Rebecca Feldman, of Greenville, South Carolina, never pictured herself owning 11 moving franchises in five different states as a TWO MEN AND A TRUCK franchisee. A nonprofit fundraiser and mother of two, Feldman said she naturally became part of the business when her husband, Brian, was asked if he wanted to purchase the Greenville location exactly one week after they returned from their honeymoon. At the time, they were living in Atlanta.
“He looked at me and said, ‘if we do this, we have to do this together. It will take both of us,’” Rebecca said. “We had never been to Greenville before, so it was a leap of faith, and 18 years later we haven’t looked back.”
TWO MEN AND A TRUCK is a franchised moving company that offers comprehensive home and business relocation and packing services throughout the United States. With the tagline, “Movers Who Care,” the company aims to help customers alleviate relocation stress— whether they are moving in town or across the country. The Michigan-based TWO MEN AND A TRUCK began in the early 1980s as a way for two brothers to make extra money while they were in high school. Their mother, Mary Ellen Sheets, took over when her sons left for college—but demand for moving services continued. The company began franchising in 1989, and today has grown to more than 350 locations worldwide.
Brian had worked as a mover for TWO MEN AND A TRUCK while he was a student attending the University of South Carolina. When he graduated in 1998, he became an assistant manager, and later, managed franchises in Atlanta. When the Feldmans bought their Greenville franchise in 2002—also owned by partner Nathan Bocock--they focused on building their territory, hiring the right people, and perfecting their systems before buying their second franchise in Tallahassee in 2012.
Now known as the NBF Franchise Group, Rebecca, Brian, and Nathan initially focused on developing their employees and promoting from within--which proved to be the catalyst for growing beyond one unit.
“A really good manager is always looking for people. We look around at various franchises and see who we have as potential people who can move up, or who may be willing to move to a new area,” Rebecca said.
One of their Greenville managers moved down to Tallahassee to run the franchise while the Feldmans stayed back. But soon, the NBF Franchise Group acquired three franchises in Virginia: Richmond (2014), Chesterfield, (2015), and Charlottesville (2017). Rebecca refers to 2018 as the group’s “growth explosion,” when the group invested in franchises located in Norfolk and Newport News, Virginia, and Beaufort, South Carolina. And, although they thought they’d catch their breath in 2019, the NBF Franchise Group instead added another five TWO MEN AND A TRUCK units: three in Houston, Texas, and two others in Virginia Beach, Virginia and Savannah, Georgia. (Separate from the NBF Franchise Group, Brian and Nathan jointly own two franchises and Nathan owns a part of three others. In total, Nathan, Brian, and Rebecca collectively own 16 franchises.)
Today, the NBF Franchise Group employs more than 300 employees and operates more than 100 trucks. They have hired corporate staff dedicated to human resources, sales, marketing, accounting, and customer service. It’s an internal support system that took them three years to build, Rebecca said.
“I would have never dreamed all of this, and years later – we still love it,” she said.
Residential moves continue to be the bread and butter of TWO MEN AND A TRUCK’s core services, but Rebecca said she’s excited to market some unique offerings. She’s recently partnered with an interior designer who ships furniture to one of her locations. Her TWO MEN AND A TRUCK unit stores the items until the company is ready to install the furniture in the homes they are working on.
The Greenville location is also piloting junk removal services for the first time. For those customers eager to declutter their homes, TWO MEN AND A TRUCK drivers will provide a dump truck and transport for those items. Rebecca said the Greenville location is only one of a handful franchises to offer junk removal services—and it’s really beginning to take off.
Moving is a personal business and successful franchisees are ultimately the ones who hire people who enjoy people, Rebecca said.
“They take an interest in their customers and build a rapport. Drivers can spend up to a full day with customers in one of the most difficult service industries,” she said. “Moving day is stressful, we need to make it easier for the customer and make sure they have a good experience. ”
Building a multi-unit franchise is not easy, but it is achievable, Rebecca said. The NBF Franchise Group looks carefully at each opportunity that comes their way, determining whether or not they have capable staff on board, ready and willing to enter a new market, before making a decision.
"You should surround yourself with people smarter than you are. You need to investigate your possibilities with a financial consultant and look at the people resources around you," she said.
Interested in owning your own TWO MEN AND A TRUCK franchise? You can learn more here.
By the end of March 2020, travel halted due to the coronavirus pandemic. As flights were grounded and borders closed, many travelers were forced to cancel or reschedule upcoming trips they had planned months ago—and some were stuck abroad or at sea anxious to get home safely.
Photo credit: Jen Short Photography (https://jenshortphotography.com) Kristen Martyn describes herself as a fifth-generation entrepreneur, so it’s no surprise that she and her husband, Cameron Hogarth, have been successful as owners of a family-owned Wild Birds Unlimited franchise.