Erick Hilger was nominated for a 2022 Rock Star Award by The Glass Guru leadership team under the Top Performer category. He was chosen by Franchise Business Review from among 200+ nominations for his outstanding achievements as a Glass Guru franchise owner in Charleston, SC.
What advice do you have for someone considering investing in a franchise?
Do your research, look at multiple franchises, take your time, and go with the best match for you. Also, make sure the support offered after opening is great.
If you could start all over again, which mistake(s) would you avoid? What were your best decisions?
Not starting 100% would be my biggest mistake. We had a little ramp-up period and I believe it hindered our first-year growth. The best decision was to move into a storefront location. It provided us with a stable place for us to recruit more employees to help improve and grow our business.
What is the biggest challenge you've had to overcome as a business owner?
I always say our biggest challenge may be our next one. We deal with many complex installs and a lot of moving parts, so you never know what challenges may present themselves in a day-to-day business. Some specific challenges have been starting in a recession, making it through a worldwide shutdown situation, and recently I was out on medical leave for a few months.
Is there a book or podcast that has helped you in starting or building your business?
No specific books or podcasts, but I definitely see the value in using these resources. We actually started before podcasts were a thing. I do tune into podcasts that I run across that interest me and that I think could be helpful.
What is your proudest achievement in your franchising career so far?
There are many. To be continually receiving recognition for our store from our corporate office at conventions and conferences. Also just looking back from where we started to where we are today is a really cool thing. I also sit on the group of franchisees that meet with corporate monthly and I consider that a big honor. I had a medical issue this winter and was completely out of work and unable to help by phone or email. This was a surprise and our team was able to get us through it and that is a very big deal to me. Lastly, this FBR Rockstar Award is a huge achievement and very much a surprise to receive.
What was your work history before you entered franchising? How did you apply those skills to your franchise?
I have always been in sales and marketing, ever since college. It has helped me push to grow the business for sure. I believe the experience also helped me establish referral relationships. Another big thing it has helped with is listening to our customers to get them the end result they are looking for on their projects.
Did the pandemic or recession impact your business and, if so, what were the lessons learned from the experience?
The pandemic definitely impacted our business in both negative and positive ways. It taught me to not take anything for granted. We had to reinvent ourselves a little bit in the past couple of years. The same business is there, we have just had to get our message to our potential customers differently. Marketing, networking, and advertising changes have helped a lot.
What do you like most about your franchise organization today?
The franchise corporate office is always proactively working to keep us ahead of our competition. They are really focused on growth and providing tools that will help us be more productive, professional, and profitable. The support they provide us is great and I communicate with them daily. Having that option to get in touch with someone who is seeing a national picture is a great thing to have.
Do you have a guiding philosophy or principle that has helped you navigate the ups and downs of owning a business and contributed to your success?
Perseverance is the way I handle the ups and downs. You are going to have days as a business owner that range from great to very challenging, many times all in one day! I just try to maintain the attitude that we will make it through this and rise above it.
How have you raised the bar for your business and your franchise system?
We have continued to have positive growth year after year and have been a good revenue producer from a national perspective for the franchise. As far as our business, we have added staff and vehicles to our fleet. Also, we have moved into a much larger space to optimize our storage and office function.
For more information on The Glass Guru franchise opportunities, visit https://theglassgurufranchise.com/.
$63,000 - $10,000,000
$47,500 - $112,650
$153,100 - $523,850
With more than 60 nationwide locations currently operating or in various stages of development, East Coast Wings + Grill recently secured a top spot on Restaurant Business Magazine’s “Future 50” list of fastest-growing, U.