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Interview between Rick Swango & Marla Mock for the “Franchisee in the Spotlight” article for the Storm Surge magazine

Marla: What interested you in getting involved in the disaster restoration industry?

Rick: Most of all helping people. Secondly, it has a high profit margin.

Marla: How long have you been a Rainbow Franchisee and why did you choose Rainbow International Restoration?

Rick: We signed our contract with Rainbow International in May of 2012. We picked Rainbow International over 22 other franchise companies because we really liked the faith-based organization along with the high standard of care they wanted to deliver to their customers. We do not ever want to settle for second best and felt that Rainbow International and The Dwyer Group would be a great vehicle for us to use to achieve our business and personal goals.

Marla: Are you originally from Kansas? If not, what lead you to Junction City?

Rick: I am not from Kansas, but my wife is. I am from Florida but the United States Army shipped me to Fort Riley, Kan., on Jan. 3, 1999. Not even a year into my tour, I met and married my wife. About a year later, we bought a house and Kansas became home. After my four-year tour, we thought about leaving and just never did. The hunting, fishing and people are great. As much as I would like to make it back to Florida sometime to co-exist (Florida/Kansas), I don’t know when that will be.

Marla: What has been the most rewarding aspect of being a restorer?

Rick: It is most definitely helping people get back to normal life. It’s hard to explain how you can see a family in one of their worst times in life where they are just at rock bottom with a loss, and you are able to help them out. When the job is done and they can get back to normal is just a great feeling. Those smiles and relationships that we had a part in making are priceless.

Marla: How did you implement the 17 steps to your staff, and how receptive were they?

Rick: It was really easy for me. My staff wanted to implement the 17 steps. They themselves want to be on the best restoration team in our area. They took the 17 steps and ran with it.

Marla: You were one of the first franchisees I visited when I started with Rainbow, and I was impressed with how all of your staff was in uniform. How did you implement that so quickly?

Rick: We were a pre-existing janitorial/restoration company that had already been in uniforms. So that part was also pretty simple. All we had to do was change our shirts to meet the required Rainbow International uniform. And I must stress again that it is the staff that makes all this so easy. They just do what they are asked...have I mentioned yet that I have the best staff?

Marla: Do you have a BDA, and if so, how quickly did you hire the BDA after you opened your franchise?

Rick: I do have a BDA. Again, we started with Rainbow in May of 2012, and I found Seth (our BDA) through John (our restoration supervisor) around mid-November 2012. He was everything I had been looking for in a BDA and since has done nothing but impress me. Even if he might not agree with me sometimes, we at least talk about everything and come up with a plan. He really has just taken this new position and ran with it. We have several customers we get a lot of work from, but all Seth’s work is about to pay off. We’ve recently been saying we are just sitting on a bomb, and we can’t see the fuse and as scary as that sounds, it is also just as exciting. All those relationships he has been building is going to cause our phone to just ring off the hook. Hiring that BDA is a scary spot to be in as a new franchise and watching all that money just fly by with nothing to show for it. I KNOW and TRUST that it will pay off. I have no doubts. All I can say is, “Seth, you are the man! You are doing a great job. Thank you.”

 

Marla: Two-part question - How beneficial has your BDA been to introducing Rainbow International to your local market? Do you think your franchise would be generating the same amount of revenue had you not added a BDA so quickly?

Rick: It is everything. I am able to work on my business and not in it. Don’t get me wrong, I still love going out into the field and working with the staff. It’s fun! I was told along time ago that if you’re not doing what you love, then why do it. That is why I joined Rainbow International, to learn how to run my business and not work in it unless I want to. If you paid for the system, just use it. Apply the system, talk to your FC and follow your code of conduct, and it WILL work.

I do not believe we would be advancing in our market share like we are if we did not bring in our key to success, Seth. He is a beast! He WILL (and very soon) be one of the top-producing BDA’s in the Rainbow network. He’s the first to the office and the last to leave every single day. He reminds me of me. I will do everything I can to support and back him up.

Marla: I noticed you continue to focus on growing your commercial & residential cleaning. How important is it for the overall growth of your business to continue to increase these revenue streams, and why?

Rick: Well, I believe one of the most important things you can do to get that van moving is to establish a few property management accounts. People are always moving in and out of apartments and houses. Someone is cleaning those carpets. The question is, is it you that’s cleaning them. Apartment complexes have more water loss jobs than I would have ever thought. They have spots and stains, pet odor issues, mold from something that leaked for the last two years a tenant lived there and never told anyone. These are just a great starting point, and as long as you treat them right and make sure they don’t have to call you back, EVER, you can’t go wrong. We are working on getting our vans busy at night right now. As simple as it sounds I never thought about it. The van does not need a break, so why not keep it busy 24/7. If you’re a new start-up franchisee, why not find someone to run that van at night doing commercial carpet cleaning. And if you live up north in the winter and don’t have a garage to put it in, then that solves one issue and makes money at the same time.

Marla: What do you feel distinguishes you from your competition?

Rick: We are better than our competition because of our staff. I know we have the best team. They know they are the best team. We have the best equipment and the most knowledge in our industry. We will do whatever it takes to earn our customers’ trust. Having their trust and confidence along with a great referral program just causes your company to grow. Having employees that are responsible for minding their own jobs and helping others when they are in need makes us the best. Thank you Rainbow International and The Dwyer Group for all you have done. Oh, and never forget to have fun in the process!!!

Marla: If there was a new franchise entering into the system, what advice would you give them?

Rick: Go for it! Implement the systems, recruit only the best staff and do your best. Don’t get caught in the trap of busy work, make sure you’re doing productive work. I must also say going to Strategies for Success, a week-long business workshop put on by Jon Don, is a must!!!

Marla: Is there anything I have not asked you that you would want people to know about your franchise?

Rick: Did I mention I have the best staff? Having the best staff makes my job really, really easy.