Multi-Unit Franchisee Magazine Issue III, 2017 - Page 78

U N D E R BY KERRY PIPES Testing, 1, 2, 3… E Young partners prep to open 3rd location dris De Vol has had two defi n- ing moments in his adult life: fi rst, using an Any Lab Test Now franchise to determine he had high cholesterol; and second, meeting Omar Sharif. No, not the hand- some Egyptian actor from “Lawrence of Arabia” and “Dr. Zhivago,” but someone who has become a friend, mentor, and business partner. De Vol, who grew up in Saudi Arabia, moved to Ohio to attend boarding school as a teenager and later attended college at Boston University. Sharif, originally from Jordan, moved to the U.S. with his family when he was 15. De Vol and Sharif met at a friend’s wedding a few years ago. Both were ap- proaching 26, an age they would lose their health insurance coverage on their parents’ policies, and were looking at options for people in their shoes. De Vol had used Any Lab Test Now and told Sharif, who knew about franchising because he’d operated a Subway location in Texas. In 2015, the duo traveled to Atlanta to attend an Any Lab Test Now discovery day. At the end of the session, they inked a deal for their fi rst franchise and two other territories. “Any Lab Test Now is a direct access lab testing franchise where patients do not need to see a doctor fi rst. They can get in and out of the lab in less than 15 minutes,” says De Vol. In June 2015, the partners opened their fi rst Any Lab Test Now location NAME: Edris De Vol TITLE: Owner COMPANY: Any Lab Test Now NO. OF UNITS: 2 (1 more by year- end) AGE: 29 FAMILY: 2 brothers, 1 sister YEARS IN FRANCHISING: 2 YEARS IN CURRENT POSITION: 2 76 MULTI-UNIT FRANCHISEE IS S UE III, 2017 in the Dallas suburb of Flower Mound. One year later, in July 2016, they opened their second location in nearby Southlake. Business is growing and the pair are scheduled to open their third North Texas location in Denton by year-end. The brand itself, which began franchis- ing in 2007, has grown to more than 150 locations nationwide. LIFE UNDER 30 How did you get into franchising at such a young age? My partner, Omar Sharif, gave me the idea. Was becoming a franchise something you’d planned on? No. Did you have a mentor or inspiration for getting into franchising? Omar Sharif. What jobs, skills, and experience have helped you operate a franchise business? Reading and writing contracts. How would you describe your generation? Globalized experience chasers. Omar Sharif and Edris De Vol (right). Do you see franchising as a stepping- stone or a career for you? Both. MANAGEMENT Business philosophy: The right tools and the right communication. Management method or style: Hands-on. Greatest challenge: Training new employees. How do others describe you? Fair. One thing I’m looking to do better: Training new employees. How I give my team room to innovate and experiment: Give them a goal and let them fi nd the way. How close are you to operations? Involved on a weekly basis. What are the two most important things you rely on from your franchisor? Marketing and operations infrastructure. What I need from vendors: Quality, not quantity, of marketing materials. Have you changed your marketing strategy in response to the economy? How? Not really. I just entered the system 2 years ago. How is social media affecting your business? Brings me closer to the customer. How do you hire and fi re? Hire: online resumes, then phone, then in person. Fire: three strikes, you’re out. How do you train and retain? Manager, training portal, and gift cards. How do you deal with problem employees? Probation period is 90 days, so that’s enough time to weed out the problem ones. Fastest way into my doghouse: Poor communication.