Featured Spherion Franchisees: Don Ruggery Jr. and Jay Ruggery
15 Offices in Pennsylvania
Franchise Business Review asked multi-unit Spherion franchise owner Don Ruggery Jr. to tell us about his family’s journey to franchise ownership and growing their Spherion territory to 15 successful franchise locations in Pennsylvania. Here’s what Don had to say about his father’s legacy and family’s future in the world of Spherion Staffing and Recruiting.
Why did you purchase a franchise rather than start an independent business?
Our Father, Don Ruggery, Sr., at age 58, retired from the State of Pennsylvania as the Regional Director of Employment Services. After reading an article in the Wall Street Journal, he decided to take his public-sector career into the private sector. He unlocked his inner entrepreneurial self and opened the original office in Altoona, Pennsylvania in 1992.
Did you have your mind set on a specific industry or franchise brand from the start?
Don Sr. had intrinsic knowledge and experience in people and job placement. He was interested in working in staffing and recruiting, which led him to Spherion. We exist in rural to semi-urban markets. We directly reflect the needs of those markets and deliver light industrial, clerical, and professional Spherion staffing services with a considerable emphasis on assisting manufacturing, production, and logistics businesses.
Did you speak with other Spherion franchise owners during your due diligence?
Our father spoke with many owners in Pennsylvania, and he went to Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, to meet the Spherion corporate team.
Of your prior skills and experiences, which were most helpful in launching and operating your Spherion franchise business?
Our dad was a gregarious person who developed relationships. My brother and business partner, Jay, and I share our Dad’s ability to talk to anyone. Jay joined the Spherion franchise business first in 1993 and focuses mostly on business development. I joined in 1997 and traditionally focused on operational and process development. As we have grown, the two of us have developed a shared vision for growth and have hired key team members who assist us in implementing our growth.
What were your biggest challenges when you first started out, and how did you overcome them to achieve multi-unit franchise ownership?
Our dad used the relationships he built during his years with the State of Pennsylvania to develop the business in our hometown of Altoona. Growing outside of Altoona was our biggest challenge. It was up to Jay and me to do so.
How does the Spherion franchise support and encourage your success?
In today’s world, there are two things that an organization our size gets from our Franchisor: Access to national accounts and excellent marketing material and information. We also enjoy the franchisee network and sharing best practices with other Spherion owners nationwide.
What are you most proud of and why?
We are proud to have grown into one of the country’s largest and most successful Spherion franchise territories. We don’t live or do business in economically hot regions of the country. Yet we’ve been able to thrive and grow through multi-unit franchise ownership with Spherion—without having the “low-hanging fruit” of new potential customers moving into our markets while consistently enduring long-time customers leaving our markets for other parts of the country.
What advice would you give to potential franchise buyers?
If you have never owned and operated your own business, know that to be successful, you will have to work harder, longer, and more intelligently than you have ever worked. That is the only promise I provide to employees. The rest has to do with potential.