Gabe Filkey knows how to run a business. Not only has he been a successful realtor for over a decade, he also owns a realty brokerage and property management company. He knows the ins and outs of the industry — and the best part is, he loves it.
But as a natural entrepreneur, he’s always on the lookout for new opportunities. So when he heard about an up-and-coming moving business, he knew it was the perfect complement to his existing ventures.
Here’s why Gabe added You Move Me to his arsenal of home service related businesses.
O2E: Tell us why you were seeking new opportunities.
GF: In my heart, I like to help people and to fix problems. With real estate, I’m solving a major challenge for my clients by simplifying the home purchase process. Now, with You Move Me, I’ve taken it one step further. I get to help people through one of the most stressful experiences of their lives — from start to finish.
I’m still fully involved with my other two businesses; I’ve been at it for 12 years and I love the job. But I knew I could be doing more.
O2E: Why did you choose You Move Me?
GF: A friend of mine has owned a 1-800-GOT-JUNK? franchise for years, so I’m familiar with the O2E Brands family and the systems. When he told me that the founder, Brian Scudamore, was launching a moving company, it clicked for me. Moving is a natural fit with an industry I know inside and out.
I decided to get to know the company better so I went to the head office in Vancouver. I was drawn to the tenacity of everyone there; they had a contagious energy to get things done and figure out to create a national brand together.
It was clear that if anyone could build a profitable business model in a fragmented industry like moving, these were the people to do it. Helping to grow something from the ground floor was very attractive to me, and I wanted to be an integral part of the growth process and the success.
O2E: Tell me about the early days of owning a franchise.
GF: It was a lot harder than I expected. I knew my real estate business like the back of my hand, but coming into a foreign, competitive industry was a very different experience. I had to completely transform my thinking to fit the new business model. I had to adapt and learn how to work within the systems. We’re there now and we’re doing well — but we still have a lot to learn. I’m proud of my team for pushing through the challenges.
Someone said to me in the beginning that there were no small problems when it comes to small business. I completely agree. There is also nothing more satisfying than building something from nothing, especially with people you care for and respect. O2E Brands is, above all, a family.
O2E: What does your You Move Me business give you that your real estate business doesn’t?
GF: It certainly is more of a challenge, but that’s because we’re still growing and learning the industry. To me, it’s the promise of a scalable, larger business that will one day fully run itself. Real estate is built on a person; You Move Me is built on process. Of course, we’d be nowhere without the right people — but at its core, You Move Me is all about systems and if you use them properly, you’ll succeed.
O2E: What advice would you give to prospective franchisees?
GF: You have to throw yourself in the deep end and expect to sink — at least in the beginning. You need a long-term perspective; quick and easy isn’t reality. The successful people are the ones who came into it with realistic expectations; a business doesn’t blow up overnight.
So if you have a short-term mindset, this isn’t the path for you. But if you want to develop a business that will provide for your family (and maybe your kids’ families one day), with the support of other tenaciously forward-thinking entrepreneurs — then this is exactly what you should be doing.