Grounds Guys® Named On Next 300 List By Franchise Times

WACO, Texas (Oct. 3, 2013) – The Grounds Guys stands at No. 468 on the Franchise Times Next 300 list of top franchises ranked by worldwide sales.

Franchise Times recently released The Next 300 which ranks franchise opportunities in all industries by worldwide sales. This year The Grounds Guys ranked among top franchise brands such as Subway®, 7-Eleven®, and McDonalds®.

As The Dwyer Group’s fastest growing franchise, The Grounds Guys a start-up and conversion friendly landscape franchise and business management system, has awarded over 130 franchises since its recent expansion into the United States. The Grounds Guys lawn care business plan offers a comprehensive range of expert services, including residential and commercial grounds care, lawn maintenance, site enhancement tree planting and moving and more.

“It is wonderful to experience the exponential growth we are having as a young brand in the U.S.,” said Ron Madera, president of The Grounds Guys. “As we grow, our continued success speaks for the dedication of our franchisees and our brand to providing a superior customer service experience.”

All seven concepts owned by The Dwyer Group were named on the Franchise Times Top 200 and Next 300 in 2013. Aire Serv® ranked No. 315, Mr. Rooter® at 196, Mr. Electric® at No. 335, Glass Doctor® at No. 280, Mr. Appliance® at No. 383 and Rainbow International® at No. 204.

For more information regarding landscape franchise opportunities offered by The Grounds Guys visit Territories are closing quickly. The Grounds Guys are searching for qualified entrepreneurs in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Florida, Indiana, California and Texas to take ownership of the limited available territory.

The complete list of Top 200 and Next 300 franchises can be viewed in the October issue of Franchise Times or online at

Grounds Guys Logo

About The Grounds Guys:
The Grounds Guys is a commercial and residential landscaping management service with approximately 130 franchises throughout the U.S. and Canada. In addition to basic lawn care, fertilization, weed elimination, pest care and bed care, The Grounds Guys offers expert landscape management and enhancement services, and irrigation system installation. The Grounds Guys is a subsidiary of The Dwyer Group, a Waco, Texas-based holding company of seven, service-based franchise organizations. For further information, visit its website.

Halloween Means “Having Fun in the Process”

Here’s to having a fun and safe Halloween. Share your favorite Halloween video with us in the comments section below!

Leadership in the Appliance Industry: Brandon Haire

Leadership quoteThe best asset that you will ever have in your business is your team. Your employees are the face of your company, the representatives of your brand and can make or break a company’s success. At Mr. Appliance®, we know this well and strive to recruit and retain leaders who fit our Code of Values® both in and out of the workplace.

Brandon spent several years in investment banking, small business development, financial planning, and leadership before joining The Dwyer Group®. Now Brandon takes an active role in helping The Dwyer Group and Mr. Appliance find individuals that have the entrepreneurial spirit and passion for achieving their dreams and goals.

When Brandon isn’t helping people through the evaluation process in franchising, he enjoys being with his family. He has a huge passion for the outdoors, and is also involved in church life. One of the greatest accomplishments in Brandon’s life, he says, is being married to his best friend Kristin. Brandon and Kristin have one son, Hunter.

Meet Brandon:

When did you join Mr. Appliance, and what was your background before?

I joined the Mr. Appliance team this year, but I’ve been with The Dwyer Group since 2010. I have also worked in franchise development for the Aire Serv®. Prior to working here, I was an investment banker, and vice president of one of the largest markets in the nation for one of the top four banks in the United States.

In your opinion, what is the #1 obstacle to success for appliance repair businesses in 2013?

The biggest obstacle that I see facing the appliance repair and service industry is a lack of a proven, predictable system for long term success. The pace of change is increasing, and it’s almost impossible for a small business owner to manage marketing complexities like social media, public relations, search engine optimization, etc., while at the same time managing the finances, day to day operations, budgeting, training and everything else an entrepreneur is forced to do in the course of a day.

What qualities do you look for in a potential franchisee?

Entrepreneurial spirit, motivation to grow, and desire to improve are key qualities. We want someone who is goal-oriented and committed to creating a better life and more freedom for themselves, their family, and their employees.

