Matt Sarkela - Leland, North Carolina
Why try to reinvent the wheel? Matt Sarkela owned and ran a local appliance repair business for about four years when he realized it was time for a change. He knew he wanted to implement new systems to help his business grow, but he wasn’t sure he could afford the time and effort it would take to develop them. So he turned to Mr. Appliance. He had faith in the company’s proven systems, but also admired the moral and ethical values in place. Matt has been able to use those systems and values to complement his own perseverance and passion for his business. The result: a strong, healthy business primed for real growth.
How has Mr. Appliance made a difference in the way you conduct business?
The technology, compared to what we were using before, is light years ahead of everyone else in the industry. When you get into franchising, it adds a level of professionalism and credibility with your customers. It’s easier to track what your business is doing so you can have more control over pricing, inventory and what your techs are doing. The technology – the Mr. Appliance Mobile service call automation system especially – really helps the techs in the home. It takes away the subjectivity because the price is right there in black and white on the handheld phone. The customers like it - they’re impressed by the smart phones.
How has the Mr. Appliance service system set your business apart?
The customers love it. I’m a real stickler about the customer service systems. We practice the steps all the time. My techs have come to understand why it’s important, and they really enjoy it now. And it means a lot to our customers. It’s all about respect and professionalism. You show them you care because you put forth that initial effort to make them comfortable and to take care of their home.
What is the biggest benefit of owning a Mr. Appliance franchise?
The long-term ability to have something that builds equity is a big benefit. It’s something you can eventually sell or keep for yourself or your family.
What advice would you give someone who wants to open an appliance repair shop?
People are the most important part of the business. Your employees are important. They make the business. Training my techs from scratch has been better than hiring experts. When you train someone from scratch, they adapt to your culture much more easily. It makes all the difference if you can Get the right people in the right positions, recognize what good looks like and focus on that.
It’s easy to get caught up in the negative things. You have to just cut ties and move on to the good stuff. Play “above the line.” Have a good plan and stick to it – and be prepared for the fact that it’s not going to be easy. It’s a lot of hard work and dedication.
What are you doing when you’re not working on your business? Are you able to spend time with your family?
Andrea and I spend a lot of time with the kids. I’m active in the local veterans’ chapter. I also enjoy volunteering, hunting and working with the Cub Scout pack with our kids. I want to volunteer with the ROTC at our older son’s high school in the future. And of course we always watch NASCAR on Sundays.
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