Respect. Integrity. Trust.
For JDog Brands, these three words are more than a company motto. They’re the very foundation of our organization. The basic tenets that guide our business model and motivate our franchisees across the country.
And so each year, we look for franchisees who have gone above and beyond in conducting themselves with Respect, Integrity, and Trust, and select one to receive the JDog of the Year award. We look for franchisees who have kept a positive demeanor in the face of hardship, exhibited outstanding work ethic and passion, and exceeded expectations in helping their fellow franchise owners.
This year, we were honored to present the award to Bryan Lindley, a 10-year Air Force Veteran and JDog Junk Removal & Hauling owner who exemplifies the attributes of a model franchisee and fully embodies what it is to be a JDog.
What it takes to be a model franchisee
Bryan Lindley opened his JDog Junk Removal & Hauling franchise in 2015 in Central Rhode Island with one employee (his daughter Jesse), one truck, one trailer, and big dreams.
His goals: Never get a negative review, and put the competition out of business. In the five years since, he’s accomplished that and so much more.
In early 2020, after adding to his fleet (gaining two trucks and two trailers), increasing his workforce (to three Veterans and two military family members; his daughter continues to grow the business with him), and building a reputation for service (as of this writing, JDog Junk Removal & Hauling Rhode Island has yet to receive anything less than a 5-star review), Bryan decided to expand. He purchased two additional territories in Rhode Island, becoming the first JDog franchisee to take ownership of an entire state.
Things were looking good. Then the COVID-19 pandemic hit, sending the economy into a tailspin and crippling many small businesses.
But as a Veteran, Bryan was trained to rise in the face of adversity. With perseverance, a commitment to Veteran values, and a whole lot of grit, Bryan has been able to keep his entire workforce employed and maintain relationships with the communities he serves.
And while the coronavirus will continue to influence economies and communities for months to come, or any number of other challenges may arise in the future, Bryan is well positioned to succeed.
A recipe for success
What sets successful franchise owners like Bryan apart? Here are a few attributes that any franchise owner can rely on to control their destiny and create their own success.
- Risk tolerance. Starting a business, becoming your own boss, and taking responsibility for employees requires courage. You need to be willing to make yourself vulnerable. It’s what Bryan did when he left the Air Force after 10 years to join the tech industry, and what he did again 20 years later when he left that field to become a junk removal specialist and JDog franchisee. Successful business owners don’t run from risk. They analyze and plan for it.
- Adaptability. In the military, servicemen and servicewomen are trained to assess a situation and act quickly under pressure. Business owners can draw on that same focus and discipline to react to environmental pressures, threats, or other changes. For instance, the uncertainty, disorder, and rapid pace of change during those early weeks of the pandemic could easily have paralyzed business owners. Instead, we saw franchisees innovating to offer curbside junk pickups, no-contact payments, and even new services to respond to customer demand and help keep communities safe. The most successful franchisees were the ones who kept a cool head and took the changes in stride.
- Modesty. In the face of his franchise’s growth and success, and even in winning the JDog of the Year award, Bryan has remained humble. He’s always expressed a willingness to learn from others, and a true appreciation for the people — employees, Veterans, customers, and fellow franchise owners — he’s encountered along the way. Remembering those who helped you get to where you are will make you a better leader and owner.
- Loyalty. One of the things that drew Bryan to JDog was our focus on Veteran employment and camaraderie. He’d grown up in a military family, and was missing the lifestyle. He had — and continues to have — a deep respect for Veterans and wanted to create jobs for the younger generations leaving the service. This spring, when thousands of Americans were laid off because of COVID-19, Bryan reinforced his commitment to his employees and was able to keep all of them on the payroll. He runs his business in a way that lets his employees know they are valued, and his efforts have given opportunity to multiple Veterans over the years.
Bryan embodies these attributes, and has been a steady force in the JDog family since he joined five years ago. They’ve helped earn him an award, but more importantly, they’ve made him a successful franchise owner.
While there are admittedly still a few junk removal competitors in Rhode Island, Bryan notes that over the years, he’s seen less of their trucks on the road and more of them parked, inactive, at their facility. On top of the growth and everything else he’s achieved, I’d say that’s a win.
Tracy Flanagan is the senior vice president and co-founder of JDog Brands, the umbrella for an array of home and commercial services franchise organizations owned and operated by Veterans and Military family members. www.jdogbrands.com