The Year in Review: Franchise Management Success Stories from 2020

  • December 17, 2020
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Are you in the mood for some uplifting franchise management stories from the year that was? Keep reading below for two mini-case studies from a pair of our franchise customers about how they successfully navigated their challenges in 2020. 

Around this time each year, we typically publish our “year in review” articles. Often this takes the form of a roundup of our most popular content from the previous year, along with highlighting industry trends.

2020 was different in many ways, so we are taking a different approach. At the onset of the pandemic in February and March, it was still a mystery as to what the year would look like for us and for our customers. 

A Year of Surprising Innovations and Pivots for Home Services Franchises

What did happen this year took us by surprise and fills us with so much hope for the future. For a short time in March, the number of jobs booked with Vonigo plateaued from its usual growth curve. Then, slowly at first, it began to rise again.

As companies found ways to adapt and respond to the crisis, it began to climb even more dramatically. Junk removal and cleaning services were responsible for a lot of that growth but that’s not the whole picture. 

Here are two mini-case studies featuring two of our franchise customers, explaining in their own words the ways they are adapting and thriving during the pandemic. 

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Over 20 New Franchises Sold for The Germinator in 2020 

By Phil Gill, Director of Operations for The Germinator

The Germinator was founded a few years ago with the goal of making the community a better place by treating the microscopic threats that existed in our homes and businesses. At the time, we were focused on things like staph bacterias and the flu. When the pandemic hit, we found ourselves in a critical position to respond to the needs of the community and offer our remediation and proactive solutions towards mitigating the risks of COVID-19. 

We are grateful to have been able to help many people navigate through the pandemic this year. We only began franchising our business in January 2020, but we now find ourselves with over 20 franchises across the US, all of which are helping their neighborhood businesses and residences adjust to the new normal.

Vonigo’s Franchise Management Software Helps Expansion  

Vonigo has been instrumental in our scheduling and quote maintenance this year. With so many different potential customers seeking out our service, it has been fantastic to utilize Vonigo’s easy to use scheduling features to keep track of where our many franchises are completing work every day. Also, with focusing on a repeat business model, the flexibility of creating and tracking quotes has been instrumental in our success in communicating and working with customers.

A “Best Year Ever” and More Online Bookings for Midtown Chimney Sweeps

By Byron Schramm, President of Midtown Chimney Sweeps

Our business is a franchise system so our response was individual and corporate. My vision, as shared in a private YouTube message to our brand in March, was to lean in. Don’t listen to the news, don’t listen to the negativity. Our job is to serve our customers and keep selling the solution to the problems that we see. 

My message to the brand was, “When I have no other problems in my business, when I have solved all my personal and business problems, when my availability is fast, my ratings are high, and still my business is failing… only then I will blame COVID. But until then, this is my problem.” 

We leaned into our dysfunction and pushed back against our excuses and made new brochures. We mailed them out to realtors when we couldn’t visit them. We called them on the phone. We made every appointment count. We didn’t do what some people did — blame poor business success on an externality. We owned the poor business practices, hired a coach and new CEO and fixed our crap. We looked in the mirror and saw the ugliness and scrubbed the surface ‘til it shined and now we experienced our best year ever. Not every franchisee shares that story in our brand individually, as some did not take the advice. But those that did lean in did so to such an extent that they more than made up for the slump in other franchises, to end us at an all-time high.

Faster and more “Touchless” Services Fueled Growth for Midtown in 2020

We used the disclaimer features to clarify our services more specifically with our customers. We used the online scheduler and changed some wording around. We did Facebook ads and drove the call to action button to the Vonigo online booking engine and saw a nearly 20% and higher online booking ratio — 35% was the highest on one day. 

We like that our customers receive email reminders of their upcoming appointments as well as post-appointment review requests. Thank you Vonigo!

How They Did It — Vonigo’s Franchise Management and Other Features That Fueled Growth in 2020

As a unified business management platform that is designed to help home services businesses, we were uniquely positioned to help in 2020. More and more companies sought the kind of configurable features that our software offers.

Here are some examples of the features that saw the most growth in usage, over the past 10 months especially. 

Online Quote Approval

With Online Quote Approval, customers can review and approve quotes online. Sent as a link by either email or text message, customers can approve the quote remotely at their convenience.

Whether it’s for a quote that was conducted without the customer at home, virtually or one that could not be finalized on-site, Online Quote Approval helps you get quotes approved faster while improving the customer experience.

Online Booking and Restricted Availability

Perhaps not surprisingly, more clients than ever made use of our online booking engine. Across the board, companies reported an increase in online bookings. The flexibility to dynamically restrict the availability of specific services by zip code with the changing pandemic restrictions was a big help for our customers as well.  

The online booking engine also allows companies to add notices to their bookings. Many companies deployed this feature as a way to keep clients updated on their safety protocols, the status of operations, new promos, and more.

Email and Text Communication, as well as Online Payments

2020 was the year of “touchless.” More companies than ever saw the value of features like automated booking confirmations, reminders, and post-service follow-ups. 

Not only do these messages decrease no-shows, but they were also used to help limit unnecessary exposure for crews and customers. Everyone knows where to be and when.

Online invoices and touchless payments were also a feature that saw a huge increase in usage this year. 

Ask About Vonigo’s Franchise Management and Home Services Software Platform

Not only during a pandemic but it is always our extreme pleasure to help multi-location home services businesses grow and thrive. From all of us at Vonigo, have a safe and wonderful holiday season and all the best for the coming year.

Want to learn more about how franchises like The Germinator and Midtown Chimney Sweeps use Vonigo to manage their operations at the corporate and franchisee levels? Book a free, private demo of Vonigo