Jared Toppenberg knows what it’s like to be a live target. He routinely hovered his Army combat chopper a couple of hundred feet off the ground, supporting troops in Iraq and Afghanistan during intense fighting. Many times, the enemy trained their weapons on him, hoping to take him out.
“The bullets would come so close, you could actually hear them “snap” as they whipped by the canopy at supersonic speed,” said Toppenberg. “You don’t really think about getting hit because you’re too focused on protecting the guys on the ground.”
These days, Toppenberg’s work is just a bit less risky, but still very rewarding. He has owned an AdvantaClean franchise near Tacoma, Washington since 2014. AdvantaClean is the nation’s fastest growing light environmental service™ franchise business. Like many vets returning to civilian life, he wasn’t sure exactly what he wanted to do, but he did know he wanted to be the “top dog” of an operation.
“In the military, each person has a specific task, and you mold a team around people with those tasks to complete successful missions. But each team must have a leader who is focused, precise, detailed, and can help his crew capture the vision of the mission from start to finish. My time in the Guard gave me the confidence to be that kind of leader. I just needed to find a conduit for it.”
Jared knew a 9-5, “between the lines” job was not for him. He wanted to do his own thing, but not start anything from scratch. He started heavily researching franchise businesses. He attended a seminar conducted by a Navy vet who is an alternative career coach with The Entrepreneur’s Source®, North America’s leading career transition coaching franchise. The TES rep offered guidance and resources to help find just the right franchise fit for Toppenberg. In the end, he chose AdvantaClean.
“If I had tried to do all of the research and vetting on my own, I might still be doing that, today,” laughed Toppenberg. “It’s an extensive, time consuming job. Having a TES coach made all the difference in the world. AdvantaClean has been just what I was looking for to help me reach my goals of Income, Lifestyle, Wealth, and Equity. They specialize in mold remediation, moisture control, and emergency water removal, among other applications. I had a background in my family’s plumbing business, so this was an easy segue.”
“AdvantaClean has a history of seeking out veterans to become franchise owners,” said Jeff Dudan, CEO/Founder of AdvantaClean. “With Jared, we knew we would be getting a guy who was used to following a system, could multi-task, adapt, and still deliver a positive outcome for the client, no matter the challenge. He was our “Rookie of the Year” in 2014, exceeding his first-year revenue goals. We believe he will be a top performer within our company for years to come.”
One of the reasons Jared chose a franchise business, over starting one on his own was simple. He could be in business FOR himself, but not BY himself. AdvantaClean’s proven systems and successful strategies gave him even greater confidence from the jump. It also offers on-going, comprehensive training and support for him and his team, creating another platform for success.
Plus, Toppenberg has reached out to network with other franchise owners, developing friendships and connections, just like when he was a chopper pilot in the Guard. He knows he can bounce ideas off of them, and get answers to questions on everything from complex jobs to filling out paperwork correctly. However, just because a franchise has a great brand, and a positive, proven track record, doesn’t mean one can sit back, and just let the business and money-roll in.
“My team and I know we have to prove ourselves worthy of our client’s trust every day,” said Toppenberg. “Any vet who is thinking about franchising as a business opportunity must know this: you will work harder than you have ever worked before. But it’s worth it, because it’s YOUR business. I can’t think of anything more rewarding and satisfying than building something you can be proud of, watching it grow, and fulfilling the vision you had for it. Rewards follow the work, not the other way around.”
Asked about any surprises in his transition from military life to successful civilian business owner, Toppenberg smiled.
“The military, as you know, has a very no-nonsense way of doing things which I had gotten use to after almost 19 years of service,” according to Jared. “Their thinking is: ‘Here’s your mission. You’ve trained for it. Go do it. No excuses!’”
“In my job now, I have had to become more aware of people’s feelings, making sure I approach them the right way, especially when it comes to motivation. The military doesn’t train very well for that!”
Jared Toppenberg is the owner of AdvantaClean-South Sound serving Tacoma, and other nearby communities. He has been with AdvantaClean since 2014, and captured the company’s “Rookie of the Year” honors for exceeding corporate revenue goals that year. Toppenburg is a 19-year National Guard veteran. While on active duty, he served as a combat helicopter pilot in Iraq and Afghanistan, providing close support for ground troops, as well as flying reconnaissance missions into enemy territory. He has also provided his professional flying skills to local, state, and federal law enforcement drug task force agencies.