Accompanying Tab Hunter on this month's cover are two outstanding Benjamin Franklin Plumbing franchisees.

We put a couple of employees alongside Tab Hunter in 1998. For this issue, recognizing Hunter’s role with Clockwork Home Services, we put a couple of Benjamin Franklin Plumbing franchisees with him this time:

  • Keresa Richardson was one of the first contractors to become a Ben Franklin franchise in 2000 for the Dallas/Ft. Worth area - coming in at No. 2 only because she spent some extra time going over the deal first.

    Richardson was (and still is) running a successful commercial construction business she started in 1983. But she wanted to diversify into residential service and was sold on the value of a franchise system.

    “It took 10 years to make our first business profitable,” Richardson told us. And even with two masters’ degrees and hands-on experience, she figured the franchise approach was best. “I didn’t want to spend 10 more years discovering how to run a new service business the hard way.”

    Today, her two Ben Franklin franchises rang up $4 million in sales last year and have grown to include 18 trucks in two locations. She also happily reports that just the week before we talked to her in late March, one of her franchises had won a local “consumer’s choice” award for the Dallas/Ft. Worth area.

  • Scott Rohrer sounds like many of the plumbing contractors we’ve met over the years. When we asked him about his decision to essentially convert his business into a franchise in 2004, we had to back up a bit as he rattled off some important dates he seemed to know by heart.

    First, his grandfather started Rohrer Plumbing, Lancaster, Pa., in 1959. Later his dad joined the business and it became Rohrer & Son Plumbing, ultimately becoming Rohrer Co. in 1986. He officially joined the company in 1989 after graduating high school.

    Rohrer joined Plumbers' Success International in 1999 and enjoyed the services the group offered to build his business. When the opportunity to buy into the Ben Franklin concept came up, he immediately saw the power a recognizable brand name would offer him.

    “We didn’t want anyone else to have it,” he told us.

    Another big reason was a survey done at the time he was deciding to drop the Rohrer name from the business. Clockwork Home Services Inc. uses an outside party to conduct what it calls a “snap” survey. Basically, 100 people are asked to recall the name of a local plumber. Despite Rohrer’s obvious pride in his company’s lineage, he must have swallowed some of that pride when he got the results: just six people named his business after decades of local service.

    “It was humbling,” Rohrer sums up.

    He eventually invested in another Ben Franklin territory and now serves, in addition to Lancaster, York and Dauphin. The last snap survey he did showed his new name earned a recall rate of 19 out of 100.

    “It’s always good when it’s in the high teens,” he adds.