Where do you think the appliance industry is headed in the next few years?

There will be more consolidation to franchising and more focus on developing technology in the next few years. With manufacturers shortening the warranty cycles, and a huge consumer push into quality appliances, there are many opportunities about to reach the growth point on the bell curve if you know how to sell and market into specific segments.

What’s your favorite thing about working with Mr. Appliance?

Hands down, my favorite thing is the people. We have an exceptional team in place in every aspect of Mr. Appliance. What an amazing group of life changers!

What was your very first job?

When I was 15 years old, I went to work for my dad crawling through insulation checking duct work. It was the worst job ever, but it taught me amazing life lessons.

What are your hobbies or passions outside of work?

I love my family: my wife, Kristin, and son, Hunter. I also enjoy fishing, hunting and being involved in our church.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

Wake up like this is how you planned it.

Carpet Cleaning Business Stays Ahead With Rainbow International®


David Ondieki is a veteran in the carpet cleaning industry. More than 25 years ago, he started a cleaning business in Ft. Worth, Texas and has been in the service industry ever since. However, 10 years ago David’s business made a shift, and he became part of a network of Rainbow International franchisees.

How did you get into the carpet cleaning business?

I had my cleaning business for several years, and we were doing pretty well. We had two trucks on the road. However, I got to the point where we were tapped out, so to speak. We were doing every service call we could on the cleaning side, which is why I decided to make a switch to restoration as well.

How did you find out about Rainbow International? What sparked your interest in the company?

I was actually looking at several different business concepts and different services. I had a client that I had worked for who referred me to the company. He gave my name to The Dwyer Group®, and I received a phone call.

What about Rainbow International stood out to you?

One of the things I looked at was the relationship. What is the philosophy? I am a Christian. When I visited The Dwyer Group headquarters, I was interested in the values of the company. When you marry somebody, you want to have something to build on. The same is true with a franchise. From what I saw, the Code of Values® to the attitudes of the people there really attracted me to Rainbow International. Other franchisors didn’t look to me to care about their franchisees as much as The Dwyer Group and Rainbow International did. I just felt comfortable when I visited.

Since you started your business, what has been your greatest challenge, and how has Rainbow helped you through that?

The greatest challenge that many people in this business face is in the growth stage. One of the things that Rainbow International was able to help me with was the growth process. For instance, the national accounts that the restoration franchise provided as part of their system really helped my business.

Networking is one of the benefits of a franchise. Has Rainbow International’s network helped your company get through some of those growing pains?

As a franchisee, it’s your responsibility to ask for help. When I do have questions, when I do need support, the Franchise Consultant helps me. I bounce ideas off of corporate and other franchisees. I think that is one of the greatest assets of franchising, having other people you can reach out to for assistance when you need it. That’s why I looked into franchising because of the network of support that comes along with the business. If you want help with your business, you can get it.

 What are some of the goals and aspirations that you have for your business today?

One of the things I’ve done to grow my business is to add more services. I am at the point now where I am moving into restoration and reconstruction.We’ve been providing these services to some extent for the last three or four years, but now I’ve been more focused in that direction. Right now I have nine full-time employees and four working part-time.

David Ondieki owns and operates the Rainbow International of South Tarrant County and Grand Prairie. If you are a carpet cleaner looking to expand and grow your business, visit

Couple Works Smarter with Aire Serv®

ASV-PACES-EditedWhen Eric and Amy Pace were first approached about buying an Aire Serv® franchise they were skeptical. At first, the Paces were wary of how becoming a franchise would impact their family’s small business. However, since acquiring the Aire Serv of Fort Bend name in 2009, Eric and Amy Pace now see their HVAC business in a different light.

“You’ve built this business, you’ve built this baby and you don’t want someone coming in and tearing it apart,” Amy said. “But I think that The Dwyer Group® and Aire Serv teach you how to work smarter. They teach you how to be a business person and how to be proactive and not reactive in your business.”

