Why Air Force veterans Julie and Kevin McAdoo love their new careers as Office Pride franchisees
“Integrity first, service before self, excellence in all we do.” The core values embodied in the Air Force are not unlike Office Pride’s core values of integrity, honesty, hard work and service to God while serving man. That made Office Pride franchise ownership a natural fit for Air Force veterans Julie and Kevin McAdoo. Julie, who spent more than seven years in the Air Force as a navigator, left that phase of her career in 2006 after the birth of their first daughter. Air Force pilot Kevin McAdoo retired in April 2013 after a 20-year career. The McAdoos had already dipped their toes into the cleaning business with a residential cleaning service in their adopted hometown of Tampa, FL, but they had to turn away request after request from potential commercial customers because they didn’t know how to handle that type of account. A sales force training seminar changed all that when the instructor urged the couple to get in touch with CEO Todd Hopkins of Office Pride. “We’re extremely happy and definitely excited,” says Kevin, 43. “No two days are the same, and the amount of clients we’ve been able to acquire has been great. It makes it challenging and fun.”
The couple, who have been married for 11 years, enjoy spending their free time with their 5- and 7-year-old girls at air shows and at the beach. Julie, 38, shares their Office Pride story:
Tell us about yourself and your family. Both my husband and I had parents in the military, and we both ended up in the Air Force. We met while stationed at Elmendorf Air Force Base in Anchorage, AK. We were members of the 517th Airlift Squadron, which at the time was a C-130 unit. The C-130H Hercules is a military transport plane produced by Lockheed Martin. He was a pilot; I was a navigator. The navigator’s job is to tell the pilot where to go. We started off on the right foot there (laughing). We didn’t start dating until two weeks before he left Alaska for Arkansas. We did long distance for a year. When we got married, I was still in Alaska and he was still in Arkansas. We did a long-distance marriage for a year. When he came to Alaska to drive me to Arkansas to join him, he immediately got deployed for a couple of months for Operation Iraqi Freedom. A week later, I got deployed. It was a long time before we were married in the same state. I got out of the Air Force at the end of 2006 just after we had our first child; it made sense for me to get out. He stayed until retirement.
We moved to Tampa a couple of years after we had our first child, and we had our second child shortly thereafter. A couple of years ago, we started a residential cleaning service. In November we officially started our Office Pride franchise in Tampa.
How did you find out about Office Pride? Last summer, we were trying to grow our other business, and I did some sales training courses. One of the instructors knew (Office Pride CEO) Todd (Hopkins) personally. He said that we ought to talk to Todd. I thought, “Sure, I always wanted to franchise our house cleaning business.” I didn’t know we’d be talking to someone about purchasing a franchise. It was a perfect opportunity for us. We had thought that if we ever were going to do this, we’d want to do it the right way. When Todd came along, we felt strongly he was doing it the right way at Office Pride.
How do you divide the labor? I’m the sales team, and Kevin’s the operations team. I go out and find the clients and book them, and he takes over and sets up the account and trains the folks to serve the account and trains them to take over the account. He has no desire to do the selling process, and I love that part of it. I kind of do the same thing for our residential business. I devote so much time to Office Pride that I have a manager now for the residential business, Refresh Your Nest Cleaning Services.
Do you employ veterans at your Office Pride franchise? Yes. We’ve got at least two workers who are currently serving in the military.
Is this a good franchise for veterans? I think it can be really great from an owner perspective. For us, it was easy to transition into. In the Air Force, you had continuity books and checklists – there was a checklist for everything. To come into a franchise system like Office Pride, it’s very much the same thing. You’ve got to get trained on everything and learn how to work within the system. It’s very good for someone with a background in the military.
How important was your faith in your decision to buy an Office Pride franchise? It was definitely important, and one thing that I really liked about Office Pride was its commitment to their core values. When we were in the Air Force, we also had core values: integrity first, service before self, excellence in all we do. I had a commander who also added two more: mission first, and the mission is the people. His point was that if you took care of your people, they would take care of the mission. I still wholeheartedly believe that! Office Pride has very similar values about integrity and customer service and doing what is right and what is best. It’s not about the almighty dollar, it’s about doing what’s right for every party involved, not just the owners or bending over backwards for the customer at the expense of the employee. I felt Office Pride set up that scenario best with their faith-based principles. Somebody living and working by a code and honoring that code is very important to us.
