Sometimes a life changing opportunity comes along completely by accident. That’s exactly what happened to Renew Crew franchisee Chris Miller.
While living in Phoenix, AZ, Miller planned on attending a real estate presentation, as he was getting ready to sell his house. However, Miller wrote down the incorrect date of the presentation and when he arrived at the location, it turned out the real estate presentation had happened the day before. But, there was a presentation by franchise brokerage FranNet going on that day and since he was there and interested in franchising, Miller thought he might as well watch it.
He purchased his Renew Crew franchise at the end of 2010 and officially started operations in 2012.
“If I hadn’t listened to that presentation that day who knows what I’d be doing right now,” Miller said during a recent interview from his home in Raleigh where he runs his Renew Crew franchise.
After 15 years as a project manager in the mining industry on both the consulting side and the ownership side and traveling extensively while managing large projects in Colorado and South America, Miller got tired of never being home.
“I just got kind of burned out on the travel,” he recalled. He also grew tired of working for a major company and its obligatory bureaucracy, plus working with people who didn’t share the same values as him.
That all changed with the FranNet presentation where he was introduced to Renew Crew representatives. From the time he attended the FranNet presentation until he bought his business was about a year and he put a lot of thought into that decision.
“Going from a nice, healthy, fat paycheck to starting from scratch again is not an easy decision,” he stated. “It’s not an easy
decision, not a comfortable decision, but looking back, it was the right decision.”
Fortunately for Miller, his engineering background all but forced him to take everything into consideration. He didn’t just perform his due diligence, he performed well beyond due diligence by running all the numbers he could think of to figure. In addition to that, he also took it upon himself to tour the territories that Renew Crew suggested for him to discover for himself which one was the best. On his own dime and his own time, Miller toured Austin; Raleigh; Charlotte; Brentwood, TN; Knoxville, TN; Nashville,
Atlanta and other cities to ascertain if he could make a Renew Crew franchise fly in those places. After analyzing all the data, Raleigh seemed like the best option and Miller moved from Phoenix to start his business.
Miller explained that Renew Crew, which is part of the Outdoor Living Brands family, brings new franchisees to the headquarters in Springfield, MO for a week of training. The Renew Crew team took him out to a franchise location to learn the proper techniques of cleaning and staining a deck. Plus, he also learned accounting practices, IT and everything else he needed to know about running a business.
And while he was doing that, the company outfitted an entire van with wrapped advertising and everything he would need to launch, including an inventory and supplies package. Miller said the fact that Renew Crew has its own branded products attracted him to the company.
Right after he received his new van, he drove from Springfield to Raleigh and jumped into the business, just himself at first.
“I might be doing a deck in the morning and then doing an estimate in the afternoon when I started,” he recalled. Eventually, he hired another guy and then it grew from there. Now he has 16 employees including one who handles estimates.
Miller himself is still involved a bit in the day-to-day operation, but he wants to completely remove himself from that and concentrate on relationship building. Miller said he wants to get involved with properties that have multiple decks rather than just homes that have a single deck so he wants to start building relationships with the various property managers of housing complexes around the city.
Helping him out with this is Renew Crew’s dedicated marketing department that is always available for franchisees when they need it. Company representatives take periodic trips to see how things are going so they can help franchisees to get better. They’ll make suggestions and recommendations, Miller said, and if they like something he’s doing, they’ll suggest it to other franchisees.
And Miller must be doing something right. Through a lot of hard work, he experienced in the vicinity of 400% growth between the first and second year and last year. Renew Crew of the Piedmont Triangle grew 55%. Chris’s continued growth has propelled him into the top tier of the Renew Crew franchise system..
Like Chris Miller, the Renew Crew system continues to grow each year with year over year sales growth of 16% reported in 2014.
For Miller, an accident may have gotten him into franchising, but clearly it’s no accident that he’s succeeded. Chris was awarded the Presidents Award for Excellence at the Annual Meeting in 2014 and 2015 as well as 1st Place Excellence in Sales award at the 2015 Annual Meeting in Orlando FL.