Based in Houston, Eric and Amy were high school sweethearts. Eric worked for his father’s HVAC business for 18 years before he and Amy decided to start their own HVAC company. When they first started, Amy took customer calls, and Eric was in the field going to job sites.

“Before we started Aire Serv, I was in the office and he was out in the truck on the tools all day, everyday. I think what has happened is that Aire Serv taught us that in order to be a business owner that has to change,” said Amy.

By taking a proactive stance in managing their business, the Paces began to move forward in achieving their goals. They have come a long way with Aire Serv in four years. Today, the Paces operate an HVAC business that employs eight full-time staff with five technicians and three trucks on the road. As their operation has grown, the Paces can have a more balanced lifestyle.

“We recently hired a person to answer phones after hours. Before then I was tied to a phone 24/7. It’s kinda weird to be at home and I can leave my phone somewhere and it’s not a big deal,” said Eric.

Eric and Amy now work in the office together with their desks facing each other. Amy jokes that Eric has time now to take her out to lunch.

Beyond a work life balance, the Paces say the greatest value that Aire Serv has brought to their business is the network of support that an HVAC franchise provides. They attend annual training events, and maintain close contact with their Franchise Consultant.

“There is no reason to reinvent the wheel. It all works, but it takes time,” said Amy. “I think that’s where the help of the Franchise Consultant comes in. They help you figure out what’s going to be your next step.”

The Paces have also found support from other franchisees, as well. The couple says they reach out to other Aire Serv owners and use them as a sounding board for new ideas or for implementing a new system with their staff.

“Sometimes employees will push back when there is change. I will say there is a business just up the road doing the same thing and seeing results. We know it’s proven. We know it’s working everyday,” Eric said.

Amy added, “Normally, A/C guys that own companies don’t talk to each other and they don’t help each other. But the beauty about Aire Serv is, yes, there are other Aire Servs around here, but we aren’t competitors. We’re all in it together. That has been our greatest value, the camaraderie and being able to bounce ideas off each other.”

Eric and Amy Pace have been with Aire Serv since 2009. The pair has three teenage boys who all have a role in the family business. The Paces are also leaders actively involved in their community. For nine years, Eric has been a Scout Master for Boy Scouts of America. The family is also actively involved with their church.


Roofing Business Diversifies with Restoration Service

iStock_000015995908Small2Barr roofing is raising the bar in their local market of Abilene, Texas. With nearly 50 years in the roofing contracting business and a well-respected name among customers, the company was set to diversify their business into a new sector of the residential and commercial service industry.

When James Alan Barr, Sr. got the news that the local restoration service company was going into the roofing business, he felt the competition heat up. James, who goes by Jim, not to be outdone, then turned his attention to the restoration business.

When asked how exactly roofing fits with restoration, Jim explained, “They’re both service businesses. Contracting is not that different from restoration. It’s management of labor and other resources. And we’ve been doing that pretty well here in the roofing business for about 50 years. There are a lot of similarities although technically the two businesses are not very similar.”

Perhaps it was coincidence or maybe fate, but Jim got a call from Rainbow International® just a few days later. Within a few weeks Jim and his son, James Alan Jr., were slated to come to Waco to see Rainbow International’s state-of-the-art training facility and The Dwyer Group® campus.

Jim and his son who goes by Alan returned home from their Waco visit with a host of information about starting their new venture. They took a few more weeks investigating their local market.

“What I found was in this market there wasn’t a tremendous level of satisfaction with existing restoration companies. There’s an opportunity for us in fair dealing, integrity, excellent customer service to open up the market here,” Jim said.

By the end of 2012, Jim and Alan were business partners in the restoration industry with the Rainbow International of Abilene.

The Code of Values Leading the Way

The Barrs exemplify the high standards maintained by The Dwyer Group franchisees. Jim and Alan both agree. The principles of business are the same whether it’s operating a roofing company or a restoration company.

“One of the things that attracted me to Dwyer and Rainbow is that they operate the way we do,” said Jim. “They operate with a code of values, they operate with integrity, treat people the way they want to be treated and I think that is a recipe for success.”

