Alta Mere Franchisee of the Year Randy Durham

People can learn a lot from Randy Durham. After all, winning the annual Franchisee of the Year award, which is voted on by fellow franchise owners throughout the system, which he did last year, is a sign that your business is on a good path. But securing it two years in a row?

Randy is clearly doing something right.

So, what’s the secret to all his success? We recently caught up with Randy came away with a few takeaways that other franchisees may want to emulate.

First, there are no secrets. Randy that he talks on the phone to a lot of fellow Alta Mere franchisees and often shares tips about his business – mostly on topics like handling the window tinting of certain high-end cars. He learns a lot from other owners, and other owners likely learn from him. It’s never a bad idea to get to know your fellow franchisees and talk through issues and benefit from everybody’s wisdom.

“There’s an awful lot of good shops and good owners out there,” said Randy.

Hire good employees. OK, on the surface, this sounds like an obvious suggestion. But Randy’s methods of hiring may be worth copying. When he is looking for new talent, he often asks his current employees if they know somebody from a previous job who was really good – and if so, bring them on in.

“Once you’ve interviewed them and think they’re a good fit, try them out on a couple of cars, so the others can make sure their habits and techniques are in line with everybody else,” said Randy.

Randy recommends making sure the new employees work with the established ones to make sure they’re essentially trained by the best and most experienced staff members.

Try to keep those good employees. It can be challenging to offer the top set of benefits, of course, but it helps employees want to stick around. Randy said the company’s health benefits pays for half of the cost of everyone’s health insurance. He also offers vacation pay – and he keeps the shop air-conditioned. “That’s a nice feature when it’s 105 degrees outside but 75 degrees inside,” he said. “I like to hire somebody good and keep them around a long time.”

Doing something a little different. Nearly 10 years ago, Randy converted part of his store into a country western dance lesson studio and holds weekly lessons there after hours.

“It’s an odd shaped shop, and about a third of the shop, we weren’t utilizing,” said Randy. “So about eight or nine years ago, we made a dance hall, and every Tuesday night, we have dance lessons. I practice there, too, and learn new moves.”

The dance lessons have been a popular attraction over the years but not something that leads to an enormous profit.

“I make no money,” said Randy. “Or very little. But it is fun.”

Congratulations to Randy for winning the Alta Mere Franchisee of the Year for the second consecutive year and recognition on a job well done.

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