There are many industries that, even today, seem male dominated. But that trend is slowing changing with more and more women starting businesses in traditional male focused roles. Take Stephanie Hopkins, a partner of a local moving company in Vancouver Island. Her work week typically consists of caring for her 13-month-old daughter, a full-time job and making sure her business is thriving. It’s a chaotic lifestyle, but she gracefully manages the challenge.
Stephanie is part owner, and head of sales and customer service for You Move Me. Owning a moving company probably wouldn’t be the first choice for many women considering opening a business. However, her husband works at 1-800-GOT-JUNK?, the parent company of You Move Me, and it seemed natural to purchase a franchise that they already knew so well.
Finding the Right Fit
“Good friends of ours were looking to own a business as well, and we got to talking,” Stephanie explains. “We felt we were a good team [and] we knew we had found exactly the business we should start.”
With a strong customer centric focus, and special touches like bringing clients coffee the morning of the move and leaving them you with a housewarming gift, the opportunity seemed like a great fit with Stephanie’s sales and customer service background.
Being an owner in a labor intensive and male-dominated industry didn’t phase the Vancouver Island native one bit.
“I think as a woman I can bring a lot to the table to help revolutionize [the moving industry] that hasn't been thought of yet,” she says. “Little details — I mean the free coffee is just one thing — I want our guys to show up smiling and smelling good; for me, that's important when you get up close and personal with my belongings. We move as many women as men … and that's an advantage in my opinion.”
Owning and operating a business is not without challenges though. When she first opened the business, one of their trucks didn’t arrive until eight weeks after the promised date, causing a slow start in their first month. Instead of feeling defeated, she buckled down and focused on marketing. From hanging flyers on doors, to driving the other truck to the grocery store, she focused on getting the brand in front of as many eyeballs as possible.
“We wore our uniforms all over the island and talked to anybody who was interested. We really took on a guerrilla approach and thoroughly attacked Facebook advertising — it worked out and we are now seeing some of this pay off in a busy month. “
The Support of a Franchise
Owning a franchise is a lot of work, but it’s extremely satisfying, Stephanie says. Starting a business is not easy, but there is a great support team that can help you when you get stuck in a rut. For those looking into owning their own franchise, she advises taking a lot of time on budgeting and being conservative in your estimates for the first few months. Marketing was especially difficult because it takes time to figure out what works and what doesn’t.
“Make sure you like the business you'll be doing because you will be taking a lot of time learning that industry!” she advises.
The most important thing is to have fun with it. Stephanie loves coming up with creative marketing ideas and helping her team figure out way to become more efficient. For her, the greatest satisfaction comes when she can help her team, a client or a business solve a problem.
“I'm excited to be creating well-paying jobs while making a very stressful day for Vancouver Islanders as stress-free as possible.”