John Akhoian - San Jose, California
John started working at his uncle’s plumbing business at the age of 19. By his mid-twenties John had opened his own plumbing company called High Quality Plumbing, which he turned into his first Mr. Rooter franchise in 1996. He was successful from the start, earning the Mr. Rooter Rookie of the Year award.
In 2005, John opened his second Mr. Rooter franchise and he opened his third franchise in 2006. He’s been named Mr. Rooter Franchisee of the Year and Sales Leader of the Year. John credits much of his success to the tremendous support he’s received from the Mr. Rooter Corporate office and its parent company, The Dwyer Group.
What motivated you to go into franchising at a young age?
I saw a terrific opportunity to build off of what others had done in the industry before me and learn from those who had the same goals. Becoming a part of the Mr. Rooter franchise system gave me the chance to learn how to be a businessman, not just a plumber. I saw the opportunity to build a business that could flourish and be more than just a job.
Why did you choose Mr. Rooter?
I was initially drawn to Mr. Rooter because of their clean, neat appearance. As I began to learn more about the franchise I realized that it started with the appearance, but it was really more about a professional mentality that permeates throughout the organization and the system.
What challenges did you face when you first started your Mr. Rooter franchise?
Getting the phone to ring was one of my biggest challenges at the beginning. We knew we could deliver a world class experience that our clients had never had before, but we needed the phone to ring. Once we got the phone ringing, our next challenge was hiring qualified and client-focused technicians. It wasn’t good enough to just hire another plumber; we needed people who had the right attitude and the technical know-how.
How has your business changed since you became a franchise owner?
I was 25 years old and about to get married when I decided to buy a Mr. Rooter franchise and transition
my own plumbing business into it. It was a significant time in my life, and the Mr. Rooter corporate staff gave me the direction I needed to grow my business. I started my first plumbing business with one van, and I was the only technician. Today, I have three Mr. Rooter franchises with 52 vans and 80 employees. I feel like The Dwyer family which operates The Dwyer Group, the parent company of Mr. Rooter – adopted me, and I owe my growth and success to them. They are the best organization.
What is the biggest benefit of being a Mr. Rooter franchisee?
There are three main areas where I see the most benefit from Mr. Rooter. First is in the support they offer to me as a franchisee. I have mentors that not only help me through the day-to-day problems, but push me to better my business. Second is the education, whether it’s financial, operations, marketing or even technical, Mr. Rooter is second to none. Finally, but certainly not least, is the opportunity to network with other franchise owners who face the same challenges that I do as an owner of a Mr. Rooter franchise. We support one another, offer solutions and even spend time as friends – the benefit this has had on my business is invaluable.
What impact does the Mr. Rooter brand have on your business?
Having a nationally recognized image provides us with clout in our local community. Our clients want to deal with a local business owner, but knowing that our business is backed by a national network gives them piece of mind. This has made our marketing efforts that much more effective, essentially making the dollars we spend to capture and keep customers stretch further than if I was on my own.
What do you see in your future for your franchise?
Since starting in 1996, we have seen remarkable growth, but I see even more opportunities to expand
my business. I own three Mr. Rooter franchises right now, but I plan to open more Mr. Rooter locations in other areas. We know the system works and see a great benefit to duplicating it in other areas.
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