Franchising can be a great way to own and operate a business. Owners bypass many of the difficulties they’d normally entail starting a new enterprise from the ground up. And for many, the price is right.
As a major franchiser, PIRTEK USA has enjoyed explosive growth across the country in recent years. Since the beginning of 2015, the industrial hose-replacement franchiser has put 26 new locations on its map, with more to come in the near future.
“It’s been an exciting time for PIRTEK in the United States,” said Glenn Duncan, PIRTEK CEO. “We offer a service that many industries need and we’re tapping into that need, aggressively. Our business strategies are paying off and we’re seeing widespread success as a result.”
Case in point: The company’s climb in Entrepreneur magazine’s Franchise 500® list has been meteoric over the past few years. In 2015, PIRTEK’s rank was a modest No. 422. But by January 2018, the company had broken into the prestigious top 100 at No. 78 and is showing no signs of slowing its pace.
PIRTEK is the only company of its kind. When a piece of hydraulic or pneumatic equipment blows a hose, technicians are available day or night to replace it onsite from a Mobile Services Vehicle. There are 75 franchises throughout the United States. Globally, PIRTEK has more than 400 locations and 2,000 Mobile Service Vehicles in 23 countries.
The Tier 2 model
The company’s success has been multifaceted, the result of several innovative programs and initiatives launched in recent years. One factor in the recent growth of PIRTEK has been the eminently successful Tier 2 program, which allows ownership at a lower point of entry.
Under the Tier 2 “mobile only” model of franchise ownership, a person can start a PIRTEK franchise quickly. A Tier 2 franchisee can keep all the inventory in a storage facility or warehouse and lease two Mobile Service Vehicles. The Tier 2 locations are then expected to upgrade to Tier 1 within three years with a complete Service & Supply Center.
So far, the response has been dramatic. And while the program has attracted new franchise owners into the fold, these newcomers aren’t the only ones drawn to the Tier 2 model. Existing PIRTEK owners have also availed themselves of the program, setting up Tier 2 locations as a means of expanding their territories.
“Tier 2 makes franchise ownership more accessible to a larger group,” said Dan Ferretti, owner of PIRTEK Space Coast in Rockledge, FL, (a Tier 1) who opened a Tier 2 in Daytona last year. “It also enables existing owners to own multiple franchises – we wanted to take advantage of that benefit.”
Moving to Tier 1 status
In some cases, the growth of Tier 2 franchises has been so robust that owners are able to put their businesses on a fast track to becoming full Tier 1 locations: for example, Oliver Romano, owner of PIRTEK Grand Rapids in Grand Rapids, MI. Romano set up his Tier 2 after working for years as an employee at several Detroit-area PIRTEK locations.
The success of the PIRTEK centers in Detroit prompted Romano to start his Grand Rapids “mobile only” franchise in March 2017. Business took off for him, promptly: In just a year, he upgraded to a Tier 1 location with a Service & Supply Center – a full two years ahead of schedule. “My customers wanted a physical location, so I set it up,” Romano said. “Having a store, a physical location helps develop the brand.”
Newer PIRTEK owners enjoy success
Many of PIRTEK’s successes have come from newer franchises in the network. An example of this is PIRTEK Salt Lake City, which opened in July 2017 and has surpassed many older franchises in year-to-date sales during 2018. Owner Todd Miceli credits the national brand and the practice of following through on sound company principles.
“Being part of a national franchise gives us an extra-long customer reach, especially with national contractors and rental companies,” said Todd Miceli, owner of PIRTEK Salt Lake City. “On top of that, we’re also careful to perform all the day-to-day activities that are foundational to a successful business. Thankfully, it’s been working for us.”
Another newer location posting record months among the PIRTEK centers is PIRTEK Gulfgate in Houston. John and Alison Abercrombie, who moved to Houston from Australia, opened their Service & Supply Center in December 2015. The Abercrombies had studied the market carefully before deciding on a PIRTEK in Houston, which they considered a strong location. That research has paid off for them, along with their emphasis on building customer relationships.
“Our success has largely been a result of a focus on customer service: We go above and beyond for our customers and this has built long-term, mutually beneficial relationships,” John Abercrombie said. “We also look after our staff; we recognize that without them we don’t have a business.”
The Abercrombies’ success has led to the opening of a second Houston location – a Tier 2 “mobile only” – to expand their existing reach.
PIRTEK’s plan for continued success hinges in part on a national sales strategy. With the prolific growth of locations around the United States, the PIRTEK sales team has been working with companies that have a nationwide scope. “They have a need for a hose provider that can reach their respective locations,” said Mike Kopatich, PIRTEK national sales manager. “Now that our footprint has grown, we’re able to pursue those customers.”
Many of those companies have locations scattered around the country, often in the same areas as PIRTEK centers – a major plus for the hose-replacement service. “We’re in most metro areas now and have multiple locations in many areas,” Kopatich said. “We’ve done a good job of putting people in the right places.”
In addition to generating revenue, national accounts also have the benefit of attracting new franchise owners. “Having these national accounts is beneficial to our selling franchises,” Kopatich said. “People have more interest when they see that we already have established work in an area. It’s a big motivator to join our team.”