Millennial franchisee Vlad Miklashevich finds success with Metropolitan Movers
By Karen Stevens
At just 24 years old, Vlad Miklashevich already has an incredible amount of business experience, especiallyfor someone so young. While he is at the younger end of the millennial generation, just at the cut-off before Gen Z, he already owns and operates his own Metropolitan Movers franchise that services the Halton region in Ontario.
Shortly after Miklashevich moved to Canada from Belarus as a teenager, he took a part-time job as a mover with Metropolitan Movers. He kept this steady side gig as he completed high school and moved onto college. During his college years, however, opportunity knocked: an operations manager position became available at Metropolitan Movers’ corporate office, which has its own fleet of moving trucks. Miklashevich took the position, and after about two years, he had gained valuable management experience and a deep understanding of how the business works. “I managed 20 people, so I got experience with all the aspects of operations and customer service,” says Miklashevich.
It was during his first year as operations manager that he started to entertain the idea that he could run a Metropolitan Movers business of his own. “I had all the operation skills; I understood everything about how moving worked, I just had to get the business part,” he recalls. Miklashevich says that the final push was seeing the examples of other franchisees and talking to them about how they had been able to grow their businesses. With this plan in mind, he started saving money for his own franchise.
Launching a business amid great uncertainty
In March 2020, Miklashevich launched his new franchised business. Little did he know that the entire world was about to change that same month, and the moving business was no exception. The first impact to his business was on the pandemic’s schedule. Typically, moving companies are busiest when warm weather hits, gaining momentum into the summer. However, in 2020, the busy season got bumped back closer to the end of the year, during the fall season. “It was a bit of a tough start,” he admits.
Since he was just starting out during an unprecedented pandemic, Miklashevich had to budget carefully. For example, he couldn’t buy a new truck; he had to get a used one. “Maintenance in the first few months was expensive; when a truck breaks, it’s kind of expensive to fix, so that hit my budget a lot,” he says.
To ensure that you have the cash flow to cover these expenses that crop up, Miklashevich stresses that budgeting is so important to allow for that period where you’re getting established and ramping up marketing. “Start managing your budget properly from the beginning to save money for unexpected things,” he says.
Fortunately, so far, Miklashevich’s budgeting and business has been successful. He started with just one truck and two full-time employees and has since grown to two trucks and six full-time employees, plus a handful of part-time workers. Looking towards the future, he’s excited to expand and grow the business. “In the summer [of 2021], I’m planning to get a third truck, and after that my own storage or warehouse facility,” he says.
To make sure that they were operating as safely as possible during the pandemic, Metropolitan Movers introduced new special COVID-19 protocols to ensure that all their staff were thoroughly trained. Since, as Miklashevich notes, it’s hard to wear a mask while doing hard physical labour all day, Metropolitan Movers developed their own branded, breathable masks. The movers also wear plastic face shields but are most importantly trying to social distance from customers as much as possible during moves.
You don’t have to do it alone
Whether you’re in the middle of a pandemic or not, when you start out as a Metropolitan Movers franchisee, you’re not on your own. Head office helps every step of the way with regular checkpoints, marketing support, and business development help. “Our head office helped me a lot. They’re experienced business owners, they all went through this.” Miklashevich also says that head office is always available to answer whatever questions he has, from marketing to maintenance.
Starting up with the help of a good franchisor is key, according to Miklashevich. “There are so many different moving companies and the competition is very high,” he says. “A big franchise gives you a name on the market, and they have a plan to develop your business step by step.”
Plus, the Metropolitan Movers family encourages their franchisees from different areas to pitch in to help each other where they can. For example, if Miklashevich doesn’t have enough trucks to complete a big job, or he can’t do the work for whatever reason, he can call up someone from a nearby region to lend a hand or an extra truck. “I’m in cooperation with all the franchisees in the area. We help each other in any way we can,” he says.
Franchisees within the Metropolitan Movers system stay connected by talking on the phone and messaging each other on WhatsApp. The franchisor also has a special online CRM platform that helps them manage and automate aspects of their jobs. “We all work together like one big family,” says Miklashevich. “There’s always support, so you know that you are not alone. If there’s trouble, there’s always somebody who can help you.”
As a new and successful franchisee, Miklashevich offers this advice for those considering franchising: “Don’t be scared to start with the help of your franchisor; it’s a good option for younger people.” He says that a good franchisor will help you build your business from the bottom up, which can be the most daunting time to be a business owner. “You’re not sure how it’s going, or what to expect. You’re always thinking ‘will it work, or will I just lose everything?’” But the franchisor’s support takes away some of that anxiety so that “in a few months, you will start to see the first results and you will enjoy them,” he affirms.
Always looking to change for the better
Miklashevich says being a young business owner is a benefit. “When you’re younger, you’re always thinking ‘What can I change? What’s working right now and what doesn’t work?’ You’re always challenging yourself to make everything better,” he says.
Over the last two years, Miklashevich has really enjoyed his decision to become a franchisee. “I’m pretty happy; it’s changed my life a lot and I’m enjoying doing this,” he says. “Every day, I meet new people and see new places.”
As for advice to other business owners, he says that it’s your job to be constantly improving and reaching for new goals. “When you’re a business owner, you understand that everything is in your hands and you can succeed, but it’s all about hard work,” says Miklashevich. “Everything depends on you; your success or failure is only because of you.”