UnhappyFranchisee.Com’s “Behind the Curtain” series, which takes an insider’s look at the reality behind franchise company marketing claims, has added hydraulic hose mobile service franchise PIRTEK USA to its BTC lineup. For it’s first 18 years, PIRTEK USA was a Master franchise run by Morgan Arundel. In 2014, the Australian parent took over the role of U.S. master franchisee and the son of the founder, Glenn Duncan, took the reins. Duncan made massive changes, including the creation of a huge, state of the art headquarters and an aggressive growth that doubled the number of franchise locations in just 5 years. But is the franchisor’s glowing success story and the Kumbaya-like image of its franchisee-franchisor relationship as wonderful as portrayed? What’s it like for a franchisee to wake up one morning and have their fate, well-being and binding franchise agreement in the hands of a new franchisor they’ve never met? Let’s take a look Behind the Curtain and see. by Sean Kelly
(UnhappyFranchisee.Com) Multi-unit PIRTEK USA franchisee Tom Fechter has a unique perspective on what its like to do due diligence and enter an agreement with one franchisor, then wake up to find his fate, and franchise agreement, in the hands of someone he’d never met.
As stated in the company’s recent press release, “Tom’s first experience was gained servicing hydraulic farming equipment from an early age, but he eventually gained experience with industrial, construction, marine and other hydraulic systems. By the time he opened his first PIRTEK franchise, he had amassed more than 32 years of experience in the hydraulic industry.”
Tom felt comfortable with both PIRTEK USA leadership, headed by CEO Morgan Arundel, and its management team.
PIRTEK USA had grown slowly and steadily – building a 50-unit franchise chain over the course of 18 years.
See Behind the Curtain: Experimax Franchise Behind the Curtain SERIES OVERVIEW
Tom Fechter Opened PIRTEK USA’s 50th U.S. Location in Menomenee Falls, WI
While things weren’t perfect, by any means, he felt confident that management understood that the best way to grow a franchise chain was to prioritize – above all else – the success and profitability of its franchisees. Franchisees he spoke to voiced some of the concerns common to all franchise chains, but said they never felt that Arundel’s team valued new franchise prospects more than the franchisees who had proved their loyalty and work ethic – those whose investments and hard work daily had built the chain.
As an engineer, Tom is an analytical businessman, but he also values personal connections and relationships.
He wanted to go into business with people who would be true to their word, whose word and handshake meant more to them than the fine print of a 300-page legal document.
He was old-school that way.
So, in September, 2014, Tom Fechter committed to a 10-year franchise agreement with PIRTEK USA.
5 months later, he opened PIRTEK Menomonee Falls as franchise owner.
6 months later, he learned the dirty little secret that belies every franchise agreement – a secret that renders the most thorough due diligence efforts potentially worthless:
PIRTEK USA was sold to the Australian founders and franchisor.
PIRTEK USA to be Featured in Behind The Curtain Series
Tom Fechter Learns Franchising’s Dirty Little Secret
Without warning nor a chance to give input or opinion, Tom Fechter was now beholden to leadership he had never met, and knew nothing about.
No matter what expectations or promises had been made, or what goodwill had been created with the previous franchisor, all bets were off.
The new franchisor would be announcing a new agenda, a new growth plan and new values and all would have to adhere to its mandates.
For all his research and due diligence, he might as well have pulled a franchise name out of a hat at the IFA Franchise Expo and been obligated to sign on with whatever franchise company happened to come up.
So much for franchising giving you control of your own destiny, thought Tom. Being your own boss.
Tom Fechter Also Signed PIRTEK USA’s 100th Franchise Agreement. The Franchisor Solicited Press Coverage. We’re Answering the Call!
The story is especially newsworthy because Fechter had opened the 50th location – 6 months before the new owners took over.
It was also pitched as newsworthy because it meant that chairman Glenn Duncan had reached his stated goal of reaching 100 locations by 2020.
Fechter signed the agreement for Racine, WI in December 2020.
From our perspective, Tom Fechter has the rare advantage of experiencing the growth firsthand, as well as what it’s like to sign an agreement with one franchise company – then learn your 9.5 year term is really with a different company.
The Fechter Interviews Focus on the REALITY of the Franchisee Experience in America
PIRTEK USA, Chairman Glenn Duncan, CEO Kim Gubera and their squad of lawyers can relax – our extensive interviews with franchise owner Tom Fechter disclose no trade secrets, no juicy hose industry gossip or inside baseball.
In our extensive interview series, we explore a number of topics with the emphasis on the reality behind the hype – behind the curtain, about how it feels to be a franchisee… and whether it matches with the common franchise promotional messages of Control your Own Destiny, Be Your Own Boss, and Be in Business For Yourself But Not By Yourself.
PIRTEK USA is neither a tiny chain nor is it a brand-new startup.
It’s neither among the worst franchises that we write about, nor is it, in our opinion, among the best.
But it is a very interesting real-time case study of a smaller franchise chain striving to become a big franchise chain – And the experiences of franchisees like Tom Fechter and others reveal what it’s like to be part of such a franchise organization.
NOTE: As always, PIRTEK and PIRTEK USA have an open invitation to provide corrections, clarifications, rebuttals or other statements of their point of view as the series progresses.
NOTE: We invite Kim Gubera, Glenn Duncan, Nick Ridgway and other PIRTEK USA representatives to provide corrections, clarifications, rebuttals or statements regarding the opinions and questions stated on this site. We research from publicly available sources and post what we find for discussion and debate – all points of view are welcome and will be fairly represented. Post in comments below or email ADMIN at UnhappyFranchisee[at]Gmail[dot]com.
ARE YOU A PIRTEK USA FRANCHISEE OR CORPORATE EMPLOYEE? OR INVOLVED WITH FRANCHISE THAT MARKS UP PRODUCTS TO FRANCHISEES? SHARE A COMMENT BELOW.
TAGS: PIRTEK, PIRTEK USA, Pirtek franchise, Pirtek USA franchise, PIRTEK franchise opportunity, PIRTEK Wisconsin, PIRTEK Menomonee Falls, PIRTEK Racine, PIRTEK Lake Winnebago, Tom Fechter, Kim Gubera, Glenn Duncan, Peter Duncan, Nick Ridgway, unhappy franchisee