One Texas restoration franchisee calls on his military training to help him get through long, difficult restoration jobs.
Shain Mann owns the Restoration 1 franchise that serves the northern Houston suburb of Conroe. A six-year Combat Engineer veteran — three years of active duty and three years in the reserves — Mann knows from his military career that when a job goes longer than is expected, you just have to grit your teeth and get it done.
When a house has a backed-up sewer or a burst pipe, it can be a complete mess and it can be hell for the homeowners. Therefore, when Mann and his crew are tasked with cleaning things up, there is no going home just because they are tired.
“It’s a grueling thing sometimes,” the franchise owner said during a recent interview.
However, while serving in the army overseas, Mann saw much worse than backed-up sewers and burst pipes. While serving, it was not uncommon for a scheduled 10-hour mission to end up going for 24 hours with no sleep and no breaks.
Considering that, the occasional big restoration job doesn’t seem so bad.
“I know I’ll get to bed eventually,” Mann noted. “Just because it’s midnight, doesn’t mean you can stop.”
In addition to helping him push through the big restoration jobs, Mann said his military training also helps him from a leadership standpoint.
“I use a lot of the leadership skills that we used in the army, the team building,” he said. “Dealing with people from different backgrounds all the time.”
Mann praised the Restoration 1 team for what they do for military veterans, noting that the company has a lot of respect for veterans.
“They truly honor the military,” he noted.
A family affair
Calling his decision to join the Restoration 1 franchise one of the best he’s ever made, Mann said he appreciates how the company is a true family business. Many of CEO Gary Findley’s family members and close associates are involved in the business, Mann noted.
Similarly, Mann has also made his franchise into a family business, employing five family members. His wife Shanan, who has been a valued partner in all his businesses, manages the office and has been on many a jobsite with him. Shanan’s mother does bookkeeping work for the business as well as a plethora of behind-the-scenes work to keep the franchise running smoothly. Other family members take up other positions, like a cousin who is a lead tech supervisor, a sister who is a head salesperson (closing in on over 120 jobs in her first year on the job), and Shain and Shanan’s son, Hunter, who works with the business in the summer with the intention of starting his own someday. This makes Mann’s Restoration 1 franchise not only lucrative for him and Shanan, but for their extended family as well.
Mann said he also has a close relationship with his coaches in Restoration 1, who act more as personal development coaches than merely franchise coaches.
And the entire franchise system is like a big family. If any franchisee has a question about a job they’re doing, they are free to call on their trainers and coaches at the company or a fellow franchisee.
“They’re always one call away,” he pointed out. “You’re not alone out there.”
Mann started his training for Restoration 1 in the summer of 2016 and officially opened in November of that year.
One of the good things about the training with Restoration 1 is that franchisees receive both Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC) training and business training.
He and Shanan did their training in Florida with one of the biggest Restoration 1 franchise locations.
The couple required more training on the business side of things rather than the actual physical work, whereas other franchisees they trained with had a better handle on the business side of things and required more focus on the physical work. Regardless of what franchisees require most, Restoration 1 will accommodate them with training focused on where they need it, he noted.
Mann was used to the physical aspect of the labor involved. At 18, he started and ran his own tree felling business for three years. After his stint in the military, he went back to tree felling, dabbled in some other businesses and then settled into running a heavy construction business.
However, Mann didn’t feel like his business was set up to grow and so he sought something else, which brought him to Restoration 1. The franchisee chose to go with Restoration 1 because other restoration franchises did not have a territory available in Conroe and they were also too rigid in their corporate structure for Mann.
“I just felt like I was buying myself a regional manager position in a company,” Mann recalled. “The Restoration 1 guys are a lot more flexible.”
They’ll allow franchisees to experiment a little and try new things, Mann noted.
Now that Mann’s Restoration 1 franchise is established, his work/life balanced has steadied.
When he first started, Mann had to keep his construction business going and the franchise was a major extra workload, but after six months, the restoration business started doing better than the construction business and he was able to wind that down to focus completely on his franchise.
Now, with nine employees, things are going so well that he and his wife are planning to step away for a much-needed vacation soon.
To other prospective Restoration 1 franchisees, Mann said he would tell them to try and hire an office manager as soon as possible because if you can hire an office manager right away, your workload will be manageable. If you try to run the whole company by yourself, it would be a daunting challenge.
“This business is set up for at least four to five people to run it,” he said.
For military veterans who know what it takes to have to push through and finish a tough job, Restoration 1 can be an ideal opportunity to put that military training to good use in the business world.