The roofing business is a way of life for the Barr family and has been for a long time. In 1964, Grady Barr, a farm hand of modest means, decided he could go in to business for himself. Not too long after, Barr Roofing was a well-respected name in the roofing business in Abilene. Jim Barr bought the roofing business from his dad, and the company highly values service and quality.

“It is the same thing that has made us successful in the roofing business. Absolute integrity, fairness to our customers, customer service,” said Jim. “I insist on high quality workmanship. The things that I think differentiate us in roofing business, I think will also differentiate us with Rainbow in the restoration industry.”

Alan, Jim’s son, is the third generation to work in the family business, and at 26, manages the day-to-day operation of the Rainbow International franchise. Although the business just opened its doors in March, Alan’s work ethic and customer service focus have Rainbow International of Abilene on the right track.

“They called it a small Hurricane. It was this massive storm that developed directly above us. We had 79 mph winds,” Alan said.

The Texas summer storm had taken its toll on a commercial client’s office building, soaking nearly 50 percent of the inside, according to Alan. “We came in, took a look at it, and said ‘yes’ we’ll take care of it no matter what we have to do.”

Even though Alan had to quickly triple his inventory and he his tech put in long hours, their work paid off in a satisfied customer. Over the next few years, Jim hopes to continue to mentor his son in strategically running the restoration franchise. Alan’s vision is  to gain a larger share of the market by providing excellent customer service.

Appliance Repair, Rent-to-Own Businesses Make a Perfect Match


When Wallace Vernon decided to embark on a new business venture, he couldn’t be entirely sure his plan would work, but the competition was high in the rent-to-own business.

As an owner of several of Aarons® rent-to-own stores, Wallace needed to get ahead of the national department store, Texas grocery chain and other businesses creeping into the rent-to-own market in his area. A certified public accountant by trade, Wallace’s business sense was astute, and he had a plan.

“I only have to be less incompetent than my competition. There’s always competition, in any good business, you’re going to have competition,” Wallace said humbly.

As an entrepreneur with 14 Aarons rent-to-own franchise locations and 11 Cash Pawn shops, Wallace had many appliances on his hands, all which were in need of repairs from time to time. But rather than hire a full-time technician, Wallace saw potential for a new business.

“I knew I couldn’t afford a full-time appliance technician. I didn’t have enough work, and I would need to get into a situation where I could market the technicians’ services to the general public,” Wallace said.

Wallace thought if he started an appliance repair business, he could use the business to service his rent-to-own clients’ appliances, the appliances for his pawn stores, and also serve the general public at large. Taking on an appliance repair business not only would help increase rent-to-own customer base through cross promotion, but also be another asset to his 30 other businesses.

Starting an Appliance Repair Franchise

In April 2012, Wallace started the Mr. Appliance® of Central Texas.

“It is just kind of a natural fit to the Aarons business and the appliance sales,” said Wallace. “It’s just another service that we can give our customers. And make sure that that service people that we send out to their homes are trustworthy and presentable.”

Going with a franchise made sense to him. First, the brand recognition and marketing package made entering the appliance repair service market easier than developing a strategy from scratch. Secondly, since he wouldn’t be managing the day-to-day operation, Wallace needed a turn-key solution. Business systems that would allow him to see daily reports were critical.

“The financial reporting… is one of the big selling points to me, because of the way I manage all my businesses. I don’t talk to my Aarons general manager or my Mr. Appliance manager everyday,” said Wallace. “That’s something that the Mr. Appliance business has provided me is the financial reporting data that I need to be able to manage the company from my office.”

Challenges Along the Way

Although the franchise concept did have its advantages, the business faced some hurdles starting up.

First, Wallace needed to find a partner, someone to manage the day-to-day working of the business. Wallace said he looked for a person who had the technical skills, as well as experience overseeing employees and their work. The next challenge lied in obtaining manufacturers’ certifications. Mr. Appliance of Central Texas would need to become an authorized service representative for all the appliance brands sold or leased in the rent-to-own stores.

However, one of the biggest obstacles in aligning the two businesses was communication. Sometimes a Mr. Appliance technician would be called out for a minor repair when the rent-to-own store personnel could have performed the work easily.

