tWhat began in the late ’80s as an after school business for two brothers in Lansing has since grown into the nation’s largest franchise moving company with more than 300 locations worldwide. Randy Shacka, president of Two Men and a Truck, spoke with DBusiness Daily News about the company’s growth plans, both domestically and internationally.
t1. DDN: What’s new at Two Men and a Truck?
tRS: We just completed a 22,000-square-foot addition to our corporate office in Lansing. We had around 30,000 square feet, and we were running out of space. Today, we have over 125 employees in Lansing. We realized that as we built our vision for the next five years out, we had nowhere to put additional hires. So we invested in our facility as well as new technology to support all of the additional hires and growth that we’re expecting.
t2. DDN: What technology investments did you make?
tRS: We had experienced several years in the early 2000s of double-digit growth when the phones were ringing off the hook. But as we got into the 2008 and 2009, we started realizing our technology and processes weren’t up to speed. Our operating system for our franchisees, which helps them schedule and manage the move process, was 10 years old and outdated. So we went to work on investing in our operating system, and this past year, rolled out the new version to all of our 300+ locations. It’s a web-based system that gives them real-time information and more transparency into the customer experience.
tWe’ve realized that you have to constantly recognize the need for change and the need to do so when you’re growing — not just when times are bad. And to date, June was our 55th straight month of growth. Our second quarter was a record quarter for growth — we saw 13-percent growth over 2013. Not just in revenue. It was a record-breaking service quarter as well. We have over a 96 percent referral rating based on our customer satisfaction surveys, so there’s a lot of growth, a lot of excitement, a lot of energy right now. And I think investing in our technology is what has really helped propel us forward.
t3. DDN: Can you tell us about the company’s five-year plan?
tRS: About two years ago, we went to work on our 2018 vision. We looked inwardly and asked things like, “How big are we going to be? What are our customers going to be saying about our service? What will our technology look like?” And we put that on paper. The cool thing about our vision is that its as though (our goals) have already happened. If you read it, it feels like life as it will be in 2018. We said we we’re going to have 400+ locations, with over $750 million in revenue and close to 200 people in our corporate office helping to drive that growth.
tThe vision has been a powerful document for us because it helps us work backwards, and say, “Okay, if we’re going to be at that size, what do we have to do in 2014 and in 2015 to be able to attain that vision?” Strategically, it’s brought a lot of discipline for us and the understanding about what we need to do to get to where we want to be.
t4. DDN: Where do you plan to be?
tRS: Our roots are in Michigan, so our growth really flowed inward out. We have 19 locations in Michigan today and have worked our way (down to) Florida and along the East Coast. Now our focus is working from the outside in, so we have aggressive goals this year of adding 30 new franchise locations along the East and West coasts. We’re more targeted now. We’re also looking at the possibility of international expansion and building upon the Canadian, Irish, and U.K. locations we have today. Our vision calls for two more countries in the next couple of years. So now, we’re strategically looking at which countries we should focus on and then we’ll proactively go after that in 2015.
t5. DDN: Do you think you’ll have to change the company’s name to fit the culture of the countries you’re in? Say, Two Blokes and a Truck?
tRS: I think you have to be open to that if you’re going to expand internationally. Obviously, you want to protect your logo and your brand to the extent that you can, but when you’re entering a new market, you have to have some flexibility culturally so folks truly understand what it means and what you do. It’s easy for us here in Michigan to say, “We know what Two Men and a Truck means, we know the logo,” but when you’re expanding into a European country, they might not be as familiar (with the language or its meaning). And that’s part of our due diligence right now, looking at our research and asking, “What would our name look like over there? What should our trucks and signage look like? How can we adapt while still maintaining the essence that makes our company what it is?”