Following the Franchise Route

Mike Brewer carefully did his due diligence before fully committing to a franchise opportunity, but 16 years in, he’s satisfied with how it’s helping him grow the service side of his plumbing business

Following the Franchise Route

Mike Brewer

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Young companies grow or shrink, succeed or fail on the basis of choices made at critical times. Often it comes down to whether the company owner is cautiously content with the status quo or all in for change and growth.

One of those moments for Mike Brewer came in 2003 when his Phoenix, Arizona-based residential construction plumbing company kept being bothered with calls from people needing plumbing repair work. The then 13-year-old company didn’t offer service work, so the calls were respectfully declined. Brewer realized the calls were “missed opportunities” for more business.

To find a solution to his dilemma, Brewer decided to respond to a mailing from Benjamin Franklin Plumbing offering franchises for plumbing services. He describes it as “a cold call in the mail,” a sales pitch. Brewer went to a meeting with the Benjamin Franklin Plumbing representative. It was a small meeting: He and one other person showed up.

“I listened for an hour and a half to the gal who did the presentation and began to feel antsy,” Brewer recalls. “I had work to do. I kept wanting her to get to the punchline. When she said I could become a franchisee for $10,000, she got my attention. For that, I would have access to training, a proven process, software and a network of other plumbers. I took notes and took home the franchise information.”

It wasn’t a done deal, however. Brewer met the saleswoman for dinner the next evening, asked lots of questions and listened to the answers. Still no deal. Eventually, Benjamin Franklin Plumbing put on “a full-court press,” flying a rep into Arizona to meet with Brewer. He consulted with his accountant, who was satisfied with the proposal but advised Brewer to proceed with caution. He told Brewer: “You have a nice company and autonomy in running it. With this, you’re going to be tied up for at least the next five years and you’ll have to build the business.”

That day, the sales rep tried to close the franchise deal, but Brewer resisted. Not until a few months later did he finally sign up, but even then he negotiated an actual starting date nine months further down the line. To say Brewer did his due diligence probably understates the matter.

Sixteen years later, Brewer still is a Benjamin Franklin Plumbing franchisee and is actively working with his executive team to grow the plumbing services segment of his overall business. He is all in with plumbing services and sees it as a not-yet-fully-realized opportunity.

Brewer says he appreciates the respect for the customer that is built into theBenjamin Franklin Plumbing model, with its pledge to pay a customer $5 for every minute one of its plumbers is late in arriving. “We, too, always approach a customer as a professional and treat each person with great respect,” Brewer says.

For Benjamin Franklin Plumbing, it now has more than 100 franchisees operating over 250 service locations in the U.S. Brewer is a believer. “I respect the Ben Franklin program. It all works if you follow the process,” he says.

Read more about Brewer Cos. in the November 2020 issue of Plumber magazine.



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