yeah. I mean, it could vary. We'll clean a building once every five to seven years, and then there's buildings that need to be cleaned monthly or chemical plants that we'll need to clean weekly. There's so many use cases but like I have a franchisee right now doing a like a courthouse.

It's a 35, 000 job. This is wild. He opened in New Orleans, they're doing the Superbowl in 2025. And so they launch and we have an outbound commercial lead generation strategy where we've got like a cold outreach program for franchisees and we get them a lead and they literally have a 50 million budget to clean up the city between now and next year.

So he's like week two doing that. It's wild. Yeah. So, I mean, it just varies. I mean, we do a lot of HOA work, a lot of HOA work,

Jack Carr: I was going to ask. We get deemed, I've seen people in our neighborhoods get dinged for that quite a bit. So I would imagine that's a huge driver of residential traffic.

Aaron Harper: It's in their contract. You know what I mean? Like they have to do it.

John Wilson: What's the percentage of revenue commercial? guess HOAs would be residential.

Aaron Harper: That would be classified for us as commercial because even though it's residential, because it's one Customer that manages multiple buildings.

John Wilson: gotcha. Alright, so what's the split of revenue in a typical franchise residential to commercial?

Aaron Harper: So we're mid sixties on average commercial.

John Wilson: Okay. That is really interesting. yeah, I would've never thought of that. Cause when I think of powerwashing, and maybe it's just cause of what, like, the very limited exposure to what I have off Twitter, it's like, it's driveways, right? It's driveways, or like, a house, like I've had my house, power washed. I have never thought of commercial, that is interesting. Did we dive into how days get priced? Like, what's a standard day get sold

Aaron Harper: So we shoot for 2000 to 2500 per day on residential and then we're 22 to 2500 and up on commercial. We've got franchisees who have done jobs that take. six hours and charge 4900 because it's a paint removal job and no one

else can do it. You know what I mean? but that's a good average of what we shoot for.

There's two guys per truck with our process. And then, we have 16 foot box trucks, 1000 gallons of liquid, 1000 feet of hose. So we're effectively overkill for every single residential. Our trucks are overkill for every single residential job that you can think of.

John Wilson: Yeah, that makes sense. How are they getting priced?

Aaron Harper: You mean, how did the jobs get priced time?

John Wilson: yes, like sales process, I guess, like what I'm asking. So does somebody come out and estimate it, or is there like an online tool of like, you can, okay. Come out and estimate.

Aaron Harper: Yes. Because we show up in the polo. You know what I mean? I pad. We got the presentation that others don't have. It helps with conversion rate and average job size. All the stuff you guys know.

Jack Carr: Are you using service Titan?

Aaron Harper: No, we are not.

Jack Carr: Is it a specific one that you guys made in house or is it just one of the other 17,

Aaron Harper: No. Yeah, so what I did is I built like what I wanted the customer to experience start to finish and what automation was to look like. And then I took that to all the different platforms. Service Titan was one of them work ease was another that could build it. And then service minder was another that could build it.

Everyone else told me we can't build this for you. They didn't have the functionality. And so then I just negotiated the best one and then picked the best one.

Jack Carr: Let me take a step back. So back into franchising, right? We talk a lot about on this podcast about different home service businesses. They all have their intricacies, right? They all have their specialities. But. On a whole, from a framework perspective, I'd like to think that they have many similarities, which allows us to talk in generalities about, lead gen and recruitment and all this kind of fun stuff in your experience, building three vastly different. Home service businesses and especially the systems for those home service businesses. how do you feel about that? That phrase that I just said, were there a lot of similarities in it or was it more difficult than we're conceptualizing.

Aaron Harper: No. I mean, There's definitely similarities in terms of marketing recruiting, I think, you know, and those layers are going to be the same in home service businesses, there's different types of people that work in different businesses and different types of brands.

But when I was looking, I was only looking in residential and commercial services because I knew that the systems that I created from a franchise side, I could plug into insulation, I could plug into solar, I could plug into painting, I could plug into tree care.

