When opportunity knocks, smart entrepreneurs open the door. That’s what longtime commercial flooring professional Brian Farmer did when he converted his existing operation to a milliCare Floor & Textile Care commercial floor-cleaning franchise.
Farmer had worked for Milliken & Co. for 10 years before pursuing another opportunity, so he was familiar with its operations and how it was aggressively and wisely expanding into the wide-open floor-cleaning space. Armed with his skills and a strong trust in both Milliken and milliCare, he now is operating two franchises — and he has an eye for even more expansion.
I was very familiar with Milliken, having worked with them for so long. And then I had a dealership providing flooring, installation and maintenance, so I learned even more. When the opportunity came to align with milliCare, I saw how good it looked and decided to take advantage of the opportunity.
First and foremost, I like the network of providers they have. There’s a lot of shared knowledge, and that means I don’t have to reinvent the wheel when I run up against something I am concerned about or struggling with. There’s a lot of common thinking on this team as far as where they want to take this organization, and where we can all grow individually. I like that aligned thinking.
We opened in the Greenville-Spartanburg area of South Carolina because we already have a solid foundation in this market from our previous business. We are opening in Charlotte (North Carolina) because we also know that market and feel like we can capitalize on all the growth there. We opted to open two locations because of all the support we got from milliCare. They want to grow market share as quickly as possible, and we were in a strategic position in both markets to help them do that.
I would say that a significant amount of the conversion is after the fact. We’re already providing maintenance services, so we’ll be focusing on retraining our technicians on some of the proprietary aspects of milliCare products and processes. We have a very solid knowledge of how to clean carpets, so we’re certainly where we need to be there.
As for equipment and products, there’s some overlap with what we have and what new pieces we’ll need as a milliCare franchise. I imagine some training will be needed, but overall we’re better positioned than most would be to hit the ground running. I’ve worked for a franchisor and worked as a franchisee, so I understand what milliCare wants to bring to the market and what that looks like. We’re ready to get out and start marketing our services and delivering for our customers.
We have internal growth targets for both offices, and then we’ll be assessing the markets to see how to adjust those. We certainly want to establish a certain level of success quickly: We want both markets to be self-sustaining within 12 months. I think we’ll be there quickly in Greenville- Spartanburg, and then Charlotte will follow closely behind.
It’s a well-known name in the marketplace, especially in the Southeast. The way Milliken has always done business is the same way I do — very community-driven and very focused on differentiating your services. If you look up “commercial carpet cleaning” in the Yellow Pages, you’ll find 100 providers. You have to stand out, and we do that by providing premium solutions, with high-quality service to back them up.
The company also has very solid R&D. Historically they’ve had strong operations, and they’re as strong now as I’ve ever seen them. The investments in personnel, in R&D, are really paying off. They’ve brought in people who really know all aspects of this business and shored up areas of service where they knew help was needed. If that meant doing things differently, they haven’t been afraid to make those changes.
It’s a network with a solid history, and it’s backed by a multimillion-dollar company that has chosen to make a serious investment in it. That means new products, new services and new equipment, which will help you differentiate — and stay different from — your competition.
We have toyed with the idea of expansion and really remain an open book in that regard. We’ve got experience, and we’ve talked to others in the network about their growth, so we can see how they did it. Some have added in adjoining cities or territories and expanded that way, while others have chosen to put down a new franchise where there’s a great opportunity. I can see both paths for us. I am also confident that the corporate team will reach out to us when they see a good fit for us in either North or South Carolina, and if we have the resources to meet that need, and it makes sense, I am certain we’ll pursue it.
We’re extremely excited. It’s almost like coming home for me. I have a very good history with the company, and I grew my knowledge with my other operation, and so I feel like I am coming back into the group as a good addition for them, as well as having the opportunity to grow and develop the business for my own team.
Ranked 206 in Entrepreneur’s Franchise 500 list, milliCare Floor & Textile Care franchise is a business-to-business floor and textile maintenance company, with 70 locations in 29 states and six countries. Our parent company, Milliken & Co., holds more than 7,000 patents in flooring, textiles and floor cleaning — experience and tools milliCare leverages as we carve out a niche in the floor-cleaning industry. Startup costs start as low as $106,000 to $150,000, making the potential for high returns remarkable.