“They’re all different businesses and each one has to make a profit in the final analysis. We’re not reducing Mr. Appliance rates to do work for Aaron’s,” Wallace said. “I have many different businesses and many intra-company interactions, I have to keep a close watch on them to make sure that rivalry doesn’t overshadow the business’ purposes.”

Wallace says it’s his job to make sure these types of miscommunications are resolved, and that the overall strategy is better for both the businesses and the customers. With an appliance repair business, Wallace has complete control of the rent-to-own client’s customer experience.

“That’s what it’s all about. We have to keep our customer’s happy. I’m more confident that my Mr. Appliance guy showing up to my Aaron’s customer’s home is more likely to keep them happy than some guy I have no control over,” Wallace said.

After being open just 14 months, Wallace said he expects to turn a profit on the appliance repair business this fall. He recently brought on a new technician, bringing the Mr. Appliance staff to six team members: a general manager, two customer service representatives and three technicians.

Home Service Industry Booming in Texas Cities

Last week, the Austin American-Statesman newspaper highlighted the growth of several franchise concepts owned by The Dwyer Group® in the Austin area, including Mr. Rooter® Plumbing, Mr. Electric®, and The Grounds Guys® landscape management franchises.

Frequently named one of the fastest-growing cities in the U.S., Austin, Texas saw an astounding population growth of 51.1% between 2000-2010. With this population explosion comes new homes and a need for service professionals to maintain those homes. Read more

April Showers Bring May Flowers – And New Mr. Rooter® Franchises

April showers bring May flowers, as well as three new plumbing and drain cleaning franchises for Mr. Rooter Corporation.

The following new owners attended a weeklong basic training course at the company’s corporate office in May:

  • Daryl Albright – Frederick County in Maryland
  • Randy and Tami Fitzgerald – Parker County in Texas
  • Ruben and Stephanie McCutcheon – Santa Fe County in New Mexico

The Mr. Rooter basic training includes classes on best practices, management and leadership techniques, customer service and marketing.

“We’re excited to expand our Mr. Rooter Plumbing network,” said Mary Kennedy Thompson, president of Mr. Rooter Corporation. “We look forward to helping these new franchisees grow their franchises and provide their communities with professional and customer-focused services.”

Mr. Rooter Plumbing technicians follow an established and professional system. For example, they wear shoe covers to protect a customer’s home or business.

Technicians also give customers the price before work is done to ensure there are no surprises about the cost of service. Mr. Rooter Plumbing provides service 24 hours a day, seven days a week, with no extra charges on nights, weekends and holidays

Rainbow International Welcomes New Franchise Owners

Rainbow International saw March 2010 come in like a lion with the addition of seven new franchises to its network of restoration and cleaning services experts.

These new owners attended a week-long basic business training course at Rainbow International corporate headquarters in Waco, Texas.

Rick Dalton (Jacksonville, FL)

Zane Metz  (Winchester, VA)

Scott Bell (Mt. Vernon, WA)

Shallum and Melissa Bivens (Eugene, OR)

David Borcsa (Fontana, CA)

Matt Tenny and Brian Temple (Harrisburg, PA)

Artus Gosk (Highland park, IL)

The comprehensive Rainbow International training program provides superior, world-class customer service through an in-depth study of professional management, best practices, leadership, financial and marketing training.

The new businesses owners will join the service industry by offering a team of restoration and cleaning service experts to their respective communities.

“These new franchise owners are a terrific addition of world-class front line service for area residents,” said Rainbow International president David Bethea. “We’re excited to have them on the Rainbow International team and know they will do a great job serving their customers.”

Rainbow International offers franchise owners a professional and established system. Parts of the 17-step process include wearing protective foot coverings to respect the customer’s home, up-front pricing, working directly with insurance companies and uniformed, background-checked service professionals on all jobs.

Rainbow International offers comprehensive water, fire and smoke damage restoration and cleaning services to residential and commercial customers. Residential and commercial customers and insurance industry professionals can rest assured Rainbow International offers the same high quality training and support to franchise owners across the United States and Canada.

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