So the technical element of the business varies, but the actual, like, systems that you need to support franchisees and actually, like, run the business are pretty much the same.

Jack Carr: Were there any big surprises that you ran into though that you went, wow, this is just outlandish that I have to deal with this.

Aaron Harper: With

Jack Carr: systems that you put plug in thinking it's going to work and it's completely broken from the start and go, we got to start from scratch on this.

Aaron Harper: So this is actually really funny. This business that I thought we were going to be 80 percent residential, 20 percent commercial, because it took like the founders of rolling suds. It's a 33 year old business. It took them like 25 years to have any relevance in commercial at all. So I was like, okay, best case scenario.

Our franchisees will be like, 30 percent 20 percent 15 percent commercial. I had to like completely correct course after I saw the demand on the commercial side. And we invested more heavily and hiring more people and bringing in more marketing companies to really service that need on the commercial side.

That was much larger than I thought. So that was actually. a good situation, but it was, I was happy to be wrong about that,

We had to edit our approach because of that demand that we saw.

Yeah. I don't think I would have thought of that. I already said that. I was very surprised when you said that. I was like, yeah, it makes sense. Like who else is going to do it? And I really can't think of like an institutional business around doing it.

Jack Carr: No. I used to run facilities programs, right? For fortune 500 companies. And now that I'm looking back at it, we never did it ourselves. There wasn't a single person that was out there , we just didn't have the equipment to do it. We always hired out. And so now that makes significantly more sense who you're focusing on and really where that. Monetary values driven from,

Aaron Harper: And that's where you're get a lot of the recurring element, right? The cost per customer acquisition versus the lifetime value of the customer is staggering. Taco Bell franchisee with the 29 locations, it's a 14, 000 quarterly cleaning, and like he paid a marketing company 175 for that week.

One time. as long as he does a good job, like, that'll be a customer forever for him for 175.

Jack Carr: I need to talk to these guys.

John Wilson: That's beautiful. So how big do we think these things get?

Jack Carr: good

Aaron Harper: I will tell you that the people that I am bringing into the system have the expectation that they are building a 10 to 20 truck enterprise plus and want to go into other markets. And we've been very selective with who comes in because those are the types of franchisees. That we're attracting that we're signing up, we're bringing in C level executives, multiple different C level executives leaving white collar America with tremendous amount of capital to go build a really sophisticated blue collar business.

my expectation is that it's our job to help deliver that right as a franchise but it's also. they've underwritten the opportunity to say, this is doable. You know what I mean? Like these are very sophisticated people. . Most of them have come from Twitter from the space that you guys are a part of and I'm a part of but we'll see in five years. The expectation is that it's going to be big business. Like I'm planning to build the biggest power washing company in the world. With a bunch of really successful franchisees that all have the same goals in mind,

John Wilson: So 10 to 20 trucks

Aaron Harper: So our franchise disclosure document, I have the last three years of what a truck does, based on our FTD, the EBITDA per truck, like everything. So our trucks do 373, 000 top line with 147, 000 EBITDA that's at scale. So we have five trucks that operate full time in the Northeast is 205 days out of the year. So

John Wilson: That was one of my next Is like, it's freezing. What do you do?

Aaron Harper: If it's 40 or above, we're powerwashing. Yeah.

Jack Carr: I'm enjoying. We're doing all business., man.

Aaron Harper: We do 80 percent of our revenue in about nine months. Our corporate location, we do a little over 2. 2, we do 80 percent of that from March

Jack Carr: Does the business move indoors though? So the last 20 percent is indoor pressure washing, or that's not even a thing?

Aaron Harper: Nope. And I will say commercial is less seasonal than residential. If we were a predominantly residential business, then it'd be a much more seasonal business. Commercial what we'll do is we'll say, Hey, Mr. Property Manager, if you need us to come out in May, it's going to be this much. Or if we can come and do it in October before your fiscal year is over at any point in October, it'll be this much.

