To say that franchising sometimes takes real teamwork to become a success is fairly common. And this sentiment is perfectly expressed by husband and wife Ivan Oliver and Karina Esparza, proud owners of a PuroClean franchise in San Antonio, TX. Their journey together began long before they opened the doors of their own business in Nov. 2017, but their interaction with FranNet is what made their dream a reality.
“In my previous career, I had a pretty successful run as a medical device senior manager for 13 years,” says Ivan. Karina, a full-time stay at home mom to their two small children had a degree in manufacturing. Though their careers and life path took them through Georgia and Colorado, they finally settled close to family in San Antonio, TX. Along the way, they frequently talked about one day owning and running a business of their own.
“It was our dream,” says Ivan. “But to us, it was also like jumping off a cliff.” The couple had frequent conversations about how to make it happen, most of which will sound familiar to any motivated entrepreneur. “We were really brainstorming, asking ourselves what makes us tick, what were we passionate about?” remembers Karina. After lots of consideration, the couple decided on beginning a landscaping business. That is, until a visit to a San Antonio-based small business center altered the course of their journey in a way they didn’t see coming.
“I explained what I wanted to do and was looking for resources,” remembers Ivan. What he got instead was a critical question and lecture. “I was told that my business model for landscaping likely wouldn’t pan out the way I thought, because the competition was intense, and I’d always be getting undercut on pricing.” The small business center had a piece of parting advice for the couple. Check out franchising with the help of a locally based FranNet representative.
That turned out to be Merri Cronk, principal consultant of FranNet covering Central Texas, West Texas and the Rio Grande Valley.
“During our first meeting, I was probably going 120 miles an hour with my thoughts,” remembers Ivan. Karina remembers Merri patiently taking notes, asking questions and making suggestions. Before long, her reassuring presence and entrepreneurial expertise kicked in, as she explained the FranNet process. Subsequently, the couple had submitted their assessments with one business category caveat—no food-related businesses.
“The way that FranNet matched up our interests and desires with several franchise concepts was incredible,” remembers Karina. Both Karina and Ivan really liked the idea of a PuroClean franchise, dedicated to resolving property damage from unforeseen disasters. To their surprise, they hadn’t even made it to their car when a PuroClean representative contacted them for the first time!
“PuroClean really fit well with what we wanted out of a business,” said Karina. “We love the idea of helping others in our community—especially in their time of need.” It didn’t take long before everything was official, and Ivan and Karina opened the doors of their very own franchise business. The biggest change so far for the couple is in the day to day details of finally owning a business of their own. “We have a great support system, but ultimately the responsibility is now ours to dig in and control our own destiny.” And business was booming right from the start. “We just exploded,” explains Ivan. Both remain humble and thankful for the opportunity in front of them. Karina is still able to be a full-time mom to her kids while helping to run the business. And Ivan is getting even more quality time with his family than his previous life on the road traveling too much.
What’s next for the ambitious couple? “We want to grow this business—but do it smartly,” says Ivan. “We want to hire the type of employees who share our values too.” For Ivan and Karina, FranNet became the bridge they needed to cross over into business ownership for themselves. “The level of expertise they can provide people looking to own their own business is incredible,” says Ivan. “Somehow, they just made it an easy transition for us.”