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This CEO Is Beginning a Motion Whereas Rising His Enterprise


Aaron Harper of energy washing agency Rolling Suds is not your typical CEO. A plain-spoken, no-nonsense chief, Harper is constructing the inspiration of the quickly increasing model whereas concurrently embarking on a campaign for franchise {industry} self-regulation based mostly on firm duty.

“I am speaking about we, as an {industry}, deciding tips on how to be accountable,” Harper says. “We are saying these are the issues as we see it at present, how can we repair these issues transferring ahead? After which how can we standardize the answer and who must get entangled to implement these?”

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Chem-Dry and The Patch Boys

Harper’s expertise within the franchise sector started in 2017, when he began as a senior franchise growth director at Belfor Manufacturers — the place he labored on the Chem-Dry and The Patch Boys manufacturers — following stints at main corporations corresponding to AT&T. Harper shortly confirmed a knack for steering manufacturers towards unprecedented development, taking part in a pivotal position in increasing Chem-Dry to 900 franchises. Equally, his involvement with The Patch Boys noticed it develop from humble beginnings to a powerhouse with 100 areas nationwide. (It has since grown to greater than 300.)

Beneath Harper’s steerage, each manufacturers turned case research in scaling successfully whereas sustaining a supportive community for franchisees. His technique concerned immediately participating with franchise homeowners and constructing strong methods to assist their development. This hands-on strategy not solely led to the manufacturers’ expansions but additionally cemented Harper’s fame within the franchise {industry}.

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Rolling Suds

In 2023, Harper joined Rolling Suds, a family-owned power-washing enterprise, as CEO. Beneath his management, Rolling Suds has lately handed 100 areas, with extra within the planning levels. This scaled enlargement, coupled with Harper’s dedication to accountable franchising, underscores the potential of moral enterprise practices in driving sustainable development.

“I personally deal with all of the franchise growth,” Harper says. “I’ve turned away 51 individuals who wished to grow to be franchisees and weren’t proper for our system. It would not matter that they wish to write me a $200,000 examine. In the event that they’re in my system they usually mess up, not solely am I going to should spend more cash getting them out, however the quantity of injury they’ll do culturally is not even value it.”

Harper’s philosophy permeates Rolling Suds. “We do not enable franchisees to scale too shortly,” says Prue Lotharius, VP of selling. “That is not what we wish them to deal with.” Lotharuis ought to know. She began out as a franchisee with Rolling Suds and believed a lot in Harper’s imaginative and prescient that she made a drastic transfer in 2023, promoting her franchise to hitch the Rolling Suds company workforce.

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Accountable franchising

In his years of expertise, Harper has seen the perfect and the worst the franchise enterprise mannequin has to supply. However as an alternative of shrugging off the dangerous and capitalizing on the nice, he determined he wanted to talk out. “Accountable franchising begins within the franchise growth course of, after which it continues within the operation aspect of issues,” he says. “Irresponsible franchising is telling folks that is going to be simple, they don’t seem to be going to should work, that they’ll rent somebody to run their enterprise for them, they usually could make a ton of cash. Actually, Ponzi scheme-level stuff.”

This dishonesty, Harper says, creates a scenario the place franchise manufacturers develop too quick and are constructed on shaky foundations. He makes use of a hypothetical instance of a franchisor and FSO pushing to develop to 150 models in a yr. “The franchisor ought to have by no means been a franchisor within the first place,” he explains, “however now they’ve 150 models offered, and the individuals who purchased the models assume that they’ll run the enterprise part-time and by no means left their jobs. The franchisor cannot assist the franchisees, and the franchisees aren’t even engaged. Then a non-public fairness agency swoops in and pays pennies on the greenback for the model.”

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Rising motion

Harper is pushed by a imaginative and prescient to appropriate these systemic flaws and make accountable franchising an industry-wide actuality. Central to his technique is training — there’s a data hole that perpetuates unethical franchising, and Harper dedicates himself to sharing insights and greatest practices via social media and numerous talking engagements. “I publish content material day by day,” Harper says. “Franchisors attain out to me [every] week, so I’ve already constructed an viewers within the franchise neighborhood.”

Harper says his X following elevated seven-fold since he started posting day by day about accountable franchising in 2023.

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The longer term

Rolling Suds’ enlargement displays a dedication not simply to development however to development achieved proper. Harper’s management emphasizes the need of a accountable enlargement technique, guaranteeing that every new location aligns with the core values of neighborhood, integrity and high quality.

Harper’s journey has been a blueprint for fulfillment that balances regular development with moral practices. Because the franchise {industry} continues to evolve, his push for accountable franchising turns into extra crucial in guiding future entrepreneurs towards sustainable and moral enterprise fashions. “This must be a subject of debate of sufficient thought leaders to give you options that we suggest to the entire {industry},” he says. “Nobody desires this to proceed for many years to come back.”

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