And so that helps offset the seasonality a little bit. So then you just set up your recurring yearly cleanings or every 2 year cleanings during the slower months because residential is hot and heavy from, like, March to August, like, you're October grinding. Doing five, six residential jobs a day.

John Wilson: Equipment cost. Is this like, A hundred grand

Aaron Harper: Our trucks are about 135 grand

John Wilson: Okay. So that's like a sewer jetting.

Jack Carr: I was just going to say, it's not much different than a sewer jetting or even a used pump truck.

Aaron Harper: We need 16 foot chassis. So we use a Zuzu NRRs or Ford five fifties or they got to carry 19, 500 GBW gross vehicle weight because we carry a thousand gallons of liquid. Just the, entry point of the actual truck to carry that water is 80 $5,000 before the box, before the equipment, before the wrap, before the installation, all

John Wilson: And then the equipment itself is what? 30?

Aaron Harper: 34. Yeah. We retrofit a lot of it ourselves, so we get like four times the gallon flow and we can power wash four or five stories from the ground with our equipment.

No one else can do that. So we build the trucks ourselves for franchisees. We source the vehicles. Everything.

Jack Carr: And so how big is your team as a franchisor? What does that look like? I'm always curious about running a franchise versus buying them.

Aaron Harper: So we've got 13 employees, including me and the founders, and we've got seven franchisees out operating in 22 territories. Everyone else who's signed is opening Q1 of next year. So we'll have the rest of the franchisees open by the end of March who have signed. Takes us about nine weeks to get them, the trucks built and launched and all that kind of stuff.

So we're really top heavy. But I raised capital so that I could do this the right way. Didn't know how to raise capital before I did this. Didn't even know what a cap table was. Raised capital last year from, like, David Barr. You might know David Barr. He has, like, over a thousand restaurants.

He's a mentor of mine and other people in the franchise industry who could provide. Intellectual capital in addition, actual capital, long term investors and mentors. So I knew we were going to grow cause if I just don't do what I've done the last two times, like you know, we'll grow a big company. I did not expect to have this many units, like my projection for the year was like 32 cause I had never sold a brand from no franchise location. You know what I mean? Hey, there's no franchisees, but buy into the fran like I'd never done that before, but we've taken off. We're one of the fastest growing franchises in the country right now.

And so that's part of the reason I raised capital. So I had that kind of buffer to build the team before I need the team kind of thing.

John Wilson: yeah.

Jack Carr: But what does that look like? You got some marketing guys that are doing biz dev. You have admin people that are handling HR hiring. Trucks, what does that breakdown look like?

Aaron Harper: Yeah. So , franchisors have internal team members and then they have suppliers. And we have about 16 different suppliers for equipment, insurance, marketing, like CRM, all that. And all those companies, I basically have them marching in the same direction and manage them. And then I have an executive team, so I have a senior VP of operations, a VP of operations, a VP of onboarding, and a VP of marketing.

They have people underneath them. That's how we do it. And then we've got marketing companies that do outbound lead gen for commercial customers. They're external, but they run through our corporate. We've got a command center for leads. We turn those leads on a month before franchisees go to training.

So we've got like systems in place from both internal and external. And I built all that. It took me about eight months to build that before we even launched. So negotiating with vendors, making sure that they're going to it. Deliver for franchisees like all that stuff was done before we even launched our first franchise.


Jack Carr: Awesome.

John Wilson: Thanks for tuning in to the first section of our conversation with Aaron Harper. We pick this back up on Thursday when we drop our next episode. We just had such a great conversation. We just kept going and we ended up making two episodes out of it. So the back half is just as good. Thanks for tuning in.

Thanks for tuning in to Owned and Operated, the podcast for home service entrepreneurs. If you enjoyed today's episode, please hit the like button and subscribe to the podcast. If you have any questions or topics you'd like us to cover, feel free to reach out. You can find me on Twitter at at Wilson companies.

I'll see you next time.

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