When Jay and Rhonda Fowles bought their AdvantaClean franchise in June 2017, the couple had no idea that the first home they would have to restore would be their own. A week before the couple was scheduled to fly from Houston, Texas, to the AdvantaClean franchise HQ in Huntersville, North Carolina, disaster struck by way of Hurricane Harvey.
Husband-and-wife team talk about their new life with top-rated environmental services franchise
“Our home, where we prepared to launch our business, was completely flooded,” Jay Fowles says. “We were our first customers, as our house was the first house we had to dry, right before we headed to training. But it turned out to be a blessing and a curse because when we finished training, we had so much work to do in our local community, and that allowed us to get established in business extremely quickly.”
The fact that the Fowles had to restore their own home gave them immediate credibility with their community, many of whom were experiencing the same disastrous circumstances the couple faced.
“We opened this business to serve others in our community,” says Rhonda Fowles. “Because we went through the same thing, it’s pretty easy to relate to our customers. We always tell them, ‘We will clean your house as if it were our own house,’ and it’s a real honor to restore someone’s house after it was destroyed by a hurricane.”
While Rhonda did not have experience in the restoration industry, Jay worked for 30 years as an engineer in environmental sciences. They weren’t actively looking for a business opportunity until one evening when they happened to be watching Undercover Boss. It was the episode when AdvantaClean CEO and Founder Jeff Dudan dons multiple disguises to explore the health of his brand. When the episode ended, the couple switched off the television ready to open their own location.
“We saw the Undercover Boss episode, and I thought, ‘This business is really cool — it really lines up with the kind of work I’ve been doing the past 30 years,’” Jay says. “We went to Discovery Day in Huntersville, and what we saw on TV was what we saw in the home office — the openness, the kind hearts, and at the same time, really smart business people. We liked the culture.”
When the husband-and-wife team went to training, they discovered that the AdvantaClean executive team was going to do everything they could to help them become successful and grow their business over the long term.
“They really want you to succeed — and not only because if you’re successful, they’re successful. They want you to be successful as business owners — that is a big deal,” Jay says.
“The put you through a training class that’s three weeks long that is really hands-on, and that is key because if you’re going to go sell, you need to know what you’re selling,” Rhonda says. “The call-center team are just awesome. It’s nice to know that that you have people working with you to help you become successful.”
As the couple comes close to their one-year anniversary in business, they have some high hopes for their AdvantaClean future.
“We just can’t believe we have a franchise,” Rhonda says. “We wake up every day just incredibly excited about growing our business. The bigger we get, the more people we can help.”
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