Rockledge, FL, December 28, 2006 --(PR.com
)-- Making a “Things to Do” list is a ritual that comes with every New Year. One glance at Gwyn O’Kane’s list shows that 2007 promises to be a very productive year for the vice president of franchise development for Pirtek USA, the world’s leading service provider of ETA 1 Hour On-Site Hose Replacement.
Pirtek is the only franchised company in the worldwide hose replacement industry, providing 24-hour, seven-day service to almost every facet of industry including construction, manufacturing, transportation, agriculture and engineering among others.
Thirty-four Pirtek service centers and more than 150 Pirtek mobile service vans currently serve major metropolitan markets throughout the United States.
O’Kane’s goal is to have 50 Pirtek centers open in the U.S. by the end of 2007. The plan is appropriately called “Team 50” because O’Kane’s goals extend far beyond opening 16 new service centers in 2007.
Customers across the country know that Pirtek provides a far more cost effective and time-saving method of hose replacement than they’ve ever known before. But O’Kane is intent on taking Pirtek’s visibility and brand recognition to new levels.
“Team 50 obviously is a goal in the form of the number of franchises we want to achieve, but behind the scenes, Team 50 means much, much more,” O’Kane said.
“Team 50” is not just about adding centers, O’Kane said. Just as important is providing unsurpassed assistance and support to both prospective Pirtek franchise candidates and existing franchise owners.
“It has forced myself and everyone else associated with Pirtek USA to look at all aspects of our business and make sure there is an increased focus on our existing owners and individuals who are looking to join the Pirtek team,” O’Kane said.
From a growth viewpoint, one of O’Kane’s foremost goals is the addition of second or third service centers in markets where Pirtek already operates, specifically Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Phoenix, Philadelphia, Boston and the San Francisco Bay area.
Further expansion will focus in the West, where Pirtek also has locations in San Diego, Los Angeles and Seattle, along with other major metropolitan markets in the Midwest and East where Pirtek either doesn’t have a center or where demand has created a need for additional centers.
Markets generally have minimum populations of 250,000 to 300,000. It is estimated the United States could support 400 Pirtek locations. Pirtek has opened 20 service centers during the last three years.
Mike McCarthy has been a Pirtek franchisee in Norcross, Ga., an Atlanta suburb, since April 2004. It’s not unusual for his service technicians to drive 50 or 60 miles to service a customer. Even though Atlanta is infamous for its traffic, customers cite Pirtek’s outstanding response time as their No. 1 reason for using the service.
McCarthy has plans to open a second Pirtek service center in Atlanta in early 2008, but McCarthy realizes the benefits that even more Pirtek locations owned by new franchisees would bring. McCarthy is among seven Pirtek franchise owners who have committed to opening second locations over the next two years. Currently five franchisees operate two locations.
“We all benefit when Pirtek is the first name that comes to mind when someone in the greater Atlanta area blows a hose,” McCarthy said. “Ultimately, the further branding of the Pirtek name and increased name recognition benefits the entire franchise network.”
Pirtek franchisees have strong business management skills developed from backgrounds in industries such as banking, sales, marketing and industrial management. A mechanical background is not necessary and franchisees are comfortable promoting and working in a business-to-business, industrial-based franchise concept. They enjoy the fact that Pirtek is not another cookie-cutter concept such as those found in other sectors of franchising.
“Our franchise candidates are typically from middle and senior management within corporate America,” O’Kane said. “For some people it could be a layoff that triggers the decision for them to do what they always dreamed of and be the captain of their own ship. Our owners also like the fact that we are unique in our industry.”
To underscore its dedication to “Team 50” in 2007, Pirtek got an early jump on the program. About 35 employees from Pirtek’s corporate headquarters in Rockledge, Fla., took part in a unique exercise last November to demonstrate their commitment to the company’s plans.
They participated in a program called “21-Day Positive Focus,” which was the idea of Pirtek USA President Morgan Arundel. The basic premise: For 21 days, every employee from Arundel to the warehouse staff was asked to add new habits or “achievements” to their daily routines that would enhance their interactions with others. The timespan was based on the generally held principle that it takes 21 days to form a habit.
For an administrative assistant, the achievement might have meant calling franchise owners and simply asking how things were going and if they needed any assistance with matters from the corporate office instead of simply answering the phone throughout the day.
“For myself, it was a chance to go above and beyond what I normally would do in regard to making contact with franchise candidates or existing owners,” O’Kane said.
Employees from O’Kane’s group were so enthused with the program that they decided to continue it. They meet each Monday and share with their group at least one thing they did that went above and beyond what they normally do.
“It really was quite a challenge for a lot of people, but by the end of the 21 days we came up with some fascinating things people had achieved,” O’Kane said. “The one habit that we most wanted to create was better communication between ourselves and our franchise owners and I believe we achieved it. I’m excited about 2007.”