Franchise Owner Has the Right Moves
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“It is true of the nation, as of the individual, that the greatest doer must also be a great dreamer.”—Theodore Roosevelt
It takes a lot more than two men to run the Two Men and a Truck franchises in Lincoln and Omaha, Nebraska. It takes a savvy woman owner.
Franchise owner and President Eileen Marrison took over the two moving company franchises from her son Marty, who went to work for the original Two Men and a Truck company as a mover in 1987. When the company began franchising the business in 1989, Marty was one of the first to purchase, buying a franchise in Lincoln for $2,500 and getting Omaha as part of the deal. “Marty liked the concept and idea behind it, and he thought it would be a good investment,” Marrison says. “They were practically giving them away in the beginning, especially those first 10.”
When Marty struggled to find good office help, Marrison began working for her son. Four months later, in 1995, Marty sold her the Omaha franchise, followed by the Lincoln office three years later. “I paid a lot more than he did,” she quips.
Today, the Lincoln office has 10 trucks and completes 10 to 30 moves a day at the height of the season. The much larger Omaha office has 21 trucks and averages about 750 moves a month.
Marrison, who’s 65 years old, says she’s “semiretired” and has handed the day-to-day management of the Lincoln office to general manager Jason Christenson and Marty.
Although both franchise locations are different, they do have one thing in common—they need more employees. “This is the time of year [spring] when we’re struggling to get enough guys to run all the trucks we want to run,” Christenson says. “Unemployment in Nebraska is really low, and that doesn’t help.”
Christenson says that the work is physically demanding, and the pay isn’t top range. As a result, a lot of the applicants aren’t very motivated. “We get a lot of applicants, but there’s a work ethic problem. We waste a lot of time and money getting them tested, a back screening (physical), drug testing, and a criminal background check.”
To help keep employees, Marrison says that they pay more than half of the employees’ health benefits, despite the fact that their rates have gone up an average of 27% over the last two years. “If it keeps going up 30% a year, I’m not sure how long I can keep it up,” she says.
The company also offers a variety of bonuses, including bonuses if movers have a record of not damaging items during a move, paid vacation for long-term employees, and “lots of pizza and pop,” says Christenson. “We do a lot of little things for the guys to show that we appreciate them.”
Company: Two Men and a Truck
Address: 6400 Cornhusker Highway #225, Lincoln NE, 68507
Year Founded: 1989
U.S. Chamber Member since: 2008
Number of Employees: 21 (Lincoln franchise)