Ann and Martin Wierengo know quite a bit about service. Martin was a member of the U.S. Armed Forces for nearly 20 years, while Ann still works at a nonprofit child welfare agency that supports young people in need.
Perhaps, then, it is no surprise that the couple has leveraged their position as owners of Bin There Dump That – Fort Myers to serve their community once again.
The Season Of Giving
For the holiday season, Ann and Martin are teaming up with other local businesses to collect toys and donations for children in the area in an effort to make the season just a little bit brighter. They are also donating a bin as a raffle item to raise extra money for purchasing the gifts.
Ann believes that the ability to give back is one of the best aspects of owning a business.
“What a great opportunity, and a perfect combination,” she said, explaining how her nonprofit background gives her an added appreciation for corporate charitable efforts.
For Martin, the holiday toy and donation drive represents a win-win for the business and the community.
“It’s a marketing opportunity because it can help our business, but, just as important, it’s also a way to give back to the community and help children who aren’t going to have a perfect Christmas because of their situations,” he said.
When the fundraiser is done and all of the toys are ready to be dropped off, Ann and Martin will personally deliver the presents to the children — on the back of their Bin There Dump That truck, of course.
“I’m really looking forward to seeing their faces,” said Ann.
They Appreciate The (Franchise) Support, Too
“Having the support of the franchise is priceless,” Martin said. “ … They have a certain way that they do things and that is because those ways work; they are tried and tested, and they’ve been doing it for a while.”
By following the franchise model and the guidance of our leadership team, the couple has been able to rapidly grow their business. They started with just one truck and 12 bins; today they have two trucks and 47 bins.
Looking back, Ann believes that the most important advice they received was to concentrate on marketing and networking.
As a result, they joined local BNI and trade groups, researched competitors and potential customers, and developed a marketing approach that would deliver the best return on investment.
“We never ran a business before, so we had all the gumption, but not the knowledge of how to get our name out there,” Ann recalled. “They helped us a lot.”
The support that they have received has been instrumental in their success. However, Martin and Ann caution aspiring franchisees to do their homework, as not all franchise groups offer the same level of help and guidance.
“I’ve talked with a lot of franchisees from other franchises, and what I’ve found out is that, in a lot of other franchises, once they get your money … they don’t really tend to your needs,” Martin said. “You become a number in a file or a check in the mail.
“With Bin There Dump That, it’s totally different in that they are continually touching base with you to find out how you are doing, to see if you are having problems and to see if there is any advice they can give you that can help.”
Along with the ability to tap into the knowledge of the franchise organization, the couple has found that there is another distinct advantage of joining a franchise as opposed to an independent business — the ability to tap into savings.
“It gives you the purchasing power of a large group,” Ann said. “It helps us negotiate with other companies to get the best prices and the best products.” Some of the items Ann and Martin have been able to save on include insurance, equipment and advertising, expenses that would be far more costly for owners of independent businesses.
Building Something For Themselves, Together
The ability to give back to their community is icing on the cake for the couple, who are thrilled with their decision to start a franchise. They appreciate the fact that all of their efforts are contributing to their success, not somebody else’s.
The chance to work side-by-side has been another perk as well.
“I think the benefit of having your [spouse] work with you as opposed to an employee is they’ve got a horse in the raise, [they] have a vested interest in the success of the business, whereas an employee is only in it for their eight-hour day or the 40-hour week,” Martin said.
Advice To Future Franchisees: Don’t Wait!
Ann and Martin are proud of the work they have put in and are looking forward to growing the business for years to come. However, they do have one regret.
“We started this business 3 ½ years ago and a lot of people ask if I would do it again,” Martin said. “The answer is, I would have done it sooner. I wish I would have done this ten years ago.”
If your current career isn’t serving your needs, we invite you to learn more about following in the footsteps of successful franchisees like Ann and Martin. Download our free franchise kit to get started today.