How did Office Pride compare to other franchises? After Todd approached us, of course, I wanted to do my due diligence. I did a Google search and looked for dirt on them – it was a waste of a search. I looked at other commercial cleaning franchises, and there was more than enough dirt and franchisee lawsuits to make me worry about those systems. With Office Pride, it really came down to that code of ethics.
Do you do any of the cleaning yourself? I have gone out on a strip and wax. Kevin does some cleaning because he’s the operational guy. He needs to get the experience and make sure he’s training people the right way on every account.
How many contracts/employees do you have? We have about 16 accounts and eight employees.
How important is it to have cleaning experience before joining Office Pride? The cleaning experience helped a lot, I’m not going to lie. There was quite a lot we learned the hard way with the other business that Office Pride had already figured out. It was like sitting through a class and getting the answers to a lot of burning questions. Over 20 years they’ve seen most of the things I’ve encountered or will encounter, and they know how to deal with them.
What do you like about being an Office Pride franchise owner? The support and the training, and we’ve been in business now for just about six months. It took me a year to find a mentor in the other business; I didn’t even know I needed one for about nine months. That was a huge game-changer. With Office Pride’s experience behind you, you can hit the ground running. It’s been wonderful.
What kind of businesses do you serve? We have a church, an engineering firm, a company that samples soil, a bone-grafting facility, a dance studio, the local chamber of commerce – a lot of interesting businesses; they’re all over the map.
What attracts customers to Office Pride rather than its competitors? The reputation. People have said, “I saw the review, the reviews were great.” Just Google Office Pride. With larger companies, they have more dirt than they clean, especially with their own franchisees. Reputation-wise nationwide, Office Pride has a customer retention rate of 90% vs. the industry average of 60%.
What kind of person do you think would enjoy owning an Office Pride franchise? Someone who likes the freedom of taking a business where they want it to go. It takes awhile before you step back and realize you really are in the driver’s seat of your business. If you do or don’t want to take on a particular client, it’s your choice. If you’re an employee, it’s the boss’ choice. Though you have to be very responsible to the customer, the employees and to your family, there’s still a lot of freedom.
What does franchise ownership allow you to do in your personal life that you couldn’t before? It has opened up a whole different world. I’m in a whole different world now because of networking and talking with other business owners than in my previous life as a member of the military and then a stay-at-home mom.
How do you get customers? Some by word-of-mouth. I have put down roots in the community. A lot come from our website. When there’s already a website built, that’s another advantage of the franchise system. That website already existed. We’ve gotten a lot of leads from the Office Pride website.
What do you like about the business model? I love that it’s designed to be very engaging with the customer, so you’re checking in with them on a monthly basis. They have many avenues to reach you to make sure you’re giving them what they expect and they’re getting good value. It is operated with such integrity. If you don’t care, the business goes away. At Office Pride, they teach you how to care. Because you can care and still not know how to take care of your customers.
Would you recommend an Office Pride franchise to another veteran? Absolutely. They’ve created a good system to follow so you can jump into it and get trained, much like when you learn a good skill in the military. You adhere to a good code of values. There’s a value system in place, so you’re doing something more than just plodding away at work. You’re living a life of integrity.
Learn more about becoming an Office Pride franchise owner
Office Pride’s commitment to Biblical principles and our 20-plus years of business savvy have helped us build a profitable franchise company with more than 115 franchisees across the country. We are expanding our reach even farther across the U.S. and Canada. In the $78 billion commercial cleaning industry, there’s still plenty of room to grow.
Would you like to learn more about Office Pride franchising opportunities? Take a look at our website’s research pages and then fill out the form at right to download our free franchise report or give us a call at 727-491-5125. We’d love to start a conversation!