Twenty-seven years ago, the first Two Men and a Truck franchise opened. You might be surprised to learn that the people behind the brand back then weren’t actually two men—it was really a couple of high school guys and two women.
In the early 1980’s, Mary Ellen Sheets’s two sons took their pickup and moved people in the Lansing area to earn extra money during high school. Their rudimentary logo was a stick figure drawing their mom made to put in a local community paper when the two boys were starting out.
When they left for college, Ms. Sheets didn’t let the business die. She invested $350 in a moving truck, hired two movers, and set up business in the evenings after working her full-time job as a data analyst. Years later, she gave up that day job and started working solely for Two Men and a Truck. After serving on a panel at a college, Ms. Sheets was given the idea to franchise her business. The first franchisee was her daughter, big sister to the original two men, who opened the first location in Atlanta, Georgia.
After graduating college, the two boys eventually came back into the business and it was solely owned and operated by family members. It wasn’t until 2012 that someone outside the family became President of the company. The current president, Randy Shacka, started off in the company as an intern and worked his way up, probably becoming like part of the family over time.
Without the drive of Mary Ellen Sheets, Two Men and a Truck wouldn’t be a business today. And without the first franchise in the family, Mary Ellen Sheets might never have entrusted her brand to another person.
A recent interview with Melanie Bergeron, the first franchisee in the Two Men and a Truck business, reveals just how honest the franchise is—and how they expect other franchisors to be too. Ms. Bergeron says that a franchisor should be willing to hand over a long list of current and past franchisees and their contact information to anyone who’s considering joining the franchise. Franchisors who won’t, she suggests, might have something to hide.
A second franchisee, Alicia Sorber Gallegos, also gave advice about the brand in another interview. Her dad was one of the original Two Men, but she wants potential franchisees to be realistic in their expectations. Starting up her own franchise location wasn’t a cakewalk, she explains in her interview. She didn’t anticipate the costs of worker’s compensation insurance or that the brand awareness in California was so low when she started in 2012. She’s now operating a successful franchise in the Two Men and a Truck franchise system.
Luckily, you don’t have to be one of the family to get into business with Two Men and a Truck.