It's hard to imagine that a highly recognizable franchise with almost 400 locations could have gotten its start with nothing more than a $350 investment, but that's exactly what happened with one of America's most well known moving companies. Two Men And A Truck initially began when Brig and Jon Sorber, two high school students, wanted to make some extra cash by moving people's belongings around Lansing, Michigan, in the early 1980s. An old pickup served as their trusty moving truck, and the brothers ran their little business together until they headed off to college. The boys' mother, Mary Ellen Sheets, kept the business alive in their stead, hiring two movers and purchasing one 14-foot moving truck for just $350.
More than 30 years later, Two Men And A Truck is still headquartered in Lansing, although it has expanded farther than its founders had ever dreamed. With a fleet of more than 2,800 trucks in operation across the United States, Canada, Ireland, and the United Kingdom, Two Men And A Truck has experienced an incredible amount of growth since it began franchising in 1985.
We recently spoke with Denyse Berkeypile, Training and Development Manager, and Lindsay Dow, Content Marketing Manager, to learn more about Two Men And A Truck's franchise training practices.
A Finely Tuned First-Year Process Offers Broad Support
Two Men And A Truck deploys two sets of training courses during the initial 12-week period immediately following the signing of a franchise contract. The first is known as Franchise Essentials, a three-day class that pairs new franchisees with experts who are specialized in various departments of study. In a one-on-one setting, new franchisees learn about vital subject matter that pertains to starting their franchise.
A few weeks later, new franchisees will attend the five-day training course, Gearing Up. Denyse and Lindsay said that it's "a much more intensive look at how they run the day to day operations of their franchise." If franchisees intend to have a manager running their franchise, they are encouraged to bring their manager to train together.
Between the signing of a franchise contract and the opening of the franchise, a team of three individuals essentially holds the hands of a new franchisee throughout the entire process. Every week, a new franchisee can expect to have a conference call with a different subject matter expert, covering topics that include marketing, training tools, and other important pieces of the business to keep their operations running smoothly.
Training doesn't stop the moment a franchise's doors open to the public. Two Men And A Truck sends a field trainer out to the franchisee's location to help them during their first week of business, including training their employees.
Continued Training Opportunities Map A Route To Advancement
Plenty of educational tools are made available through the company's intranet, including a new mover driver training program that franchisees can tweak to suit the policies and state regulations specific to their location. An extensive online learning management system offers more than 150 classes that cover marketing, sales, move execution, and more. “We have a curriculum for every position within the franchise that we encourage them to use in tandem with that in-person, hands-on training because we understand that you cannot simply learn to move a piece of furniture from watching an online class,” Denyse and Lindsay said. They continue to add new courses to their learning management system in order to provide a comprehensive online training program to their franchisees.
A franchisee's employees can receive certification through a variety of courses in the company's Skills Advancement Program. While there are no monetary or bonus incentives for certification, Two Men And A Truck confirms that franchises with certifications receive higher referral rates than those who don't, offering documentation which acts as plenty of incentive for a franchisee who seeks to have the most successful business possible.
“We do have various events throughout the year that are considered training events that are geared towards our franchisees,” they added, citing an annual meeting that offers several educational sessions to continue franchisee training. Two Men And A Truck also holds a multi-unit conference that's specifically geared toward franchisees who own more than one franchise. A fall expo focuses on trucks and technology, giving franchisees the opportunity to see new things and learn how to use the trucks' onboard technology for training.
The company recently instated a career development program, an intensive training program that shares information on the organization as a whole. "We recognized the need to give the franchisee some tools to help develop their employees," Denyse and Lindsay said. Through the career development program, franchisees can sign up their employees as they see fit, providing them with a solid foundation that will allow for career advancement.
It's little wonder why the company has experienced so much franchising growth over the last three decades. Two Men And A Truck's franchisee training program offers far more than just two men and a truck; it pairs a thorough business strategy with unwavering support, opening a road that leads to unlimited possibility and franchisee success.
About Two Men And A Truck
Headquartered in Lansing, Michigan, Two Men And A Truck currently has 380 locations and a fleet of more than 2,800 trucks that move belongings throughout the United States, Canada, Ireland, and the United Kingdom. The moving company enjoys a 96 percent referral rate from its customers and it's consistently received accolades and awards from numerous franchise organizations and magazines. During the last 24 years, Two Men And A Truck has made Entrepreneur Magazine’s Franchise 500 list 22 times.
About our Training Series
As part of our own expansion and growth, we’re excited to continue our training series. This series encompasses a wide variety of channel topics designed to help channel partners gain knowledge of successful business practices.
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