We chose Shack Shine because they put people first
One has always dreamed of being their own boss, the other had never considered it until now. While father and son duo Fred and Ian Shirley hadn’t initially considered franchising, they recognized that the home services industry is currently booming. And when they came across Shack Shine and fell in love with the corporate culture, these partners decided to join forces to build something for themselves.
Q: What made you want to own a business?
Fred: I’ve worked in the oil industry for the past 40 years — but in recent times I’ve felt that the future in the industry didn’t look very promising. In fact, it’s the worst I’ve seen in my life. That’s why I decided to start something new.
Ian: I knew I always wanted to be my own boss. I didn’t enjoy working for big companies — doing all the work but seeing none of the fruits of my labour. I decided it was time to take control of that part of my life.
Q: Why now – what was it that made you take the leap?
Fred: Ten years ago, I wasn’t even thinking about having my own company. My life has always been geophysics, and that’s what I knew. I honestly didn’t really think about not doing this until things got to a point where I didn’t think there was much of a future in it.
Ian: I was looking for jobs because I got laid off, and that’s when I was approached by a franchise broker. I knew I always wanted to own my own business but didn’t really consider franchising. But when the broker approached me, I fell in love with the Shack Shine brand and decided to go for it.
Q: In your opinion, what are the benefits of joining a franchise system?
Fred: For me, it’s really been about the other franchise partners. Everyone helps everyone — it’s not about competition but about helping each other out. It came down to the support: not just from corporate side but from the franchise partners themselves as well.
Ian: I’ve never owned a business, so I don’t know the first thing about starting one — from writing a business plan, to running operations, to everything in between. Where you benefit from joining a franchise is that kind of stuff is written out for you. You are handed a formula that works, and all you have to do is follow it. I really do feel that this is a great way for a first time business owner to get into entrepreneurship.
Q: Why Shack Shine, what made this the right fit?
Fred: The brand just felt like something I understood more than the other franchises. I think one of the biggest advantages was the corporate support, it really made Shack Shine stand out. Another reason was that the house detailing industry seems to be more COVID resistant: you’re in and out quickly, it’s all outdoors, you’re socially distanced, and of course, people are thinking a lot more about their homes nowadays. It just made a lot of sense to me.
Ian: Shack Shine prioritizes their people, and that’s a big part of their culture. With other franchises, I just didn’t feel like it was all about the people. Plus, the others didn’t really commit to brand image the way Shack Shine does. They didn’t have a creative team, for example, to create a branded ad campaign — you’d have to do all that stuff yourself.
Q: What are you most looking forward to about being a business owner?
Fred: Not sure — this is so new to me! It’s really hard to know what to expect. There will be a lot of work to it, so at the end of the day I’m just hoping we can do a good job to get things growing.
Ian: I like the challenge of it! It’s really motivating know that the work and effort you put into this will directly affect how successful it becomes. There’s a direct correlation, and I like that a lot. I also like the idea that every day is going to be different…really glad I won’t be working in another cubicle!
Q: What are your passions / interests / hobbies – what makes you happiest and motivates you?
Fred: One of my favourites is cycling with my sons. Ian and I have done the MS 150 every year except for the last two due to COVID. I also enjoy yoga and cooking.
Ian: Travelling, snowboarding, and golfing are bigs ones for me. I’m also a big nerd and love playing video games. Last but not least, I love cycling with my dad — we’ve done MS 150 together eleven times in total.
Q: Tell us about your territory, what makes it unique?
Fred: That was another reason why we went with Shack Shine. We are the first franchise here in Houston, so we could pick whichever territory we wanted. We picked North Houston, which includes the Woodlands and Summerwood, plus all along the west coast of Lake Houston. It’s a great area — lots of really nice homes there — and we were even able to modify the territory a little to pick up a piece that I was interested in.
Ian: Houston is one of the largest urban sprawls in the U.S. The city is enormous, so our territory is pretty big. Everybody has a lot of space, so even the cheaper houses are relatively big compared to other parts of the country. It’s kind of a challenge, what with all the travelling, but it means having a wide array of demographics. Houston really is a huge melting pot.
Q: How has the virtual element of the process been – the fact you haven’t been able to visit the Junktion etc.?
Fred: Actually, I’m fine with using Zoom! It’s something that I’m very used to, and honestly kind of prefer it.
Ian: It’s been challenging for me, but that’s mainly because I’m mostly a hands-on learner. What I like about the virtual onboarding is that I can still remain full-time employed while I train. That kind of flexibility has been really great.
Thank you and congratulations on your business Ian and Fred!
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