Franchisee Success StoriesMay/June 2023Previous Issues

The First Year: A Hands-On Underfoot Service

How B-Protek franchisee Josh Huard finds a way to work with materials while learning to build a brand

by Suzanne Bowness

Sometimes a truck is just a truck. Other times, seeing a logo on a truck can be the moment that spins your life in a new and exciting direction. For Josh Huard, catching a glimpse of the B-Protek logo one day was enough to make him pause and think: I should look into that. After learning more, he decided to take over the floor sealing franchise’s territory in Sarnia, Ontario.

Today, Huard is building his business serving both commercial and residential clients. B-Protek offers specialized coatings for concrete floors, like garages, gyms, and basements, and commercial spaces such as warehouses, restaurants, and even institutions like schools or penitentiaries. They don’t pour concrete, but apply industrial epoxy floor coatings on the surface that are waterproof, chemical- and stain-resistant, and durable. Technicians repair any damage to the floor and then diamond grind the surface prior to the application of multiple coats of self-levelling epoxy. Coating choices for commercial and residential living spaces range from clear, solid colour, metallic colour, and multi-coloured flake systems.

By the time he discovered B-Protek, Huard already knew he liked technical challenges. In fact, he was in school as an apprentice in heavy duty mechanics. So, opportunities like these were already on his radar. He was also familiar with the consistency and teamwork of franchising, as a long-time McDonald’s employee. “I understood how that worked; we were taught that every sandwich you make is the same way, every French fry. That expectation of making it the same wherever you get it, I connected with,” says Huard.

Not only did that sense of consistency and teamwork appeal to him, but understanding the skilled trades and the craftsmanship required in the process did, too. “If you can work with your hands and understand how the equipment works, how electricity works, understand why it’s important that concrete has to be a certain humidity, all that has to be right,” notes Huard regarding the technical aspects of the job.

For those reasons, he says his trades background was helpful to have when joining the franchise. “The team can make you into a salesperson, but I don’t think it goes the other way.”

Strong support system

Huard also appreciated the training he received from the franchise to augment his practical knowledge and build his business skills with sales, marketing, and production advice. Training happens in several formats, from head office in Montreal to experiential on-the-job training, then with a group of franchisees, for a total of about five to six weeks.

Besides the formal training, Huard says he appreciated the informal offers of assistance from fellow franchisees. “The openness of the other franchisees offering to kindly come along on the job, that was always open,” he says, noting that he’s already paying it back. “I offer for everybody else to come; I’m actually having one guy who just bought a franchise come along with me. We’re a very tight group.”

He adds that he also appreciates the franchisor’s support—always being a phone call away—and the way the brand is promoted using alternative channels and methods. “Facebook ads, Instagram, YouTube, they’re doing stuff I didn’t even know was available,” he says.

As for the day-to-day work of the franchise, Huard says that his days still vary. Some days he’s in an office, working on the business side, while other days see him driving across his rather large territory, getting into the manual work.

He notes that it’s a physical job. “You have to work on your hands and knees. You’re going to get scraped, you’re going to work in 40-degree weather for 12 hours, whether you like it or not,” says Huard. There’s also the technical challenge of figuring out the best ways to handle each kind of space, which Huard admits is one of the biggest hurdles when getting started, but which diminishes as you add experience with each job.

Huard is also proud to be part of the team building brand recognition for a franchise that serves a product he believes in, both for the unique makeup of their sealant, and the ability to be competitive, cost-wise. “There’s a lot of opportunity to take it to the next level. I look at it as we’re more of a brand, selling our brand’s product,” he says.

While he’s done both residential and commercial jobs, the latter is growing fast with warehouses and agriculture facilities. Huard enjoys that he’s building his own reputation for quality. “I always tell my customers I treat it like a classic car. I’m not here to fix a Chevette; I’m here to fix the Chevelle.” He’s also building his team, which currently includes his brother-in-law, his retired father, and his wife.

With the support of both the franchisor and family, Huard has ambitions to grow his business—looking to double production in the next few months, get even more commercial work, and hire a full-time employee to expand his service and even out his work-life balance. In terms of advice for others, Huard encourages franchisees to ask even more questions than he did when getting started.

“I thought I asked enough questions, and I didn’t. The support is there, but I’m one who thought I could do it myself. Now I would say the franchise’s support is vital and endless, so use it.”