Growing up, Tony Alarcon wanted to follow in the footsteps of two men: his father, a “Seabee” in the United States Navy, and John Wayne, who played one in his 1944 film, “The Fighting Seabees.”
For 14 years, Tony did just that as a member of the U.S. Navy and Navy Reserve, proudly serving his country. Eventually, however, this enterprising El Paso native came to a fork in the road — or rather, a fork in the sea — and realized that as much as he wanted to advance in the military ranks, he needed to devote more time to moving up the professional ranks in order to grow his career and support a growing family.
“I chose to leave the Navy, and I got a promotion at work,” Tony said. It was a difficult decision but one that paid off as a result of Tony’s work ethic and determination. Eventually, he worked his way up to a managerial position in a large local corporation. He thought it was smooth sailing from there on out.
However, after more than 20 years with his company, Tony received an unfortunate phone call.
“They called it restructuring,” he said. “But in simple words, they were laying me off.”
The news was upsetting; Tony had a wife and son to support. But instead of giving up, Tony saw the change as an opportunity to put all that he had learned in the service and in the corporate world to work – this time, for himself. He wanted to be his own boss, so that he could provide for his family and so that he would never have to be caught off guard again.
He researched different opportunities, independent business ventures and franchise opportunities alike. He came across Bin There Dump That, and he liked what he saw: the catchy name, the proven operational model and the commitment to customer service. Six months later, after a lot of research and due diligence, Tony signed his franchise papers and Bin There Dump That El Paso was born.
How To Be A Successful Franchise Operator: Great Product, Great Customer Service.
Over the course of two years, Tony and Bin There Dump That El Paso have been tremendously successful.
Shortly after starting his franchise and procuring his first set of Bin There Dump That bins, “I had to turn around and get a second set of bins, then a third a few months later,” he recalled. “The growth was tremendous, it was quick, and the demand was there and it is still there.”
Tony credits the demand to the combination of a great product and great customer service.
Customers, he explained, really “like the concept of a bin that can fit anywhere, that they are clean… Other company’s bins are really dirty, but we wash them every day, so it’s like a new bin for every new customer.”
While the bins are unique, so is Tony and Bin There Dump That’s approach to making customers happy. It’s what we call “Delivering The Friendly.”
“We’re there to perform a service and to make sure that they’re happy, and when they’re happy, it makes us happy,” he said. “We show them that we’re really there for them, that we’re not just there to provide a dumpster for them to throw their trash into.”
A great example of customer service fueling success is when Tony received a call from the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus. They were coming to El Paso, and they had called around looking for a dumpster company that could support their needs.
“They called down from Colorado; the big company said they wouldn’t do it, but we would,” he recalled.
Tony and his team did such a great job that the circus continues to call other franchise operators throughout the United States while on tour.
What Is It Like To Be Your Own Boss?
For Tony, one of the best parts of being a Bin There Dump That franchise operator is the control that he gained over his day-to-day operations and his long-term future.
“You are the one that has control of your business; you’re the one that’s going to decide if it’s going to grow or not,” he said.
He also has found greater work-life balance as a franchise operator.
“It really hit me when one day I got up and I needed to take time off, and that’s when I realized I didn’t have to ask for permission,” he said. “It felt great that I didn’t have to put in a request for vacation or time off; I’m the one that can make the decision, and I don’t have to call corporate or anyone.”
Of course, you need to have a great team in place in order to be comfortable taking time away from the franchise, and Tony does. His wife, Sylvia, is his right-hand woman in the workplace, taking care of phone calls, scheduling, administrative tasks, customer service inquiries and a lot more.
Working alongside Sylvia and nurturing the new franchise together has been one of the best aspects of franchise ownership for Tony.
“The biggest surprise for my wife and for myself is that we have grown closer to each other,” he said. “It’s been great for both of us.”
Tips For Future Franchise Operators
Tony believes that anyone thinking about becoming a franchise operator should understand that it’s not a typical 9-5 job. You will need to wear a lot of hats and play a lot of roles, so having a diverse set of skills is essential.
“As a franchise owner, it’s everything,” he explained. “It combines everything that I dealt with in my previous position, everything that I learned about sales, retaining customers, customers satisfaction… everything just ties into what we do at Bin There Dump That as far as being a franchise [operator]. Everything comes into play.”
Along with being dynamic, you also need to be driven.
“It’s got to be in your heart to make it succeed, because if its not in your heart to be your own boss and start up your own business, you won’t be successful. You’ve got to feel it in your gut,” he said.
Tony thinks that this drive for success and passion for the business is what sets Bin There Dump That operators apart. He has spent hours talking with other operators, sometimes staying up late to discuss the finer points of topics like roof repair, customer service and growth strategies – all with an eye towards improving the business and the franchise overall.
Therein lies his final piece of advice to future franchise operators: talk to current franchise operators.
“I always say to ask somebody else that’s already gone through it,” he said.
Something To Pass On
Though his path ultimately diverged from that of his dad (and John Wayne), he has blazed a trail that his own son, Tony, can follow. Now 21, the younger Tony is a part of the business, coming in during summers to wash down the bins, drive the truck and learn the ins and outs of the franchise.
“It’s probably something that we can transition and give it to my son 10, 20 years from now when I’m ready to retire,” he said. “It feels good that you have something that you can hand down to a family member.”
Tony has found tremendous success for his family by joining the Bin There Dump That family, and you can find it too. Learn more about becoming a Bin There Dump That franchise operator, and soon you could be in the spotlight.