Eighteen years as a one-woman organizing company led Betsy Miller many places, from applying her skills to the closets and workspaces of Springfield residences and businesses to television appearances on TV shows “Extreme Home Makeover” and “Hoarders.”
Now, the 2B Organized LLC owner is entering new territory and expanding the company through franchising. While Miller plans to stay busy with 75 to 100 regular clients and overseeing the expansion, new clients and referrals in the Springfield area are being directed to the company’s first franchisee, Katrina Tettamble, who officially went to work July 1.
“It’s a natural progression for any business, and it’s time to start looking at the bigger picture,” Miller says of the franchise model, noting 2B Organized added an operator in the Columbia-Jefferson City area last month and a third is pending in Great Bend, Kan.
Franchise fees are $35,000, Miller says, plus a $250 monthly payment. For clients, services cost between $150 and $250 for a three-hour block, depending on the scope and type of work.
Tettamble says she wanted to start a full-time organizing business, but joining a franchise came with built-in credibility and name recognition. Miller set a goal for Tettamble of seven clients per week by her third month in business. Entering her seventh week, Tettamble already has eight clients on board.
“I think I would still be knocking on doors trying to get clients and build a portfolio,” says Tettamble, who handles mostly residential organization as well as home staging and moving jobs with some as far away as Harrison, Ark. “It’s much easier doing the franchise.”
“It’s taken a couple of years to get everything prepared legally and put the business in a box to hand it over with a nice ribbon – that’s what franchising is,” Miller says.
The process took her nearly three years to turn 15 years of experience into a federally required Franchise Disclosure Document, which Miller describes as a 60-page manual for the franchisee on everything from setting up an LLC to the proper shelving units to buy.
Miller hired Husch Blackwell LLP and two independently contracted marketers to help create the FDD and register and trademark 2B Organized. She estimates the costs for franchising between $50,000 and $60,000.
One requirement of franchisees is to keep a complete list of past clients, something Miller wishes she had done from the start.
“It was a challenge to go over the tasks and figure out what I used to do and how it worked or didn’t work,” Miller says.
Miller says 2B Organized revenues climbed to roughly $49,000 last year, and she expects to exceed that by as much as 10 to 15 percent in 2015, plus new franchising income. Helping a client pack and facilitate a move from Monett to Florida earlier this year netted about $7,500 in revenue.
“These are tasks that nine times out of 10 you could do on your own, but when you hire someone you’re making yourself more accountable,” Miller says.
“There’s a lot of motivating,” Tettamble adds. “It’s almost like having a personal trainer.”
On the commercial side, 2B Organized helps employees with workplace organization, time management and event planning, and Miller also gives seminars.
“Making a space more organized makes you more productive, which makes you more money – especially in the commercial atmosphere,” Miller says.
Ollis/Akers/Arney CEO Richard Ollis hired Miller last year to work with 35 employees organizing their workspaces at the Springfield insurance agency.
“When you walk into your office and it’s organized and tidy, I think that you start your day off in a more productive and positive way,” Ollis says. “It’s a lot different when you have a third-party expert come in and coach, than just laying an edict down and expecting them to do it.”
Ongoing organization and space design at the Aviary Cafe in Farmers Park is leading to better morale and efficiency among the kitchen staff, says Aviary Shares LLC Chief Operating Officer Jeff Anderson.
“She decluttered the kitchen to where we could get more production with less labor,” Anderson says of the 400-square-foot kitchen’s tight quarters. “I’m anxious to see how the numbers pan out, but I’ve already got a happier crew.”
With Tettamble taking over the company’s home market, Miller says the time is right to grow 2B Organized. In addition to interest from potential franchisees in New York and Dallas, Miller says she has received international interest from parties in Canada, Hungary, South Africa and Australia.
“I can’t wrap my brain around that,” Miller says. “Obviously I can’t do that at this point, but there’s potential there and it’s very exciting.”
Atlanta-based Chicken Salad Chick made its Springfield debut; husband and wife Garrett and Rose Cochran opened Heirloom Candle Bar; and mobile eatery Girldad BBQ LLC was launched.