Ziebart Franchise Rock Star Celebrates 20 Years of Ownership and Growth

Ziebart Franchise Rock Star Nathan Krueger

Following a proven business model with a known brand is a huge selling point for entrepreneurs ready to make the leap to business ownership. When done right, the training and ongoing support can set franchisees up for success—especially for those who’ve never owned and operated a business. Nathan Krueger started as a Ziebart store manager before owning two Ziebart franchise locations in Southeast Wisconsin in May 2004. Over the years, this franchisee has excelled in many ways! He gained special attention last year when he decided his stores could use an upgrade. 

When Nathan and his staff set their minds on improving their stores, they went “back to basics” to restructure operations and improve efficiencies. Both of his stores saw a great increase in profitability. More than simply restructuring, Nathan also focused on developing a new culture among his staff, allowing for an even more positive work environment. His hard work to turn his stores around profitably and culturally earned him recognition from Ziebart franchise leadership as the brand’s Most Improved Dealer of 2023. This year, he is also recognized as the franchise’s 2024 Multi-Unit Franchise Rock Star. 

When the going gets tough—the tough step up

Nathan’s ability to “think outside the box” came into play back in 2020 when the COVID-19 pandemic struck, and many businesses struggled during “the new normal.” Not one to be deterred, Nathan stepped in and stepped up—in a big way. Looking for a proactive way to help his community in Wisconsin, he found a way to address a pressing need—free disinfecting services for first responder vehicles. Although they were often on the frontlines of danger and risk of exposure to the virus, these civic employees could not stop performing essential services to maintain the safety of the community. Nathan saw a way to contribute and never hesitated to use the professional skills he learned at Ziebart for the greater good—another testament to his determination to provide solutions that serve his community.  

In his own words, Nathan shares his journey to Ziebart franchise ownership and franchise rock star status.

During your research, what made the Ziebart franchise stand out?

I had previous experience managing the local Ziebart stores years before owning mine. Shortly after, I left to go into communications. The local Ziebart owner was in a bad motorcycle accident and had to step back. Four years later, Ziebart International was still running the stores, and without having local ownership, the stores were going downhill. When I finally decided to work for myself, I called Ziebart International to inquire about purchasing the Milwaukee area stores. The timing was perfect, as they had just listed them with a broker that day!

How did the Ziebart franchise help you prepare for business ownership?

They were very supportive in getting me up to speed on store ownership versus store management. Given my past experience with the stores, the day-to-day operations were a breeze.

What advice would you give to potential Ziebart franchise owners?

Do your market research to determine the level of competition in the area, and then look for a great location. The location makes a huge difference. You want a very easy place to get to, preferably close to a freeway or a major hub of retail activity.

Name three key things that empower your success as a Ziebart franchise owner.

  1. Quality. Talk with your team regularly about the importance of quality work. Get everybody in a mindset to do every job to the best of their ability to deliver the best product to the customer.
  2. Marketing. Establish a marketing budget and use resources to find the best value for your buck when it comes to staying relevant and promoting products.
  3. Keep your people. After you find good workers, do everything you can to ensure they feel valued and are part of a team. Try to train the good ones in other products or services and pay them well. Good staff makes managing a store infinitely easier.

Do you plan to purchase more Ziebart franchise territories?

I started off with two stores and have considered opening more throughout the past 20 years. I now have reached a point where I am ready to tackle a third store. I’m not sure where I will go from there. Perhaps a fourth and fifth location? Only time will tell.

What are the most significant differences between owning one versus multiple territories?

I believe there really isn’t a downside to owning multiple stores. Multiple stores increase your local ad budget for more exposure. Having another store also allows you to borrow staff from one store if you are in a jam at the other store. The only downside to multiple locations would be losing both managers within the same time period. When one store loses a manager, it’s easy enough to stand in until you have another one trained. If you have multiple stores and lose both managers, you’re in survival mode until you can replace them.

For more information on the Ziebart franchise opportunity, visit ziebart.com, email [email protected], or call (248) 588-4100.

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